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Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra 128 MB AGP Graphics Card review: Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra 128 MB AGP Graphics Card

Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra 128 MB AGP Graphics Card

Daniel A. Begun
5 min read
When a relatively low-end graphics card comes close to matching the speed of the previous generation's performance leader, you know that the hardware engineers got something right. With so many iterations of the GeForce FX graphics engine hitting the market, the PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra's price tag falls somewhere above value but below the mainstream segments of the market. Despite the target-market confusion, the Verto delivers solid performance to those not concerned with playing their games at high resolutions or with advanced feature sets enabled. A complete set of cables and a full version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell complete the package. As its name implies, the Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra is driven by an Nvidia GeForce FX 5200 Ultra GPU (graphics processing unit). The 5200 Ultra GPU is positioned toward the lower end of the GeForce FX family line, with a core speed of 325MHz and 128MB of DDR SDRAM running at 325MHz. As a point of comparison, the high-end GeForce FX 5900 Ultra has a core speed of 450MHz and includes 256MB of DDR SDRAM running at 425MHz. There are a number of other architectural differences within the FX GPU family that influence performance and price.
The Verto has enough ports on its backplane to satisfy the needs of nearly any user: VGA, DVI, and S-Video out. The card also supports simultaneous dual displays and comes with a DVI-to-VGA converter to meet the needs of users who have two analog displays. As a thoughtful bonus, PNY also includes an S-Video cable.
Like many of today's powerful new graphics cards, the Verto requires an external power source. Don't have any spare power connectors available inside your system? Do not fret: PNY conveniently bundles a Y-adapter power connector, allowing you to share the power source from another component inside your PC. Before you install the card, however, make certain that your system's power supply is at least 250 watts and isn't already powering too many components, or your system might not have enough juice.
Accompanying the Verto is a detailed installation manual. We also found a separate sheet of paper in the box with instructions for users with Nvidia Nforce-based motherboards. Our testbed is such a system, and we had no trouble following the special instructions. We had significant problems, however, once the display drivers on the bundled CD were installed. The display became garbled, and we kept losing synchronization with the monitor. Ultimately, we had to uninstall the drivers in Safe mode. We then downloaded and installed the most recent version of the drivers directly from Nvidia's Web site, which ran just fine.
In addition to the drivers on CD, the Verto comes bundled with NVDVD for DVD movie viewing; Verto 3D World, a 3D desktop interface; and a full version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell game.
PNY is fully committed to the GeForce FX family; it also offers a non-Ultra version of the 5200 in both AGP and PCI flavors. For those seeking faster performance, PNY offers a GeForce FX 5600 AGP and plans to release FX 5600 Ultra and FX 5900 Ultra AGP cards by the end of June. Before GeForce FX GPUs came along, the GeForce4 Ti 4600 sat atop Nvidia's GPU hierarchy. There are still plenty of Ti 4600s on the market, and there probably will continue to be for a little while longer as Nvidia ramps up production of its FX family of chips. The low-end Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra's overall performance is very similar to that of the Ti 4600--an excellent example of how performance scales with each subsequent technology generation.
Relatively speaking, the Verto is a very fast graphics card, depending on the resolutions at which you run your games and which advanced feature sets you enable. With the rather demanding games that we use for testing, we don't recommend setting your resolution much above 1,024x768. And if you want to utilize the advanced feature sets of the card, such as antialiasing and anisotropic filtering, we recommend dropping the resolution even lower. If this doesn't wet your whistle, then you should consider a higher-end card, such as the GeForce FX 5600 or the 5900 Ultra.
The currently shipping card that comes closest to the Verto's targeted market is the ATI Radeon 9200. These two cards are not exactly in the same class, however, as the Verto is somewhat higher end and slightly more expensive than the 9200. It should be no surprise then that the Verto is consistently faster than the 9200 on all tests.
Futuremark's 3DMark03  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing  
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing and 4X anisotropic filtering  
Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 8X
PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
ATI Radeon 9200

Unreal Tournament 2003 test: Flyby-Antalus (in fps)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing  
1,024x768 with 4X antialiasing and 4X anisotropic filtering  
Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 8X
PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
ATI Radeon 9200

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell test (in fps)  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,024x768 with medium-quality settings  
1,024x768 with high-quality settings  
1,600x1,200 with medium-quality settings  
1,600x1,200 with high-quality settings  
PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
ATI Radeon 9200
Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 8X
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell was not run on the Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 8X.

Find out more about how we test graphics cards. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While PNY offers a "lifetime replacement warranty," it's not exactly what you would think. The lifetime in this case is the lifetime of the market availability for the card. So as soon as PNY no longer offers a Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra, the warranty is no longer valid. Considering how quickly the graphics card market changes, this probably translates into a one-year warranty at best. PNY offers toll-free technical support, and its support site offers a basic installation guide, an extensive FAQ, and links to Nvidia's site for driver downloads.

Verto GeForce FX 5200 Ultra 128 MB AGP Graphics Card

Score Breakdown

Setup 0Features 8Performance 8Support 7