Radeon 9600 pro and Radeon 9550

hi ,
i was lookin for Radeon 9600 pro here in Lahore (Pakistan) but there was only one shop where i could find it; and it was selling it for Rs.9000 (~160 USD). However there is an Asus RAdeon A9550 (128bit) available for Rs.6000 (~95 USD). What should i go for ?
thx.
akifnaseerAsked:
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stockhesCommented:
It actually depends on your needs ?

It also depends if it is 9550se version (A9550/TD),which has a cribbled memory interface of only 64 bit(normally 128 bit)
or normal version 128 bit(A9550GE/TD)

ASUS A9550
http://www.pixelusa.com/catalog/detail.asp?id=VG-AS-A9550/TD/N/128M/A

9600 pro

http://www.club-3d.nl/productshow_vga.php?ordercode=CGA-P968TVD

Same GPU chip in both models

A real 9600 pro will have a gpu core => 400Mhz and a ram speed => 300Mhz(ddr 2 X 300= 600Mhz)

worst case

So real 9600 pro is approx. double the perf. of 9550se

So real 9600 pro is prob 1,5-1,7 of 9550

kwapawCommented:
Both have the same core, although the 9600 Pro boasts of higher clock and memory speeds. However, the performance difference is not so significant (tops out at 10%, though it's actually lower than that), and you'll probably not notice any difference in playing games.

If you'll get a 9550, make sure that you don't get the SE versions or any of the early releases. These are slower than later 9550 revisions. Go for Platinum or Extreme Edition if they're available.

I own a 9600 Pro, and while I wish I could have a better card, the performance is satisfactory.

I've heard other people go for the 9550 and overclock the card. Given the size of the stock fans attached on the cards, I would tend to think that the 9550 is more overclockable than the 9600 Pro. I don't overclock, though.

You might also want to look at the new GeForce budget line, the 6200. There are slower 6200As on the market; avoid those and stick to the actual 6200. These cards start nearly at the same price range as the 9550 and 9600 Pro and offer more or less the same performance, except that its chip can handle Pixel Shader 3 games such as Doom III.
Anton74Commented:
With those kind of prices, you might want to consider mail order.

Here is a *refurbished* Radeon 9600XT based card - faster still than the 9600 Pro - with 256MB of memory (!), for $82: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814164027R

I have seen refurbished 9600 Pro's in the 60 dollar range, and refurbished 9550's in the $40 range. I'm not sure if they will ship international by the way, but there's plenty of other places to look if they don't. Also, if you have to ship international, maybe buying refurbished would not be the best idea, even though it is obviously cheaper. There are some regular non-refurbished 9600 Pro's there in the neighborhood of $75.

The 10% performance difference a 9550 and a 9600 Pro sounds a bit on the low side to me. The 9550's core clock is 250MHz with a memory clock of 400MHz; the 9600 clocks in at 325MHz/core and 400MHz/memory, the 9600 pro at 400/600 mostly, although there seem to be some with a lower memory clock of 466MHz or even less. The 9600XT's can do 500MHz / 600MHz respectively.

The core clock of the 9600 Pro is 60% higher than that of the 9550, and the 9600XT's clock is fully twice as fast (although that probably does not translate into twice the real world performance of course, especially since the memory isn't twice as fast).

I have not considered the considerably slower SE versions, and I don't recommend you do either.

One important thing to consider is the speed of the system that you're going to put this card in. If it's an older system, there's going to be a point where adding a faster graphics card is not going to improve performance anymore, because the games are mostly going to be limited by the speed of the CPU instead. In such a case some of the "redundant" portion of the graphics card's capabilities can be put to good use for anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering for much improved image quality.

Have a look at this revealing article, in which graphics performance is tested with both an Athlon 1000MHz system and an Athlon XP 2700+ system: http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20030120/index.html

The Athlon 1000 really can't take advantage of the faster video cards, and the fastest cards tested are a Radeon 9700 Pro and a GeForce4 Ti4600.

Best of luck.

Anton

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