Here is some info if you do get one and want to up the clock speeds. You can actually flash a 9600 bios to it and make it run as a 9600. You can also just run it as a 9550 and overclock it (safer and faster from what I know unless you successfully get it to run a 9600 pro bios) Here is what I don’t like about that though. Here are the different 9600’s and their speeds.
you could flash it to a 9600, but your core clock would only be 325MHz (you can get a lot more out of it), and the memory would be running at 200MHz (you can get a little more out of it).
You can test with ati tool and see if your memory can get up to 300MHz, but I seriously doubt it can. The 9600 pro runs the core at 400MHz and the memory at 300MHz. The 9600 pro bios is supposed to run faster memory timings and higher memory voltage (higher voltage will let the memory run faster), but if your memory cannot take the voltage and speed, you could fry it. You could of course just run ati tool and see if the memory will go any where near that fast with the standard 9550 bios to test the feasibility of running a 9600 pro bios).
Also, with bios flashing, you basically have to find drivers for another 9600 card that will work with your card, and its kind of a crapshoot what will work (it might take a little experimenting, and the risk of a bad bios flash, killing the card).
I’m just mentioning bios flashing as it is an option. Here is the safe way to do it as far as I am concerned. Fyi this way does not void your warranty (cross flashing the bios to a 9600 does).
Download modded drivers and install them (you can actually just download the whole catalist package from ati and replace the driver file with the one that is modded to unlock overclocking). download and run ati tool and it will automatically find your maximum core and memory speeds. Sometimes it will just crash when it get too fast. If it does, just watch it and see what speeds it crashes at, back the speed off a little and then run the test for artifacts for a while. Once you know your max speeds, back them off a little and save those speed settings. Then go into the settings and set ati tool to run at startup, change to those clock speeds, and shut down. From then on, when windows starts, ati tool will run, change the clock speeds (they always start at the 250/200 default speeds), and shut itself down. You will basically just see ati tool open for a fraction of a second while windows is starting, and it will keep the faster settings till you restart (at ati tool cranks them up again when you restart).
Let me know if you get the card and I can give you links to the drivers etc. and help out a little. You can find it all at techpower up but its kind of hard to find the right downloads, instructions etc. Here are a couple of links you can glance at though.
faq for bios mod and overclocking
On a side note, my card originally maxed out at a little over 400MHz core, 260MHz memory. I ran it at about 400Mhz core and about 250 MHz memory. With better cooling that I recently installed on the gpu (optional but it will give you a bit more speed) the core got up to almost 470MHz and with no cooling the memory was about the same 240-250. I’m currently running it at 422/233 though. I had other work to do on the computer and didn’t want to waste any time with stability testing, so for now I just backed it off a decent amount. I’m going to put ramsinks on the memory to see if I can get higher. The cooling is optional though so of course for your purposed you can just use stock cooling and ne memory heat sinks and still get plenty of over clock and power for a computer like that.