Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Looking back at the series of tests we ran, the majority of the tests leaned in favor of the GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128. Final Fantasy, 3DMark05, Halo and Doom 3 were all dominated by the 6200 with its higher clock rates. Half-Life 2 was the tightest race between the two cards, but still, the 6200 prevailed. The only time the X300 SE came out on top was with Far Cry, where we saw the X300 SE HyperMemory 128 hold a slight lead over the generally faster GF 6200 TC128.
It seems that ATI is finally bouncing back from their apparent surprise with NVIDIA's TurboCache offering. It took them a bit of time to get their ducks in a row, but a competitive offering they have delivered it seems. Surely, when we do the comparison, the TurboCache ready 6200 was the better overall performer. However, there is one major caveat to this equation, price. While each manufacturer has been quoting how their price point and product is the better overall value, here's what we found. As we searched for prices for each model, we found the X300 SE HyperMemory 128 boards in the retail channel for around $50 - $55. When we searched for the TurboCache 128 card we tested in this review, it posted in the $60-$70 range. So while the GeForce 6200 TC 128 card was the best overall performer, ATI's X300 SE 128MB HyperMemory card has a slightly more agressive price point at this stage of the game. Given our 128MB competitive equation however, we'd still recommend spending a few more dollars on the Turbocache card. We've also found 256MB HyperMemory cards for $55-$65, which are probably a better overall value on the ATi side of the fence. To get a TurboCache 256MB equivalent, you'll shell out closer to $75 for a GeForce 6200 TC 256 card, which utilizes 64MB of on-board memory and has a higher minimum system memory requirement of 512MB vs. HyperMemory's 256MB.
Within the confines of our 128MB card testing here, we'll give the nod to the NVIDIA TurboCache card when considered in an apples-to-apples performance comparison. However, taking into account the best overall price point, we may well opt for ATI's X300 SE HyperMemory 256, though to make this claim conclusively we'd have to see how this card fairs on our test bench as well. It's a close call either way for sure. For now, we hope this showcase has given you some much needed food for thought with these new budget PCI Express based alternatives in the market.