AOpen GeForce FX5200: PASSIVE COOLING!

Here’s a tip for noise-weary gamers like myself: the AOpen “Aeolus” GeForce FX5200 doesn’t have a noisy fan!

Instead, two big heatsinks cover both the GPU and the memory. It’s cheap, too, like most FX5200 cards (109 euro locally) and even comes with TV-Out and DVI connectors. No software other than drivers but who needs old demo games anyway?

There might be other FX5200 cards out there that use passive cooling, following the footsteps of the MX series cards. Right now these cards are the best choice for silent systems, unless you want to install your own video card heatsink.

How fast are the 5200 cards? Equivalent to a GF3?

–Dave

They are something like 10-50% faster than a 440 MX (which was the non-sucking MX variant), and perhaps by the same factor slower than a Ti 4200. I haven’t seen a direct comparison to Ti3 cards but it’s probably about the same speed, based on the 440/4200 comparisons.

Anyway, I tried booting up the Rise of Nations trial (at 1280x1024x32) and it’s completely smooth now, noticeably faster than with my old 440 MX. I’ll have to see how the speed holds up with lots of units onscreen.

I’ve already installed the new 44.03 drivers which are supposed to include FX optimizations, though. The 440 MX was running with the 43.45 drivers. Some hardware site will probably soon post FX benchmarks with the 44.03 drivers – if the FX5200 does get another speed boost the value/money ratio should be pretty much unbeatable.

Hmmm…ok. I’m still running a GeForce2 GTS with an Athlon 1700+. I haven’t really run into a game that’s caused me problems. Some games I run at lower resolutions but that’s no big deal to me. I was just curious about where this card fits in the grand scheme of things since I know I’ll need a new video card to play some of these upcoming games at a reasonable framerate.

I’d prefer to keep my cost down too. There’s way too many games for GC/PS2/PC that I’d like to play and I prefer to spend the money on games and not hardware. I’m really tired of the PC upgrade game. :?

–Dave

The 5200 cards look like a waste to me. What good is DX9 support if the card is so crippled speed wise you have to turn the effects to the minimum.

You don’t buy them for the DX9 support, you buy them because they’re cheap… and still fast enough for the casual gamer.

If I have understood the reviews correctly the Gf4 ti4200 is cheap as well and about twice as fast. The situations where 5200 could be faster included AA and ansisotropic filtering and those are probably not features you could use with any of these cards (and still have playable framerates).

If you want a good, fanless card there is always the Sapphire 9700Pro Ultimate, but it’s not cheap of course. I have a fanless Gf3ti200 and I have thought about upgrading it, but the 5200 or the ATI 9200 aren’t much faster so I think I will wait for a while.

Twice as fast? It’s faster but I don’t recall the difference being nearly as big, in most tests anyway. It’s also significantly more expensive from what I’ve seen, around 150-200 euros depending on the maker and feature set. And I’ve never seen a Ti4200 with passive cooling, or I’d already have one… :?

If you want a good, fanless card there is always the Sapphire 9700Pro Ultimate, but it’s not cheap of course. I have a fanless Gf3ti200 and I have thought about upgrading it, but the 5200 or the ATI 9200 aren’t much faster so I think I will wait for a while.

Now that you mention it, I think I saw that card mentioned in a magazine a while ago but then couldn’t find any place that actually sold it. Where did you get yours?

And I agree that “upgrading” the Ti200 to an FX5200 wouldn’t make much sense. Like I said, my previous card was an MX440 so the difference is quite noticeable. I’ve also played a couple of full RON games with the new card, and I no longer got the slowdowns as with the MX440, FWIW.

I think one thing to keep in mind is Longhorn. Even though it’s still 2005, the really high-end version of the interface will require a DX9 card, because of the way basically every window will be a 3D “image”… the graphic card will handle drawing each of your individual windows, even Word or Outlook or Photoshop and anything you think is 2D… that will allow for some pretty insane things that you can do. Like blowing up a DVD movie window to full screen and then making it half transparent, allowing you to do still do your work while the movie is playing over the screen. Now that may not sound practical, but that’s just an idea of what the possibilities thanks to everything being handled by the graphics card.

If you don’t have a DX9 card, Longhorn will default to 2D Windows, but if you have a DX9 card, it’s going to look pretty cool. The Mac fanboys keep saying MS is ripping off Quartz Extreme, but the fact is that it’s been documented that MS has been working on this for a couple of years now, and what they have in mind is a light year beyond what Apple did with Quartz.

So it will be just catching up to a highly configured X-desktop? Well, it’s about time I guess.

