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  Low-cost PCI-E graphics, NVIDIA GeForce 6200 
  Oct 11, 2004, 09:00am EDT 
By: Sander Sassen

Although PCs equipped with PCI-E arenít yet available as anything but a top-of-the-line PC, both ATi and Nvidia continue to debut new graphics cards equipped with this interface. A few weeks ago we saw the launch of the GeForce 6600 and 6600GT as well as the Radeon X700 Pro and X700 XT. All of these cards aim to be in the proverbial sweet spot for graphics cards as they all carry a price tag around $199. If thatís even a little over the top for your budget, Nvidia today launches the GeForce 6200, which offers the bulk of the GeForce 6-series features at a bargain price of $129. With the 6200 being a full member of the GeForce 6-series it is a genuine next generation part. ATi for example uses an older architecture on their X600 series which, at least in terms of features, canít really keep up with todayís demand in games and applications.

GeForce 6200 graphics processor

The GeForce 6200 graphics processor unit, or GPU, manufactured in 110-nm at TSMC.

Whatís missing on the GeForce 6200 is another 4-pipelines over the 6600, thus effectively making the 6200 a 4-pipeline architecture. The GeForce 6200 also has to make due without the SLI connector which enables the 6600 and 6800 series cards to virtually double their performance when two cards are used in a dual-slot x16 PCI-E motherboard. Apart from these differences the GeForce 6200 uses the same 128-bit memory interface as the 6600 series, and has built in support for SM3.0 and DirextX 9.0c. Nvidia didnít cut any corners in the video acceleration department either, offering the full set of features, including WMV9 acceleration as weíve seen from the 6600 and 6800 series.

GeForce 6200

The GeForce 6200 graphics card, featuring the PCI-E interface and DVI, D-SUB, S-video outputs.

Although Nvidia didnít cut many corners in terms of features either, they did opt to use DDR SDRAM instead of the vastly more expensive GDDR3 memory for the 6200. As seen in the photo, eight 16-bit 128Mb DRAMs in TSOP2 package are used, resulting in 128MB or memory available across a 128-bit bus. Although no specifics about the memory timings are given, the DRAMs used are able to run at a variety of CAS-latencies up to 2-2-2. With a core clock of 300 MHz and a memory clock of 275 MHz the 6200 runs a good 40% slower than the 6600GT. This does however mean that 1600x1200 resolution isnít feasible for the 6200, 1280x1024 or 1024x768 however are, which will enable you to run games like Doom3, Far Cry, etc. with sufficient frame rates to make the game playable.

GeForce 6200 memory

The memory used on the GeForce 6200, in this case Hynix 128Mb DRAMs in TSOP2 packaging.

As for benchmark scores, or our findings with the GeForce 6200, we unfortunately have to disappoint you for now. Nvidia wasnít able to send us a card for evaluation on time, as we understood no-one in Europe has had access to a GeForce 6200 just yet. The only GeForce 6200s that went out are in the hands of the North-American press. We will update this article with detailed scores soon, but for the time being weíd like to forward you to our American colleagues that have the full story.

Sander Sassen.

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