The words "cheerful" and "cheep" spring to mind.
You might have thought that the AMD ATI Radeon 3850 and GeForce 9600 GT between them had the mid-range graphics market sewn up. But then you’d be forgetting that nVidia doesn’t have anything in the low-mid-range arena to rival the AMD 3600-series. Or rather, it didn’t, because now the 9600 GSO is here to join the fray.
Specs wise the 9600 GSO is a slightly curious beast. It packs 96 stream processors compared to the 9600 GT’s 64, which would imply it should be a better performer, but in every other way the GSO is decidedly crippled. Stock clock speeds sit at 550MHz, 1,375MHz and 1.6GHz for the core, shaders and memory respectively – all slower than the GT.
The 9600GT offered 512MB of RAM on a 256-bit memory interface, but the GSO only uses a 192-bit interface with 384MB of RAM. On paper, those specs mean the GSO may even be able to keep up with the 9600 GT in some scenarios – especially the board partner pre-overclocked versions – as long as anti-aliasing isn’t used, wherein the memory limitations will show up.
Importantly though, the first 9600 GSOs showing up with e-tailers are being priced at about £80-odd. This compares very well with both the 512MB version of the 3650, that it should be faster than, and the slightly more expensive 9600 GT. Keep your eyes peeled for reviews in due course.