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Palit 9600GT 1GB Sonic and HD3850 Super+1GB

Palit 9600GT 1GB Sonic and HD3850 Super+1GB

As much as modern graphics cards have progressed over the last year or two, the onboard GDDR of many of these new cards remains relatively constant. It seems that 512MB has been deemed the “sweet spot” for anything but extreme resolutions, and horsepower in the GPU has frequently been given priority during new product development. Nvidia’s recent G92 and G94 GPUs are a perfect example of this. The G80 was a radical departure from traditional GPU design with its unified shaders and other architectural enhancements.

Not only did Nvidia raise the bar with the G80, they coupled additional GDDR3 to match with the 640MB GTS and the 768MB GTX. Although they were very powerful when they first hit the streets, the revised G92 with a more efficient GPU was able to outperform them by a fairly large margin and used only 512MB of GDDR3. AMD/ATI has been a bit more conservative with their GDDR with most top models offering 512MB for the last few years. For the last two product generations, AMD has been quick to offer newer types of GDDR, like GDDR4 with the 3870 and GDDR5 with the new 4870, as opposed to greater capacities.

Just because the reference design of these cards call for a standard 512MB of onboard GDDR capacity does not mean that manufacturers have to abide. One such manufacturer, Palit, thinks that more is better and offers several card revisions with a full 1GB of onboard memory. There is so little distinguishing graphics cards these days, so it is always refreshing to see options like this.

Index:

Palit GeForce 9600GT 1GB Sonic
Palit Radeon HD3850 Super+1GB
Testing Configuration
3DMark Vantage, 3DMark 2006
HL2: Episode Two, Prey, Lost Planet: Extreme Condition DX9/DX10
Crysis DX9/DX10, World in Conflict DX9/DX10
Overclocking, Power, & Conclusion

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Comments

  1. Winfrey
    Winfrey Very good writeup as always mike! Before I read this article I didn't know very much at all about Palit in the video card industry. I got a pretty good impression from this article though:thumbup
  2. Zuntar
    Zuntar Nice review Mike, easy to see charts too! Thanks!!!
  3. zero-counter
    zero-counter Would it have made more sense to compare the 9600gt 1GB DDR3 version to the 9600gt 512MB DDR3 version, in proving differences in memory size?

    The current comparison seems biased..considering memory type differences between the two 1 GB cards and the other card having a smaller memory size yet comparable memory type. These specifications can definitely impact the outcome of a benchmark comparison. On that note, your graphs showed the 3850/256MB/DDR3 as a very close contender for the 9600GT, given its memory deficiency.

    It is obvious in your benchmarks, that the memory type made a difference when comparing the 3850 ref. 256MB/DDR3 model to the 3850 1GB/DDR2 one. Why not at least the 512MB version of the 3850 if you were not able to procure a 1GB one (only current one I have found is the CF version)? I am aware that the tests are limited to what is on hand and available to you.

    Otherwise, the review was informative when comparing your charted info to other reviews out there to the 512MB version of the card in discussion (9600gt).

    Please correct me if my logic is flawed. Thanks! :)
  4. BuddyJ
    BuddyJ
    zero.counter said:
    Would it have made more sense to compare the 9600gt 1GB DDR3 version to the 9600gt 512MB DDR3 version, in proving differences in memory size?
    Sure, it would have been great. Send us one.
    The current comparison seems biased..considering memory type differences between the two 1 GB cards and the other card having a smaller memory size yet comparable memory type. bla bla bla
    I don't think bias enters the picture. It's an apples to apples comparison for the ATI cards, with an orange thrown in because we were graciously provided with it, plus it gave readers a sense of what sort of performance they can get from a similarly priced card. Both Palit cards are right around $130.
    I am aware that the tests are limited to what is on hand and available to you.
    That should alone should have answered your original question.
  5. zero-counter
    zero-counter
    Buddy J said:
    Sure, it would have been great. Send us one.
    You may see the point I am attempting to push. If you want to be unbiased, yet informative, then you should procure samples of similar qualities for testing. If someone wants to pay shipping both ways, I could possibly loan a couple of things in the best interests of the site, let me know.
    Buddy J said:
    I don't think bias enters the picture. It's an apples to apples comparison for the ATI cards, with an orange thrown in because we were graciously provided with it, plus it gave readers a sense of what sort of performance they can get from a similarly priced card. Both Palit cards are right around $130.
    Apples to apples as in Fujis to Granny Smiths? Or Fujis to Fujis? The 3850 GPU core is identical, yes. The orange, as you stated, was admittedly the control in the review albeit not related to the 9600gt. But the memory type can impact performance severly, especially when enabling AA and AF with higher resolutions. I understand the price issue, but there is more to consider here.
    Buddy J said:
    That should alone should have answered your original question.
    This was obviously understood (as pointed out) and posted so that everyone can see that a lack of resources is not justification for a somewhat biased review. For future reference so as this issue does not repeat itself, reviews might be clear, concise, fair, and unjust (every other aspect of the review was absolutely great, just the odd comparison). I said that in hopes that future reviewers take this into consideration. ;)
  6. Thrax
    Thrax I don't think bias means what you think it means.
  7. lemonlime
    lemonlime You are 100% correct about including the other cards, zero.counter. Including results for a 512MB 9600GT and 512MB GDDR3 HD3850 would have been ideal. Believe me, I was of the same school of thought. I would have included them if I could have. The review definitely lacked the appropriate range of competitive products to provide an accurate picture of their abilities. None the less, I did the best I could with what I had to work with.

    I should mention that the 256MB HD3850 was paid for out of my own pocket for this review. It wasn't overly expensive, so I didn't mind. Beyond that, I'm afraid I just can't buy three aging cards. I don't get to keep the two Palit cards, (they are on their way to other Icrontic reviewers for other projects) so this is definitely not something I can justify. Icrontic was not able to pitch in for additional hardware and we had nothing else coming from other manufacturers, so that is all I had.

    It is very challenging to produce a solid review without all of the appropriate tools. I will see about adding a paragraph to the introduction of the article to forewarn readers about the lack of comparison cards and the apples to oranges comparison of the 9600GT and HD3850s. I do appreciate the feedback and the offer to lend hardware for review. We'll definitely take you up on that next time :)
  8. zero-counter
    zero-counter
    Thrax said:
    I don't think bias means what you think it means.
    Really? Care to elaborate? There are two issues at hand, availability of parts and the decision to run the review...displaying a seemingly biased outcome, given the details. To push the review, knowing what i have stated, could be viewed as being bias. Relatively speaking of course.

    Lemonlime...your article is great, and I understand the constraints. I was just bringing up a point that I am pretty sure the normal visitor of Icrontic would understand already, but someone googling the card and arriving at the article may not fully understand the comparison for whatever reason. Just a point. I appreciate your response and look forward to future reviews! :)

    I love this site, and will always view it as a useful, entertaining, and intellectually enveloping place to visit.

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