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Appeared on: Thursday, July 24, 2008
Gainward Bliss 9600GSO

1. About the Gainward Bliss 9600GSO

Nvidia releases many different lines of products, from the high end GTX series down to GSO, the budget ones. Today we take a look at highly overclocked card based at Nvidia's 9600GSO platform, the Gainward Bliss 9600GSO 768MB edition.

The 9600 GSO is supposed to sell for less than the 9600 GT and offer lower performance in 3D applications. However, we have to whether this claim is true provided that the 9600 GSO has more shader processors than the 9600 GT series. The GSO series are not exactly new to the market. They can be considered as "improved" versions of the GS series, like the 8800GS we have seen earlier this year.

- Gainward 9600GSO 768MB Edition

Gainward introduced a high-performance hardware design powered by NVIDIA Geforce 9600GSO integrating 768MB/192Bits High Speed DDR3 Memories: Bliss 9600GSO 768MB. Equipped with 600MHz on the core clock and 900MHz (DDR 1800) MHz on the memory clock, Gainward Bliss 9600GSO looks promising and its 768MB  memory (192bits width) interface could allow the graphics processors to achieve higher resolutions without running into memory capacity bottlenecks in games.

The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO 768MB also supports two monitors simultaneously, enabled by the NVIDIA nView Multi-Display Technology for office applications. High performance Low noise Fan Cooling systems keeps the Graphics card cool.

- The package

The Gainward 9600GSO retail package (Part Number #471846200-9320) is small. The card retails for 147 Euro, obviously aimed for the middle end-users. The " Golder Gainward Sample" logo placed on the box indicates that the card is pre-overclocked.

The Retail package includes the usual cables and adapters, one DVI to D-Sub adaptor, an HDTV-out cable and one power cable. There are also two discs with drivers and utilities, and a quick printed manual. No retail game is included.

The Gainward 9600GSO has its own cooling system, different than other 9600GSO cards. The cooler adds some extra thickness to the device meaning that installing the card would occupy two slots in the rear panel of your PC case.

Two DVI-D outputs are available, meaning that you will need a 6pin power supply to operate this graphic card.

The bottom side of the card is covered by an extra metal plate that absorbs extra heat.

The GPU core runs at 600MHz, the memory at 900MHz and the Shader clock at 1500MHz. More information are available in the GPU-Z screenshots below.

Product Name:
Bliss 9600GSO 768MB
NVIDIA GeForce 9600GSO
GPU Clockspeed:
768MB DDR3
Memory Clockspeed:
900 (DDR1800) MHz
Pixels per clock (peak) :
2-Slot Fan
Extreme HD-Output

2. Test setup
- Tests and setup

We ran all tests using the following PC setup:

We used many games and applications to evaluate each graphics card's performance. In addition we used the FRAPS software to measure in game performance when needed.

DirectX 9


3. Testbed DirectX9, DirectX10
- Testbed DirectX9

For all the tests we used the default settings for 3DMark05 as following:

Again we left all settings to default:

- Testbed DirectX10

We used the built-in benchmark with all details maxed out.

We used the hocbench Crysis benchmark tool at three resolutions, 1280x1024, 1680x1050 and finally 1920x1200. We run the benchmark software either with High and Very High details enabled, in order to find out which resolution allows us to play the game.

We maxed out all visual details, including 4x AA Multisampling and of course 16x AF. We used FRAPS to record the in-game performance after recording a two minutes runout.

4. FutureMark Hall Of Fame

The Futuremark benchmarks have been highly discussed between gamers and reviewers. For your information we post results from 3DMark 05, 3DMark 06 and of course the newly released 3DMark Vantage that gives you a rough idea of what can you expect from the tested graphic cards.

Average performance for the Gainward Bliss 9600GSO in the 3D Mark 05, 06 benchmarks, with scores much lower than what the Nvidia 9600GT cards.

Passing to the 3DMark Vantage, we have a clearer view about the card's performance at various resolutions, starting from 1280x1024 and up to 1920x1200. We have an interesting comeback for the Gainward Bliss 9600GSO getting at the top in all tested resolutions.

5. Crysis (DirectX10)

Crysis is probably the defacto benchmark game since almost no currently sold card can have acceptable frame rates, especially with very high quality settings enabled.

All tested graphic cards can have acceptable frame rates at 1280x1024 under high quality settings. The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO gave an average of 27 FPS, higher than several 9600GT cards, but lower than the Gainward 9600GT 1024GS and Asus 9600GT Top.

Enabling the very high quality settings has a significant impact (over 50%) on the performance of all the tested graphic cards. The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO gave 11FPS, matching the performance of two 9600GT-based cards.

Pushing resolutions even higher at 1680x1050 and 19200x1200 and setting the quality settings to High did not allow us to play the game. The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO gave around 9 FPS.

6. Company Of Heroes v1.71 (DirectX10)

Company Of Heroes is a well known action/strategy game with many fans around the world. The game was the first to utilize the DirectX10, while its Physics are impressive.

We maxed out all visual details and measured the performance of its card using the built-in benchmark.

All tested video cards performed pretty well at 280x1024. The Gainward 9600GSO was better than any 9600GT cards.

7. Assassins Creed (DirectX 10), Half Life 2 Episode 2 (DirectX 9)

- Assassins Creed (DirectX 10)

Assassins Creed is a new game from Ubisoft that supports the DirectX 10.1 extensions. The graphics are very demanding, especially with all details maxed out. We tested the graphics cards only at 1920x1200, since the game is not very demanding at lower resolutions. Using FRAPS we recorded the same fight scene and the game results presented below.

The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO gave a performance almost similar to the Asus EN9600GT Top and Gainward 9600GT 1024GS.

- Half Life 2 Episode 2 (DirectX 9)

Half Life 2 is a first person shooter game that everybody has played and loved. The game at Episode 2 has several image quality improvements, especially when we enable 4xAA and 16AF .

The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO didn't perform very well at this test , at least compared to the rest of the video cards of this test.

8. Overclocking, conclusion
- Overclocking

The Gainward Bliss 9600GSO is slightly overclocked compared with a generic Nvidia 9600GSO model. We were really curious to see whether the card would allow us to push its clocks a little more, so we started a usual trial-error testing procedure. We used the latest RivaTuner software and we increased the core/memory/shader frequencies until we got an error-free 3-round Crysis benchmark.

Graphic Card
Gainward Bliss 9600GSO 768MB

The overclocking performance was very good, considering that we managed to make the core run at 900 MHz, which is 150Mhz higher than its default value. The shaders were also overclocked at 2250MHz (375MHz more than default), while the gain for the memory clock was just 83Mhz ..

- Conclusion

Gainward released an interesting solution, based at Nvidia's 9600GSO platform. While this graphics card won't put fire at your gaming ring, it will offer high frame rates in most games, provided that you will play at the highest resolutions and that the visual details are set at acceptable - not low - levels.

The card proved to be as fast as a generic Nvidia 9600GT and even more faster in some tests. For a strange reason, the HL2 Episode 2 scores were much lower than what we expected but that could be a driver issue after all.

Considering that this video card would cost you around 150 euros, the Gainward Bliss 9600GSO offers a good value for money. Of course, the availability of the ATI 48xx series might be also an appealing purchase.

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