Just as expected, Nvidia released GeForce 9600 a few hours ago.
"After going to all the GeForce LANs and seeing the rigs that gamers play on, we wanted to kick off the GeForce 9 with the perfect GPU for gamers," said Ujesh Desai, general manager of GeForce desktop GPUs at NVIDIA. "The first product to be introduced in the GeForce 9 family gives gamers the horsepower to play cutting-edge DirectX 10 games at a price they will love and can afford."
The new GeForce 9600 GT GPU shows an improved performance-per-watt ratio compared to its predecessor as well as improved compression efficiency. In addition to 64 stream processors-each individually clocked at 1625 MHz- and a 256 bit memory interface running at 900 MHz, the GeForce 9600 GT GPU is designed for the new PCIe 2.0 bus standard and features backwards compatibility with the original PCIe standard.
"NVIDIA continues to innovate in hardware technology so that game enthusiasts and consumers can fully experience the incredible graphics offerings in Microsoft's operating systems, including Windows Vista," said Kevin Unangst, senior global director of Games for Windows, Microsoft. "The new GeForce 9600 GT GPU further extends NVIDIA's ability to deliver improved DirectX 10 performance on Windows Vista at an affordable price point, so that anyone and everyone can have an amazing gaming experience."
On the other hand, several retailers announced price cuts on AMD's Radeon HD 3000 series. Radeon HD 3870 suggested retail price was cut back from $249 to $189 and Radeon HD 3850 512MB from $199 to $169. The price drop was confirmed by AMD.
Initial benchmarking suggests that the new GeForce 9600 GT is just ahead of Radeon HD 3870, so this might be the first time in a few years where Nvidia and ATI have a real head to head bout again.