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[Anandtech] When the Smoke Clears & Prices Settle: GeForce 9600 GT vs. Radeon HD 3870

post #1 of 8
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The Article


Quote:
As we suspected in our original review, the GeForce 9600 GT and Radeon HD 3870 are quite competitive with one another thanks to AMD's most recent price cuts.

From a performance standpoint, the Radeon HD 3870 comes out slightly ahead by outperforming the 9600 GT in one more game (and two benchmarks). The 9600 GT, although winning fewer benchmarks, manages a higher margin of victory in those games that it does win in. Performance issues in Quake Wars and Call of Duty 4 give the nod to NVIDIA, especially when you take into account a lower average selling price for the 9600 GT.

Looking back at our power consumption numbers, the 9600 GT does run a bit cooler under load, while the 3870 has a lower thermal envelope at idle. Neither card has a passively cooled reference design, so HTPCers will either want to look for something aftermarket or go further down the food chain for a truly silent PC.

If you're deciding between overclocked and stock 9600 GTs, EVGA's SSC version showed a 10% increase in performance for just over a 12% increase in price. The problem is that if you can afford a 12% increase in price over a stock 9600 GT, you may want to start looking at even faster GPUs.

Next week we'll have a follow-up looking at how the 9600 GT stacks up to the 512MB Radeon HD 3850 and the almighty 8800 GT 512.
post #2 of 8
can you place the link maybe at the beginning of the test because some people like reading the whole thing before seeing the result

EDIT
just because the 9600GT outperforms the ATI card in CoD4 by about 20-30FPS, it got my money if I were deciding between the 2
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post #3 of 8
the thing i hate about these tests is that they never push the cards to the full potential OC.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu View Post

Neither card has a passively cooled reference design, so HTPCers will either want to look for something aftermarket or go further down the food chain for a truly silent PC.
When it wasn't overclocked, I never heard my 3870's fan - even when I kept it at 60% using Rivatuner. The only time the card's fan runs at full speed is when I boot it up (I guess a self-test?) and when using the overclocking utility in Catalyst - that's it. Even playing the Crysis demo didn't make it go on (although later I set Rivatuner to 100%). If the card can do Crysis without a loud fan, I would think watching TV, a movie, or even something in HD, would be no problem. Am I wrong?
    
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Halo2Vista View Post
the thing i hate about these tests is that they never push the cards to the full potential OC.
3870 would probably win (take note probably) thing gets 900/2400 on stock cooling.

I am very happy i have my 3870 instead of the waiting i would have had to endure for the 9600. The 2 major victories for the 9600 were nVidia optimized games, which i don't play anyways. At the same price tag though you can't go wrong buying either of them.
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post #6 of 8
I've been watching this comparison since the 9600GT came out and I think it's great. Not only did it lower the price of the HD3870 considerably, making xfire even cheaper, but it seems the 9600GT's are performing great in single card, and scaling is very nice in SLI. This is a good time for mid-range/budget builders, which I happen to be.

Competition like this is absolutely paramount to getting the best dollar per frame values. Awesome job on the 9600GT Nvidia, and awesome job lowering prices for the HD3870 from ATI. It's definitely a win, win situation for us budget conscious gamers.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Halo2Vista View Post
the thing i hate about these tests is that they never push the cards to the full potential OC.
Problem is, not all cards OC equally. So regardless it'd be unrealistic test of performance :/

I've heard the 3870 to be an AWESOME oc'er. to the point where it beats out the 8800GT and further. On the other hand I've heard little to nothing about the OC-ability of the 9600GT...

also the 38** series is getting a price cut, most likely to combat the 9600GT. I'm mostly a Nvidia guy but if I had to choose between the 2 I'd take the hd3870 w/o looking back
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRat View Post
Problem is, not all cards OC equally. So regardless it'd be unrealistic test of performance :/

I've heard the 3870 to be an AWESOME oc'er. to the point where it beats out the 8800GT and further. On the other hand I've heard little to nothing about the OC-ability of the 9600GT...

also the 38** series is getting a price cut, most likely to combat the 9600GT. I'm mostly a Nvidia guy but if I had to choose between the 2 I'd take the hd3870 w/o looking back
Price cut is already done and done. 180 for a 3870 now.
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Overclock.net › Forums › Industry News › Hardware News › [Anandtech] When the Smoke Clears & Prices Settle: GeForce 9600 GT vs. Radeon HD 3870