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Albatron GeForce TC6200Q Review - Page 1 of 8

INTRODUCTION

What about NVIDIA's entry level video cards? For the casual gamer, or PC user who does not require high performance for gaming but would like a budget-priced video card capable of rendering 3D graphics with the latest technologies, NVIDIA has served up the GeForce 6200 series. We will be taking a look at Albatron's PCI-Express GeForce TC6200Q 64/256MB.

In this review I will be looking at the Albatron GeForce TC6200Q with TurboCache (TC) and actually comparing it to the engineering sample reference design card that I have been using for the past couple of months.

NVIDIA provided a GeForce TC6200 engineering sample for evaluation and I have put the card through such game titles as Doom 3, Call of Duty, Half-Life 2, Halo, Unreal Tournament 2004, Far Cry, and Chronicles of Riddick just to name a few. So, yes, I have made my verdict on the TC6200 and although it is not targeted at the avid gamer, it does supply a potential market need at an affordable price.

A number of good previews and reviews have been done on the TC6200 so the development process will be omitted in this review. Instead, the two cards will be evaluated using the same system setup with components as listed in the System Specification section of this review.

The Albatron GeForce TC6200Q differs little from the engineering sample we are using in this review except for the 64MB of local on-board ram which provides rendering for up to 256MB of system memory. The Albatron GeForce TC6200Q has a GPU core clock of 350 MHz, a 64-bit memory bus, and 64MB of local DDR ram rated at 3.6ns and clocked at 250 MHz (500 MHz effective). With both cards using the NVIDIA GeForce 6200TC GPU, the Albatron GeForce TC6200Q, even with 64MB of local ram, may be pressed to outperform the engineering sample which sports a single 16MB chip but much faster memory timings of 350 MHz (700 MHz effective).

Still, the capability of 64MB local memory rendering up to 256MB of system memory, through TurboCache technology, versus the use of 128MB system memory by the engineering sample, potentially could give the edge to the Albatron TC6200Q in some games.



 

As previously stated, the NVIDIA GeForce TC6200 in this review is an engineering sample supplied by NVIDIA. The card is approximately 7x4 inches with a 4x3 inch simple anodized black aluminum heatsink providing passive cooling. In addition, the card possesses no additional power connections found on the higher end cards. The Albatron GeForce TC6200Q maintains the same basic dimensions with colors of the heatsink and circuit board being only the visual difference other than the additional local on-board memory chips.

NVIDIA GeForce TC6200Q

Looking at the photo (above) you can see the black anodized heatsink and obvious missing ram chips which we are accustom to seeing on the circuit board. You can see a lone chip, barely visible, located at the top right corner of the heatsink in the above photo.

All told, NVIDIA was able to reduce the NV44 to approximately 75 million transistors compared to 146 million estimated transistors as found on the PC6600.

The 2.86ns ram chip on the left (above) is designated GC2A by Samsung and rated at 350MHz, 700MHz effective. The 3.6ns memory chip on the right is found on the Albatron GeForce TC6200Q, designated by Samsung as TC40, and rated at 250MHz (500MHz effective). There are four of these chips on the TC6200Q, two mounted on the front and two on the back of the card for a total of 64MB of local on-board memory.

Albatron GeForce TC6200Q

The Albatron GeForce TC6200Q (above) sports a bright blue pcb, gold-colored anodized aluminum heatsink, and two visible memory chips located just to the right of the heatsink (two additional memory chips are installed on the back of the card).

If presented at a $70 price-point the card is appealing. This gives the card a good price to performance ratio if you consider the card contains GeForce 6 Series architecture, introduces technology for using system memory for rendering graphics, and with modified core architecture. The card also has the PCI-Express bus that is capable of managing 4GB/sec. up and down-stream.

On the downside the NV44 has only 4 pixel pipelines and 3 vertex processors and the transistor count is half that of the NV43 at 75 million. Although I wrote downside, that is from a gamer's perspective and to be correctly stated it should be identified as cost-cutting.

Albatron GeForce TC6200Q

From the back on the Albatron GeForce TC6200Q you can see the sparse, but neatly configured circuitry layout and two push-pins securing the heatsink. Also, note the two remaining memory chips previously mentioned.

Next Page: Initial Impressions and Overview

Last Updated on March 21, 2005


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