XFX 9600GSO 384mb vs Sapphire HD4670 512mb

XFX 9600GSO Packaging & Appearance

XFX 9600GSO Packaging & Appearance
 
XFX are renowned here at OC3D for being the best in the business when it comes to presenting high-end GPU's and motherboard's so I was interested to see if these same high standards would be carried through on cheaper cards. Sure enough the quality of materials used are the same here as they are for the range topping GTX280. The box features a  picturesque outer sleeve with the '9' series dominating the front, along with a few unused bullets and a brief description of the card. The rear of the outer sleeve is where you will find the feature list and various warnings regarding the included Company of Heroes game. The sides of the box display the recommended specification (500w PSU single/600w SLI) and the need for a 6 pin PCIe cable. The remaining side displays the usual 'Nsist on Nvidia' blurb.
 
Sleeve Front Sleeve rear
 
Nsist on NVidia Specification
  
The inner box is a lime green affair, and synonymous with XFX which is both sturdy and adequate enough in preventing anything but deliberate crushing of the box. A cutout shows the card itself behind a plastic window. Opening the box we can see the card in all its glory. Surprising and somewhat worrying, the card is not supplied in any anti-static bag although the cardboard and foam packaging should most likely prevent any static from reaching the card anyway. It would be nice to have that little reassurance, regardless.
 
Innerbox Inner box opened
 
The included accessories are basic but enough to get you going with the graphics card. Company of Heroes, along with the DX10 patch is the high point and a nice addition to what is a mid-range package. Unfortunately, there is no VGA to DVI adapter so hopefully your monitor will natively support DVI or you have a spare adapter yourself. Also missing is a molex to PCIe 6-pin adapter so ensure you have a 6-pin PCIe cable on your PSU.
 
Accessories
  
The card itself is a very sleek affair, being single slot and cooled by a half size fan/heatsink assembly.. Being just 8.4 inches long it could quite easily fit in an media pc and while the fan is small it is only really audible when the card is put under stress. At full tilt, the fan can be a little whiny but that's the price you pay for such small form factor cooling I guess.
 
Card Top Card Rear
 
Side 1 Card front
  
The actual cooler is a full copper affair which is a true bonus considering that many manufacturers tend to cheap out and use aluminium of late. Or if you are 'lucky', copper coated aluminium. One problem with a cooler design such as this is that the hot air is expelled into the case, so decent case cooling is a prerequisite. I was also slightly concerned that not only is there no cooling on the power regulators but the hot air being exhausted from the GPU will be blowing over them. The heatsink is easy enough to access with the removal of 6 small screws and so cleaning should not be an issue.
 
Coppertop Copper fins
  
Going that one step further, we removed the heatsink assembly to investigate the application of Thermal Interface Material (TIM). The contact area was good but the amount of putty like material was a tad excessive. The memory had thermal pads in place of TIM and notable was the addition of an extra pad cooling an empty space for memory. This is perhaps a throwback to the 512mb card which people were soft modding to 8800GTS! Sadly there will be no such shenanigans with this card.
 
Open Sesame GPU TIM should be a full contact sport 
 
I love the smell of silicon in the morning Look Sir - Droids!
  
Overall, a very nice looking card which is well presented in typical XFX style. I do like a card with a black PCB as it can find itself at home in any colour coordinated PC build. Sadly, the same cannot be said about other manufacturers, so a big thumbs up to XFX and NVIDIA for sticking to the classic black PCB. The full copper block is a major plus but the actual design is poorly thought out. Hopefully the MOSFETS will not be affected when we come to put the card under a full days worth of testing.
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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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