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Budget-minded graphics cards aren't trotted out with a lot of fanfare, and the ATI Radeon 9200 is a typical bare-bones example. The card comes with a driver CD, an installation manual, and little else. The card features VGA, composite, and S-Video outputs. Although it supports simultaneous dual displays, the second is destined to be a TV and not a second CRT. Other budget cards, such as the "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Epny%2Ecom%2Fproducts%2Fverto%2FgeForceFx%2F5200agp%2Ecfm" target="_blank">PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 AGP, support simultaneous CRTs.
The Radeon 9200 uses 128MB of 200MHz DDR SDRAM and is powered by a 250MHz Radeon 9200 GPU. Although its specs and price are modest in stature, the Radeon 9200 is still a full-height card. Because the memory is positioned along the back end of the card, it can't utilize a half-height design, which will keep it from populating some small-form-factor desktops. It is possible that Radeon 9200-based solutions from other manufacturers might come in a half-height format, perhaps populated by only 64MB of memory.
Radeon 9200 GPU-based cards are starting to become available from other vendors, including "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Ftw%2Egiga%2Dbyte%2Ecom%2F" target="_blank">Gigabyte and "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Epower%2Dcolor%2Ecom" target="_blank">Power Color. In the coming weeks, a slightly speedier version, the Radeon 9200 Pro, is due out from ATI and other manufacturers, such as "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehightech%2Ecom%2Ehk%2Fhtml%2Findex%2Ehtml" target="_blank">Hightech Information Systems. ATI has yet to publicly release the technical specifications of the Radeon 9200 Pro.
In the not-so-distant past, the level of performance you could expect from a value graphics card was minimal at best. The current generation of value cards, on the other hand, delivers 3D graphics performance worth noting. Obviously, these cards donÃ‚'t provide the kind of performance a game enthusiast would demand, yet they donÃ‚'t cost anywhere near as much as high-end cards do, either.
The Radeon 9200 represents ATIÃ‚'s current-generation entry-level graphics card. Cards based on NvidiaÃ‚'s GeForce FX 5200 GPU, such as the "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Epny%2Ecom%2Fproducts%2Fverto%2FgeForceFx%2F5200agp%2Ecfm" target="_blank">PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 AGP. Unlike the GeForce FX 5200, the Radeon 9200 does not have full DX9 hardware support. This doesnÃ‚'t mean that the Radeon 9200 wonÃ‚'t play DX9 games when they eventually come out; rather, the 9200 wonÃ‚'t support some of the DX9-specific features that the new games use.
The Radeon 9200 does not support 4X antialiasing (AA) at resolutions higher than 1,280x1,024, which is a limitation weÃ‚'d chalk up to the card being in the value category if not for the fact that the GeForce FX 5200 does support this feature at high resolutions. ItÃ‚'s not as dire as it might seem: on our tests, at resolutions above 1,024x768 with advanced features enabled, the Radeon 9200Ã‚'s performance dropped to frame rates too low for acceptable playback, but we experienced the same issue with the GeForce FX 5200. If you want to use the Radeon 9200Ã‚'s image-quality-enhancing AA and anisotropic filtering (AF) features, we recommend using a resolution of 800x600 to abate the performance hit that the advanced features sets enact at higher resolutions.
On CNET LabsÃ‚' 3DMark03 and Unreal Tournament 2003 tests, the GeForce FX 5200 showed a significant performance edge over the Radeon 9200 at a resolution of 1,024x768. The advantage increased even more when advanced feature sets were enabled--on the Unreal tests with 4X AA and 4X AF enabled, the GeForce FX 5200 was roughly twice as fast as the Radeon 9200. Performance varies with the application, however, as we saw a much tighter race with our Splinter Cell tests: the Radeon 9200 put out a slightly better showing when we used the testÃ‚'s medium-quality settings.
|Futuremark's 3DMark03 (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
|Unreal Tournament 2003 test: Flyby-Antalus (in fps) (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
|Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell test (in fps) (Longer bars indicate better performance)|
Find out more about how we test graphics cards.
ATI backs the Radeon 9200 with a three-year limited warranty. If you need to return the card to ATI for repair or replacement, you can fill out the difficult to locate "--="">&siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fapps%2Eati%2Ecom%2Frma%2Frma%2Ehtml" target="_blank">Warranty Service Request on ATI's Web site. Alternatively, you can call ATI's toll number for the first 30 days following online registration; after the first 30 days, telephone support is available via a 900-number for $1.25 per minute. ATI's Web site includes driver downloads, e-mail support, user guides, installation tips, technical issues, and FAQs.