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Appeared on: Thursday, May 26, 2005
Inno3D 6200A


1. Introduction

InnoVision is a manufacturer of a wide range of products including graphics cards, audio cards. motherboards and peripherals. In the graphics section, InnoVision is the owner of the Inno3D brand name covering Nvidia based cards from GeForce 2 to the latest GeForce 6 product family.

InnoVision was kind enough to supply us with their new generation entry level model for AGP motherboards, the Inno3D 6200A.

The card costs around $60 USD and is supposed to deliver more performance than other low-end cards even though it's memory bandwidth is just 64-bit against the 128-bit we're used to.

- Packaging/Bundle

Inside the package you'll discover a "FREE" version of Futuremark's latest graphics benchmark studio, 3DMark05. InnoVision is probably so certain about the card's performance that provides you with 3DMark05 to check the card for yourself. We'll see how well the 6200A can perform in this test later on.

InterVideo's WinDVD and WinDVD Creator, along with a drivers CD concludes the bundled software for the 6200A. WinDVD is a regular DVD Player while WinDVD Creator is an authoring software for DVD/VCDs.

Finally, a DVI-to-VGA adaptor, a printout of the user's manual and a VIVO cable will also be found inside the box.


2. Features

Features

Main Features
GPU Nvidia 6200 - NV44A
Memory Brand/Model Hynix HY5DU561622CT-4
Memory Type 128 MB 64-bit DDR
Engine Clock Speed 350MHz
Memory Clock Speed 250MHz (500MHz effective)
Memory Bandwidth 4 GB/sec
Pixel Pipelines 4
Vertex Pipelines 3
Fill rate 1.4 Giga pixels /sec
DX Support 9.0
OpenGL Support 1.5
Output VGA / DVI-I / D-Sub
Bus AGP 4X/8X
Processing technology 0.11 micron

The 6200A utilizes NVidia's AGP version of the originally PCI-Express 6200 core, NV44A. The NV44A being redesigned by Nvidia, offers native AGP bus support, without the need of a PCI-E to AGP bridge that could possibly lower performance. However there's still one more difference against the NV43 that might disappoint a few.

6200A-named cards are now protected by softmods, meaning that you can no longer activate disabled pipelines using some software to boost your card's performance. This was possible with some NV43 GPUs, where you could unlock 4 more pipelines that where secretly located in the core.

In case you wonder how this was possible, read this. Nvidia and ATi don't really throw away GPUs that they find out to be defective using their core verification process. Instead they disable some of the pipelines and if the resulting processor is operating they use it to power one of their cheaper cards.

The NV44A features 4 pixel and 3 vertex pipelines which is somehow typical for an entry level card. However when it comes to memory bandwidth the card is bad news. The 64-bit memory bus along with the low memory clock frequency result in a bandwidth of just 4 GB/sec.


NVIDIA® CineFX™ 3.0 Engine :
Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 Shader Model 3.0
Produces gaming effects on par with the hottest motion pictures.
Combined with 128-bit studio-quality color provides high precision computation and produces the resulting image with best quality.

NVIDIA® Intellisample™ 3.0 Technology :
Intellisample's intelligent antialiasing captures a higher-resolution version of each image, then resizes and resamples it for output to your screen, reducing "jaggies" and smoothing away imperfections
New rotated-grid antialiasing removes jagged edges for incredible edge quality
Deliver unprecedented visual quality for resolutions up to 1600x1280 with antialiasing

NVIDIA® UltraShadow™ II Technology :
Enhances the performance of bleeding-edge games that feature complex scenes with multiple light sources and objects.
Speed up the processing of shadows much quickly by discarding non-useful information
Complex shadow effects are now available at high frame rates

The Ultimate Multi-Display Solution with nVIDIA® nView Display Technology :
NVIDIA's nView hardware and software technology combination leverages nVIDIA's industry-leading hardware and software expertise to deliver multi-display functionality of immense flexibility. nView incorporates built-in attribute and performance tuning for each of the different display devices - including CRTs, Televisions, and flat panel LCDs - and provides for completely intuitive and flexible work environments.

Dual, 400MHz RAMDAC's for display resolutions up to and including 2048x1536 @85Hz.
Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder support resolutions up to 1024x768 without the need for panning with built-in Macrovision copy protection.
DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
DVI support for compatibility with next-generation flat panel displays with resolutions up to and including 1600x1200.


3. A closer look

The Inno3D 6200A is built on a black PCB as you can see below.

