Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Power Mac Radeon 9650: Slower than previous 9600 XT

In a previous article we commented on the specs of the (then rumoured forthcoming) new Power Macs. One curious spec was the inclusion of the new ATI Radeon 9650 GPU.

We stated that the 9650 appeared to be RV351, which would be a 9600 Pro class CPU. If true, that would mean that the newer 9650 would actually be slower than it's predecessor, the 9600 XT. That seems to be borne out by recent benchmarks done by Macworld. The dual G5 2.7 wins every test as expected, except in gaming. Here, the dual G5 2.7 with Radeon 9650 loses to the dual G5 2.5 with Radeon 9600 XT. Furthermore, the dual G5 2.7's scores improve when the 9600 XT is installed in it.

It should also be mentioned that according to forum posts around the net listing Mac GPU clock and memory speeds, Apple does not clock its cards at the same speeds at the PC cards. A 9600 Pro on the Mac side is actually slower than a 9600 Pro on the PC side, and the same goes for the 9600 XT. I was hoping that the new 9650, despite likely being a rehashed 9600 Pro, would be equivalent to the Mac 9600 XT. However, this does not seem to be the case.

Assuming Macworld's benchmarks are accurate and representative, it seems that Apple has simply scrimped on the GPU in the new Power Macs for the sake of cost. That in itself is annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the fact that no other video card besides the US$450 GeForce 6800U DDL is available as a build-to-order upgrade. Apple no longer offers the 9800 series GPUs as upgrades.


Glenn Gutierrez said...

Page 24 of my Dual 2.7's manual lists "graphic cards used with the Power Mac G5" and goes over the connectors on each. Along with the ATI Radeon 9600, 9650 and the NVidia 6800, they also show an ATI Radeon X850 XT. Hints of things to come, I suppose, although there's still no UWXVGA PowerBook as hinted in that manual.

I would have sprung for the '850 if it had been available on release. I need my PCI slots (and silence), so the NVidia was out.

If Apple eventually offers the X850 XT separately, is there any chance it would be "officially" supported by Apple and not ATI OEM?

Anonymous said...

I've just taken delivery of my new G5 Dual 2.7 and it has a 9600 installed so I gues I can count my blessings that someone at Apple picked up on the 9650 being slower, even though they are advertised as having the 9650?

Eug said...

"I've just taken delivery of my new G5 Dual 2.7 and it has a 9600 installed"

I hope you didn't get the plain 9600, because that's much slower than the 9650 you were supposed to get.

Shaun said...

I have also just taken delivery of the dual 2.7 machine with the '9650' installed.

Note that whilst System Profiler identifies the card as the 'Radeon 9600' it says the chipset is RV351. This means that the '9650' is in fact a 9600 pro with more memory and a slightly revised chipset. I've no doubt that the card is slower than the 9600 XT.

I have tried a copy of Halo - and it really struggled to keep up - which surprised me.

I'll be saving the pennies and forking out for a new card in the next 12 months.

Anonymous said...

my powermac G4 2.3 arrrived today I payed aboutt £30 extra to have the 9650 with 256 - syystem profiler tells me I have a 9600 with 256 ? weird !

Anonymous said...

Same here, my "9650" is being reported as a 9600 with 256MB VRAM.

Anonymous said...

PowerMac G5 dual 2.3, ordered 9650, system profiler says 9600 with 256MB, having issues driving second VP191b on DVI port, keeps blanking for a second or two...monitor works fine on Dsub with Linux and G450.

Sn0w said...

same here... Ordered a dual 2.0 G5 with a 9650... And the profiler calls it a 9600 with chipset "ATY,RV351" it does seem to have the 256 MB VRAM tho... I'm calling Apple.

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