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  NVIDIA's TurboCache, buzzword or hot new feature? 
  Dec 15, 2004, 09:00am EST 

TurboCache, how it performs

By: Sander Sassen

What is evident from the Half-Life 2 benchmarks is that the GeForce 6200 TC keeps ahead of the Radeon X300SE in all but the last demo. This is not really that surprising, as the last demo is recorded in a large open area so a lot of data, more than in all other demos, is transferred to and from main memory to render it in full; this is clearly putting the brakes on the GeForce 6200 TCís performance. Why? Simply because the game engine eats up a considerable chunk of memory and the graphic card also wants to utilize the full 128MB it has available. As a result both the game engine and the TCM are fighting to allocate memory and thus performance is somewhat reduced. If we increase the main memory size to 1GB it is another story though, now the demo_004 score comes close to that of the Radeon X300SE, the other scores only increase marginally.

With Doom 3 we see once more that the GeForce 6-series architecture performs admirably, easily outperforming the Radeon X300SE by a 100%, here 512MB or 1GB of memory does not make a difference. We see the same happening when running FutureMarkís 3Dmark03 and 3Dmark05, here the scores are not affected by using 512MB of main memory and we donít get a significant boost when upgrading to a total of 1GB. The GeForce 6200 TC scores significantly higher in both these synthetic benchmarks, besting the Radeon X300SE by more than 40% in 3Dmark03 and no less than 33% in 3Dmark05. Overall it is safe to say that TurboCache works, and works really well in most cases.

Only in very specific cases, where the TCM, TurboCache Manager, and the game engine are both fighting to allocate enough memory, you could see the performance of the GeForce 6200 TC drop slightly, as weíve seen with the last Half-Life 2 demo. In reality you might never notice, as the drop is not significant enough to affect performance so that it becomes noticeable. In summary the GeForce 6200 TC is an excellent choice for an entry level system, offering solid performance, often besting ATIís competing solution by a factor of two. If youíre looking for entry-level gaming at a bargain price then this is the graphic card you want, no question about it.

Sander Sassen.

This article has been updated since it has been posted. Due to a defect or compatibility issue with the DDR2 memory modules in the testbed, that were used in subsequent tests as well, the GeForce 6200 TC did initially not perform as expected. We have replaced these modules and redid all of our benchmarks to make sure they reflect the actual level of performance offered by the GeForce 6200 TC, the results of which you can see above.

1. TurboCache, how it works
2. TurboCache, how it performs
3. Pricing information

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