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 Post subject: Radeon 9600xt -- passive mod successful
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 4:34 pm 
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I recently purchased a refurb 128mb 9600xt from Newegg for $105. This is the first 9600XT I've used-- prior to this, I owned a9600pro and 9600vanilla cards, both of which are trivially easy to cool with a very basic passive heatsink like the zalman ZM-17.

There's a long thread documenting my power measurements of the 9600pro here. I still feel the 9600 pro has, by far, the best performance/wattage ratio of any video card out there, which makes it nearly ideal for silent pc enthusiasts who play games occasionally.

I was hoping the 9600XT would be similarly easy to cool.. initial results are not promising. I don't have the ZM-17 in hand yet to test with, but running with the rather large stock aluminum fin heatsink and the fan disconnected yielded artifacts at the end of my first 3DMark2001 run, and "almost too hot to touch" Mk-I finger temps. I removed the OEM heatsink, alcohol scrubbed the die and heatsink, and reapplied with some ceramique in place of the crappy default TIM. That worked a little better. No artifacts through an entire run of 3DMark2001.. however, the heatsink was again almost too hot to touch. Compare this with the 9600pro which barely even got warm in looping runs of 3dmark2001.. albeit with the ZM-17, so this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison yet.

I'll post further results once I mount the ZM-17 on this card, but I think the XT might be at the limits of what small-ish passive heatsinks can cool. It's definitely no 9600 pro..


Last edited by wumpus on Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 5:13 pm 
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My research indicates that the main advantage of the 9600xt over the pro is that it is about 50% faster in DX9 pixel shaders, plus the obvious +100mhz core clock bump. Memory speeds are the same. It also has on-die temp monitoring sensors.

http://www.techreport.com/reviews/2003q ... dex.x?pg=1

(that's also the exact heatsink I am attempting to run fanless with limited success-- it's a reasonable size, I think)

Not sure why this chip appears to run so much hotter than the pro, though-- it's not terribly different.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:56 am 
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I think it is a faulty card. All over the web you can read posts saying this is a cool running card.

Look at the great x-bit labs radeon cards power comparsion article here.

BTW is this card fast enough to play recent games?
I have ATI 9100 (8500) now. I now 9600xt is faster, but it is fast enough? I can sacrafice some speed (i.e. play 1024x768 max) - when i can have cheap and cool-running card.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:13 pm 
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Quote:
I'll post further results once I mount the ZM-17 on this card, but I think the XT might be at the limits of what small-ish passive heatsinks can cool. It's definitely no 9600 pro..

Update: the ZM-17 kicks much ass over the stock heatsink.
Image
With the ZM-17 installed, the 9600XT is currently looping runs of 3dmark2001 and the copper fins don't exceed 40c as measured by my temp gun. That's with plain ambient airflow, no directed air. Mk I finger confirms that the fins are very warm all over but not uncomfortable to touch.

I certainly underestimated the ZM-17-- Zalman's oldest and smallest VGA cooler. It's a huge improvement over a stock alu heatsink, even a "relatively large" one as shipped on most XTs.

That said, I still think the 9600xt is right at the borderline of what you can do with a small-ish passive heatsink. Should be no problem with anything beefier than a ZM-17, but I would not recommend the small 486-style heatisnks that work for the 9600 vanilla and 9600 Pro.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:24 pm 
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ATI 9100 (8500) now. I now 9600xt is faster, but it is fast enough?

9600xt is TONS faster than the 8500. Look here:

http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphi ... ts-03.html

More than 2x faster than the 8500. Newer version of the charts:

http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphi ... ts-04.html

I doubt you could find a faster video card without attaching a secondary power connector. On the basis of performance per watt, the 9600 pro/xt are kings..


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 2:30 pm 
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yes, i know the numbers :D

I know 9600xt = 2x 8500, but 9800xt = 2x 9600xt, and so on...

I was wondering if 9600xt "feels" fast enough. Like in "I can play newest games, i really don't need faster card".


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 3:21 pm 
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good info wumpus. i think the reason the zm-17 rocks so much is in part because it is designed to be passive whereas the stock heatsink is not. i imagine that a little breeze goes a long way (like it always does in passive-type applications).

for those looking to do less work than replacing the stock heatsink, i imagine something like this would work pretty well:

Image

its just an AIW 7500 with the fan removed (stock heatsink remains). the 5V panaflo gives it more air than the stock, whiny fan and cannot be heard outside the case. does block a pci slot though

edit: fixed image link.