The front side of the card.(click for hi-res).

A shiny metal heatsink does all the cooling the card needs, so the card remains noiseless. Except from the NV44A, the heatsink also covers two of the card's memory banks even though it doesn't really touch them.

The back side of the card (click for hi-res)

Two more memory banks can be found at the back side of the 6200A. As you can see the memory type is the HY5DU561622CT-4 by hynix. This memory has a theoretical speed of 4ns which results in 250MHz (500MHz effective), the exact frequency being used by the card. This might be a constraint for our overclocking effort as we won't be able to make this memory run much faster than that.

One VGA, a single D-sub and a DVI-I output found on the card's rear

The card's output consists of one VGA, one DVI-I and one S-Video.


4. Test System

Processor: AMD 3800+
Case: Antec 1080AMG
Motherboard: Asus A8V Deluxe
Memory: 2x512MB OCZ PC-4200 Memory
Hard Disk Drive: WD800JD 80GB 7200RPM
CD-RW: LiteOn LTR-52246S
PowerSupply: Levicom 500Watt
Microsoft WindowsXP Pro SP1
DirectX v9.0c



Benchmarking Software
3DMark05,03,01
Codecreatures Benchmark Pro
AquaMark3 v3.0
ATiTool 0.0.23
Farcry v1.3
CounterStrike Source
Doom 3
Thief 3
Ground Control II
Colin McRae '05

In order to measure this card's performance we'll compare it with another 2 PCI-Express entry-level cards.


5. 3DMark05

With 3DMark05, Futuremark continues the tradition in its benchmarking software by providing a state-of-the-art Microsoft ® DirectX ® 9 3D performance benchmark.
3DMark05 is an all new 3DMark version making the most of Microsoft's DirectX 9. The previous version 3DMark03, did a nice introduction into this level of technology. However 3DMark03 used DirectX 9 specific features in a limited manner, because fully supporting hardware was rare at the time of its launch. In contrast, 3DMark05 requires DirectX 9 hardware with full support for at least Shader Model 2, and takes shader usage to never before seen levels.
Just like its predecessors, 3DMark05's point system is set so that at the moment of release, the high-end VGA cards available in stores can only score around 5000 3DMarks, whereas the worst card that meets the programs requirements yields a score of 1000.

Game Test 1 -Return to Proxycon

Click to enlargeBeing the sequel to the "Battle of Proxycon" from 3DMark03, in "Return to Proxycon" we're once again set in space and the battle continues as space pirates invade a cargo ship in order to take control of its valuable cargo.

This test, tries to simulate a future first-person shooter game with all the high details that entails. The dynamic shadows, high-detailed environment and advanced lighting techniques ensure that under normal circumstances, no recent card can run it with decent frame rates.

 

Game Test 2 - Firefly Forest

Click to enlargeA forest gets filled with magic fireflies in the night. The moon is nearly full, illuminating the forest with a bluish faint light. The magic fireflies have flickering bright green lights that playfully move around the forest.

This scene is a nice example of a smaller scale outdoor scene with rich vegetation. Immediate visibility is not so far, and there is a skybox surrounding the whole scene.

A large number of trees with their branches swinging separately, and dense vegetation being dynamically distributed according to the camera movements, make this test the most demanding of the three.

 

Game Test 3 - Canyon Flight

Click to enlargeA Jules Verne type airship flies through a canyon guarded by a dangerous sea monster. The airmen defend their ship using heavy cannons, but these seem to have no effect on the huge sea monster. Finally the crew manages a narrow escape using the "last resort" afterburners of the airship.

This scene is fairly complex with large areas of water reflecting the high canyon walls. The water actually is one of the key points of interest in this scene. The water not only does realistic looking reflections and refractions, it has a depth fog, making the sea monster swimming under the airship actually look deep down in the water. The air in this scene also uses a volumetric fog, making distant cliffs of the canyon really look far away.

Even though all cards failed to output a sufficient number of frames per second, the one-eyed leads the blind and the 6200A topped the other two cards. The difference was still very fragile with 0.3, 0.8 and 0.6 at each of the game tests.

Final Score

 3DMarks on 3DMark05 are now calculated by the following formula:

(Game Test 1 * Game Test 2 * Game Test 3)^0.33 * 250

That's basically the geometric mean of the total frames in each game multiplied by 250. This means that all game tests are now equal.

