just launched a new ATI slayer in the low-end, the 9500GT. Of course, you shouldn't expect miracles from a low-end card, and this price range has long been ATI's turf, but this time around the green team seems keen to give ATI a run for its money.
The 9500GT is a 55nm card with 32 stream processors and a 128-bit memory bus. Its reference clocks are 550MHz core and 1,400MHz for the shaders, and it's available with DDR2 and DDR3 memory clocked at 400 and 800MHz, respectively. We've got an overclocked DDR3 model in our Vienna lab and it has managed to outperform the 8600GTS without breaking a sweat. You can expect the full review in a matter of hours.
Currently, 14 models from various vendors are listed on the European market. Only three of them feature DDR3 memory, none of them are available and the cheapest one comes from XFX, priced at €65. DDR2 cards are listed as low as €58, but only Palit's passive 1,024MB model is available for €61, here
Leadtek is the only vendor so far to offer an overclocked card, but it's still a DDR2 version, clocked at 575/1,400/500MHz for the core/shaders/memory.
So far, there are four passive cards listed, all DDR2. They're priced between €54 and €65 and Palit's 1024MB card mentioned earlier looks like the best deal, and it's the only one that's actually available at press time.
Galaxy and Gigabyte have the highest clocked cards so far, 700MHz for the core, 150MHz over reference clocks. Gigabyte's OCed 9500GT is listed and available on newegg for $90. Actually it's $89.99, if anyone is cheap enough to care.
Nvidia has a good card in its hands, both literally and Vegas style. The only trouble is that at current prices the DDR3 version doesn't make much sense, as it's priced too close to 9600GT and HD3850 cards. Nowadays, you can get a reference HD3850 card for as little as €60, so even the DDR2 cards look overpriced.
Basically, the 9500GT looks like a great low-end card. The only trouble is that ATI is selling its mainstream cards at Nvidia's low-end prices.