morning, the NDAs were lifted and multiple ATi Radeon 9600
Pro reviews hit the web. Most analysts came to similar
conclusions, praising the 9600 Pro for its feature set and
image quality, but they came away a bit disappointed that it
was outperformed by the comparably priced (at least
initially) Radeon 9500 Pro in the majority of tests.
One part of the overall equation hadn't been answered
though. Initial attempts at overclocking the Radeon
9600 failed because the tweaking utilities that were
available could not properly recognize the 9600 Pro VPU.
Due to the fact that the new RV350 core is built using a
more advanced .13 micron manufacturing process, as opposed
to the .15 micron process used for the R300, we had high
hopes for its overclocking potential, but unfortunately we
couldn't successfully overclock our sample...until now!
The hard working folks at Rage3D have already updated
Rage3D tweak utility and it now properly recognizes the
9600 Pro! So, how high were we able to take our card?
Read on to find out...
HotHardware's Test Setup
Top-Of-The-Line Athlon Rig
AMD Athlon XP
3000+ (333MHz FSB)
Motherboard (nForce 2 Chipset with AGP 8X)
PC3500C2 Platinum DDR RAM
Professional with SP1
Chipset Drivers v2.03
ATi Radeon 9500 Pro
ATi Radeon 9700 Pro
Drivers - Version 3.2
With 3DMark2001 SE
Synthetic DX8 Action
A few early
reports had Radeon 9600 Pro cards overclocking to almost
570MHz core clock speeds, with 350MHz+ memory speeds.
We weren't quite that lucky, but had great results
nonetheless. At core speeds in excess of 540MHz, with
memory speeds hovering around 370MHz, we could complete some
benchmarks, but had visual anomalies and the test system
frequently hung. So, we raised the AGP voltage to 1.7
and lowered the clock speeds until we found the point where
all visual artifacts were gone, and the test system was able
to complete all of our benchmarks without a problem.
We finally settled on a 519MHz core clock speed, with our
memory clocked at 366MHz (732MHz DDR)! That's a full
119MHz over the stock clock speed of 400MHz for the core,
and 66MHz (132MHz DDR) over the stock memory clock speed of
300MHz (600MHz DDR)! Keep in mind this was achieved
with STOCK cooling, with no modifications made to the card
whatsoever. We ran through a complete set of
benchmarks while overclocked to see what kind of real-world
performance gains can be realized with the Radeon 9600 Pro
running at overclocked levels...
increases in 3DMark2001 was dramatic. With the Radeon
9600 Pro overclocked, it overtook the 9500 Pro in every test
except for one. Only when running at a resolution of
1600x1200 with 4X AA enabled did the 9500 Pro come out
ahead. Overclocking the 9600 Pro yielded an
approximate 28% performance gain across the board.
3DMark03 and Comanche 4