Logo   Banner   TopRight
TopUnder
Transparent
Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB
Transparent
Date: May 02, 2005
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Jeff Bouton
Transparent
Introduction and Product Specifications

When we talk about video cards, the focus is typically on the latest high-profile offerings that leave many of us in a perpetual state of hardware envy.  It's a common picture, with ATI or NVIDIA releasing a new model and the other usually answering with their own killer product not long after.  It's a constant dance called "competition", which is the driving factor that keeps the technology moving forward.  However, the high-end sector only accounts for a small percentage of the big picture, with mid-range and value class products comprising a much larger percentage of sales.

Back in December, NVIDIA showed us their most recent play in the value class market with their new TurboCache product line.  With the nearly the same level of fanfare of their latest flagship release, NVIDIA proclaimed a major upgrade to the value-class sector.  Not only did TurboCache bring a very affordable solution to the mainstream with an innovative approach to memory management, it also appeared to catch ATI off-guard.  In fact, it took three months for ATI to respond with their HyperMemory solution, whose core design follows the TurboCache fundamentals at the most basic level.  More so, when ATI unveiled HyperMemory, it was what we affectionately call a "paper launch" as the actual hardware is still not quite ready as we move into the second quarter of '05.  So as it stands now, ATI looks to be playing catch-up while NVIDIA continues to take market share with its TurboCache line.

Today, we are going to take a look at the latest TurboCache model to hit the market, in the form of the Leadtek WinFast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB.  This version of a TurboCache card comes with 64MB of on-board DDR while topping out at 256MB with TurboCache.  The main goal with TurboCache is to offer an economical alternative to integrated graphics, improving overall performance while enabling base level gaming potential.  We are not looking for killer gaming performance here, but if you are stuck with integrated graphics and want to play some of today's latest games, a TurboCache enabled video card can be an affordable way to upgrade to much more capable technology.  Let's take a look. 

Specifications of the Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB Video Card
Performance on a Budget
GPU:
GeForce 6200

Graphics Bus:
PCI Express

Memory size:
supporting 256MB*

GPU/Memory clock:
350 /275 MHz

Memory Interface:
64-bit

Effective Memory Bandwidth(GB/sec):
12.4

Fill Rate(billion texels/sec):
1.4

Vertices/sec (million):
263

Pipeline:
4

RAMDACs (MHz):
400

Process:
0.11 micron

Output:
HDTV-out, DVI, VGA

* System memory must be 512MB or higher.


NVIDIA TurboCache technology
Shares the capacity and bandwidth of dedicated video memory and dynamically available system memory for turbo charged performance and larger total graphics memory.

PCI Express support
Designed to run perfectly with the next-generation PCI Express bus architecture. This new bus doubles the bandwidth of AGP 8x delivering over 4GB/s in both upstream and downstream data transfers.

Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 support
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for all DirectX 9 applications, including Shader Model 3.0 titles.

NVIDIA CineFX 3.0 engine
Powers the next generation of cinematic realism. Full support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 enables stunning and complex special effects. Next-generation shader architecture delivers faster and smoother game play.

NVIDIA UltraShadow II technology
Enhances the performance of bleeding-edge games, like id Software's Doom III, that feature complex scenes with multiple light sources and objects. Second-generation technology delivers more than 4x the shadow processing power over the previous generation.

NVIDIA Intellisample 3.0 technology
The industry's fastest antialiasing delivers ultra-realistic visuals, with no jagged edges, at lightning-fast speeds. Visual quality is taken to new heights through a new rotated grid sampling pattern.

NVIDIA PureVideo technology
The combination of the GeForce 6 Series GPU's high-definition video processor and NVIDIA video decode software delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for all video content to turn your PC into a high-end home theater.

NVIDIA ForceWare Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
Delivers rock-solid forward and backward compatibility with software drivers. Simplifies upgrading to a new NVIDIA product or driver because all NVIDIA products work with the same driver software.

NVIDIA nView multi-display technology
Advanced technology provides the ultimate in viewing flexibility and control for multiple monitors.

NVIDIA Digital Vibrance Control 3.0 technology
Allows the user to adjust color controls digitally to compensate for the lighting conditions of their workspace, in order to achieve accurate, bright colors in all conditions.

OpenGL 1.5 optimizations and support
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for all OpenGL applications.

As one would expect with a value-class product, the retail package takes a minimalist approach, yet covered the bases nicely.  While devoid of any gaming software, Leadtek did include solid documentation in the form of a Quick Installation Guide and General Guide.  The package also came with an HDTV output cable as well as a VGA-to-DVI adapter. 

    

The installation CD came with a good collection of other items as well.  Along with drivers, Leadtek added several bonus software packages including their own WinFox software which sits in the system tray, offering quick access to the card's settings as well as overclocking options.  Additionally, Leadtek added a number of other titles such as WinFast DVD, Muvee 3 and Coloreal.  Overall, this is a decent bundle which includes fully functional DVD player software.

