NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT by huanghengdong

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									NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT


Introduction
In a time when the cost of a graphics card is a seemingly infinite number,
nVidia have introduced the GeForce 9400 GT into the marketplace at a cut-
cost price. Clearly, nVidia are attempting to reach a target market of people
who are after good quality graphics card but without the high price tag.
However, will this cut in cost also result in a large dip in performance?


About Zotac
ZOTAC International (MCO) Limited was established in 2006 with a mission to
deliver superb quality of NVIDIA graphic solutions to the industry. It has strong
backup from parent group, PC Partner Ltd. Headquartered in Hong Kong,
factory in Mainland China and regional sales offices in Europe, Asia Pacific
and North America. The support ZOTAC provides is currently the largest of its
kind around the world.

Specifications
Graphics Processing Unit
    NVIDIA® GeForce® 9400 GT @ 550 MHz engine clock
    16 Stream Processors
    Dual 400 MHz RamDAC
    Max. Resolution @ 2560 x 1600
    True 128-bit floating point high dynamic-range (HDR) lighting with 16x
      full- screen anti-aliasing

Memory
   512MB GDDR3 / GDDR2
   1400 / 800 MHz memory clock
   128-bit memory bus

Bus Support
   PCI Express 2.0 // PCI Express x16

3D Acceleration
    Microsoft® DirectX®10 support
    Unified Shader Model 4.0
    OpenGL 2.1

Features
    PureVideo™ HD Technology
    HDTV Ready
    Vista™ Ready
    HDCP Ready
    RoHS Compliant
Box and Bundle
N.B. The box and bundle for the 9400GT is literally exactly the same as
Zotac’s 9500GT. Therefore, if you want more details about the box and
bundle, then visit the 9500GT review.

The Zotac 9400GT arrives in the usual Zotac styled cardboard box with a
computer rendered angel on display on the front.

Zotac1.jpg

At the rear of the box sports an in-depth briefing about the product and a
couple of screenshots to show its capabilities.

Zotac2.jpg

The specifications any potential buyer needs to know are listed in bullet point
fashion on the left-side of the box.

Alongside the card you also get a small array of accessories. These include:

      Driver CD and sticker
      Warranty leaflet
      Quick installation guide
      User Manual
      DVI – HDMI adapter
      S-Video – Composite / S-Video cable
      Cable for connecting card to audio headers so that sound can be
       outputted through HDMI.

Zotac3.jpg

Zotac4.jpg


Unfortunately no games are included.

Zotac 9400GT 512MB

N.B. The actual card itself is nearly exactly the same as the 9500GT. If you
want more information about the card, please visit that review.

The 9400GT is a passively cooled card therefore a large heatsink occupies a
large majority of the card. This heatsink folds over to the recurring side.

Zotac5.jpg

Zotac6.jpg

At the rear of the card are both DVI and VGA ports as well as an S-Video jack
for connection to a TV.
Zotac7.jpg

All the capacitors dotted about the card are of the fully shielded solid type. As
well as these, the chokes are of the ferrite variety. Using these will mean
greater performance and reliability as they tend to last much longer and don’t
start spewing out hot acid when reaching high temperatures.

Zotac8.jpg


Testing

Test Setup
               Processor                  Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.6 GHZ
              Motherboard                 Asus P5K Premium
                 RAM                      Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR2 PC2-
                                          6400 4gb
                  HDD                     Western Digital 500GB (SATA)
                   OS                     Windows Vista 32bit
             Graphics Driver              178.13

Methodology

To test graphics cards, we use a fresh install of windows XP Pro x86 and run
the card(s) through a series of synthetic and real world gaming benchmarks.
The tests that were run were as follows:

      3Dmark06
      Crysis
      Trackmania United Forever
      Company of Heroes

All tests were run three times with the results averaged to give the final score.

For comparison purposes, a Zotac 9500GT was used. This card should
perform better than the 9400GT, but it's simply used to give us something to
gauge the card's score on. The price difference between the cards is noted at
the end of this review, and puts the results in perspective.
Results

3Dmark06




Released in 2006, 3Dmark06 has been a staple for 3D benchmarking since
it's release, and it's still quite capable of bringing an unprepared system to it's
knees if given half the chance. It features:

      HDR rendering.
      Complex HDR Video post-processing.
      Dynamic soft shadows for all objects.
      Water shader with HDR refraction, HDR reflection, depth fog and
       Gerstner wave functions.
      Heterogeneous fog.
      Atmospheric light scattering.
      Realistic sky model with cloud blending.
      Strauss lighting model for most materials.
      Subsurface scattering shader for some objects (not visible in the shot).
      Texture & normal map sizes: 1024 x 1024 to 2048 x 2048.
      Approximately 5.4 million triangles and 8.8 million vertices.