As the 6200A performed better in all game tests, it consequently got the highest 3DMark05 score with 1319. The 6200TC finished second with 1165 and the X300 last barely passing the 1000 3dmarks barrier.


6. 3DMark03

3D Mark is a widely used and accepted benchmark that stresses the DirectX performance of a VGA card. A very strong point of 3DMark is that it's VGA card measuring is does not require any CPU power. So the resulting fps are a good reference a VGA card's rendering performance. For testing the performance of each card we used the 4 game benchmarks 3DMark has.

3Dmark03 also includes sound and CPU tests as well as some other feature tests.

- Game Test 1 - Wings of Fury (DX7)

This test is a combat flight simulator written for older hardware (DirectX 7). Particles are used a lot in this test - smoke and vapor trails, flak and gunfire, and explosions are produced using point sprites and quads.

- Game Test 2 - Battle of Proxycon (DX8)

This test is a simulation of first person shooter game types. 1.1 and 1.4 Vertex shaders are widely used since all character models are skinned using vertex shaders.This makes this test a good vertex shader comparison for VGA cards.

- Game Test 3 - Trolls' Lair (DX8)

This test should be the favorite of all RPG lovers. It is a cut scene of a female warrior facing two malicious trolls. Again the same vertex and pixel processing is used as in game test 2.

This test also uses post-processing effects, such as Depth of Field and Bloom effects which are widely used in today's game cut scene sequences.

- Game Test 4 - Mother Nature (DX9)

Mother nature represents the level of effects and realism that are possible using 2.0 vertex and pixel shaders, plus some other features that DirectX 9 offers.

The rankings change, according to 3DMark03 as the 6200A no longer delivered the highest framerate in any of the game tests. The turbo cache version of 6200 although failing the first test, it managed to get the most fps out of the final three.

- 3DMark Official score

If you test your machine with 3DMark, you can post the results at 3DMark's online result browser. For more information visit futuremark.com.

The final score in 3DMark03 indicates the 6200TC as the best card, but the difference is so small that by no means this benchmark is enough.


7. Aquamark3 / 3DMark 2001

Since the majority of today's applications and games are compatible with DirectX 9, the need of benchmark applications that use DX 9 has been brought up. The benchmark uses the 3D engine (Krass engine) of the Aquanox game.

Aquamark Triscore

The Aquamark Triscore comprises 3 values: the overall system performance, the performance of the graphics system and the CPU performance. Keep in mind that this is not the total result of the tests, but the result of the whole benchmark process including all 9 chapters.

3DMark 2001

3DMark 2001 is the predecessor to 3DMark03. It's mainly a directx8.1 benchmark and the score depends a lot on the CPU power of your computer. However for reference use only we decided it'd be best to just leave it in our benchmark list so you can compare the next generation cards with the possibly outdated you have at home.


8. Codecreatures

CodeCreatures is a synthetic 3D benchmark that is a good reference for VGA performance comparison. This is a high-end 3D benchmark that also requires DirectX 8 hardware, making a good tool for measuring the potential of DirectX 8 game performance.

The Codecreatures benchmark is written with Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 API and incorporates the use of Vertex and PixelShaders popular on next generation 3D accelerators.

The benchmark plays a photo-realistic nature scene and calculates the performance of the graphics adapter by measuring the fps that it can display at 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 resolutions.

-Codecreatures number

The codecreatures number is the resulting score of the total benchmarking process and is basically the geometric mean of the three frame rates multiplied by 100.

Codecreature seems to agree with the previous 3 benchmarks and the 6200TC got once again the highest score with a much more obvious difference.


9. Half life 2

Half life 2 is no doubt the most anticipated pc game of all times. Gamers keeping the excellence of Half Life 1 in their mind as well as the remarkable E3 demo preview, have been anxiously waiting for the much delayed release of HL2.

Characters - Advanced facial animation system delivers the most sophisticated in-game characters ever seen. With 40 distinct facial "muscles," human characters convey the full array of human emotion, and respond to the player with fluidity and intelligence.

Physics - From pebbles to water to 2-ton trucks, all respond as expected obeying the laws of mass, friction, gravity and buoyancy.

Graphics - Source's shader-based renderer, like the one used at Pixar to create movies such as Toy Story® and Monster's, Inc.®, creates the most beautiful and realistic environments ever seen in a video game.

AI - Neither friends nor enemies charge blindly into the fray. They can assess threats, navigate tricky terrain, and fashion weapons from whatever is at hand.

