I got the ATI 9600XT video card today and I must say that it is sweet. It is a nice boost in 3D power over my last card. Basically it can run things at the same speed with 4x AA & 8x AF on as my last card could with everything off. :D But I must say that the more noticeable difference is not the speed, but the visuals. Since the 9600 is a DX 9.0 card it is capable of effects that my last card wasn’t. While some effects can be “faked” through horsepower, others are simply turned off if your card can’t do them. URT 2004 runs smoother and looks prettier (in a basic texture kind of way) but also has noticable changes: power graphs that were a single color are now a color spectrum and smoke now actually looks like smoke (more so than I have ever seen before in a game).

My only real complaint is with my particular card. I intially choose the 9600 XT because several reviews had stated it had built-in overclock SW that allowed for easily OC’ing. My OEM card however does not have such SW. Oh well, downloaded ATI Tool and was on my way… almost. Apparently while I can OC my card manually, something deeper down keeps resetting it to it’s default state. I am as of yet unsure if this is a simple bios problem or something temperature related but I will persevere…

Oh the reason i question temp, is the fact that this card has a much smaller fan and heatsink than my older card did which of course is part of why i left the nvidia camp and why this card is very quiet.