Gainward Bliss GeForce 9600GT
Gainward had always been one of Nvidia's finest manufacturers of video cards. Their cards are always different from the rest of the bunch, either by massive coolers on them or by increased GPU and memory clocks. The Bliss 9600GT card comes with the referent clocks, but it has a very attractive cooler that promises great overclocking abilities.
Box contents (bundle)
The bundle is unfortunately poor. In the box you can find the manual, a CD with drivers and applications (ExperTool which allows changing the fan speed and overclocking), Molex - PCIe power cable, S-Video - Composite (TV Out with HDTV support) and S-Video - Chinch (external SPDIF) cables.
Gainward's Bliss model comes with a metal cooler under a red and black plastic construction which looks very attractive and exclusive. The black cooler under the plastic construction is made of aluminum and it is also covering the memory chips along with the GPU. You'll need a 6-pin connector for the power supply and Gainward recommends a minimum of 450W. The Gainward Bliss 9600GT is based on the G94 chip which is made in 65nm technology. The default clock for the GPU is 650MHz and the 64 shader units are clocked at 1625MHz. The card has 512MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 900MHz (1800MHz effectively) over a 256-bit bus. All other characteristics are the same as in other GeForce 9600GT cards. Instead of the second DVI-I out, Gainward's model has an HDMI out, which is great. It also has a TV-out. Considering that the card has an HDMI out, they should have put an HDMI cable or a DVI-HDMI adapter in the bundle.
Temperature and overclocking abilities
The fan works at 36% power by default and the speed is automatically increased with the increase of temperature (the fan speed can be set manually too). The card is surprisingly cool, 36°C (96.8°F) at idle and 58Â°C (136.4°F) at full load (running 3Dmark06).
Overclocking was done with nTune with the cooler set to 100%. It gets pretty loud at 100% but the card is cold as ice (don't take that literally). The GPU went from 650 to 740MHz which is 14%, and the memory went from 1800 to 2000MHz which is 11%. The overclocking abilities are a little above the average because of the great cooler.
These are the benchmark results compared to the older Asus GeForce 8800GS and AMD/ATI's Radeon HD3850.
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB - 10140 marks
ATi 3850 256MB - 9325 marks
Asus 8800GS 384MB - 9312 marks
Company Of Heroes - Opposing Fronts - DX9 (1280x1024, 4xAA, 16xAF)
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB @OC - 58.3 fps
ATi 3850 256MB - 9325 marks - 57.9 fps
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB - 57.3 fps
Asus 8800GS 384MB - 55.7 fps
Company Of Heroes - Opposing Fronts - DX10 (1280x1024, 4xAA, 16xAF)
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB @OC - 38.9 fps
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB - 36.2 fps
ATi 3850 256MB - 9325 marks - 33.2 fps
Asus 8800GS 384MB - 33 fps
Crysis - 1280x1024 DX10
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB @OC - 31.38 fps
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB - 27.84 fps
Asus 8800GS 384MB - 25 fps
ATi 3850 256MB - 9325 marks - 21.62 fps
Half Life 2 Episode Two - (1280x1024, 4xAA, 16xAF)
ATi 3850 256MB - 9325 marks - 132 fps
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB @OC - 129.6 fps
Gainward Bliss 9600GT 512MB - 126.1 fps
Asus 8800GS 384MB - 121.4 fps
As you can see, our Gainward 9600GT leads all the benchmarks instead of Half Life which prefers ATI cards.
The card is priced between $190 and $220. For that money it gives a lot: good performance, an attractive cooler that does the job great, solid overclocking and an HDMI out. The bundle however, could have been a little richer.
Pros: Price, good performance, HDMI out, great cooler and good OC
Cons: Poor bundle