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Conclusion

Midrange products such as the Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT are in the focus of many potential customers. The test results of ASUS’s version of this card prove the high performance of this very inexpensive product. It has been substantially faster than Nvidia’s reference card across a number of tests.

Notwithstanding its modest specs, the ASUS EN9600GT Top 512MB is equal to or even faster than such graphics cards as ATI Radeon HD 3870 and Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT 512MB.

As for drawbacks, the card’s cooler blocks the neighboring slot and you have to move your PCI cards away from the graphics slot. The EN9600GT Top 512MB does not have DisplayPort or HDMI connectors although the G94 chip supports DisplayPort and the card itself is equipped with an internal S/PDIF connector for audio-over-HDMI as well as DVI-to-HDMI adapter. The lack of a HD video player in the kit is an obstacle to using the card in a HTPC, too. Removing this obstacle will require an additional investment from the user. For the sake of truth we have to say that Asustek Computer also has EN9600GT Silent graphics card in the lineup, which is positioned for HTPC and features passive cooling, hence, will definitely be a better solution for use inside home-theaters compared to the EN9600GT Top, which is aimed primarily at gamers.

Summing it up, ASUS has come up with a high-quality and fast graphics card. Boasting higher performance than the reference sample, the EN9600GT Top 512MB will be a good choice for any gamer who doesn’t have a fortune to spend and who doesn’t play at high display resolutions. The card is optimally balanced and delivers superb performance for its class at resolutions of 1280x1024 and 1600x1200/1680x1050. The ATI Radeon HD 3870, the market alternative to the ASUS card, is slower in quite a lot of tests.

Highs:

  • Pre-overclocking covered by manufacturer warranty;
  • Excellent performance for its price range;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Excellent quality of anisotropic filtering;
  • Hardware HD-video decoding and post-processing support;
  • 512MB of memory with 256bit bus;
  • PCI Express 2.0 support;
  • Sound over HDMI;
  • DVI-to-HDMI adapter;
  • No compatibility issues;
  • Low power consumption;
  • Low noise;
  • Pretty good additional overclocking potential.

Lows:

  • Yields to more serious rivals in high resolutions;
  • Dual-slot cooling system;
  • No software for playback of HD video content bundled with the card.
 
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