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Last edited by flyingsherpa on Sat Jan 13, 2007 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 3:25 pm 
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Quote:
Like in "I can play newest games, i really don't need faster card".

Probably-- depends what resolution you want to play at. At 1024x768, with normal settings, the 9600xt should be playable for even the newest games.

The other alternative is the GeForce 6600gt which is now available in AGP versions for around $200. It's relatively low power:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... -oc_3.html
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2238&p=4
http://techreport.com/reviews/2005q1/ge ... ex.x?pg=12

It's one of the first 0.11 micron GPUs. It could probably be passively cooled without too much difficulty. Per the techreport chart, the 6800 non-GT is definitely sold in passive configs and the 6600GT consumes "only" 15w more at load. So you'd need some directed airflow, I think!

Hard to compare apples to apples performance since most sites dropped the 9600xt for "newer" models, but based on this chart:

http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.com/ ... ts-08.html

and this chart:

http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.com/ ... ex-04.html

I think the 6600gt would be about 2x faster than the 9600xt -- similar to the 9800pro, but a bit faster and probably a bit cooler (though not by a lot). It does require a dedicated molex power connector, unlike the 9600xt.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:11 am 
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little OT, but ... are nvidia cards good in terms of display quality?

my last nvidia card was riva 128, :D

next card was 1-st one in my "display quality" crusade:

Matrox 450 dual - great quality, but lousy 3d,
switched to Kyro2 due to it's great display quality (it was sooo crisp and vibrant)
Then it was radeon 9100 (8500) it has a great tv out quality - it is my htpc card now.

When I was buying kyro2, nvidia display was awful - blurry and washed off colours. (hard to compary, because kyro2 was hercules card and only available nvidia was cheap clones).

How it is now? I assume nvidia card have great 2d/3d quailty. How about tv-out?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 2:39 pm 
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Think most (if not all) 6600gt have a component/composit/svid out dongle, and with onboard video processing so PQ should be very good. I read the BFGs are very noteworthy, if it's HTPC your thinking.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 6:50 pm 
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wumpus, I am buying a s/h 9600xt and would love to make it passive cooled but I have a couple of questions if you would be so kind.

What sort of case are you using and what cooling does it have? I am going to put mine in a shuttle which has the agp slot next to the case wall. There are ventilation holes alongside and the shuttle has reasonable circulation but if your card is in a full size case with lots of fans it may have better performance with the zm17.

Also you mention testing the heatsink temp with a probe and your finger. AFAIK the xt cards have an onchip temp diode. Have you tried seeing what reading this gives under load and do you have any idea what the ATI max temps are for the chip?

Lastly, what size is the zm17 from board? As I said the agp slot on my shuttle is right next to the case and I want to be sure it fits.

many thanks

bailout


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:34 pm 
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Quote:
What sort of case are you using and what cooling does it have?

Standard mini-tower; it's my wife's computer actually. The only fans in the system are a 80mm low-speed exhaust, and a power supply with 120mm internal fan. Airflow is probably better than a SFF, but not by a tremendous amount. No fans directing air over the AGP slot at all, just normal case airflow with the fans positioned as described.

Quote:
Have you tried seeing what reading this gives under load and do you have any idea what the ATI max temps are for the chip?

I haven't, but I feel certain the card, with the ZM-17 while looping 3DMark2001, is not even remotely close to a dangerous temp. Very safe.

Quote:
Lastly, what size is the zm17 from board? As I said the agp slot on my shuttle is right next to the case and I want to be sure it fits.

The Zalman site might have exact measurements. For what it's worth, I was able to squeeze a zm17 (on my htpc) in with a card sitting in PCI slot 1, directly next to the AGP slot. It does slightly touch the PCI card in slot 1, so I covered the back of the other card with scotch tape to prevent any grounding.

There are of course other options for cooling your card, such as the newest Zalman mini-flower. I just like the ZM-17 because I get them dirt cheap and they cool plenty well on the 9600 series. I also don't mind permanently attaching them with thermal adhesive...


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