Is it a 9600GT replacement? I think it is, so let’s have a look at what the Gainward Bliss 9600GSO 768MB promises.
The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO 768MB is a nice looking card, much thanks to the awesome looking cooler. As you can see it the cooler has a fan right smack at the center, with the aluminum fins covered by a black piece of protective plastic with red markings on it. To add to the value of this product, the heatsink also comes with copper heatpipes for transferring heat from core to the dissipation fins.
Even the memory modules at the back of the card are covered by a plate to aid in heat dissipation.
The card comes with 2x DVI port and an S-video output port.
I must say it’s a lovely card but what about the performance?
– Power connector
– S-Video cable
– 1x DVI-VGA converter
– Composite TV Video Cable
– Installation guide & driver CD.
– CyberLink PowerDVD 8
Here’s a summarized detail of the card.
|GPU Code Name||G92|
|Memory Clock||900Mhz (1.800Ghz DDR)|
More details at the official product page
The computer setup used for this review.
|Processor||Intel E2140 Overclocked @ 3.2ghz|
|RAM||2x 2GB OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 Reaper HPC Edition|
|Cooler||Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer Heatsink|
|Monitor||20″ Dell Ultra-sharp Wide-screen LCD|
|Operating System||Windows XP (SP2)|
|Driver Version||ForceWare Release 175 (Version: 175.16)|
All tests were done with 4xAA (except for 3dmark06), with 16xQ CSAA when possible. The card will be compared to the 9600GT, however the 9600GT results were taken from an earlier review using an older driver, so you could expect the actual 9600GT scores to be a little better.
I was also told that this card is a greatly overclockable as well, so there was I spending the night doing countless reboot. 🙂 Managed to run the card at 755Mhz on core , 980Mhz on memory with 1888 shader clock. Now that’s quite a lot of overclock over the 600 / 900 / 1500 – we’re looking at an increase of approximately 25.8% in core speed, nearly 10% on memory and 25.8% on shader clock.
|9600GSO 768MB Overclocked||11190|
As you can see in my other recent reviews, I’ve decided to do a simple overclocking and test to only test with 3dmark06 but this card – it just changed my mind, I just had to see what it could do after that amount of overclocking! In fact, after the 3dmark06 test on the overclocked speed – I decided to include the 8800GT and the 9800GTX as comparison.
Looking at it, despite being on a reduced memory bandwidth of 192-bit , the card scored well against the 9600GT and on overclock, it positions itself between the 9600GT and 8800GTS (G92)!
Lost Planet : Extreme Condition
Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680 x 946
|Card||Snow (Average)||Cave (Average)|
|9600GSO 768MB (4xAA)||25.1||36.4|
|9600GSO 768MB (4xAA) Overclocked||28.5||41.2|
|9600GSO 768MB (16xQ CSAA)||16.8||23.9|
|9600GSO 768MB (16xQ CSAA) Overclocked||18.9||26.4|
|9600GT-512X (16xQ CSAA)||19.7||28.1|
|8800GT-512X (16xQ CSAA)||25.1||35.6|
|8800GTS-512X (16xQ CSAA)||25.1||36.1|
Graphic Detail : Maximum at 1680×1050
|9600GSO 768MB (4xAA)||48|
|9600GSO 768MB (4xAA) Overclocked||56|
The overclocking didn’t help on both the tests above, the card falls behind a little on this old game. It’s far off from being among the close to the rest when running on stock.
Company Of Heroes : Opposing Fronts
Graphic Detail : Maximum @ 1680×1050
|9600GSO 768MB (4xAA)||54.1|
|9600GSO 768MB (4xAA) Overclocked||57.4|
|9600GSO 768MB (16xQ CSAA)||41|
|9600GSO 768MB (16xQ CSAA) Overclocked||48.2|
|9600GT-512X (16xQ CSAA)||46|
|8800GT-512X (16xQ CSAA)||41.1|
|8800GTS-512X (16xQ CSAA)||52|
Amazingly this card works pretty much like an 8800GT but after the overclock, it comes close to the 8800GTS.
A Little Explanation On The Performance
So how is it possible that and a 9600GT can out-run the 9600GSO that has 50% more memory, pixel shaders, vertex shaders and texture clocks? How is it possible that the 9600GSO still slacks even after 25.8% overclock on core and shader clock?
I know some of you have read articles / reviews claiming that the 9600GSO on stock beats 9600GT on ALL TESTS, I’ve read them too and from what I saw, the tests doesn’t bring out the weaker aspect of the 9600GSO. And what is the weak point of the 9600GSO?
Answer : memory bandwidth. See, the memory bus width for the 9600GT is 256-bit while the 9600GSO is 192-bit. We’re looking at quite a bit of reduction here, it’s down to only 75% of the 9600GT’s capacity. So if you do a bit of memory bandwidth calculation to find out the total bandwidth available for the 9600GT is 57.6GB while the 9600GSO is only running at 43.2GB (75% of 9600GT) on stock and 47GB (~81% of 9600GT) on overclock.
As you can see, the tests I did were on high resolution and with AA enabled. The memory bandwidth affected the card’s performance capacity. So now back to the question – why is it that overclocking didn’t help? The core was greatly overclocked indeed but not the memory. It was barely a 10% boost. By having a memory bus width that’s 75% less, the memory needs a 33% overclock just to level the memory bandwidth – that’s 1200Mhz mind you.
Yes they’re on different core, the 9600GT is on a G94 while the 9600GSO is on a G92 – that part makes little difference in my opinion. Putting them both on the same core isn’t going to miraculously equalize them.
So all in all, you’ll see the 9600GSO will pull-ahead when the application does not rely on memory bandwidth and will pull-ahead even further when lesser AA is used. 🙂
The card runs at 44°C on idle and 54°C on load.
When overclocked, the card idles at 39°C and 52°C on load – however this reading was done with the fan at full speed.
Readings were taken when ambient temperature was around 25°C.
You win some, you lose some with this card. The memory bandwidth is not as good as the 9600GT but the rest of the parts are just waiting to give you framerates.
All in all it is a great card, and the overall package makes it real value for money since it comes with a heatsink that’s with heatpipe and a free utilities. It also is overclockable if you need more juice.
Retail price of this card at the time of this article is slightly above RM 500. 🙂