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nVidia GeForce 6200 TurboCache - PCI-E shows its colours

Cameron looks into nVidia's new GeForce 6200 TurboCache technology today and just what it is all about. In the article we discuss the architecture behind the TurboCache and its memory allocation procedures along with just how it performs against a regular 6200 and Intel's latest onboard graphics solution. If you're on the market for a cheap graphics cards, the TC might be one worth considering.
By: Cameron Johnson | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Feb 22, 2005 5:00 am



Not that long ago, nVidia announced its value orientated GeForce 6 video card, entitled the GeForce 6200 and value was definitely the key to this card. Designed on the PCI Express bus with a 128-bit memory and GPU bus, you certainly aren't going to find this card in the Doom 3 enthusiast machines, however, you are most likely to see this card being used in the low-end systems from Dell, HP and Compaq with their I9xx series PC's.


Now nVidia has taken a bit of a side turn with its latest instalment to the 6200 line. With the PCI Express bus for graphics, a whole new way of addressing memory faster has come. AGP even at its full 8x speed simply can't keep up. AGP 8x only gives a maximum of 2.1GB/s, with a 90/10 split in bandwidth, you are receiving more than you transmit on the AGP protocol. While good for cards like dedicated video cards, onboard graphics simply were not an option, as the limited bandwidth of the AGP bus couldn't handle the memory transfers to system RAM.


PCI Express on the other hand has its superior 50/50 split of the data. In a PCI Express x16 slot there is a total of 8GB/s transfer, 4GB for transmit and 4GB/s for receiving. With PCI Express now comes with the option for storing additional texture data in memory, and nVidia has the first video card to do it.


The new "TurboCache" as nVidia calls it makes full use of the PCI Express bus to use system memory as its frame buffer, with a maximum of 64MB of onboard cache memory to store local decoded data.


Today we pit the reference GeForce 6200 TubroCache model with 32MB of onboard memory against the reference 6200 video card to see just what is on offer.


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