Articles: Graphics

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Power Consumption, Noise, Overclockability, Temperature

We also emulated the reference Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT by lowering the frequencies of the Gainward card to the official values: 650/1625MHz for the core and 900 (1800) MHz for the memory. In the 3D mode the card was loaded with 3DMark06’s first SM3.0/HDR test running in a loop at 1600x1200 with 4x FSAA and 16x anisotropic filtering. The Peak 2D mode was emulated by means of the 2D Transparent Windows test from PCMark05.

This version of Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT has an original PCB design and its distribution of loads among the power channels may be different than that of the reference card.

Click to enlarge

The new core having a four-channel memory controller and 16 raster operators, it is not just a half of the G92. The reduction in power consumption is consequently lower than with the G84. Anyway, the GeForce 9600 GT consumes 30% less than the GeForce 8800 GT 512MB in 3D mode. These 60 watts we’ve measured in our test are much lower than declared by Nvidia, so there is no need in purchasing a high-wattage PSU just as there’s no need to buy one for RV670-based solutions.

We measured the level of noise produced by the non-standard cooler of the Gainward Bliss 9600 GT 512MB GS card with a digital sound-level meter Velleman DVM1326 using A-curve weighing. The level of ambient noise in our lab was 36dBA and the level of noise at a distance of 1 meter from the working testbed with a passively cooled graphics card inside was 43dBA. Here are the results:

The large heatsink allows the fan to rotate at a rather low speed, making the card almost silent even in 3D mode. The fan itself is quite noisy, though, as you can hear before the OS loads the ForceWare driver. The reference cooler is no different from the second, improved, version of the GeForce 8800 GT cooler and has identical noise characteristics. The GeForce 9600 GT generates less heat, this cooler should cope with its job well. There is no need to install more advanced cooling systems on G94-based devices.

The Bliss 9600 GT 512MB GS being pre-overclocked by the manufacturer, we couldn’t overclock it much further. The maximum frequencies the card was stable at were 740/1850MHz for the GPU and 1080 (2160) MHz for the memory. This overclocking cannot provide serious performance benefits and we won’t benchmark the card in the overclocked mode. We’ll only test it at its default frequencies and at the frequencies of the reference card from Nvidia. The GPU temperature was 42°C in idle mode and 58-60°C under load thanks to the advanced cooler installed by Gainward on this card.

The Bliss 9600 GT 512MB GS had no compatibility problems when working on mainboards supporting PCI Express 1.0a and 1.1.

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