The ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TVD came in as expected in our benchmark testing, and posted excellent scores for a mid-range video card. Depending on the benchmark and detail setting, the ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TVD kept close to the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, with both cards winning their fair share of the tests. NVIDIA has a nice mid-range contender for the Radeon 9600XT, and actually matches up better in this area, than with the GeForce FX 5950 vs. Radeon 9800XT comparison.
Overclock testing also showed noticeable performance gains, and the overall design of the ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TVD make it an excellent choice for enthusiasts who may not have the cash for a Radeon 9800 or higher, but still want to tweak their performance to the max.
We've been through the image quality discussion multiple times, so running over the same territory is really not needed. With the current generation of ATI and NVIDIA mid-range and high-end cards (discounting the NV40), ATI offers higher image quality than NVIDIA, with noticeable advantages in both anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering modes. This is not to say NVIDIA has poor IQ, only that ATI has all their ducks in a row.
Value is a prime consideration for any new hardware purchase, and it's very important when dealing with mid-range video cards. The ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TVD 128-MB retail card checks in at a street price of approximately $180, while ASUS also offer a standard ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TD (no VIVO) that will save you about $10-$15 off the TVD retail price. This compares to ASUS GeForce FX 5700 128-MB ($150), 256-MB ($175) and various name brand GeForce FX 5700 Ultra cards ($185-$200). In this market segment, the ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TVD is priced very fairly, and if you will get use out of the VIVO features, then it only increases the value. Otherwise, you may want to check out the ASUS 9600XT/TD retail card, and save a few bucks.
* Please note that online prices reflect Retail models. Prices are taken at the time of review, and are not intended to reflect long-term trends.
ASUS has been steadily improving their ATI-based line of video cards, and the Radeon 9600XT/TVD 128-MB is the best yet. The card design and quality are top-notch, performance is very good for its class, it overclocks like a demon, and also performed flawlessly using standard ATI and enhanced ASUS drivers. This is a Radeon 9600XT card designed for enthusiasts on a budget, and ASUS has delivered in spades.