Albatron GeForceFX 5200P Videocard Review
nVIDIA received a lot
of flak when they released the
GeForce4 MX GPU last year, many screamed that the GPU while fast, did not deserve
the GeForce4 nomenclature since it was not DirectX 8 compatible. It seems like nVIDIA learned
from their mistakes this time around because the entire GeForceFX line of GPU's
are DirectX 9 compatible - even the budget GeForceFX 5200 based Albatron
videocard we're testing today!
Based on the NV34 core (and despite the
higher core code), the GeForceFX 5200 is slower then the NV30/FX 5800 and NV31/FX5600
cores. With only 47 million transistors, the GeForceFX 5200 core has less then half
of the transistors of the flagship GeForceFX 5800 (125 million) and only
about a third less then the GeForceFX 5600 (75 million) core.
Heck even the GeForce4 Ti's had a transistor count
of 63 million. nVIDIA also use the more mature (and less expensive) 0.15
micron manufacturing process for the GeForceFX 5200 class cards instead of 0.13
micron for the FX 5600, FX5800's.
cool coloured blue PCB, the Albatron GeForceFX 5200P is oriented towards budget
gamers who want the latest and greatest in terms of technology but
do not need the $500-levels of performance the other nVidia cards offer. With a street
price of just $155 CDN ($95 US) the Albatron GeForceFX 5200P does not come
with any other frills other then TV-Output and WinDVD. With no DirectX 9 games
on the market, it was a wise move for Albatron not to bundle any games with
the videocard since the older games would just tack on to the overall price.
nVIDIA reference design, the Albatron GeForceFX 5200P has a small passive
heatsink flanked by eight Samsung 4ns TSOP-II DRAM for a total of 128MB memory. Passive heatsinks equal totally silent
videocards, so if you're looking to quiet down a computer they are a
If you want to attach a 3rd party heatsink, there's
a two pin fan connector on the PCB of the videocard and the mounting holes are
not as far apart as on the GeForce4 line of videocards.
Because this is nVIDIA's budget GPU we're not
going to dwell on the performance enhancements with the more expensive cards. The NV34/GeForceFX 5200
GPU is fully DirectX 9 compliant like the rest of the GeForceFX family and according
to nVIDIA the NV34 is the NV31 (GeForceFX 5600) on a larger
die (0.15 micron as opposed to 0.13 for the faster
GPU's) operating at a slower clock speed.
To help eliminate costs, nVIDIA removed special
performance enhancing compression engines from the memory controller and that's
why there's the transistor count difference. As you'll see in the benchmarks
without the compression engines in the memory controller, the videocard becomes
very memory bandwidth bottle necked very quickly. Now, let's have a look at
exactly what the image quality differences are with the this GFX5200 over that
of say a Radeon 9700 Pro....