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XFX 9600 GT Alpha Dog Edition Review

Price: $169.99 USD


When new video cards come out, the push is to get as many out as possible and get the product on the shelves and to the e-tailors. Many times the top of the line models are not available right off the bat. With the Nvidia 9600GTs released just over a month ago, the time has come for the manufacturer's top of the line cards to start showing up ready for action. The designation for XFX's top of the line card is the "Alpha Dog." The standard 9600GT has a GPU clock of 650MHz, a shader clock of 1625MHz, and a memory clockspeed of 900MHz. All of these are pretty respectable numbers. The Alpha Dog, on the other hand, has a 740MHz core clock on the GPU, 1000MHz on the 512MB of GDDR3 memory, and a shader clock of 1850MHz. All substantial increases over the stock specifications. Additional features of the 9600 series include Pure Video technology for dazzling high definition video playback and SLI compatibility. Will the Alpha Dog become the leader of the pack or fall in line like the rest of the pretenders? We shall see.

Closer Look:

The package that the Alpha Dog Edition comes in is strangely devoid of any gaudy references to this being the top of the line overclocked card. There are just a couple of stickers to show off what lies inside. One shows the Alpha Dog Edition name and that the bundle of accessories features the full version of Call of Duty 4, while the second sticker lists the core clock speed of 740MHz. All of this is very understated. The rear panel shows off some performance numbers in comparison to the 8600 series of cards and highlights the Hi-Def capabilities of the 9600 series.







Pulling off the outer sleeve allows access to the Alpha Dog. The card is viewable through the window in the package, and is securely held in place and protected by a foam block on all sides. XFX takes great care in making sure the product arrives in one peice.



The accessory bundle lies under the foam enclosure protecting the 9600GT. It includes a quick start guide, a helpful tips and techniques brochure, a door tag with the Alpha Dog asking for people to respect the fact that you don't want to be disturbed, the driver and Call of Duty 4 disks, and all of the cables and adapters that might be needed for the 9600GT.



The cables and adapters included in the bundle will get you connected whatever the need may be. There are two DVI to D-Sub adapters, a DVI to HDMI adapter, an HDMI audio input cable, an S-Video cable, an S-Video to composite dongle and last, but not least, a dual 4-pin molex to 6-pin PCI-E power adapter. The documentation shows this type of connection to be less than ideal for supplying power to the Alpha Dog 9600GT.



We've seen the bundle and how the 9600GT is sent to the enthusiasts out there, so now let's dig into the 9600GT Alpha Dog Edition up close and personal!


  1. Introduction & Closer look
  2. Closer Look ( The Video Card)
  3. Configuration ( Drivers & Programs)
  4. Specifications & Features
  5. Testing (Setup, Overclocking & Benchmarks)
  6. Testing: Crysis
  7. Testing: Knights of the Sea
  8. Testing: BioShock
  9. Testing: Call of Duty 4
  10. Testing World In Conflict
  11. Testing: Call of Juarez
  12. Testing: Company of Heroes Opposing Fronts
  13. Testing: 3DMark06 Professional
  14. Conclusion
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