Next, let's take a closer look at the Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB itself.

Transparent
A Closer Look at Leadtek's Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB
Leadtek's Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB Up Close
Closer Inspection

Back in December, Marco covered the initial launch of NVIDIA's TurboCache line.  If you want to get a good breakdown on how TurboCache works, be sure to check out his article here.

The Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB is a PCI Express card that comes with a GeForce 6200 GPU at its core. Clocked at 350MHz, the 4 Pixel pipeline GPU is able to offer basic gaming potential, which is often not practical with integrated solutions.  The processor came equipped with passive cooling in the form of a basic heat sink.  Leadtek applied thermal paste between the heat sink and GPU to ensure good thermal contact.

  

The Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB card also comes with 64MB of Samsung DDR memory clocked at 275MHz, the manufacturer's recommendation for these particular modules.  Typically, we would analyze this further in an effort to uncover added headroom when considering overclocking, but that really isn't the focus with this type of product, so we're not going to delve any further in that direction.

   

The card comes equipped with a DVI and VGA output, allowing for dual monitor support.  The TV-Out port marries up with the HDTV cable provided which handles the connection to an HDTV as well as offering a single S-Video output as well.  Aside from that, the Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB holds few surprises.  Leadtek has come up with a 256MB TurboCache solution that follows the stock reference design.  However, with dual outputs and HDTV capabilities, the PX6200 does offer a fair degree of versatility to the end-user. 

Next, we'll compare the performance to that of integrated graphics, to show what kind of performance increases you can expect from the Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256

 

Transparent
HH Test System, Benchmarking with FFXI and 3DMark05
HotHardware's Test System
Not all are created equal...

SYSTEM 1:
Socket T - Pentium 4 530 (3GHz)
ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe Motherboard
I915G Chipset

Kingston HyperX PC-3500 DDR1 - 512MB(2x256)

Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB

Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900

On-Board 10/100/1000 Ethernet
On-Board Audio
WD 120GB Hard Drive
7200 RPM PATA

NVIDIA ForceWare 71.89
Windows XP Pro SP
2


Performances Comparisons With Final Fantasy XI Benchmark 3
A Classic Console Franchise On The PC

Final Fantasy XI
The Final Fantasy franchise is well known to console gamers, but Squaresoft has since made the jump to the PC with a MMORPG version of this classic. The Final Fantasy XI benchmark 3 runs through multiple scenes from the game and displays a final score every time a full cycle of the demo is completed. Although the demo is meant the check an entire system's readiness to play the game, the number of frames rendered scales when different video cards are used. Lower scores indicate some frames were dropped to complete the demo in the allotted time. The scores below were taken with the demo set to its "High Resolution" option (1024x768), with anti-aliasing disabled.

The Leadtek PX6200 TC TDH 256MB card offered significant gains over the integrated video of the 915G chipset.  In Final Fantasy, we saw an increase of almost 1200 points, a major improvement.

 

Performance Comparisons With 3DMark05
Futuremark's Latest - The Jury is Still Out...

3DMark05
3DMark05 is the latest installment in a long line of synthetic 3D graphics benchmarks, dating back to late 1998.  3DMark99 came out in October of 1998 and was followed by the very popular DirectX 7 benchmark, 3DMark2000, roughly two years later.  The DirectX 8.1-compliant 3DMark2001 was released shortly thereafter, and it too was a very popular tool used by many hardcore gamers.  3DMark05 is a fairly advanced DirectX 9 benchmarking tool.  We ran 3DMark05's default test (1,024 x 768) on all of the cards we tested and have the overall results for you posted below...

3DMark05 really benefited from the added TurboCache driven video card.  Running at a paltry 323 3DMarks with integrated graphics, that score almost quadrupled, tacking on an additional 911 3DMarks.

Transparent
Benchmarks with Halo
Benchmarks with Halo
Halo - All Patched & Ready To Go!

Halo
For many gamers, the release of Halo marked the end of a long wait, since it was originally released as an Xbox exclusive a few years back. No additional patches or tweaks are needed to benchmark with Halo, as Gearbox has included all of the necessary information in their README file. The Halo benchmark runs through four of the cut-scenes from the game, after which the average frame rate is recorded. We patched the game using the latest v1.06 patch and ran this benchmark twice, once at 800x600 and then again at 1024x768. Anti-aliasing doesn't work properly with Halo at the moment, so all of the test below were run with anti-aliasing disabled.

It's funny how Halo has been out for a long time now and yet it still does a fine job of stressing video hardware.  With the 915G's integrated graphics, the game was barely playable at 800x600 and fell short of 16 FPS at 1024x768.  The Leadtek PX6200 TC TDH 256MB also had a hard time, but still managed to top the integrated graphics by almost double at both resolutions.  If you're into Halo, your best bet is to stay around the 800X600 resolution setting for gaming on a TurboCache card.

