iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO Video Card Review

April 28, 2003


  1. General information
  2. Video card's features
  3. Testbed configuration
  4. Test results
  5. Conclusion 

Today we have quite curious information for you. As you know, ATI likes experiments with its products' names. Some time ago it launched a processor weaker than the previous one but with a higher index in its name (RADEON 9000 followed RADEON 8500 though it was weaker than the latter). Also, they like changing names to arrange the line, - thus, RADEON 8500LE was renamed into RADEON 9100. 

Since we touched upon the RADEON 9000, have a look at the reviews of this processor. 

Theoretical materials and reviews related to VPU ATI RADEON 9000 (Pro) features and functionality

No sooner had we cleared up the numbers of the RADEONs than there is one more complicated situation! This time it's related with RADEON 9200. Actually, this is the same RADEON 9000 with AGP 8x support. Will it ensure the performance growth adequate to 9200? Will RADEON 9000 with AGP 8x support outdo the RADEON 9100? 

We know that 64 MB of the local memory is sufficient for modern and oncoming games, not to mention 128MB. That is why it's not needed to extend the AGP throughput. And it's useless at all for 128MB cards. 

So, if the RADEON 9200 has 128MB memory, it will be an exact copy of the RADEON 9000 in performance. The functionality is the same. But let's check it in the tests. 

Here is the question: what is this 9000 -> 9200 for? Wouldn't it be better to name it RADEON 9080? It would comply with its speed level (lower than that of the RADEON 9100) and reflect the AGP 8x support. Nevertheless, the RADEON 9200 is starting its attack on the market. Actually, this is simply renaming of the RADEON 9000 with some reservations. The price is also almost the same. 

However, some companies have made use of the fact that the market got one more product of the price range of $50-80, and they released updated versions of these RADEONs. Gigabyte was actually the first one that decided to equip its RADEON 9200 with VIVO. 

But everything is good in its time. So, let's move on. 


Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO 

Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO 
The card has AGP X2/4/8 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides. 128bit memory interface. 

Hynix memory chips of 4ns access time, which corresponds to 250 (500) MHz, but the chips are clocked at 200 (400) MHz. The core works at 250 MHz, which is a standard clock speed for RADEON 9000 (9200), and has 4 active rendering pipelines with one texture unit on each. 

Comparison with the reference design and previous RADEON 9000, front view 
Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO  Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 

Comparison with the reference design and previous RADEON 9000, back view
Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO  Reference card ATI RADEON 9000 


In spite of similarity with the RADEON 9000, the Gigabyte's RADEON 9200 has some differences which are well seen on the photos. 

Now take a gander at the cooler. 

Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO 
An unsophisticated pin heatsink. Well, the chip clocked at such frequency doesn't need an active one. Quiet is a rare thing and much coveted today :-) 

Under the cooler you can see the processor itself. 

Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO 

That's all I have to tell you about this card. We are not estimating VIVO today because the VIVO arrangement of this card is identical to the RADEON 9000, and its Video-In will soon be reviewed by M. Androsov. 

Look at what's there in the box: 

Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO 
User Guide, CD with drivers and utilities, CD with CyberLink PowerDirector, and an obsolete version of Serious Sam, VIVO adapter/splitter, DVI-to-d-Sub adapter, TV-out extenders. 

The card comes in the retail package. 
Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO 
The box is typical of Gigabyte. The design is in the style of the Maya cards, which was expected judging by its name. 



Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO  Strangely enough but this card overclocks, though not greatly. The chip reaches 280 MHz and the memory - 265 (530) MHz. 


Note that 

  • Overclocking requires additional card cooling (for its memory, in particular): 



  • Overclocking depends on a certain sample, and you shouldn't extend single-card results to the entire series or trade mark. Overclocking results are not obligatory characteristics of video cards. 

Testbeds and drivers


  • Pentium 4 3066 MHz based computer: 
    • Intel Pentium 4 3066 MHz CPU; 
    • ASUS P4G8X (iE7205) mainboard; 
    • 1024 MB DDR SDRAM; 
    • Seagate Barracuda IV 40GB hard drive; 
    • Windows XP SP1; 
    • ViewSonic P810 (21") and ViewSonic P817 (21"). 
    • ATI drivers v6.307. 

VSync off in drivers, texture compression off in applications, texture detail set to High Quality. 

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 sample tested, together with the ViewSonic P817 monitor and BNC Bargo cable it showed excellent quality at the following resolutions and clock speeds:

Gigabyte MAYA II RADEON 9200 128MB VIVO  1600x1200x85Hz, 1280x1024x120Hz, 1024x768x160Hz 

Test Results

Test applications: 

  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein (MultiPlayer) (id Software/Activision) - OpenGL, multitexturing, Checkpoint-demo, maximum test settings, S3TC OFF, the configs are available here

  • Serious Sam: The Second Encounter v.1.05 (Croteam/GodGames) - OpenGL, multitexturing, Grand Cathedral demo, test settings: quality, S3TC OFF 

  • Unreal Tournament 2003 Demo v.1077 (Final Release) (Digital Extreme/Epic Games) - Direct3D, Vertex Shaders, Hardware T&L, Dot3, cube texturing, default quality 

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

  • RightMark 3D (one of the game scenes) - DirectX 8.1, Dot3, cube texturing, shadow buffers, vertex and pixel shaders (1.1, 1.4).

March 2003 summary diagrams of videocards performance with the latest drivers

Overclocked cards are marked red, clock speeds follow 'o/c' sign. 

For the summary diagrams we used drivers v43.45 for NVIDIA cards, v6.307 for ATI cards, v3.10.58 for SIS cards and v1.03.01.002 for Matrox cards. 

As expected, all scores of the RADEON 9200 are identical to the RADEON 9000. 

The card demonstrated good quality; it worked stably and flawlessly. 


It's clear that this is the same RADEON 9000 just under another name. Thankfully, Gigabyte has equipped its card with VIVO to differentiate it from the previous RADEON 9000. The price is at the level of the older 9000 cards. 

However, the situation is not as simple as it should be for customers because the RADEON 9200 is slower than the RADEON 9100 (former RADEON 8500LE), and the higher index of the 9200 may confuse them. 


  • Good 3D performance for the entry-level sector, and full DirectX 8.1 support; 
  • High build quality; 
  • Reliable and stable operation; 
  • Decent overclockability; 
  • VIVO support; 


  • The 128MB card has the same performance as the RADEON 9000, and it makes no sense to rename the card because of the born-dead AGP 8x function; 
  • RADEON 9000, 9100 and 9200 may be confusing consumers. 


Andrey Vorobiev (anvakams@ixbt.com

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