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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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OpenGL - Serious Sam: The Second Encounter

One more test, just to make sure we know what we're talking about. Serious Sam always tends to run better in GL mode as opposed to DirectX mode, as you can see.

DirectX performance is comparatively close between the two cards...when you compare it to the difference in GL performance. Of course, there IS a $50 difference in the price of the cards. I expected performance to be a LITTLE closer.  Still, it's quite playable.

We're not going to bother with FSAA tests. If you want to run FSAA, face it, you're looking at the wrong card. Image quality tests are also a bust, since with a card like this, you're going to be always trying to find that fine line between image quality and performance.  We're also not going to bother with overclocking.  Not because it's not designed for it (though with a passive heatsink, it's not) but because we CAN'T.  So far, none of the utilities out there seem to actually have the ability to change the clocks on these FX cards, though we'll keep looking.   The FX5200 is about being the cheapest DirectX9 card on the market, which it certainly is.

Of course, there are a few things to remember about DirectX9.  Certainly it promises more precise color than ever, as well as long, juicy shader instructions.  But there aren't any DirectX9 games out there yet, though some might be on their way soon.

With a card at this price point, 8XAGP is a publicity feature, rather than a necessary one.  DirectX9 can be classified as a valid feature, provided you want to play a game that can make use of v1.4 or 2.0 shader units, which no other card in this price range offers. Anyone who owned a Kyro2 and then tried to play Commanche 4 on it knows the value of needing their card to support certain things that it doesn't.  If games come that say "No DX9 shaders, then no play, sorry" then the FX5200 may be a wise investment against its competition.

The performance numbers might not look impressive.  In fact, they AREN'T impressive.  But considering the price, it could be a lot worse-performing.  There are much better cards out there, but they're also more expensive. If you're looking for serious gaming performance, you'd be much better off saving your money.  But for an occasional gamer on a budget, the FX5200 is an option to consider. Also, it's a decent choice if you're looking to build a silent PC (just make sure you have enough airflow to cool the heatsink).

It's hard to say whether or not I'd trade the advanced features for greater legacy performance from an older card selling at clearence.  If advanced games come out that require these features, an older card won't fit the bill.  And as we said, the Tornado FX5200 is the cheapest DirectX9 card on the planet. The performance isn't way up there, but what do you expect for this price?  If you think it meets your needs, go for it.  Just think about it first: if you're a daily gamer who wants high speed and high quality, you may be disappointed.

  • Cheap
  • Noiseless
  • 128 MB memory
  • DVI port
  • Cheapest DX9 card around
  • The MX line is GONE FINALLY

  • Slow memory
  • Not yet overclockable
  • Some older cards may get better performance in some cases

Final Score: 80%