XFX 9600GSO 384mb vs Sapphire HD4670 512mb

Introduction

Introduction
 
Life is so much easier when things are labelled correctly don't you think? A Sweater, XL for me please. A car, I'll take a 3.0i thank you very much. A mid range graphics card....er, now I'm lost. You see, I honestly believe ATI and more to the point, NVidia, are slowly running out of numbers and letters to label their cards. So much so, in fact, that the mid range area of the GPU market is so muddled it is hard to separate the chaff from the wheat. Take the two cards up for review today - the 9600GSO and the HD4670 are both mid-range cards that don't follow suit in the general scheme of things, but instead spawn a new mid-high-mid range that only NVidia and ATI themselves can decipher. So as the dust settles at the top of the pile, a new war is waging in the bread and butter mid-range sector where both these cards are aiming to be top dog in their own department.
 XFX Logo
In the green corner may I present to you the XFX 9600GSO. The card is currently priced aggressively at £69.31. Although the 9600GSO is a new addition to the NVidia lineup, it isn't exactly new technology. The 9600GSO shares the same technology as the 8800GS, which was a slightly cut-down version of the mid/high-end favourite, 8800GT. While this may seem annoying to those who thought they were buying into new technology, it is a stroke of genius from NVidia and possibly a great bargain should it perform anywhere near that of the 8800GT, especially considering it weighs in at a paltry £69. Nvidia then it seems, are sticking to the tried and tested method of offering cut down versions of last generation (but high performing) GPU's at a knock down price. It will be intriguing to see if this was a wise move with ATI spreading their new technology across the range.
 Sapphite logo
In the red corner and costing a little under £5 less than the NVIDIA card at £64.59, we have the RV730XT, otherwise known as the HD4670 512mb version from top tier ATI partners - Sapphire. A new card based on the same 4000 architecture as the mighty 4850 and 4870 cards which have all seen off NViIDIA competition at the higher end of the market. It will be interesting to see if it can do the same with a trimmed down version. Having the same number of stream processors as the HD3870 and a similar core to the 4870 should see the HD4670 perform quite well. Especially when AA is applied to games which is unusual for a mid range card as this is an area where they tend to suffer. With an estimated price of around £60 this could out-strip the 9600 GSO as the bargain of the year should it match its low price with high performance.
 
 
Specification
 
So then, the scene is set and the battle lines are drawn. While the two top tier manufacturers' get rubbed down in preparation for the head-to-head benchmarking, lets take a closer look at each card.
 
 
 As per usual, ATI cards are clocked much higher than their NVIDIA counterpart. The interest for me however is whether the 512mb of memory the ATI card has will offer much of an advantage over the GSO. The Sapphire also has many more processors than the XFX card and along with an improved fabrication process, the Sapphire card looks to be a very strong contender.
 
Lets take a look at each of the cards in turn, starting with the XFX 9600GSO.
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Most Recent Comments

20-09-2008, 09:18:13

°TheMadDutchDude°
Nice review!

That shows you.. clock speed isn't anything compared to realworld performance, seeing that the 9600GSO can perform better and it has lower clock speeds. I think that is brilliant, personally nVidia are loosing on the higher end market due to the ATi HD4870 etc but they are king of the mid-budget market Quote

20-09-2008, 09:56:14

Jeddy
Nice review, good to see nvidia making *ahem* new products to compete :P (I mean, its like got a 9 on the front, and a gso on the back boss, new technology!)

Good review though, and since i am looking at an sff build/mod/project log i am looking at these kind of mid-range cards Quote

20-09-2008, 10:18:23

MacAllah
There isn't just one spelling "blooper." The entire article is rife with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. I kept reading for the information, but the presentation was so horrid it was nearly unbearable.

On the intro page alone I count 3 mistakes the most horrible of which is the use of "there" when "their" is the word that should be used. Ugh.Quote

20-09-2008, 12:14:40

Diablo
I reckon Nvidia aren't being beaten on the top end of the market, for anyone with loads of cash (i.e. me) the 280GTX presents a great single card solution, with less scaling issues in dual card set up.

Back on topic, great review, very thorough, nice to see the settings in Crysis. I was thinking about the 4670 as a nice card to put in a friends machine. Maybe a 9600GSO might be a better bet, but the 9800GT's look good and they are only about £20 on top.

Will you be using Crysis Warhawk to benchmark things in the future, what with the engine optimising?Quote

20-09-2008, 17:46:41

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='°TheMadDutchDude°'
Nice review!

That shows you.. clock speed isn't anything compared to realworld performance, seeing that the 9600GSO can perform better and it has lower clock speeds. I think that is brilliant, personally nVidia are loosing on the higher end market due to the ATi HD4870 etc but they are king of the mid-budget market
Glad you liked the review. It does appear that NVidia and ATI have changed places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Diablo'
I reckon Nvidia aren't being beaten on the top end of the market, for anyone with loads of cash (i.e. me) the 280GTX presents a great single card solution, with less scaling issues in dual card set up.

Back on topic, great review, very thorough, nice to see the settings in Crysis. I was thinking about the 4670 as a nice card to put in a friends machine. Maybe a 9600GSO might be a better bet, but the 9800GT's look good and they are only about £20 on top.

Will you be using Crysis Warhawk to benchmark things in the future, what with the engine optimising?
I'll be reviewing the 9800GT shortly and will be using the GSO and 4670 for comparison so keep checking the site buddy. Benchmarking with Warhawk will depend on the game engine itself and the challenge it presents to GPU's.Quote
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