Introduction and Recap
On March 15th, ATI announced news of their new value-class HyperMemory X300 SE series PCI Express Graphics Cards. In direct answer to NVIDIA's TurboCache product line, the HyperMemory line was targeted to offer better overall performance at a lower price point. At that time however, the cards themselves were not ready for testing, leaving our coverage more of an overview of the new technology, with little tangible performance data.
Now, as we move into Q2 2005, we've been provided an X300 SE Hypermemory 128 card direct from ATI. This card allowed us to take a direct look at the X300 SE Hypermemory 128 and update our original preview with some performance comparisons from our own test bench. Since there is no retail package to go over, nor any new information available that we haven't already covered, we are going to focus our attention on a brief recap of the product, followed by a comparison of an X300 SE 128 HyperMemory card vs a NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128, the closest apple-to-apples comparison of the two competitors that you can get.
The card we received was exactly as the promotional images looked from the original preview. The card comes equipped with 32MB of on-board memory that combined with available system memory, can offer a total of 128MB frame buffer. The main difference we see compared to the TurboCache line is ATI has opted to go with a single monitor output solution, while TurboCache models we've seen offer a VGA and DVI output as well, which adds a bit more flexibility, especially for LCD panel-based end users. This is totally dependant on a board supplier's build out options however, and we've seen Hypermemory boards in the channel already with both VGA and DVI available on the back-plate.
The GeForce 6200 TC 128 we're going to use for performance comparison has a 25MHz core speed advantage, running at 350MHz vs. the X300 SE's 325MHz. Memory speed also favors the 6200 at 350MHz vs the X300 at 300MHz. These differences give the GeForce 6200 TurboCache card a higher overall Pixel Fill Rate and Peak bandwidth. For a side-by-side comparison of each card's specifications and features, please check our HyperMemory preview here.
Each of these value-class graphics cards aim to be an affordable alternative to integrated graphics solutions, opening the door to some basic gaming potential. Next, we're going to run a series of benchmarks to give you an idea of what kind of performance levels each of these new budget PCIe cards are capable of.