Features of the GV9200
Package and Contents
First off let's take a look at the package and what Gigabyte gives you as standard. The package is similar to that of the Radeon 9000 that Gigabyte already produces. It is packed in maroon and blue box with Gigabyte writing, along with a full description of the features and memory size on the front you know what you are getting.
Inside Gigabyte gives a rather generous package for that of a budget card. First off you get a your video card, user manual that supports all of the 9200 variations, Driver CD, three games and DVD Playback. Along with this you get a DVI to CRT converter to use two standard monitors and VIVO cables for video in and out functions.
The Card - But isn't Red faster?
The GV9200 in design deviates from that of the norm that comes from Gigabyte. Normally Gigabyte uses a red PCB for their video cards. This time the 9200 uses a blue PCB. Size wise it is smaller than the 9000 cards, and just slightly bigger than a GeForce4 MX card, so space isn't going to be a problem in most small form factor PC's.
9200 Chip - Heart of the Hurricane
Powering Gigabyte's latest addition to the value market is the Radeon 9200 Visual Processing Unit. This unit is a direct descendant of the 9000 core. In fact, this is almost identical except for the fact it boasts AGP 8x support and a higher core (250MHz - 25MHz increase over Radeon 9000) and memory clock (400MHz - 25MHz increase over Radeon 9000). Despite the 9 in its name, like the Radeon 9000, it has no DirectX 9 support. Only 8.1, though this is still ahead of the GeForce 4 MX line which only supports DirectX 7 and 8.0.
One of the biggest assets the ATI Radeon 9200 has over the GeForce4 MX 8x line is its cooler operating temperatures. ATI specifies only a passive cooling solution is needed to maintain safe heat levels. Gigabyte has put this into action with a simple alloy passive cooler attached to the VPU. Under the cooler you can see that the core is designed like the original 9000, rather than the FC-BGA design of the R3xx VPU's.
Designed on value rather than overclocking potential, Gigabyte has used Hynix 4ns T-SOP memory modules, with four chips on the front and four chips on the back you get a total of 128MB of 128bit DDR SDRAM. No cooling is supplied on the modules, at normal core speeds the modules are barely warm, but don't expect ground breaking overclocking on these cards.
External TV Features
Like the Radeon 9000, the 9200 has no built in TV encoder or TV decoder functions; this was one of the main features of the R3xx cores. So like the 9000 series, Gigabyte has added the ATI Rage Theatre VIVO controller chip. This chip is identical to the one that is built into the R3xx core so you get the same TV quality out of this card as any other ATI based card, with Video In as well you can do you own DIVX from VHS or other analogue video sources.