ATI RADEON 9600 XT
The last one in the list of ATI graphics cards tested today comes RADEON 9600 XT, which we will consider the fully-fledged representative of the mainstream price category and a direct alternative to RADEON 9800 SE.
Again we will take a graphics card from Sapphire:
Unlike RADEON 9700/9800 chips, this graphics processor was initially developed as a solution for mainstream graphics accelerators that is why it features less complex architecture than the RADEON 9700/9800. RADEON 9600 chips are provided with only 4 pixel pipelines and two vertex processors. I would also like to point out one more distinguishing feature of the RADEON 9600 family: they are manufactured with finer 0.13micron production technology. As a result, RADEON 9600/9600 PRO/9600 XT consume less power and generate less heat than RADEON 9700/9800 solutions.
All this is proven by the looks of the Sapphire card based on RADEON 9600 XT: it has no connector for additional power supply cable, and the graphics processor is cooled down by a pretty weak device.
The fine manufacturing technology also influences the performance of the graphics chip: its nominal working frequency has been set at a level, which is usually unattainable for the ATI chips manufactured with 0.15micron process (without extreme overclocking tricks). The nominal working frequency of the RADEON 9600 XT chip equals 500MHz.
The graphics processor features 128bit memory access. The sapphire card is equipped with DDR SDRAM chips from Samsung in TSOP packages with 3.3ns cycle time (Samsung K4D551638D-TC33). This memory works at 600MHz nominal frequency.
During overclocking the working frequencies of this graphics card grew up quite significantly, and reached 625MHz for the chip and 740MHz for the memory. This is a very nice result, I should say, for both: the graphics processor, which already boasted the highest clock frequency of all ATI chips, and for TSOP-memory chips, which maximum working frequency is exactly 600MHz as the marking suggests.