Looks to me like the 9600 Pro will have a small fan but the Sapphire will not have one:
"From the board images we can see that the 9600 PRO board doesn't bear much resemblance to either the 9500 or 9500 PRO. The green PCB, small HSF and layout of the frame-buffer RAM give the 9600 PRO more than a passing resemblance to the 9000 PRO board. The smaller silicon process and lower transistor count (than R300) means that, despite the 400MHz operating frequency, the chip runs much cooler, hence it does not require a sizeable fan (which also means it runs quieter). The 128MB frame-buffer RAM is in a fairly standard layout with 4 BGA packages on each side of the PCB.
Also featured here is an early development version of the lower end 128MB Sapphire Radeon 9600 board. As this board runs at the slower core/memory speeds of 325/200MHz it can operate with standard RAM packages and a silent, passive heat-sink. The board as a whole is fairly plain and uncluttered, so with all of this taken into account the cost should be quite low as soon as the the volume of 130nm processing goes up and the yields on RV350 chips stabilise."
Is there any reason to get the 9700/9800Pro over the 9600, if you're not going to be doing any serious gaming? The regular 9600 should be more than enough for most games out now, even UT2K3 or Unreal II. Of course, if you have the extra cash then by all means. However, the 9700/9800 series will be really hot even cooled with the Zalman heatpipe. The Zalman heatpipe actually performs marginally worse than the stock ATI 9700 Pro cooler, and I would imagine quite a bit worse in a case without a lot of ventilation, since its passive.
Not quite sure what you mean by "marginally worse". The GPU will either work, or it won't. They are not like a P4 CPU, which will cycle down when overheated. If a GPU get's too hot, you will instantly know about it. Having a graphics card run cooler won't improve its perfomance as long as it doesn't get too hot.
The heat output is the same whether you use the Radeon fan or Zalman pipe. The card does not run any cooler with either setup. The difference, if any, is that a fan MIGHT dissipate the heat more effectively than a passive heat sink.
There are many here who have done the Zalman mod. I have yet to hear about anyone having any problems with it. The ONLY downside, that I can see, it that it takes up a PCI slot.
re: 9600 - we have no way of knowing how hot this card will run, with or without a fan. And we have no way of knowing how it will perform for HTPC purposes. I have my 9700 maxed out displaying 1366x768 full screen, and it looks great. That card with the pipe gives me everything I need in a graphics card.
The Zalman HeatPipe works great. I'm using it on a Radeon 9700 PRO card. Installation is easy once you get the Heat Sink Fan Assembly off the Radeon. Highly recommended. Sapphire sells a Radeon 9700 PRO with the Heat Pipe already installed, btw.
What I mean is that, the cooling performance of the Zalman heatpipe cooler is marginally worse than the stock ATI 9700 Pro cooler. There have been reviews of it that show that temperatures taken with the Zalman cooler are slightly higher than those taken with the stock cooler. This is with the 9700 Pro. The 9800 Pro has an upgraded cooler that presumably performs better, since the 9800 Pro GPU itself runs 55MHz faster and therefore would be hotter and require more cooling. So, the Zalman cooler *might* not be sufficient to cool the 9800 Pro, especially if your HTPC case isn't well ventilated. Passive cooling depends a lot of a well ventilated environment to move the hot air away from the cooler.
Also, the 9600 Pro reviews are already out. Basically it uses an RV350 core, which is a modified R300/R350 core. The only differences are that it has half the number of pixel pipelines(4 vs 8), manufactured under a 0.13u process(vs 0.15u), has an optimized 128-bit memory bus(vs 256-bit), has an improved HyperZ engine for higher compression ratios(8:1 vs 6:1) and is clocked faster(400/300MHz vs 380/340 and 325/310). All these changes are interesting to 3D performance but not to the HTPC crowd.
The regular 9600 is just a slower clocked version of the 9600 Pro(325/200). The video hardware and RAMDACs shouldn't be any different from its higher end brothers the 9700/9800 series, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
Also, while a cooler card wouldn't perform better, it will have more headroom in stability. If you put a lesser cooling solution on it that isn't sufficient to keep the temperatures below a certain limit, it will lead to reduced longevity, visual artifacts, and in the worst case crashes. While the Zalman heatpipe cooler is sufficient for the 9700 Pro, nobody has yet tested it with the 9800 Pro. Again, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here.
