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Inno3D GeForce 6200A Review - Page 1 of 1

INTRODUCTION

Staying abreast of the latest graphics cards can be very challenging. With all the buzz that NVIDIA's high end parts create, it is sometimes easy to forget about the unsung heroes that sit in the mid-range and budget market segments. Although many visitors to nV News are enthusiasts that own high-end graphics cards, NVIDIA actually receives most of their revenue from the mainstream and budget product lines.

NVIDIA cornered last generations budget market with the GeForce FX 5200 and is positioning the GeForce 6200 to deliver a repeat performance. However, with new technologies that include DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 and PureVideo, the GeForce 6200 is a noticeable improvement over the GeForce FX 5200.

Inno3D has jumped on-board and is now offering the GeForce 6200A, which appears to be poised to dominate the AGP budget sector.

ABOUT THE CARD

The GeForce 6200A is based on NVIDIA's NV44A graphics processing unit (GPU) and is an all new part that is similar to the PCI-Express based GeForce 6200 (NV43). The primary difference is native AGP support and the inability to unlock additional pipelines, which is possible with some NV43 based GeForce 6200's.

Having native support for AGP lowers the cost and further entrenches NVIDIA's presence in the budget sector. It also extends the life of existing AGP systems by prolonging the inevitable move to PCI-Express. The GeForce 6200A from Inno3D contains many of the same features of NVIDIA's top tier GeForce 6 Series GPUs only in a slimmed down form.

Inno3D GeForce 6200A
Click Image to Enlarge

The Inno3D GeForce 6200A features 4 pixel processors, 3 vertex processors, and relies on a 64-bit memory interface. While a 64-bit memory interface restricts the amount of available memory bandwidth, acceptable gaming performance can still be achieved at lower resolutions or using lower quality settings.

Inno3D GeForce 6200A
Click Image to Enlarge

Note the passive cooling design. While benchmarking the GPU temperature never climbed above 44 degrees Celsius. This is astounding considering the amount of information the GPU is processing. Also, passive cooling makes this card ideal for a Home Theater or Silent PC.

Inno3D GeForce 6200A
Click Image to Enlarge

FEATURES

Although we received an early review sample, the software bundled that is listed at Inno3D's web site consists of FutureMark 3DMark05 Freeware Inno3D Version, InterVideo WinDVD 5 Software DVD Player, and InterVideo WinDVD Creator 2 VCD/DVD Capture and Authoring Software.

  • Powered by NVIDIA's GeForce 6200A GPU
  • 128MB DDR Memory
  • AGP 8X Interface Support
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 Support
  • OpenGL 1.5 Optimizations and Support
  • Revolutionary Superscalar Architecture
  • NVIDIA CineFX 3.0 Engine
  • NVIDIA UltraShadow II Technology
  • NVIDIA Intellisample 3.0 Technology
  • Full-Speed 32-Bit Color Precision
  • Adaptable Programmable Video Processor
  • High-Definition MPEG-2 and WMV Hardware Acceleration
  • Advanced Motion Adaptive De-Interlacing delivers a crisp, clear video and DVD playback
  • Video Scaling and Filtering
  • NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control 3.0 Technology
  • NVIDIA Multi-Display Technology
  • Integrated HDTV Encoder supports up to 1920x1080i resolutions
  • Integrated NTSC & PAL TV Encoder supports up to 1028x768 resolutions
  • Single-link DVI output up to 1900x1200 resolution
  • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs supports dual QXGA displays up to 2048x1536@85Hz.

THE TEST

The Athlon 64 3500+ is a high-end processor. Please keep in mind that budget graphics cards are typically used on less powerful systems. All tests were run at stock speeds.

  • AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (Winchester @ 2.2GHz)
  • Epox 9NDA3J Motherboard
  • 2GB Patriot RAM (2.5,3,3,5,1T)
  • Inno3D GeForce 6200A
  • NVIDIA ForceWare 76.44 Graphics Drivers
  • NVIDIA nForce 6.53 Chipset Drivers
  • Windows XP Service Pack 1 / DirectX 9.0c

Note: Antialiasing and anisotropic filtering were not enabled during testing. Enabling antialiasing resulted in very low frame rates and is best left to be used on older games.

Results are in average frames per second.

Doom 3 - Demo1 Demo - Medium Quality

Doom 3 stresses high-end GPUs at higher resolutions, but the GeForce 6200A holds its own at lower resolutions.

  • 640X480 - 48
  • 800X600 - 34
  • 1024X768 - 22

Doom 3 has an advanced lighting system and the performance of the GeForce 6200A shows that you don't always have to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end card to be able to play today's advanced shooters.

Painkiller - C5L1 Demo

Version 1.61 of Painkiller and the Battle Out of Hell expansion both contain support for Shader Model 3.0. Contrary to what many gamers have read, many of the benefits of Shader Model 3.0 are intended for the game developer. With Shader Model 3.0, the developer can create longer and more flexible shader programs as the maximum instruction count increased and dynamic branching was introduced.

  • 800X600 - 125
  • 1024X768 - 92

Since the Painkiller demos are not indicative of actual game play, I played through part of the opening Cemetery level and received the following frame rates.

Painkiller - Game Play - Cemetery Level

  • 800X600 - 99
  • 1024X768 - 64

SWAT 4 - Game Play - First Two Missions

SWAT 4 is a tactical shooter that can be described as mix of Rainbow 6 and Counter-Strike. With high graphics settings and soft shadows enabled, the GeForce 6200A provided excellent results for a budget card. The tested resolutions were all above the 30 FPS mark, which is important for an enjoyable game play experience.

  • 1024X768 - 41
  • 800X600 - 48

With all of the tests run on a fresh install of Windows XP, there is one last result to discuss. AMD's Cool'n'Quiet Technology is a power saving feature of the Athlon 64. When enabled, Cool'n'Quiet dynamically adjusts the processor speed according to the workload. There have been countless debates about whether performance is affected, so I tested Cool'n'Quiet on Painkiller's C5L1 demo.

Cool 'n Quiet Performance

  • Cool'n'Quiet Disabled - 92
  • Cool'n'Quiet Enabled - 92

This test is not intended to be an overall Cool'n'Quiet summary, but it demonstrates the ability of the Athlon 64 to change speeds without affecting performance.

CONCLUSION

As the budget market continues to thrive, it is important for graphics chip makers to continue their innovative approach of providing cost effective options. Even with a 64-bit memory interface, the GeForce 6200A performs admirably. The GeForce 6200A is undeniably the video card of choice for anyone wanting today's most advanced technologies at a lower price and is based on the AGP interface.

NVIDIA has designed a quality part that is more than capable of supplanting the GeForce FX 5200 in the budget market. With Inno3D's upper-echelon engineering and reliability, this card is a powerful contender in the low cost arena.

Please feel free to discuss this review in our feedback forum.

Back to nV News

Last Updated on May 9, 2005


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