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Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB,
Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB
Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB
Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit
Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB
Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB
Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB

on NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200/5200Ultra

May 12, 2003






CONTENTS

  1. Video card's features
  2. Testbed configuration, test tools, 2D quality
  3. Comparison of the cards performance
  4. Conclusion

The end of spring is nearing, and the high-end 3D graphics sector is going to have new battles soon. NVIDIA has recently sent its troops towards the current leader - ATI. Will the NV35 be able to strengthen its position on the throne? We'll see it soon.

But today we are going to speak about the GeForce FX 5200 based cards which are so much discussed these days. In the last tests and 3Digest we found out that such cards often lost to the GeForce4 MX440-8x, though the prices are still high. However, price is a vague concept, and it's difficult to catch on them as they are rapidly changing. 

By the way, have a look at the previous reviews: 

Theoretical materials and reviews related to GPU NVIDIA GeForce FX features and functionality

So, the today's aim is to study the newly arrived low-end graphics cards with the DirectX 9.0 support and to focus on some of their peculiarities which can be determining  in choosing a card. I think that all the manufacturers mentioned today are well known to our readers. 

Cards

Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB 


Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 


Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB 


Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 


Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 


Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 


Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 


 
All the cards have AGP X2/4/8 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM (the InnoVision card has 64MB) in 8 chips (the Inno3D GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit has them in 4 chips) on the PCB's upper side. 

Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
Samsung memory chips. 4ns access time, - it corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, the memory clock speed is set to 200 (400) MHz. The GPU is clocked at 250 MHz. 


Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
Hynix memory chips. 5ns access time, - it corresponds to 200 (400) MHz, and the memory's speed is set to this value. The GPU is clocked at 250 MHz. 


Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB 
Hynix (BGA form-factor) memory chips. 2.8ns access time, - it corresponds to 350 (700) MHz, the memory clock speed is set to 325 (650) MHz. The GPU GeForce FX 5200 Ultra is clocked at 325 MHz.  


Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 
Samsung memory chips. 5ns access time, - it corresponds to 200 (400) MHz, and the memory does work at this frequency. The GPU is clocked at 250 MHz. Note that the developers took off half of the memory chips to get the RAM size of 64 MB, that is why the memory bus is cut to 64 bits as well, but it's written on the card. 


Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 
Samsung memory chips. 4ns access time, - it corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, the memory clock speed is set to 200 (400) MHz. The GPU is clocked at 250 MHz. 


Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
PMI memory chips. 6ns access time, - it corresponds to 166 (333) MHz, the memory clock speed is set to 150 (300) MHz. (Note that the memory clocking is lowered, but it's mentioned neither in the documentation nor on the manufacturer's site!) The GPU is clocked at 250 MHz.   


Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
Samsung memory chips. 4ns access time, - it corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, and the memory does work at this frequency. The GPU is clocked at 275 MHz. (It's also surprising because such frequency growth without NVIDIA's approval could hardly be possible). 



 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, front view 
Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 






Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 



Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 



Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 



Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 



Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 



Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra 







 
 
 
Comparison with the reference design, back view
Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 






Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 



Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 



Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 



Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 



Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 



Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB  Reference card NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra 







 
 
 

All the cards based on the GeForce FX 5200, except Palit's and Leadtek's solutions, follow the reference design. Palit keeps its traditions of redesigning cards. The Leadtek's card is redesigned because of the hardware monitoring supported (you can see a tip of the thermal sensor near the processor and the temperature control chip on the PCB). This card also sports two LEDs for the AGP mode and PCB's thermal state. 

Gainward's card is also less sophisticated than the reference one. However, it's possible that NVIDIA could redesign its card for the 5200 Ultra, because, as we mentioned earlier, the two cards on the 5600Ultra and 5200Ultra processors had the same PCB design, - its complexity could be adequate to the frequencies and power of the 5600Ultra and too expensive for the 5200Ultra. That is why the company could have released other PCB revisions for the 5200Ultra, and Gainward could have used one of them for its solution. But the memory chips and external power supply connector indicate that the design is generally based on the original one. 

Now have a look at the coolers. 
 
 
 

Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
The processor is cooled by a simple aluminum heatsink. 


Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
It's the same. 


Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB 
Gainward's own cooler (based on NVIDIA's reference cooler of the GeForce4). 





Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 
The passive cooler only pretends to cool the memory. It actually hangs above the memory and cools down only the GPU. Why to place the memory into such a hothouse?.. 


Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 
This is a usual small cooler with a fan. Since the card supports hardware monitoring, the cooler is equipped with a tachometer. 


Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
A simple aluminum heatsink. 


Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
A massive beautiful cooler. It was probably meaningly installed there since the GPU's frequency is lifted up :-). 



 
 
 

Only the Gainward's card has the Philips 7114 codec to control VIVO: 
 




The other cards use the GeForce FX 5200 itself for the TV-out support. Remember that our expert in this field Aleksei Samsonov is now studying TV-out quality of such cards, and the results will be published soon. 

The GPU GeForce FX 5200 hides under the cooler: 
 




The 5200 Ultra processor on the Gainward's card 5200 Ultra has the old code marking: 
 




Box Contents: 
 

Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities including WinDVD, adapters and extenders for TV-out. 


Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
The card arrived in the OEM package, and we know nothing about the Retail one. 
Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB 
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, game, WinCoder/WinProducer (VIVO) and WinDVD, power supply splitter; adapters and extenders for VIVO, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter. 


Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 
The card arrived without any accessories, only in the box. You can judge about what's coming with the card by what the box shows. 


Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, 2 games, S-Video-to-RCA and DVI-to-d-Sub adapters. 


Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
OEM box, no accessories. 
Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, a lot of software, S-Video extender, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter, mouse pad. 


 

All the cards ship in the retail package. 

Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
A colorful box with a charming girl on the front side. Its surface is glossy-mirror, and when I was carrying it home many looked back at it. 


Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
OEM box
Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB 
The box with a girl rendered in the 3D packet. Also pretty :-). The box has a more pleasant style than the previous Gainward's solutions. 


Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit 
Traditional box in the style of InnoVision. Unfortunately, nowhere is mentioned that the card has a 64bit memory card. 


Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB 
Stylish austere box without unnecessary pictures. 


Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
OEM box
Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB 
A colorful box showing the card's capabilities. 



 
 
 

Installation and drivers

Testbed: 

  • Pentium 4 3066 MHz based computer: 
    • Intel Pentium 4 3066 MHz processor; 
    • ASUS P4G8X (iE7205) mainboard; 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB HDD; 
    • Windows XP SP1; DirectX 9.0; 
    • ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21") monitors. 
    • NVIDIA drivers v43.51. 

VSync off in drivers, texture compression off in applications. 

The Leadtek's card has an attractive software kit (all the screenshots below are taken from our reviews of the GeForce4 Ti 4200 cards because they are actually the same for all latest Leadtek's products)! Settings in the drivers: 
 




Menu Manager: 
 




WinFox utility: 
 




And hardware monitoring: 
 




Unfortunately, there are no interesting programs supplied with the other cards but for the Gainward's utility ExperTool: 
 




Test Results

Before we start examining 2D quality, I should say there are no complete techniques for objective 2D quality estimation because: 

  1. 2D quality much depends on certain samples for almost all modern 3D accelerators; 
  2. Besides videocards, 2D quality depends on monitors and cables; 
  3. Moreover, certain monitors might not work properly with certain video cards. 

As for the samples tested, together with the ViewSonic P817 monitor and BNC Bargo cable they showed excellent quality at the following resolutions and clock speeds:

Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz (the quality is OK!) 
Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB  1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x100Hz (the quality is lower than average) 
Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz (the quality is OK!) 
Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit  1600x1200x75Hz, 1280x1024x100Hz, 1024x768x120Hz (satisfactory quality) 
Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz (the quality is OK!) 
Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz (unexpectedly excellent quality!) 
Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB  1600x1200x75Hz (lower than satisfactory), 1280x1024x85(!)Hz, 1024x768x100Hz (inferior 2D quality!) 
 

Test results: comparison of the cards' performance

Test applications: 

  • 3DMark2001 SE Pro (MadOnion/Remedy) - DirectX 8.0, Hardware TCL, Game1, Game2, Game3, Game4, Low detail level

  •  


 

3DMark2001, 3DMARKS














 

3DMark2001, Game 1














 

3DMark2001, Game 2














 

3DMark2001, Game 3














 

3DMark2001, Game 4













Well, the diagrams and tables make the situation quite transparent.

All the cards were very stable during the tests (each one worked during 24 hours) and have good build quality (only the Prolink's card has some quality problems in 2D). 

Conclusion

  1. Albatron Gigi GeForce FX 5200 128MB is a copy of the reference card and has nothing peculiar; taking into account traditionally low prices for cards from this company, this one can be a good choice for those who want something like GeForce4 MX or RADEON 9000; 
  2. Chaintech A-FX20 GeForce FX 5200 128MB is also a standard card based on the reference design; 
  3. Gainward FX Powerpack Pro/760 XP GS 128MB is a nonstandard solution - the card supports VIVO and has a rich software suite; it can be a good purchase for those who want an accelerator like RADEON 9000 PRO or RADEON 9500; 
  4. Inno3D Tornado GeForce FX 5200 64MB 64bit is the slowest card because of the memory bus; such cards can be attractive when the prices reach the level of GeForce4 MX440SE; 
  5. Leadtek WinFast A340 TDH 128MB is an interesting new-comer; it has its own design, hardware monitoring and a good software suite; 
  6. Palit Daytona GeForce FX 5200 128MB utilizes Palit's own design; This is an average card, good build quality, but the memory works at the reduced frequencies making 3D graphics work too slow, that is why it's better to wait until the prices fall down to the level of the GeForce4 MX440SE. 
  7. Prolink PixelView GeForce FX 5200 128MB is an excellent card! It works at the increased frequencies (though I doubt that production samples will have such a high speed), has a cooler with a fan (though some may consider it a downside :-) ); the only real disadvantage is its 2D quality, but this mostly depends on a sample and combined operation of the card and the monitor. 

In our 3Digest you can find full comparison characteristics for video cards of this and other classes. 


  

Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com

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