NVIDIA's GeForce 6200 with TurboCache
Graphics memory gets hierarchical
A WHILE BACK
, we reviewed the GeForce 6200, and we were a bit perplexed. The GeForce 6200 was a success on most fronts. It brought GeForce 6-class features to graphics cards in the $129 range, including DirectX 9 with Shader Model 3.0no small feat. Performance was quite good, and the product made sense overall, save for one thing: the 6200 was based on the NV43 GPU, the same graphics chip used in GeForce 6600 cards, but with much of its rendering power disabled. Graphics companies sell tons of low-end GPUs. Why would NVIDIA manufacture a bunch of NV43 graphics chips, which are relatively larger chips, only to cut them down to half the rendering power?
The answer, it turns out, is pretty simple: that version of the GeForce 6200 was just a stop-gap measure, not the real thing. The real GeForce 6200 is based on a new and much smaller chip, the NV44, with an intriguing new technology, dubbed TurboCache, that allows graphics cards to use system memory in combination with a smaller amount of local graphics RAM to deliver decent low-end performance. Read on for our take on NVIDIA's new low-end GPU.