We've assembled a couple of test systems that we think are reasonably close to the budget market where HyperMemory and TurboCache cards will reside. Since budget systems aren't likely to have exotic memory capable of running with aggressive timings, we've set our memory to run at relaxed 2.5-3-3-8 timings. HyperMemory and TurboCache cards may benefit from tighter timings, but if you can afford high-end memory, chances are you're not shopping for a $50 graphics card. You may not be running 1GB of system memory, either, so we've our run tests with both 1GB and 512MB of system memory.
There are plenty of results to explore today, including scores from all four TurboCache configurations, and ATI's Radeon X300 SE 128MB HyperMemory. There are a few key match-ups that you'll want to keep an eye on, though. The first, and perhaps most important battle, will be between the 64-bit/32MB HyperMemory and TurboCache cards. The price of these cards is pretty close, and their memory bus width and on-board memory size are the same. Also keep an eye on the action within the TurboCache camp, as cards with different memory bus widths, clock speeds, and on-board memory vie for supremacy.
Since ATI and NVIDIA are selling their respective HyperMemory and TurboCache cards as low-cost upgrades for those with integrated graphics, we've thrown in a Radeon Xpress 200 IGP for good measure. Note that that system is running with a different motherboard, audio drivers, and power supply.
Our testing methods
All tests were run three times, and their results were averaged, using the following test system.
|Processor||Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2GHz|
|System bus||HT 16-bit/1GHz downstream|
|Motherboard||DFI LANParty NF4 Ultra-D||Shuttle ST20G5|
|North bridge||NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra||ATI RS480|
|South bridge||ULi M1573|
|Chipset drivers||ForceWare 6.53||ULi 2095 integrated|
|Memory size||1GB (2 DIMMs)||512MB (2 DIMMS)||1GB (2 DIMMs)||512MB (2 DIMMS)|
|Memory type||OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev 2 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz||Corsair CMX256A-3200LL DDR SDRAM at 400MHz||OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum Rev 2 DDR SDRAM at 400MHz||Corsair CMX256A-3200LL DDR SDRAM at 400MHz|
|CAS latency (CL)||2.5||2.5||2.5||2.5|
|RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)||3||3||3||3|
|RAS precharge (tRP)||3||3||3||3|
|Cycle time (tRAS)||8||8||8||8|
|Hard drives||Western Digital Raptor WD360GD 37GB SATA|
|Audio drivers||Realtek 3.71||Realtek HD 1.19|
|Graphics 1||ATI Radeon X300SE 128MB HyperMemory (32b/32MB) with CATALYST 5.5 drivers||ATI Radeon Xpress 200 IGP with CATALYST 5.5 drivers|
|Graphics 2||NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 256MB (64b/64MB) with ForceWare 7.89 drivers|
|Graphics 3||NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128MB (32b/32MB) with ForceWare 7.89 drivers|
|Graphics 4||NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128MB (32b/16MB) with ForceWare 7.89 drivers|
|Graphics 4||NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128MB (64b/32MB) with ForceWare 7.89 drivers|
|OS||Microsoft Windows XP Professional|
|OS updates||Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c|
Thanks to OCZ for providing us with memory for our testing. If you're looking to tweak out your system to the max and maybe overclock it a little, OCZ's RAM is definitely worth considering.
We used the following versions of our test applications:
- DOOM 3 1.1 with trdelta1 and trhaze demos
- Far Cry 1.3 with tr1-volcano and tr3-pier demos
- Half-Life 2 with trboat and trtown demos
- Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory 1.02
- FutureMark 3DMark05 Build 120
The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests. All of the 3D gaming tests used the highest possible detail image quality settings except where otherwise noted.
All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.