Video Card: ATI AIW 9600XT Review :: The Card

04-19-2004 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Doc Overclock
Video Card: ATI AIW 9600XT Review
Graphics ChipRV360
Graphics Memory TypeDDR
Memory (MB)128
Graphics Core Clock (MHz)525
Memory Clock (MHz)325
Memory Speed (ns)3.3
RAMDAC Frequency (MHz)400
Active Cooling on Graphics ChipYes
Heatsink on MemoryYes
Video CaptureYes
System Health MonitoringNo
Dual Monitor SupportYes
Video In and OutS Video Out
Package and Support
Printed ManualYes
Driver CDYes
Performance Tool SoftwareNo
Major GamesNo
Major SoftwarePinnacle Studio 8, Matchware Mediator 7
VR GlassesNo
DVD Player SoftwareATI DVD Player
Video Recording SoftwareMMC 8.9

ATI changed the cooling on the AIW 9600XT from the configuration used on the AIW 9600 Pro and the regular 9600 XT cards. Instead of the "9700 Pro" style heat sink/fan combination of the 9600XT, ATI went a little radical in the design of the card. They moved the fan to the upper portion of the card and the heat sink now covers virtually the entire right half of the PCB. One side effect of the new design is that the AIW 9600XT looks "cool" in my eyes. The length of the card is less than 1 inch longer than an AGP slot. ATI sure knows how to make a PCB.

The AIW 9600XT runs at a core clock speed of 525 MHz. This compares favorably with the 9600 Pro which is clocked at 400 MHz and the regular 9600XT which is clocked at 500 MHz. With 4 pixel pipelines this indicates a maximum theoretical fill rate of 2.1 Gigapixels per second. ATI tweaked the core speed a little providing more performance for their AIW version of the 9600XT.

Fill rates are only part of the equation. Memory bandwidth is also important to video card performance. The AIW 9600XT has a raw memory bandwidth of 10.4 GB/second (325 MHzx2x128/8=10.4 GB/second). This compares favorably to the 9600 Pro's 9.6 GB/second memory bandwidth and is equal to the AIW 9600 Pro's 10.4 GB/second memory bandwidth. It would have made little sense for ATI to release a faster AIW 9600XT core without the extra memory bandwidth.

The input/output ports included on the AIW 9600XT PCB are of a different configuration than found on most ATI cards. The connectors going from left to right on the face plate are: FM tuner, CATV in, input block, and TV out. Dual monitor support is provided by the input block via two included VGA ports. To install dual monitors, simply attach one monitor cable to each port and boot the computer. I honestly wish ATI would include dual DVI support on their AIW series, but that's just a personal preference.