Foxconn 9600GT 512 MB Review

ccokeman - 2008-03-07 17:19:05 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: March 10, 2008
Price: $164.99

Introduction:

Every time a new generation of products is released, the assumption is that the latest and greatest has to perform better than the last generation to be considered a success. Generally this rings true. As the replacement for the Nvidia 8600 series, the 9600 series of video cards should offer increased performance. Just how much of a gain is the million dollar question! In today's world of upwards spiraling energy and consumer goods costs, what level of performance are the average computer users willing to pay for and won't kill the household budget? For many, the mid range is right on the money, while of course, there is the enthusiast sector that just throws caution to the wind in the quest for performance.

The Foxconn 9600 GT 512MB (Standard OC) video card should help answer some of these questions. Featuring a core clock speed of 655MHz, memory clock speed of 1820MHz (910), a shader clock speed of 1625MHz and 512 megabytes of GDDR3 memory, it has the tools to wage that mid range war. How will it compare to the current crop of video cards on the market? Let's find out.

Closer Look:

The Foxconn 9600GT comes in a flashy box with a Warrior Queen on the front panel. Flashy not just as in colorful, but also sporting a pearlescent sheen. The front panel identifies the 9600GT as the Standard OC model listing few of the features and really highlighting the awards Foxconn has garnered for its products over the past six months. The rear panel shows all 80 of the awards its VGA products have earned, as well as highlighting the inexpensive performance of this video card. Opening the flip up front panel reveals the 9600GT as well as showing the slogan "Truth in Engineering." This slogan is part of the company's mantra. Providing real performance without the hype. The items highlighted are the two power filters, Japanese solid capacitors and a thermalsafe IC. The explanation of each point is on the flip up panel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 9600GT is held in place by the box divider. This method seems to permit some movement while in transit. Underneath the card are the accessories.

 

 

Speaking of accessories. The items included with the Foxconn 9600GT include the manual, driver disc, a program disc with Drive Clone 3 and Virtual Drive Pro v11.5, two DVI to D-sub adapters, a power adapter and an S-Video to Composite adapter. Pretty much enough to get the 9600GT connected to either a monitor or television.

 

 

Closer Look:

The Foxconn 9600 GT 512MB Standard OC is a PCI-E 2.0 compliant video card for use in a 16x PCI-E slot. The 9600GT features a GPU clock speed of 655MHz with a memory clock speed of 1820MHz (910). Shader clocks come in at 1625MHz. The cooling for this card appears to be the reference design single slot cooling solution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are two DVI ports as well as an S-Video port for connectivity options. Power for the 9600GT is provided through the tail end of the card via a 6-pin PCI-E connector. The 9600GT is SLI capable with another matching card. The bridge connector is in the standard location on top of the PCB.

 

 

The cooling solution used on the Foxconn 9600GT is a reference design. It is a hybrid copper/aluminum device that uses heatpipes to carry the heat generated by the GPU to the aluminum fins for dispersal. The fan uses 15 blades to push air through the heatsink assembly.

 

 

To get the heatsink assembly off to view the components underneath, twelve spring loaded screws have to be removed. Once the screws are removed, a simple twist and lift frees the heatsink assembly. The G94 core is significantly smaller than the G80 cores of just last year. The thermal paste is still the thick grey mass. It is easy to remove if one is inclined to do so. Each of the memory chips and all of the heat generating components have thermal tape as the interface material.

 

 

The 9600GT uses all Japanese made solid capacitors for a longer, useful life. Samsung supplied the memory chips and are rated for 2000MHz (1000). The G94 core is smaller and is identified as G94-300-A1.

 

 

Configuration:

The new card is in the system, but just because the hardware side of the process is complete does not guarantee that all is well. The instruction set, or drivers, need to be installed to get the card to function properly. The basic configuration starts with installing the drivers and applications from the supplied driver disc. Let the autorun feature run and the driver install GUI will appear on the screen. Foxconn has chosen to have a unique interface for the installation of the drivers and utilities. There are three main options to choose from, Drivers, Utility and Manual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the driver tab, choose the driver that is best for your operating system and the installation takes place.

