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PowerColor 9600XT (500/680)

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coolcpu2

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Joined
Aug 6, 2003
I'm looking for a new video card between $150 and $200. The above card I can get for $175, and comes with free HL2, Tomb Raider (Full game 2 CDs), Big Mutha Truckers (Full Game), Tom Clancy Splinter Cell (Lite game,) Warcraft III (Reign of Chaos,)(Lite game,) Will Rock(Lite game,) Breed(Lite game,) Colin McRae Rally 3(Lite game,) TOCA Race Driver (Lite game).

The PowerColor card's memory is 680 mhz instead of the standard 600 mhz for 9600XT's. My question is, does everyone think this is a good buy? I have been a Nvidia user, but I'm concerned about how it runs DX9 games. I ran the Halo Demo on my 5200 (yes, I know, it's slow and a poor example of a Nvidia video card), and I had to use the command -use11 to force the game to run like it was on a Shader 1.1 card for it to be playable at 1024x768. So, I'm thinking of trying out a Radeon. I suppose if I could find a 5900 for like $190 I might consider it.

Anyway, I know there are many threads like this but I'd like input for what's going on now and my potential buying choice. Thanks.
 
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coolcpu2

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Aug 6, 2003
My current card is a Chaintech Geforce FX5200. Games run sluggishly. Like I said, in order to run the Halo Demo well, I had to use the 1.1 shaders with the -use11 command. At 1024x768 with specular off and particles to medium, and vsync off, it's playable. I downloaded the aquamark3 benchmark and saw how cool that looked, except that my system pretty much crawled in the benchmarks due to my sub 1000 score video card. I can't wait to see what that looks like with the PowerColor 9600XT. I went ahead and ordered it.

Here's the link of where I bought it if anyone's interested.

http://www.futurepowerpc.com/scripts/details.asp?PRDCODE=VB_PCC_ATI_9600XT_128
 
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Alacritan

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Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Location
Kingston, NY
Crap. I just noticed the Powercolor today too. What's up with the faster RAM? I'm willing to bet it's just overclocked, not really faster RAM. You're supposed to get 340 memory bus speeds easy on a 9600XT. Have you tried overclocking it? Let us know what the fastest stable memory speed is, since that's the bottleneck on these cards.

BTW, you don't get $175 worth of games. You only get $100 worth of games. And only $50 to start. Tomb Raider is the only full game. The rest are demos. And HL2 isn't out yet, so....

Regardless, for $10 more than the OEM Sapphire, I'm getting the Powercolor. Faster RAM (potentially) and guaranteed HL2 coupon. Hell yeah. Ordering it tonight.
 
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coolcpu2

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Aug 6, 2003
Haven't gotten it yet. Just ordered it today.

What would you suggest to use for overclocking? Is there anything that auto-detects the highest stable overclock for ATI like there is Nvidia?

I'm not sure all those lite games are just demos, but even they are, I figure it's not a bad deal. Free HL2 coupon and 2 full games.
 

Alacritan

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Location
Kingston, NY
coolcpu2 said:
My question is, does everyone think this is a good buy? I have been a Nvidia user, but I'm concerned about how it runs DX9 games. I ran the Halo Demo on my 5200 (yes, I know, it's slow and a poor example of a Nvidia video card), and I had to use the command -use11 to force the game to run like it was on a Shader 1.1 card for it to be playable at 1024x768. So, I'm thinking of trying out a Radeon. I suppose if I could find a 5900 for like $190 I might consider it.

Anyway, I know there are many threads like this but I'd like input for what's going on now and my potential buying choice. Thanks.

You MUST buy an ATi card if you want decent DX9 performance.

Beyond3d even had a review or preview where they used a HL2 techdemo as a benchmark and the 9600XT outperformed an FX 5900. Nvidia cards will not do well with games released in the coming year, unless they are Quake 3 or Doom 3 based (OpenGL). In other words, 90% of all games you will play will perform better on an ATi card.

It's a good thing I didn't end up buying that 5600 Ultra.
 

Alacritan

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Location
Kingston, NY
coolcpu2 said:
Haven't gotten it yet. Just ordered it today.

What would you suggest to use for overclocking? Is there anything that auto-detects the highest stable overclock for ATI like there is Nvidia?

I'm not sure all those lite games are just demos, but even they are, I figure it's not a bad deal. Free HL2 coupon and 2 full games.

Yeah. ATi packages it with the card. It's called Overdrive, though it only regulates the core speed based upon temperature at this point. Memory speed is supposed to be added in an update later on.

You can however overclock the memory manually if you get Omega drivers, instead of ATi official drivers. You can still use the Overdrive app, but you have to do the memory manually.
 

SpaceyWilly

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Jan 1, 2003
Location
Sturbridge, MA
Alacritan said:


Yeah. ATi packages it with the card. It's called Overdrive, though it only regulates the core speed based upon temperature at this point. Memory speed is supposed to be added in an update later on.

You can however overclock the memory manually if you get Omega drivers, instead of ATi official drivers. You can still use the Overdrive app, but you have to do the memory manually.

I dont understand why they did it based on core temps, not % core usage. Theoretically, the temp would take longer to respond to periods of higher demand, when a higher clock speed would speed would be most useful, would it not? Or does it run at the highest speed and underclock when temps begin to get high? In that case, I guess it makes a little more sense.

Another question: is it adjustable? I read somewhere that overdrive maxes out at 580 or 540 or something, is there any way to adjust this?
 

Sentential

Contributing Member
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Sep 16, 2003
Location
Knoxville, TN
Dont waste your time with Overdrive. Manually OC your card. The results will be better....And no its not adjustable. Its clock control like with Intel chips
 

SpaceyWilly

Member
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Jan 1, 2003
Location
Sturbridge, MA
according to that site if you use a third party software to overclock your card that will become the default clock speed, then if the temps begin to increase it will drop to a lower clock, so it somewhat adjustable, but not very.
 

Alacritan

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2002
Location
Kingston, NY
It's for people who have no desire to potentially fry their cards. The odds aren't that great that you will actually do any damage if it overheats, but some people don't want to take the chance.
 
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coolcpu2

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Aug 6, 2003
Point of no return..

I'm about to that state. Not entirely sure I can cancel my order if I want to. So, everyone please tell me the PowerColor 9600XT 500/680 with Tomb Raider, Big Mutha Truckers, 6 "lite" games, and free HL2 coupon for like $170 was a good deal..haha.. I was torn between that and getting a 5900 for like $194, but I don't think I'd get any (worthwhile) games with that.

Just trying to be reassured.. switching over to ATI.

What do you all suggest to use to clean out my nVidia drivers? I'm not looking to do a reformat.

Thanks.
 
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eg1441

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Joined
Nov 26, 2003
I recommend rivatuner over radclocker. Even with the omega drivers I generally uninstall radclocker as I have a suspicion it lags things.