To measure performance we used the Video Stress Test(VST) that is available in the CounterStrike:Source beta available through Steam. We set all the details to the highest level and each time changed the resolution from 800x600 up to 1600x1200.

Even though all cards ran the benchmark with similar framerates, it looks like there's a difference at 1280x1024 where the X300 leads by 8-10 fps.

Enabling Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic-Filtering, the NVidia cards succumb and only the X300 can come up with satisfactory performance.


10. Doom 3

A massive demonic invasion has overwhelmed the Union Aerospace Corporations? (UAC) Mars Research Facility leaving only chaos and horror in its wake. As one of the few survivors, you struggle with shock and fear as you fight your way to Hell and back, in an epic clash against pure evil. Activision made it's miracle again with Doom 3 which is said to be the best-looking game ever, thanks to the brand-new OpenGL graphics engine used to generate its convincingly lifelike, densely atmospheric, and surprisingly expansive environments. If you are a fan of the previous Doom games then you will get many flashbacks with this revision, since you will find reimagined versions of almost every monster from both Doom and Doom II.

To measure performance on the game we used the timedemo demo1 command from the console (Alt+Ctrl+~).
Enabling the high quality setting and executing the timedemo demo1 command twice for each resolution, we witnessed the following:
First, without the Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering settings enabled, we got the following results:

As you can see, Doom 3 requirements are still too much for the low-end graphics cards to handle. No card managed to get the benchmark average above 30fps but the game is still playable in full detail if you choose one of the lower resolutions. Lowering the details however is strongly suggested if you really want to enjoy the game. There is really no need to measure performance with AA and AF with these cards. If you're not really convinced, all we have to say is that when we enabled these settings, the 6200A ran the Doom 3 menu at 5fps.


11. Far Cry

You are Jack Carver running your own boat charter business in beautiful Micronesia. With a past best left behind you, you'll be focusing on your present assignment: escorting an ambitious journalist named Valerie Cortez to the Island of Cabatu. It seems like a piece of cake, but you'll soon learn: paradise can be hell.

Farcry is an awesome First Person Shooter (FPS) based on a last generation 3D engine named as CryEngine. Real-time editing, bump-mapping, static lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features that the CryEngine offers.

A great advantage and strong point of the CryEngine is its physics system which supports character inverse kinematics, vehicles, rigid bodies, liquid, rag doll, cloth and body effects. All physics seem to be very realistic and you never get bored when facing enemies, since character models have multiple animations that blend in believable ways.

With an integrated shader system and a massive terrain which maximizes the view distance to 2km, these features make Farcry a perfect action game and also a referable benchmark to speak of.

- Benchmark Settings

For this game we recorded a custom demo from the start of the Rebellion stage. We chose an indoor scene in order to avoid getting the CPU-bound effect. This will result in slightly higher results since it is also less GPU intensive, but we can't afford being stuck at 40-50 fps because of our CPU.

The latest patch (1.3) was used for our tests which updates the game's graphics engine to use the 3.0 Shader model. This option is only supported for the 6800 series.

The resolutions we ran the demo under, are the following: 800x600,1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200.

All tests were taken with Jack's flashlight off as the cards performance drops a lot otherwise.

The 6200A leads the low-end trio under all of the resolutions. With 39fps at 1024x768, this resolution is the optimal for this card even though you can still play the game at 1280x1024 if you really need to.


12. Thief 3

Instead of Deus Ex from now on we'll be testing our cards using Thief 3. It's based on the same engine but it's much less GPU intensive and playable by more VGA cards than Deus.

The game makes severe use of Pixel Shader 1.1 instructions, the bloom effect and stencil shadows to achieve a wonderful result in your screen.

In the game you play the part of Master Thief Garrett who is back to rule out any evil forces using his unique stealth abilities. Deadly Shadows shows what stealth gameplay is all about. This game really gives you the feel of sneaking around and holding your breath when stuck in a sticky situation.

Since there is no official benchmark for the game, we'll do our tests using a GPU intensive scene from the tutorial-level which we believe that represents the average fps you'll get when playing the game.

 

 

Thief 3 is a torture test for graphics cards. All lower class cards fail to provide stable performance in this benchmark when selecting full details from the settings menu.

Only the X300 could come up with enough power to run this game. The two 6200's yield approximately 60% of the X300's performance, resulting in unacceptable framerates below 20 fps, even at 640x480.


13. Colin McRae 05

For all you racing fans out there, this test is for you and will represent the Racing game category in our benchmarks.

