Review Index:

NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT Roundup - Gaming on the Cheap

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: General


The second card in our trio is also from ASUS but goes in
the other direction from an engineering aspect. Rather than try to passively cool the GPU as we saw on the previous
page, the EN9600 GT TOP adds a custom active cooling solution and then
overclocks the card to give it some extra juice. 

This cooler is much more minimalistic when looking at the ASUS Silent or even the reference cooler design though it is in fact a bit more effective.  You can see that even the memory chips on the front of the card are not utilizing the heatsink at all and that because of the smaller cooler design the power cable to its fan has to stretch ALL the way across the PCB.

Again, nothing fancy to see on the back of the card. 

The ASUS EN9600 GT TOP has the same external connector mix that the Silent card had: two dual-link DVI outputs (one with HDMI support) and a TV/HDTV output connection.

What you should note though that even those this card might at first APPEAR to be of a single slot design, that just isn’t the case. You can see the heatsink in the background in this photo rising above the card and because of that the card definitely takes up two case slots internally.

The power connector is located in the same spot on all of these boards – even with some custom work we are still essentially on the same PCB across all the 9600 GT solutions out there. 

The extras packed in with ASUS’ EN9600 GT TOP are identical to those in the EN9600 GT Silent: power adapter, two video adapters, TV output dongle, driver CDs and audio SPDIF cable. 

The ASUS EN9600 GT TOP takes the reference clocks of the stock GPU and adds on to them fairly substantially.  The core clock runs at 720 MHz, the shader clock at 1800 MHz and the memory clock at 1000 MHz.  Comparing that to the stock speeds of 650 MHz, 1625 MHz and 900 MHz we get an 11% boost across all three.  How that turns into performance increases we will see later on in the roundup.

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