“Twice as fast? It’s faster but I don’t recall the difference being nearly as big, in most tests anyway. It’s also significantly more expensive from what I’ve seen, around 150-200 euros depending on the maker and feature set. And I’ve never seen a Ti4200 with passive cooling, or I’d already have one…”

Your mixing versions here with your prices and cooling vs performance. The passive cooling, $80 FX cards are the regular ones not the ‘Ultra’ versions. The 4200 may not be quite twice as fast as the FX Ultra but it will easily trounce vs non-Ultra ones. I’d probably still recommend a GF3 Ti 500 at a similar price range instead of a FX 5200(non-ultra) based card in the sub $100 range.

I haven’t seen a fanless 4200 either, but I have seen 4200 based cards for around 120 euros, which is pretty good considering its performance. The 4200 is not twice as fast as the 5200 Ultra but it’s close for certain games like UT2003 without AA & Aniso (65,3 vs 38,3 and 46,7 vs 28 for different maps). From this I guessed that it should be considerably faster than 5200 for games where you don’t use dx9 or AA/Aniso.

I have a Leadtek, I found it on datorbutiken.

Huh. I wasn’t aware that there were actually two different versions of each FX card. I’ve never seen a benchmark test both Ultra and non-Ultra versions of the same FX chipset, so I thought it was just a marketing suffix that some vendors dropped.

If only the regular ones come with passive cooling then the point is moot for me anyway, but the puzzling fact does persist that Rise of Nations runs smoothly now where it stuttered before. If there was a significant difference between the Ultra and the non-Ultra FX5200 I should barely see any difference to the MX440 but I do.

Maybe it’s those new 44.03 drivers. I’m downloading the current versions of 3DMark 2001 and 2003 as I type, and then I’ll compare against the test results for the FX5200 Ultra with older drivers that I’ve seen.

Some benchmark results…

Intel Pentium 4, 2400 GHz, 1 GB RDRAM-800, AGP 4x, and GeForce FX 5200 as mentioned, with “High Performance” selected in display settings.

3DMark 2001 SE (build 330): 4646
1024x768x32, Z-buffer 24, compressed textures, double buffered, 60 Hz, no FSAA, game sound & music on, game details low

3DMark 2003: 964
1024x768x32 (?), no pixel processing, optimal texture filtering, max anisotropy 4, optimal vertex shaders

Those were the default options for each tests. The programs were the current free/unregistered versions which I just downloaded.

The problem is, these numbers are bunk. Tom’s Hardware lists results for a FX 5200 Ultra on an Athlon XP 2700+ that are twice as high than mine. I don’t know if they had different test options or if the Athlon is so much faster (it shouldn’t be); I would find it hard to believe that the Ultra version is actually twice as fast, especially since that would make my card slower than my old MX440 which it definitely isn’t.

I don’t know much about video card technology so all I can do at this point is shrug and reiterate that I’m happy with this card. If any of the resident hardware gurus can tell me exactly how to set the test options to get a meaningful result I’d be happy to rerun the tests, though.

Have you checked the quality settings in the nVidia display properties? They seem to override the 3DMark 2003 settings and can therefore give you too low results.

On my system (AMD 2200+, Ti 4600, 266 MHz DDR) I get 1750 3DMarks with the default nVidia settings and only 700 with the settings I usually use (Quincunx anti-aliasing, 4x aniso, sharper textures).

Yes, the quality settings on my display properties are all set to maximum performance… hmm, except for mip-mapping which is set to high details. But isn’t that a setting that should be left at this position? The main page settings are all off (filtering, anti-aliasing, texture sharpening, and IntelliSample).

Hmm… yes, mip-mapping should be high details.
Assuming that you really have the same card Tom’s Hardware used, I’m fresh out of ideas. But as long as games run well enough, who cares about 3DMark :)

[i]"Intel Pentium 4, 2400 GHz, 1 GB RDRAM-800, AGP 4x, and GeForce FX 5200 as mentioned, with “High Performance” selected in display settings.

3DMark 2001 SE (build 330): 4646
1024x768x32, Z-buffer 24, compressed textures, double buffered, 60 Hz, no FSAA, game sound & music on, game details low "

Well Toms numbers seem to be similar to other sites. Just as a note to kinda show my point about the 5200(at least the non-ultra) just as being too “crippled” IMO. On my XP 2100+, 512MB, GF3 Ti500 system I can get about 9000 in 3DMark 2001.

Heh. And now when you look at Tom’s, guess what result you should get on that system? On an Athlon XP 2000+ (nearly the same as yours), they measured 7783 at 1024x768x32!

In the same test, they noted 5653 for an MX 440, whereas the FX 5200 on my faster system ([email protected] w/RDRAM) scored only 4646… right, that must be why it eliminated all stuttering in Rise of Nations! :shock:

Maybe these benchmarks are useful if you actually measure all cards on exactly the same system. But it seems pretty clear by now that comparing numbers for even slightly different systems is so pointless that you might just as well make up those numbers.

You can use Futuremark’s Search & Compare page to find 3DMark scores for systems similar to your own.