GeForce FX 5200 Ultra Performance Analysis

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GeForce FX 5200 Ultra Performance Analysis
Detailed Benchmarks With NVIDIA's Value Gaming Card

By - Marco Chiappetta and Dave Altavilla
March 12, 2003

 

For our next test, we used Futuremark's controversial benchmark, 3DMark 2003.  NVIDIA's concerns over the validity of 3DMark03 are well documented, so we won't rehash the arguments here.  With that said, however, over 2.5 million people have downloaded this benchmark since its release last month.  Two and a half million people can't be wrong...can they?

Benchmarks With 3DMark03
The Controversial Synthetic DX9 Benchmark

Don't read into the overall 3DMark score, the individual game results and feature tests tell the real story.  In the DX7 Game Test 1 - Wings of Fury, the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra just barely missed breaking the 100 FPS barrier.  From that point forward though, things took a dramatic turn for the worse.  In game tests 2 and 3, the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra couldn't hit 10FPS, and in game test 4, 10.1 FPS was the average.  So what does this mean?  Well, it's too early to say.  If future games come out using the rendering methods employed by Futuremark, the 5200 Ultra may not be very future proof.  The more important point to make is that ATi's current offering of budget graphics cards can't even complete all of the tests that comprise 3DMark03.  The Radeon 9000, 9100 and 9200 are only DX8 parts.  NVIDIA should be given some praise for bringing the full DX9 feature set to such an affordable price point.

Head-to-Head / Performance With Comanche 4
DirectX Helicopter Combat Sim

Novalogic's Comanche 4 Benchmark, although highly CPU bound, can show significant variances in performance, at higher resolutions, especially when AA and Anisotropic Filtering are enabled.  We've stuck to 1024X768 and above here, for our testing purposes.  This benchmark utilizes DirectX 8 Pixel and Vertex Shader effects as well.

 

An interesting and clear picture is painted here for the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra.  Without Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering enabled, the Radeon 9000 Pro took the lead and began to walk away at higher resolutions.  However, enable these image quality enhancements and the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra takes the lead handily.  This brings to mind a couple of issues with the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra, namely, immature drivers and or perhaps, less robust pixel and vertex shader engines.  Frankly, neither of these two cards handle this benchmark all that well but at 1024X768, the game is playable.  A 2.4GHz Pentium 4 should be enough horsepower for this benchmark as well, so we're confident that is not the issue.  Finally, the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra does show us here that it has a significantly better optimized AA engine, such that it can almost double the Radeon 9000s performance with AA enabled.

Benchmarks / Comparison With Unreal Tournament 2003
Maximum Eye Candy

With Antialiasing and Anisotropic filtering disabled, the Radeon 9000 Pro held a significant lead over the GeForce FX 5200 Ultra.  We can't say how that performance deltas would have changed with AA and Aniso enabled, however, because we could not complete a round a of time-demos with the Radeon, with AA and Aniso turned on.  The benchmark would cause a BSOD about a minute into the test.  We were using a completely clean system with a fresh install of Windows XP, and the latest Catalyst drivers...  It seems ATi still has a bit of driver tweaking to do as well.  Like all of the other tests, we suspect the GeForce FX would have run away with these settings, once AA and Aniso was enabled.  We can't say that officially until we can complete a round of benchmarks with the 9000 Pro though...

 

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