 

 

 

Foxconn has provided a utility to monitor and overclock the 9600GT. The software is installed via the utility tab on the installation GUI. The software is called Foxware. There are three tabs to choose from with this utility. The Information tab identifies the graphics processor, the core and memory clock speeds, lists the driver revision as well as the amount of memory on the video card. The Frequency tab allows the user another avenue to overclock the 9600GT in increments as small as 1 MHz. The Temperature tab is used to monitor the core temperature as well as set alams depending on the temperature.

 

 

The last part of the configuration takes place in the Nvidia control panel. Fine tuning the performance of the 9600GT can be accomplished along with overclocking through Ntune.

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Specifications:

 

GPU
NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT
Core
G94
CoreClock
655MHz
Pixel Pipeline
64 Stream Processors
Vertex Pipeline
64 Stream Processors
RAMDACs
400MHz
Memory Type
GDDR3
Memory Size
512MB
Memory Clock
1820MHz
Memory Interface
256bit
Graphics Bus Technology
PCI Express 2.0
Cooler
Fansink
Connectors
Dual Dual-Link DVI + HDTV_Out
Special Features

PCI Express 2.0
NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD Support
NVIDIA® SLI™ Support
Dual Dual-Link DVI Support
HDTV Out Support
Windows Vista™ Suppor

 

Features:

 

Testing:

At OverclockersClub.com, we use a series of benchmarks to stress the graphics card. We will use a series of newer, as well as a few more seasoned gaming benchmarks, to show how well the Foxconn 9600GT compares to some of the other enthusiast video cards on the market. All driver settings and clock speeds will be left at factory default settings on both the CPU and GPU to minimize or eliminate any variables from impacting the results. The test system used in this review is listed below. After testing the card at stock speeds, I will overclock the video card to see what kind of performance can be gained. When originally tested, the XFX 9600 was reviewed on an X48 chipset board. To provide an accurate test that card was retested on an X38 platform to eliminate any testing variables.

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

To overclock the Foxconn 9600GT, I used Nvidia's Ntune software. I started at the stock clock speeds and just kept increasing the core and clock speeds until I had reached a point that the graphics benchmarks would not complete or have corruption. 749 MHz is a 99MHz overclock over the stock speeds of 650MHz on the G94 core. The memory just kept scaling upwards until I reached the end of the scale. The scale ended at 1100MHz, a 190 MHz increase over the factory memory clock speeds. The Foxconn 9600GT was able to complete the entire benchmark suite at these speeds. Hoping that the overclocked settings would not fail, or more specifically, trying to make them fail, I played an hour long round of Call of Duty 4 just to be sure the settings were good. They were! At these overclocked speeds, the 9600 GT decreased the performance gap between it and the 8800GT. Pretty amazing results.

Benchmarks:

  1. Crysis
  2. Knights of the Sea
  3. Bioshock
  4. Call of Duty 4
  5. World in Conflict
  6. Call of Jaurez
  7. 3DMark 06 Professional

 

 

Testing:

Crysis is a new addition to the gaming benchmark suite used at OverclockersClub.com. This game is one of the most anticipated and system intensive games to be released to the gaming community. The Crysis single player demo includes both a CPU and GPU benchmark to test the performance of the processor and video card installed in the system.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At stock speeds, the Foxconn 9600GT beat all of the scores except for those delivered by the 8800GT. The overclocked scores were close at the lower resolutions. The margin of performance between the 8800GT and 9600GT increased as the resolution increased, not wholly unexpected.

Testing:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a new DX10 title that features its own proprietary graphics engine currently in development. The game is a combination of real time strategy and simulation. You have the ability to control the entire crew or just a single member. Play as the German, Russian or Allied navies and prove your mettle on the open seas.

