GeForce FX 5200 Core
The GeForce FX 5200 is built on TSMC’s 0.15-micron manufacturing process, just like the older GeForce4 graphics processors. Transistor count increases from 31 million in GeForce4 MX-8X to 45 million in GeForce FX 5200. This figure isn’t surprising for a value part, as a complex chip design like the 120 million transistor GeForce FX 5800 isn’t cheap to manufacture. NVIDIA’s GeForce4 and GeForce FX 5600 weigh in at 65 million and 80 million transistors respectively. So where did all the transistors go?
NVIDIA’s Intellisample anti-aliasing engine has been removed from the core, which from a hardware perspective means we lose the lossless color and z-compression present in the GeForce FX 5600 and GeForce FX 5800 series. With color compression gone, anti-aliasing performance will be hampered in comparison to the other GeForce FX models, while stripping z-compression will hurt performance in both AA as well as regular use. This also means we lose the new 6XS and 8XS anti-aliasing modes, but GeForce FX 5200 really doesn’t have the horsepower to run at these settings anyway.
The GeForce FX 5200 Ultra models
Two products have been announced within the GeForce FX 5200 family: GeForce FX 5200 and GeForce FX 5200 Ultra. Like previous NVIDIA products, the only difference between the variants is clock speed. NVIDIA hasn’t announced the final clock frequencies for GeForce FX 5200, but GeForce FX 5200 Ultra features a 325MHz core clock with 325MHz (650MHz effective) memory.
NVIDIA's vanilla GeForce FX 5200 card
Product shot of GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
Like previous GeForce architectures, the GeForce FX 5200 family utilizes DDR memory with a 128-bit memory interface. Up to 128MB of memory is supported, although we will see 64MB boards from some manufacturers.
Looking at pure fill rate and bandwidth figures, GeForce FX 5200 Ultra offers up to 10.4GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth, that’s a 2.2GB/sec increase over GeForce4 MX 440-8X, GeForce FX 5200 Ultra’s predecessor, and 1.6GB/sec more than RADEON 9000. The Ultra’s 325MHz core yields a 1.3 billion texels/sec fill rate, 200 million more than GeForce4 MX 440-8X and RADEON 9000, an improvement of 15%.
While it remains to be seen if GeForce FX 5200 Ultra provides enough power to run next-generation DX9 games at high frame rates, keep in mind that this is still more pixel-pushing muscle than any other video card in the value market that has been announced. We will have to wait and see how ATI responds with RADEON 9200. Core clock and memory frequencies have not been announced yet.