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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [04.29.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Card Manufacturer: InnoVISION
GPU Manufacturer: NVIDIA
MSRP: $80-$100

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Also, because of this plug, you should be able to add a powered fan if you like. And if your case doesn't have very good airflow, you may want to think about that.

InnoVISION's Tornado series tends to be fairly decent with the included software. The 5200 comes with the full version of Commanche 4, as well as several demos, including a special Inno3D version of 3DMark03.  InterVideo's WinDVD is also included, as is WinDVD Creator VCD and DVD authoring software. That's not bad, especially considering that this card doesn't even have video-in capability.

InnoVISION also includes a DVI to VGA adapter and S-video cable in case you need them.  This is a superb bundle for such a budget oriented product.

The Chip

The FX series doesn't bring a whole lot of incredibly new things to the table, other than some cool names.  The crossbar-style memory controller is still there, providing 4 individual 32-bit memory busses.  The CineFX engine indicates the new DirectX9 compliant 128 bit pixel pipelines (32 bits wider than the RADEON pipes), 1024 instruction length pixel shader programs and 65536-instruction vertex shader programs, beating out the capabilities of the Radeon 9700 Pro in these areas.

So as far as DirectX9 compatibility goes, the FX series one-ups the Radeon 9500 and 9700 series, with a wider pixel pipe, and longer shader instructions.  The FX's 128 bit pipeline supports both FP16 (64 bit floating point color) and FP32 (128 bit floating point color) modes of pixel processing, versus the Radeon 9700's FP24 (96 bit floating point color) mode.  Theoretically, this gives the FX the capability of generating higher precision color than the Radeon cards are capable of, but remember that game programs must actually make USE of these modes.  And so far no one is, so we don't truly know if the human eye can even distinguish between these modes, especially while its busy gaming.

The 5200 in particular is missing the FX series' Intellisample FSAA/Ansio engine, and is limited to supersampling methods only.  This is a big thing to leave out, but most budget cards aren't expected to be able to do much with AA anyway. But that also means that it's missing the color compression, and color correction that makes up the Intellisample engine. Ouch. Especially on the color compression, since it helps make more efficient use of memory bandwidth, even though it is optimized for the FSAA engine. That's a hurtful thing to lose on a card that would be lower clocked and therefore have less memory bandwidth to use.  Adaptive filtering, which has the chip intelligently switch between Bilinear, Trilinear, and Ansiotropic filtering, is also not present (but then again, Ansio isn't present either).

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