NB. List taken from Wikipedia

Settings
All settings were left at default and only the "free version" tests were run.

Results:
9500GT:
3DMark : 5712

9400GT:
3DMark:3114

These results are a slight let down with it scoring much lower than the
9500GT.

Crysis




Crysis is a science fiction first person shooter developed by Crytek, the
creators of Farcry. It uses their latest game engine, CryENGINE2 which is the
successor to CryENGINE, the engine used on Farcry. Some of the graphical
features it has are as follows:

      Volumetric 3D Clouds
      Real time Ambient Maps with dynamic lighting and no premade
       shadows
      screen Space Ambient Occlusion
      3D Ocean Technology dynamically modifies the ocean surface based
       on wind and wave direction and creates moving shadow sand
       highlights underwater
      Depth of field to focus on certain objects while blurring out the edges
       and far away places
      Vector Motion blur on both camera movement and individual objects
      Dynamic Soft shadows with objects casting realistic shadows in real
       time
      Realistic Facial Animation that can be captured from an actor's face
      Subsurface scattering
      Breakable Buildings allowing more tactical preplanning on the player's
       side
      Breakable Vegetation (with possibly heavy foliage) enabling players
       and enemy AI to level entire forests as a tactical maneuver or other
       purposes
      Advanced Rope Physics showcasing bendable vegetation responding
       to wind, rain or character movement and realistically interactive rope
       bridges
      Component Vehicle Damage giving vehicles different destroyable
       parts, such as tires on jeeps or helicopter blades
      HDR lighting
      Fully interactive and destructible environments
      Advanced particle system with fire or rain being affected by forces such
       as wind
      Time of Day Lighting, with sunrise, and sunset effects ensuring realistic
       transition between daytime and nighttime
      Lightbeams and Shafts when light intersects with solid or highly
       detailed geometry, and can generate "Godray" effects underwater
      Parallax Occlusion Mapping giving a greater sense of depth to a
       surface texture, realistically emphasizing the relief surface structure of
       objects
      Long Range View Distance of up to 16KM from in game measurements
      Parametric Skeletal Animation System
      Procedural Motion Warping

NB. List taken from Wikipedia

As well as supporting shader model 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0, the engine is also multi-
threaded and takes advantage of hyper-threading and multi-core systems.

Settings

High: 1680 x 1050, 8x AA, all settings at “High”
Medium: 1680 x 1050, no AA, all settings at “High”
Low: 1680 x 1050, no AA, all settings at “Medium”

Results:

9500GT:
Low: 19.71
Med: 9.72
High: 9.68

9400GT:
High:6.54
Med:8.23
Low:14.69
These results too are fairly poor. At these frame rates, Crysis is effectively
unplayable. Shame.

Trackmania United Forever




It's the ultimate version of TrackMania and it's designed to provide a
maximum of content and gameplay possibilities to players. With this edition,
you can enjoy racing with players around the world whether they own United
Forever or the free game Nations Forever. TrackMania United Forever also
allows you to play solo or online on the 7 incredible TrackMania
environments.

NB. Game briefing taken from TrackMania website

Settings

High: 1680 x 1050, “Performance/ Quality” set to “Nicer”, AA and AF set to
16X
Low: 1680 x 1050, “Performance/ Quality” set to “Faster”, AA set to none, AF
set to 2X

Results:

9500GT:
High: 30
Low: 77.3

9400GT:
High:25
Low:49

TrackMania scores okay with this card, with it topping the average 30 fps on
Low settings and becoming close at high settings.
Other Testing

Overclocking

Using nVidia’s nTune, I managed to raise the core frequency from 550 MHz to
760 MHz and the memory frequency from 1350 MHz to 1800 MHz. This was a
stable overclock with the GPU temperature not topping 54 degrees C. With a
fan cooling the GPU, I’m sure this card could be overclocked much further,
but I didn’t want to risk it too much being that it is it passively cooled.

Noise

As this card is fan-less, it’s completely silent. Yes that’s right, silent.

Cost

Zotac haven’t seemed to have released a price for this version of their 9400gt,
so the price is somewhat unknown. But going by other cards of this type, it’s
probably in the £40 region.

Conclusion

Unfortunately the 9400GT does not yield itself to be a graphics card for the
gamer with its unfortunate poor performance.

However though, given its silence, it would make a perfect companion for a
HTPC with it being capable of playing HD content – silently.

Although, don’t knock this card right off the list of gaming cards, with it being
such a great overclocker, a bit of time would allow this graphics card to
perform better than a 9500GT.

For these reasons, I’m awarding the 9400GT a tidy 7/10 – an impressive low
budget card.

Pros

       Low Price
       Totally Silent
       Overclocks very well
       HD Ready

Cons

       No freebie games
       Performance not that impressive

								
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