Performance wise, I was able to play all my games with maximum detail settings and even 2x or 4x Anti-Aliasing in some cases. The card ran surprisingly cool, even under strain, making it an excellent card for a compact computer case such as those marketed toward LAN gamers or HTPC user.
With ATI and nVidia both gearing up to release the next generation of graphics cards in a few months, it's a difficult time for a gamer to be upgrading. As with most parts when you are upgrading, the question is always: Should you wait it out and see what will be offered in the coming months, or should you buy now and go with a reliable and known piece of hardware? My recommendation is, if you can afford to wait, then do so. Not only will the new cards offer more features and be undeniably faster, they will also drive the prices of current cards down even further.
However, having said that, if you're still chugging along on a DX7 or early DX8 class graphics card and a couple months of wait seems like an eternity, then upgrading to the 9600XT might be worth your while. It's fast, runs very cool with great overclockability, and does't put a large strain on your power-supply unit like the new high-end cards. If you're in the market for a mainstream card then you can't go wrong in choosing ATI's Radeon 9600XT.
4.5 out of 5
- Good price
- Great overclocker
- Runs cool, even when overclocked
- No external power requirements
- ATI quality
- Slow memory speed relative to the core
- Weak bundle
- Couldn't get the Half-Life2 coupon to install, must be driver related