The demo crashes on my system too, usually when a big explosion happens. I have a 9800se and have experienced the problem with half life 2 as well. It goes into an infinite loop. Both the 9600 and 9800se seem to be plagued with these problems. I've been told, even though its a graphics problem turning off directx sound acceleration could help. I didn't work for me but it might work on your 9600.
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