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Product : 9600XT Ultimate Edition
Company : Sapphire
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Editor : Robin 'roki' Kim
Date : January 25th, 2004

Specifications & Features

Similar to how the RV350 was used to test ATI's ability to design a chip using TSMC's .13µ manufacturing process, the RV360 seems to be another testing ground for new technologies. The RV360 uses the same .13µ manufacturing process as the RV350, but adds a low-k dielectric material as insulation to combat the negative effect current leakage has on a VPU. As the world's first graphics processor to use low-k technology, ATI was able to bump the RV360 core clock up 100MHz to an impressive 500MHz. The fact that Sapphire has managed to cool down such a fast processor using a relatively small passive cooling system is a testament to ATI's engineering ability.

Unfortunately, ATI seems to have hit a road block when it comes to memory speeds. Though they've managed a significant 100MHz boost on the VPU core in relation to the 9600 Pro, the memory speed remains the same at 300MHz for the 9600XT. It's unfortunate and a little confusing as to why Sapphire never boosted the memory clock a little for the Ultimate Edition like they have done for their regular 9600XT. An extra 25MHz, although relatively modest, would have certainly added to the whole "Ultimate" package.

On the 9600XT Ultimate, Sapphire is using Hynix memory instead of the Samsung memory they are using on their regular 9600XT (which might explain the memory clock discrepancy between the two cards). Rated at 2.8ns, these Hynix memory modules are theoretically capable of 350MHz (700MHz DDR). We will see how well they actually perform with the 9600XT during the overclocking tests later in this review.

RV360 Core
RV360 Core
Hynix 2.8ns DDR
Hynix 2.8ns DDR

Below is a chart which contains the specifications of the Sapphire 9600XT Ultimate Edition as well as the specifications for the other cards used in this review. Along with the RV350 based 9600 Pro, we were also interested to know how well the super-high core clocks of RV360 based 9600XT compares to the an old classic Radeon. So, even though they are just about impossible to find these days, we have throw the venerable Radeon 9500 Pro into the mix as well:

Specifications
  9600XT 9600 Pro 9500 Pro
Silicon Process .13µ low-k .13µ .15µ
Transistor Count
(millions)
75 75 110
Core Speed
(MHz)
500 400 275
Memory Speed
(MHz)
300 300 270
Memory Interface 128bit 128bit 128bit
Rendering Pipelines 4 4 8
TMUs Per Pipeline 1 1 1
Peak Memory Bandwidth
(GB/s)
9.6 9.6 8.6
Pixel Fillrate
(million pixels/sec)
2,000 1,600 2,200
Texel Fillrate
(million texels/sec)
2,000 1,600 2,200
DX9 Pixel Shader Version 2.0 2.0 2.0
Vertex Shaders
(version)
2 (2.0) 2 (2.0) 4 (2.0)




Sapphire 9600XT (left) with ATI 9600XT (right)
Sapphire 9600XT (left) with ATI 9600XT (right)

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