 

The settings we will use are below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Foxconn 9600 keeps close to the 8800 at the lower resolutions, but falls to it at the higher end of the spectrum. The difference between the 8800GT and the overclocked Foxcon 9600GT is at the most four frames per second.

Testing:

Benchmark: BioShock

BioShock is one of the newest games on the market. It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This first-person shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played.

 

Settings:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the lowest resolution, the Foxconn 9600 tops all of the comparison cards except the 8800GT. At the higher resolutions, it takes a serious overclock to be competitive with the 3870. It was a no contest against the 8800GT.

Testing:

Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare is the latest successor in the Call of Duty series. This iteration of the game is fought in many of the world's hot spots with modern armaments and firepower. You can play as either a U.S. Marine or British S.A.S. trooper.

 

The settings used are listed below:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two 9600GTs share almost identical performance, but fall short of the frame rates delivered by the 3870 in all four resolutions.

Testing:

World In Conflict is a newly released DX10 real time strategy game that simulated the all out war that the world hopes never comes. The difference in this RTS game is that it is not the typical generate wealth and build type of game. You advance by conquering your foe.

 

The settings we will use are listed below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 9600GT has a hard time in this game. Overclocking the Foxconn 9600GT pays dividends in this game, allowing the performance gap to shrink between it and the 3870.

Testing:

Call of Juarez is a DirectX10 First Person Shooter set in the Wild West of the late 1800s. The game is inspired in part by the movies of the Wild West genre of the seventies and eighties. The game can be played as both single player and multiplayer. The game focuses on realistic graphics and gameplay designed to take advantage of the latest video cards on the market.

 

The settings we will use are listed below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Foxconn 9600 actually came out on top in the 1680 x 1050 resolution and kept to within 2 to 3 frames per second of the 3870 in all four resolutions.

Testing:

Benchmark: Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts)

Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts) is the latest chapter in the Company of Heroes series. The scene is WWII. The Mission is Operation Market Garden, the first Allied attempt to break into the Third Reich. Play as the British or Germans. This real time strategy game is brought to us by Relic entertainment.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the highest resolution, all of the cards, with the exception of the 3850, are within 6 FPS. The Foxconn offering stays competitive with the HD3870 at the lower resolutions while beating it in the 1680x1050 resolution.

 

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Foxconn 9600GT beats the HD3870 in all four resolutions at stock speeds. Again, the 8800GT is too strong for this crowd.

Conclusion:

The performance generated by the Foxconn 9600GT when overclocked is a substantial increase over the stock numbers. In the benchmark testing, the Foxconn 9600GT beat the HD 3870 in exactly half of the benchmark suite. In the 14 tests it did not win, the margins were at times substantial, (Call of Duty 4 1680x1050 and 1920x1200). The overclocking headroom provided by Nvidia and its partners is phenomenal. No volt mods, no extreme cooling, just increase the clock speeds and go game to your heart's content. It really could not be easier. What this card offers is affordable performance. With the latest price drops by Nvidia, the Foxconn 9600GT (Standard OC) model can be had for $165, $25 less than just after introduction. If you game at resolutions less than 1680x1050, then this card should suffice at the settings we use for our benchmarks. Albeit some settings can be reduced for better performance.

As the replacement for the 8600 series of video cards, the performance expectations are not really that high, but the 9600 series definitely performs a cut above the cards it replaces. 77% better performance in 3Dmark06 on a card-to-card comparison makes the leap to the 9600 a no brainer. If you don't want (I can't imagine that) or cannot afford the latest and greatest video cards out on the market, the 9600 from Foxconn would be a great choice as a card that can keep up in today's games. When you need that extra bit of performance, the overclocking headroom is available to get it, either through the included Foxware utility or any of the other utilities available for use. I really could find no faults with the Foxconn 9600. It was cool running, performed well against its direct competition and did everything it's supposed to do. If the mid range is where you play, the Foxconn 9600 GT has you covered.

 

Pros:

 

Cons:

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