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     We don’t want a tuned down 9600 GSO
      Posted on 10/10/2008 at 10:55 by Marc
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    Happy days! NVIDIA has denied that it’s new GeForce 9600 will be called 9600 GSO, the name of an already existing card which is more powerful in its existing version. The exact name of the new product is not yet known for sure but one graphics card manufacturer has told us that it will in fact be called the 9600 GS, something NVIDIA themselves have not confirmed.

    As a reminder, this new card will be based on the G94, which also equips the 9600 GT, but it will be castrated, with only ¾ of the units activated and a 256-bit memory bus. This card will aim to fill in the gaps in the NVIDIA range in competition with the Radeon HD 4650/4670.

    We have gleaned this information from our Asian colleagues at Expreview, NVIDIA is likely to launch a new version of its GeForce 9600 GSO soon. The only problem is that the spec seems to indicate that the new 9600 GSO will perform less well than the old one.

    Until recently the GeForce 9600 GSO was based on a G92, a chip with 754 million transistors using a 65nm engraving process, the same as the GeForce 8800/9800. It was of course castrated, as it was with the GeForce 8800 GS.

    So, on a GeForce 9800 GTX, the G92 is clocked at 675 MHz and has 128 calculation units, 64 texturing/filtering units and 16 ROPs, all accompanied by 256-bit memory at 1.1 GHz. On the 9600 GSO, the G92 is at 550 MHz, and only ¾ of the units are activated, the same for the 192-bit memory bus.

    The GeForce 9600 GSO will now be based on a G94, a chip with 505 million transistors made with a 65nm fabrication process and even 55nm on one of the new revisions. On the 9600 GT, this chip is clocked at 650 MHz with 64 calculation units, 32 texturing/filtering units and 16 ROPs, with 256-bit 900 MHz memory.

    The new GeForce 9600 GSO will still have a 256-bit memory bus, a good point in comparison with the current one then, but this doesn’t necessarily signify that the bandwidth will be higher as we don’t yet know its frequency. On the other hand only ¾ of the units will be active and there will therefore be 2x reduction in processing power, texturing and filtering on the current 9600 GSO! Even at a higher frequency it wont be possible to bridge this gap.

    There is therefore no doubt that the new GeForce 9600 GSO will perform less well than the old one. Of course, NVIDIA wasn’t going to be able to fight off the Radeon HD 4650/4670 with a chip like the G92 and needed a less costly solution with nevertheless a significant performance gain on the GeForce 9500 GT, which is not competitive. Why not rename it then, say as, I don’t know, the 9600 GS for example? Imagine the response … and we hope that between now and the release NVIDIA will change its mind!

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