RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [06.25.03]
Card Manufacturer: InnoVISION

MSRP: $199
Est. Street Price: $150

Discuss this article in the forum!
Registration NOT Required!



Unlike the FX5200, THIS card can overclock a bit.  In fact, it's a little more than a bit: both clock and memory easily overclocked by 50 MHz to 400 MHz (effective 800 MHz on the RAM) on stock cooling. I actually managed to clock the GPU to 475 and the memory to 450 but it wouldn't stay stable for terribly long. The core might be able to handle 450 MHz with additional cooling; same with the RAM. If you want to spend some money on RAMsinks and a few other odds and ends, by all means, go for it.  Your chances might be pretty good of doing even better.  Now, on to our own 50 MHz overclock test:

An extra 50 MHz core boost and an extra 100 effective MHz in RAM bandwidth is enough to generate an average 10 FPS increase on the Antelus map in UT2003, which is a fairly stressful map.  So by all means play around a bit; looks like the FX5600 Ultra chips have a bit of headroom to work with. Of course, your results may vary: If you're not terribly lucky, the chip you end up with might not overclock very much.

We all know that a US$300-$400 video card will give you mind-blowing performance, and that there are always people willing to shell out that much money so they can play at 150 FPS on a 25 inch monitor at 2048x1532x32 with full AA and Aniso enabled.  But how many of us actually have that money lying around?

Not as many as those manufacturers would like.  That's why the US$150-$200 "Mainstream performance" segment is considered a big moneymaker alongside the US$100-$150 mainstream segment.  These two price ranges are the ones that generate the company's profit, through very large amounts of both retail and OEM sales. Which means a good performing GPU and card sitting in the US$100-$200 price range is CRITICAL (Which is why SiS tried to make a card for the range, and S3 is currently working on one).

The word is that Direct3D technology is going to stay stable until the release of Windows "Longhorn," so any card with DX9 capability is going to last a good, long while feature-wise (though maybe not performance-wise).  Since the video card market has just become predictable for a period of around 2 years, now is a good time to invest in the most feature-advanced card you can.  You know that Direct3D is going to stay stable, and it's unlikely that a brand new technology will suddenly make your card obsolete.  At a $175 street price, the Tornado FX5600 Ultra is a great balance between price, performance and (something we can say for once) relative longevity.

We labeled InnoVISION's FX5200 as a fairly decent card for silent PCs and the casual gamer.  This one hits the mark of the everyday gamer dead on.  And it also gives you the added capability of video input and capture, which is an incredibly handy thing to have.  And besides that, this FX5600 Ultra overclocks real nice too. It also has a nice, high quality DVI/VGA adapter, decent video editing software, and a copy of Commanche4 to play with.  It doesn't have an extra RCA/S-video adapter, but I guess you can't have everything. The image quality seems to be improving, and they have AA modes that will satisfy most people, whether they prefer blur effects or ultra-sharpening on their textures. I heartily recommend this package for anyone looking for a good balance between price and performance.  Even without fully DirectX9 games out there, this card gives very good performance AND featureset for the money.

  • Great performance with newer game engines
  • Video capture capability
  • FX Detonators easy to use
  • Built-in overclocking utility
  • Wide range of AA modes

  • Should have included a MOLEX Y-adapter
  • An extra s-video/RCA adapter would be nice
  • Adaptive filtering an unknown quantity

Final Score: 86%