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Product : Radeon 9600XT
Company : ATI Technologies
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Editor : Robin 'roki' Kim
Date : February 16th, 2004


Not everyone has the cash to shell out $400 on a videocard every six months. Fortunately, spending that kind of money isn't necessary to get decent 3D performance these days. Mid-range cards from both ATI and nVidia give you enough performance to run the latest games with all the eye-candy turned on and you don't have to take out a mortgage to get one. Today I'm looking at ATI's latest mid-range card, the Radeon 9600XT.

The 9600XT is the latest mid-range card in ATI's long lineup to offer full Direct 9.0 and OpenGL 2.0 support. Based on the same .13µ process design as the RV350, the RV360 is the world's first low-k graphics processor. Stock clocked at impressive 500MHz, the 9600XT core is capable of still higher speeds using a standard heatsink/fan to cool it (the same one used on the venerable old Radeon 9700 Pro in fact). At around 30°C idle and more or less 40°C under load, the 75 million transistor chip is an impressive feat of engineering.

ATI seems to be cursed with their memory design though. While their main competitor nVidia has managed to get 450MHz (900MHz DDR) on their mid-range Geforce 5700 Ultra offering, ATI seems stuck when it comes to memory speeds. Their 9600XT, like the 9600 Pro before it, has a very unimpressive 300MHz memory clock (600MHz DDR). Some of their AIB partners have gone ahead and bumped the memory clock up by 25MHz or more, but it doesn't appear that this is something ATI themselves are willing to do.

  9600XT 9600 Pro 9500 Pro
Silicon Process .13µ low-k .13µ .15µ
Transistor Count
75 75 110
Core Speed
500 400 275
Memory Speed
300 300 270
Memory Interface 128bit 128bit 128bit
Rendering Pipelines 4 4 8
TMUs Per Pipeline 1 1 1
Peak Memory Bandwidth
9.6 9.6 8.6
Pixel Fillrate
(million pixels/sec)
2,000 1,600 2,200
Texel Fillrate
(million texels/sec)
2,000 1,600 2,200
DX9 Pixel Shader Version 2.0 2.0 2.0
Vertex Shaders
2 (2.0) 2 (2.0) 4 (2.0)

ATI 9600XT Box Shot
ATI 9600XT Box Shot
ATI 9600XT Front
ATI 9600XT Front
ATI 9600XT Back
ATI 9600XT Back

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