I am contemplating either getting the 9500 PRO or 9600 PRO or 9000 PRO FOR viewing video via DVI or VGA input to my projector ( essentially sceneries from DVD and scaled up analog sources, and AVI footage from DV camera
Bear with me, it's my first time purchasing a VIDEO CARD .
WHAT does the 9600 mean for video viewing performance with the following
0) 9600 seems to be better because it was said tha it has improved colour compression
1) what does it mean for Video viewing when 9600 has a much high clock speed of 400 Mhz
2) the 9600 having four pixel pipes and two Vertex Shading units.( what is this pure shader tests ) half of what 9500 PRO has ..
i) I get confused at beyond 3 D performance when it talks abt 9600 having a better shader performance
3) 9600: cut back from the larger 256-bit width memory bus to a 128-bit memory bus.
4) compared to 9500 PRO , there is no point saving US 60 to go for the 900 PRO ( 128 MB)
0) the compression I speak of is pertaining to the Z-buffer information. This is used in a 3D environment and has nothing to do with video quality/performance
1) The clock speed has very little to do with video viewing, since video viewing is mostly a CPU intensive task rather than a video card intensive one. The 9600 would performan just as well, video viewing wise, if it was clocked at 300MHz or perhaps even 200MHz.
2) The pixel pipelines are another part of the 3D featurse specification. It doesn't have much to do with video performance traditionally.
i) Its tough to explain shader performance in a post. However, again I stress that its more to do with 3D performance than video performance/quality. If you're interested to know more about pixel/vertex shaders, check out Anandtech or Tom's Hardware and do a search on the older articles, it should be buried somewhere there.
3) Not a lot to do with video performance as well since ~10GB/s bandwidth is much more than needed for viewing DVDs.
4) Well the 9500 Pro has better hardware, and if you play 3D games it'll be better.
If you don't play 3D games however, and are interested in a quiet video card like the topic is, then I'd suggest the non-pro versions since they're usually fanless by default. Of course you could buy a Pro version and upgrade the cooler to a huge fanless one like the Zalman, but that'll set you back an additional cost, and then there's the hassle, not a good idea if its your 1st time purchasing a video card.
I don't know much about using a PC for HT but I do know gaming. I could tell you the differences between the 9500/9600 and 9700/9800 with respect to gaming, but that's not your question.
To be honest, I'm not sure there is a reason to go for a 9700/9800 if your primary concern in HT. Many of the tasks performed by a HTPC are cpu intensive so spending more on a cpu will reap benefits. Other tasks require video hardware (like encoding) but I think most of those tasks are covered by add-on PCI cards like the line from Hauppage.
When it comes to the Radeon line, I don't think there is much difference for a HT user between the lower end and higher end models. I would think you could even go to an 8500, unless I'm missing something. The high end Radeon cards are better at 3D tasks, which is typically found in games.
Again, I'm not sure about this so feel free to correct me.
My suggestion for a quiet video card for HT applications is to get a 9600 (non pro). While other solutions such as a 9800 with Zalhman can also be made silent, they do generate more heat, which will make you caser run warmer... forcing you to get bigger fans, a higher end card will also put more pressure on your power supply (which will run warmer... thus requiring a faster/noisier fan).
There are simpler cards (8500, 9000, etc.) but they aren't directx9 compliant, and this may play a role soon with DVD decoding...
And make sure that the Zalman will work on the new die, if the shape or height of the chip has changed on the 9600, it may not work. I have the Zalman cooler on a 9700pro and it is great, no GPU fan at all, it keeps my vid card at about 48 degrees, but you do need a good case fan to ensure that the hot air is not building up in the case. Get a big panaflow and a fanbus to turn it slowly, and you have one of quietest solutions without paying the big watercooling prices. Have Fun!
A forum community dedicated to home theater owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about home audio/video, TVs, projectors, screens, receivers, speakers, projects, DIY’s, product reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!