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PNY Verto FX5200

PNY is the only manufacturer in this group to have used the nVidia FX5200 chip. This is nVidia's low-end DirectX 9 part and it is the successor to the GeForce4 MX series. If we were being polite we'd call it a 'mainstream' part, but low-end is far more accurate.

nVidia made the FX5600 as half of the FX5800 using the same 0.13 micron fabrication process, and the FX5200 was then cut down in turn from FX5600. Although it has four pixel pipelines just like FX5600, they have fewer stages and hence run at slower clock speeds. The FX5200 is built on the older 0.15 micron process and doesn't have the FX5600 Z and colour compression features, which are necessary for efficient high quality display settings.

The proof is in our test results where the PNY does quite competently in all our tests at each resolution with no FSAA or AF, scoring about half as well as an FX5600 Ultra. As soon as FSAA and AF are enabled the scores dive and make the card unusable as the frame rates are simply too low. Although the FX5200 does far better in OpenGL tests such as Serious Sam 2, it is still too slow to use with any high quality settings enabled.

PNY has used the FX5200 in a small, conventional card that has an active heatsink that covers the GPU, but doesn't extend to the Hynix memory chips.

You don't get a great deal in the package for your £90. For a start the FX5200 has dual VGA without a DVI port in sight, so there's no need for a DVI adapter. There are both an S-Video to coaxial adapter cable and an S-Video extension cable, and also a token amount of software in the shape of Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, Tribunal and TES Construction kit. There is no overclocking utility, and that's where the Verto FX5200 really needs help as it is so slow. For £5 more you could buy the Connect3D Radeon 9600, which is a far better graphics card, and you wouldn't have to step over the psychological barrier of £100.

We have little doubt that PNY will shift plenty of Verto FX5200 cards through high street shops such as PC World. The box looks good, and the twin draws of 128MB of memory and DirectX 9 compliance are also appealing, but tech savvy buyers would be well advised to steer clear of this slow and expensive graphics card.


The Connect3D Radeon 9600 is better in every respect


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