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We put the 9600 GT through its paces using our usual selection of games and we've compared it against all the competitors at this price range. Each game is tested at a variety of resolutions and anti-aliasing settings and the tests are repeated three times to ensure an accurate figure is obtained. Once three stable figures have been achieved we average them out and report that number to you.
We have used alpha blending to smooth edges of semi-transparent textures, where appropriate, and kept all in-game settings at their maximum to ensure we are getting the best video quality possible. All except Crysis, that is, which we've run with everything set to High, as opposed to Very High, as the latter produces unplayable framerates.
Considering the stiff opposition, the 9600 GT actually slots in rather well in terms of performance. It is comfortably below the 8800 GT and more often than not it finds itself ahead of the HD 3870 and HD 3850. Those claims of double the performance of the 8600 GT are also holding up and were it not for the points we made earlier this would be very impressive stuff.
Now, there was much ado yesterday when the 9600 GT first launched as retailers seemed to be charging rather over the odds for this new card (no doubt looking to cash in on the rush), which put rather a large dent in the value of the card. And, considering the competitiveness of this segment of the market a small fluctuation in price makes all the difference.
However, currently this Leadtek card can be had for £129, which is bang on the money and we'd recommend it based on that price. If, however, you're looking at the factory overclocked cards that cost £150 then you're getting very close to 8800 GT and HD 3870 territory and we'd suggest you save just a little more for the latter cards.
nVidia can't do much wrong in the discrete graphics card market at the moment and the 9600 GT is a perfect example of why. It has all the features you need and plenty of performance to boot. Just make sure you don't spend over £130 on one, though.
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