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Pixel filling power
We'll kick things off with a look at theoretical peak fill rates and memory bandwidth. Theoretical peaks don't necessarily determine in-game performance, but they're a good place to start sizing up the GeForce 6200's capabilities. I've sorted the list below, which includes an array of low-end and mid-range PCI Express graphics options, according to multitextured fill rate.

  Core clock (MHz) Pixel pipelines Peak fill rate (Mpixels/s)Texture units per pixel pipeline Peak fill rate (Mtexels/s) Memory clock (MHz) Memory bus width (bits) Peak memory bandwidth (GB/s)
GeForce 6200300 41200 112005001288.0
Radeon X300 SE3254130011300400643.2
Radeon X30032541300113004001286.4
GMA 90033341333113334001286.4
Radeon X600 Pro40041600116006001289.6
Radeon X600 XT500420001200074012811.8
GeForce 66003008*240012400TBD128TBD
Radeon X70040083200132006001289.6
Radeon X700 Pro420833601336086412813.8
Radeon X700 XT4758380013800105012816.8
GeForce 6600 GT5008*200014000100012816.0

In terms of fill rate, the GeForce 6200 brings up the rear. With four pixel pipes and a 300MHz core clock, it can't even match the peak theoretical fill rates of the Radeon X300 series. The low core clock speed means that the card's shader units are going to be running slower than the competition, too.

In the memory bandwidth department, the GeForce 6200 looks a little more competitive. The card's 128-bit memory bus and effective 500MHz memory clock yield 8GB/sec of bandwidth—better than the X300s but shy of the Radeon X600 Pro.

To see how these theoretical peaks pan out in the real world, let's have a look at 3DMark05's synthetic fill rate tests. Note that the drivers we're using for the 6200, X600 Pro and X300, and even the GMA 900 aren't approved by FutureMark for use with 3DMark05.

The GeForce 6200's single texture fill rate is just a hair behind the X600 Pro, but when we start multitexturing, the 6200 is relegated to the back of the pack. Given that the 6200 has the slowest clock speed of the lot, its relatively modest performance isn't surprising. What is surprising, however, is how close the Intel GMA 900 integrated graphics core gets to its theoretical peak fill rates.

Shader performance
While we're looking at synthetic tests, let's have a peek at how the GeForce 6200 fares in 3DMark05's shader tests. I ran all the cards using 3DMark05's Shader Model 2.0 code path. Since the 6200 also supports Shader Model 3.0, I also ran it using the SM 3.0 code path.

The 6200's shader power is impressive even when running the Shader Model 2.0 codepath. Based on these scores, I wouldn't expect much from the Intel GMA 900 in our game tests. It might have fill rate to spare, but shader power is sorely lacking.