VGA Card Buyer's Guide 07/2003

NVIDIA's Current Product Family

GeForceFX 5200

With the NV34, NVIDIA introduces DirectX 9 features into the low-budget market segment and replaces the GeForce4 MX (DirectX 7) line of chips. As far as DirectX features are concerned, the FX 5200 offers everything its bigger brothers offer. However, NVIDIA has reduced the number of pixel pipelines to four. The memory interface also differs from that of the other FX cards, as the 5200 is still equipped with GeForce4 Ti memory technology. The vertex shader performance has been limited as well. The 45 million transistor chip is produced on a 0.15µ process.

Considering the chip's limited performance and its comparatively low clock speeds, the DirectX 9 support is more of a paper feature than a real bonus. In practice, the chip is simply too slow for DirectX 9 calculations at resolutions of 1024x768 and above. Thanks to the memory interface it has inherited from the GeForce4 Ti, as well as its average anisotropic (trilinear) filtering performance, the chip nonetheless offers very solid performance for an entry-level chip. Beware the cheaper non-Ultra versions, though - some are only equipped with slower, 64 bit memory chips.


  • GeForceFX 5200 64/128 MB 128 bit DDR (250/ 400); official price: $99.
  • GeForceFX 5200 Ultra 128 MB 128 bit DDR (325/ 650); official price: $149.