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The GeForce 6200 with TurboCache breaks some conventions, but it seems to make sense. This solution's performance isn't going to bowl anybody over, but the GeForce 6200 with a 64-bit/32MB TurboCache is fast enough to match a Radeon X300 with a full 128MB of local memory onboard. That's solid enough performance to convince me that this solution works, and I'd certainly prefer it to most of the other graphics solutions in the $79-99 range that NVIDIA is targeting.

And, jeez, I wish my laptop PC had this instead of 32MB of total video memory. Ugh.

The relatively weak performance of the GeForce 6200 with 32-bit/16MB TurboCache demonstrates that the TurboCache scheme isn't magic. NVIDIA isn't quite as able to mask system memory access latencies as one might hope, and bandwidth pressure isn't dramatically relieved by pixel shaders in today's games. The 32-bit/16MB TurboCache card may be superior to integrated chipset solutions, but I'm not convinced its performance is superior in a way that matters. The 64-bit/32MB TurboCache card really is the one to have. I'm curious to see whether a 64-bit/64MB config with a pair of 32MB DRAMs would substantially outperform the 64-bit/32MB card we tested. However you cut it, though, the TurboCache scheme or something like it appears to be the future of low-end graphics.

That said, NVIDIA deserves some praise for the GeForce 6200 GPU independent of the caching scheme. This graphics chip offers near-feature-parity with NVIDIA's high-end GPUs, and it brings an amazing feature set to the sub-$100 portion of the graphics market, including Shader Model 3.0 and three real vertex shader engines. The fact that this thing runs Doom 3 at over 70 frames per second in High Quality mode at 640x480 impresses the heck out of me.

The again, the fact that it does so with only 32MB of local memory is a sign of true innovation. 

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