From the graphics point of view the first thing you'll notice in the game is the excellent amount detail of your racing car. High resolution textures on the car and lighting make it quite impressive. All the eye candy such as the sun reflection in the virtual camera are still the same as the older CM versions but motion blur has been added when your card hits something hard which will happen most often if you're new to the racing simulation world.

To measure performance on the game we used fraps to get the average fps of the whole 8th stage of UK which is actually the only stage you get to play on the demo.

In Colin McRae 2005, the X300 once again got the highest framerates. The difference starts off at 11-12fps and slowly declines to 1-3fps. The AGP 6200A could not yield enough fps to avoid 3rd place and the 6200TC climbs up to second by only a couple of fps.

Enabling 4x Anti-Aliasing and 8x Anisotropic Filtering to increase image quality is catastrophic for the NVidia cards as their performance drops to half that of the X300's.


14. Ground Control II

Ground Control 2 is an action-oriented game of tactics and warfare. As Captain Jacob Angelus of the Northern Star Alliance, you will command squads of infantry, artillery, and airpower against the might of the Empire of Terra. Base building and resource-collecting are replaced with unit control and combat tactics where your knowledge of the battlefield maneuvers will make the difference in your fight against a ruthless enemy. Position your troops on hilltops for better aim or inside buildings and forests for protection as you'll need to use every inch of terrain to your advantage.

For our benchmarks, we used the highest possible settings on the first mission of the single player game and moved around the camera to get an average frame rate using fraps.

Ground Control II offers really impressive graphics without requiring much GPU power. Click on the picture above to view a screenshot from the game. Check out these excellent water effects!

 

In Ground Control II, the 6200's make a satisfactory comeback. The 6200A now leads the race with the 6200TC second and the X300 in last position. Increasing the resolution of course decreases performance and therefore the difference between the cards vanishes when we reach 1600x1200.

Setting AA to 4x and AF to 8x, the X300 comes up with just 12fps at 800x600 but as expected, it doesn't decrease as much as the Nvidia cards do. Consequently,. their headstart is lost once we set the resolution to 1024x768 and the X300 takes top position from that point on. Note however that none of the cards offers enough performance to actually play the game with these quality settings.


15. Overclocking

No matter your graphics card, there comes a time in your computer's life when it can no longer cope with the latest technology the ever so popular games use. This is one of the main reasons for overclocking your graphics card. Gamers are always looking forward for a little extra boost in terms of framerate. Even though most of the times the boost is far from noticeable, overclocking remains the last resort when you can't afford to buy a brand new VGA card.

class="style1">Increasing the memory clock too much,
produces the so-called "artifacts".

With stock clock frequencies of just 350MHz and 250MHz (600MHz) for the GPU and memory respectively, the card could surely use some overclocking.

Using RivaTuner, we carefully increased each of the clocks until we discovered the highest stable setting.

The highest stable settings we could achieve

As you can see, the settings we settled on were 369/539. That's 20 more MHz for the NV44 and 20MHz (40 effective) for the memory parts. Let's see the performance boost we got from that:

On average the performance gain was around 1-3fps in the games and 160 3dmarks for 3DMark03. Although the card's clocks could not be set much higher than the stock speeds, the results are neither bad nor good but similar to the majority of cards.


16. Conclusion

The Inno3D 6200A performed very well for a budget oriented card. In most of the benchmarks it showed better performance that the TurboCache 6200 and in some, it even managed to outperform the more expensive X300. Most of the games were playable at 1024x768 but you might have to settle for lower video settings or perhaps a lower resolution.Consindering the price of the 6200A which is approximately US$60, the card surely looks like a catch for the performance it offers. Also being passively cooled with a solitary heatsink which is quite rare these days, makes it a valuable feature.

Although the new overclocked speeds we set the card too were not much higher than the stock settings, the performance boost was similar to to what we get with most card's when overclocking. With 1-3fps higher in games however, there's not much use pushing the card any further than it already is.InnoVision's bundle for the 6200A consists mainly of 3DMark05. Although it's a nice software to have around, you won't get to use it half as often as you'd play a game or two. In short, the Inno3D 6200A is quite a cheap, noiseless AGP card with very good but still low-end performance. If these are enough for you, it looks like you've found the right card. Pros:
- Very cheap
- Good performance for its class Cons:
- No bundled games

Performance:
Value for money:
Overclocking:
Bundle:


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