GeForce 9600 GT SLI Performance
A quick recap
Yesterday we took a look at NVIDIA’s newest mainstream offering, the 512MB GeForce 9600 GT. At the heart of the GeForce 9600 GT is NVIDIA’s G94 GPU. G94 is built on TSMC’s 65-nm manufacturing process and contains 64 stream processors – a little over half the amount of shaders found in the GeForce 8800 GT. Despite the reduced number of stream processors, the 9600 GT is surprisingly fast, this is due in large part thanks to its high clock speeds of 650MHz core/1625MHz for the stream processors. G94 also incorporates the same architecture tweaks found previously in the GeForce 8800 GT. This includes additional texture address units as well as compression improvements.
In the article we found that the GeForce 9600 GT delivered an impressive performance improvement over its direct predecessor, the GeForce 8600 GT/GTS. We ran a mixture of DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 benchmarks, and concluded that the 9600 GT ran 2X faster than the 8600 GTS in DX9 testing, and up to 2.5X faster in DX10. In comparison to its direct competitor, the Radeon HD 3850, the GeForce 9600 GT continued to fare well. The 9600 GT outperformed the 3850 in all of our DirectX 10 tests, and ran faster than the 3850 in DX9 games like Call of Duty 4, F.E.A.R., and Company of Heroes. In some of these cases by nearly 30%. Only in Lost Planet and Oblivion did the 3850 prevail over the GeForce 9600 GT.
Now we’re here today to see how the 9600 GT performs when two cards are combined together for SLI. With prices starting as low as $179.99 at online retailers like Newegg and Zipzoomfly, two GeForce 9600 GT cards could conceivably be run in SLI for less than the price of one GeForce 8800 GTX or Radeon HD 3870 X2 – but is the 9600 GT SLI combo faster than either of these solutions? That’s what we plan to find out.
We’re also going to include the GeForce 8800 Ultra and GeForce 8800 GT SLI combination. While the 8800 Ultra is currently listed at over $600 on Pricegrabber, it is NVIDIA’s fastest card and we’re curious to see how it compares to the others; the 8800 GT SLI combo is included because the 8800 GT is a highly popular upgrade right now and we’re sure that many of you would be curious to see how it fares against the 9600 GT SLI configuration. Finally, we also threw in the Radeon HD 3870 X2 and Sapphire’s Radeon HD 3870 Atomic. In the conclusion of the 9600 GT performance preview article we suggested that AMD needs to counter the factory OC’ed 9600 GT cards from NVIDIA’s board partners with a wave of factory OC’ed 3870s of their own, so we were curious to see how that potential battle would play out in the benchmarks.
Since we don’t have two identical 9600 GT reference boards to test SLI, we’re combining the ASUS EN9600 GT with EVGA’s e-GeForce 9600 GT SSC. To keep things equal, we of course ensured that the final SLI combo was running at the stock 9600 GT speeds.