ATI HyperMemory Technology For Graphics - Preview
Performance Predictions and Initial Impressions
While we don't have any HyperMemory enabled cards on hand to test, ATI has offered up some performance prediction within their pitch to us. In each case, they configured identical Pentium 4 3GHz systems for each card with the exception of system memory used. To stress to cost effectiveness of their cards over the TurboCache line, each system was configured with the card's minimum system memory requirements. This means the Radeon X300 SE test machine had 256MB of system memory while the GeForce 6200 TurboCache system has 512MB. This was done to stress both performance and overall price when comparing the two product lines.
**NOTE: We should note that throughout the documentation we've received in preparation for this article, not once is it clearly stated which TurboCache 128 card was used. This is significant since the TC16 128 is a 32-Bit memory interface based card vs the TC32 128 being 64-Bit memory interface product.
The biggest variation in each of these test was with the PCMark Graphics test. Here we see that Radeon X300 SE 128 take a sizeable lead over the GeForce 6200 128 TurboCache. In fact, in all three tests the Radeon took top billing, all with lower clockspeeds and half the system memory of the GeForce TurboCache model.
When we shift our attention to 3D gaming performance, the margins were much wider in the first three tests. Surprisingly, ATI reports the Intel 915G was capable of beating the TurboCache model in Half-Life 2. Again, these are all relatively vague performance metrics running in percentages rather than actual results. In the end, this is designed to give you an idea of what to expect performance wise, but until we get these cards on the same test bench, we're not drawing any conclusions just yet. Regardless the claims are interesting and we look forward to doing some validation testing of our own.
With HyperMemory, ATI aims to offer a marked improvement over typical integrated graphics solutions while challenging its rival, NVIDIA's TurboCache technology. The main focus is a more cost effective offering by as much as 25% while offering better performance with lower clockspeeds. This is targeted by devising a more uniform product line that varies only in memory allocation. Unlike the TurboCache marketing model, users will get the same bandwidth potential with either X300 HyperMemory equipped graphics solution, taking some of guess work out of the decision making process. This more limited offering also allows for a streamlined manufacturing process which can also aid in lowering the overall cost of the card. Projected costs for a Radeon 370 SE 128 is $59, reportedly cheaper than initial TurboCache offerings, but pricing has dropped in retail channels putting both products on more equal pricing ground.
With the information we've been provided thus far, ATI makes a compelling case for their HyperMemory Technology. By claiming higher overall performance, lower costs and lower minimum system requirements, the value of these cards is beyond that of just their retail price point. However, as with any paper launch, solid quantifiable information is limited. Until we can get the hardware in a testing environment, we'll need to take this launch pitch as potentially part fact and part marketing. Once we get the hardware on-hand, we'll see a clearer picture unfold; one which we are truly looking forward to showing you in the weeks ahead