IntroductionASUS V9520/TD GeForce FX 5200 Video Card
It's nice to cover brand-new kit that's barely had the NDA wrappers taken off it. There's little doubt that we'll be eager to get our grubby hands on an NV40 sample as soon as humanly possible. Having, say, a Pentium 4 3.4GHz Extreme Edition, 1GB of Corsair's finest, Radeon 9800 XT, etc., is the aim of most enthusiasts and dreamers. The starker reality is that most high-end components are out of the price reach, well, justifiable reach, of most users. It's hard to stomache a £300 video card and £500+ CPU, really.
That's precisely why there's a huge market for sub-£100 components. They're easier to justify and can often push up an older system's performance markedly. Take the graphics card industry as a model. Current cards from ATI and NVIDIA tend to put features ahead of pure performance. DX9 compliance is a big thing. Having the ability to render lifelike effects sells more than being able to pump out 500FPS in Quake III, according to both industry heavyweights. That ethos carries on right down the respective ranges. NVIDIA's GeForce FX 5200 tacks on a Cine FX (read special effects and DX9 compliance) engine on to a GPU that will sell for around £50 in full retail form.
The compromise has to be performance, naturally, but it's impressive to see the lowest GPU in the range share most of the FX 5950 Ultra's feature set. It's been around a while, so let's take a closer look.