Transparent
Benchmarks & Comparisons With Far Cry
Benchmarks & Comparisons With Far Cry
DX9 Effects Galore.

Far Cry
If you've been on top of the gaming scene, you probably know that Far Cry is one of the most visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date.  Although Doom 3 and Half Life 2 have both arrived, Far Cry still looks great in comparison, especially with the new v1.3 patch installed and some special effects turned on.  Far Cry came along and gave us a taste of what was to come in next-generation 3D gaming on the PC.  We benchmarked the graphics cards in this review with a custom-recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint at various resolutions without AA or Aniso Filtering enabled and then with 2X AA enabled along with 8X anisotropic filtering.  Geometry instancing and normal map compression were enabled for these tests, but HDR rending was disabled.  The default pixel shader code path was used.

With the first round of tests, the Leadtek card posted a very playable 62.61 FPS.  When we added 2XAA and 8X Anisotropic filtering to the mix, the score dropped to 36.21 FPS.  At 1024x768, Anisotropic filtering and Anti-aliasing was stressful on the card, but 23.47 FPS was worth attempting.  In all benchmark rounds, Intel's integrated solution wasn't capable of running Far Cry at any reasonable rate whatsoever.

Transparent
Benchmarks & Comparisons With Doom 3 - Single Player
Benchmarks & Comparisons With Doom 3 - Single Player
In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb.

Doom 3
id Software's games have long been pushing the limits of 3D graphics.  Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3 were all instrumental in the success of 3D accelerators on the PC.  Now, years later, with virtually every new desktop computer shipping with a 3D accelerator, id is at it again with the release of the visually stunning Doom 3.  Doom 3 is an OpenGL game using extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows.  We ran this benchmark using custom demos with Doom 3 set to its "Medium-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 800x600 and 1,024 x 768 without any AA and then with 2X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering enabled.

When you look at the stats, Doom 3 was a workload for either resolution with either video option.  However, when it came down to playability, the 1024x768 settings were actually OK in practice.  Even in extreme action, the test seemed fairly smooth and steady.  With a little more tweaking, 1024x768 may be worth some basic Doom 3 gameplay with the PX6200.

Transparent
Benchmarks & Comparisons With Half-Life 2 & Conclusion
Benchmarks & Comparisons With Half-Life 2
It Shipped!  And it's GOOD!

Half Life 2
Thanks to the dedication of millions of gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time.  So when Valve announced Half-Life 2 was close to completion in mid 2003, gamers the world over began chomping at the bit.  Unfortunately, thanks to a compromised internal network; the theft of a portion of the game's source code; a couple of missed deadlines; and a tumultuous relationship with the game's distributor, Vivendi Universal, we all had to wait until November 2004 to get our hands on this gem.  We benchmarked Half-Life 2 with a long, custom- recorded timedemo that takes us along a cliff and through a few dilapidated shacks, battling the enemy throughout.  These tests were run at resolutions of 800x600 and 1024x768 without any AA or aniso and with 2X anti-aliasing and 8X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently.

Half-Life 2 really is a dream come true in a performance sense.  Not only does the game have amazing visuals, it doesn't murder your hardware to get the job done.  While integrated graphics really isn't an option, the Leadtek PX6200 put up a fine showing, even offering playability at 1024x768.  Like Doom 3, the game seemed pretty smooth, even with a lot of action.  Surely, the Leadtek card will have no trouble with Half-Life 2 on a decent system.

When we first got a glimpse of NVIDIA's TurboCache line, we were impressed.  They went back to the drawing board to devise a new, efficient and economical way to improve value-class graphics, while bringing reasonable performance to the masses.  By balancing memory allocation between onboard memory and system memory, users had a new option when considering upgrading integrated graphics with a value class add-in.  Thanks to the high bandwidth capabilities of PCI-Express, OEMs have a lot more room to get creative, and TurboCache is a product of that creativity.

Throughout our testing of the Leadtek PX6200 TC TDH 256MB PCI Express video card, its virtues over integrated graphics were obvious and significant.  For a minor cash outlay, those on a budget can consider a nominal upgrade that will improve overall system performance while giving that user the option of a little casual gaming along the way.  Overall, not a bad solution for those not too serious about gaming but don't want to be left out completely.

In the end, we were pretty impressed with the Leadtek PX6200 TC TDH 256MB card.  Leadtek brought a simple, yet capable graphics solution to the mix and offered up a decent retail package as well.  Selling in retail channels for around $69-75, the Leadtek PX6200 TC TDH 256MB can bring the average user better performance at a very reasonable price point.


We Give the Leadtek PX6200 TC TDH 256MB Video Card a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of a...


Get into HotHardware's PC Hardware Forum Right Now!



Content Property of HotHardware.com