Final Round

What everything comes down to is the price. We are seeing the TurboCache parts coming in at between $59 and $80 for the range of cards that we tested here. While it isn't as widely available yet, the ATI HyperMemory parts are coming in at between $53 and $75. It is absolutely important to realize that we tested the cheapest of the X300 HyperMemory cards here, the 32MB onboard model. With this card coming in at under $60, there is no reason to choose the 16MB TC part over the ATI solution unless vendors can get the prices down near $50.

The 128MB onboard X300 HyperMemory part should perform significantly better than what we are seeing here, and we suspect that the price point puts it in good competition with the higher end TurboCache parts. But we will have to wait until we have hardware for testing before we can confirm this suspicion. Regardless, the small price difference for the extra 96MB of onboard RAM makes the more expensive ATI part a very interesting option.

We really can't see much reason to recommend the 64MB TurboCache part. Unless one of the vendors comes out with a solution that runs the memory at 700MHz or more, there's really no advantage to the 32MB onboard part (in fact, there is a disadvantage at the speeds that we tested). We really can't see any reason for the most expensive part that we tested to cost as much as it does.

For well-rounded performance, the 32MB 64-bit TurboCache part is our pick. Of course, that may change when we look at the 128MB HyperMemory card depending on performance and price at the time.

Business customers who want some added 3D functionality and possibly the ability to play games at the absolute lowest cost will not be disappointed with the 32MB onboard ATI X300 SE HyperMemory solution. If the budget is tight, this is definitely a workable part.

For those who will be buying in volume, even a single dollar counts in the grand scheme of things. With the low prices of these cards, we can expect a lot of competition between vendors in the high volume market. It will take quite a lot for NVIDIA and ATI to build up enough steam to surpass Intel in the graphics solution volume department, but perhaps upcoming integrated graphics solutions from ATI and NVIDIA will be as compelling as these parts show value products can be.

Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory Performance
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  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    Despite the fact that the system was high-end, the performance of the cards is the limiting factor. A 3.0 GHz or 3000+ CPU with the same amount of RAM would likely post similar scores. However, 512MB of RAM would have something of an impact on performance. Anyway, $100 gets you 1GB of RAM these days, so we're more or less through with testing anything with 512MB of RAM or less.

    Consider these tests as a "best case" scenario for budget graphics performance. It will work, but it won't be too impressive. Dropping detail levels will also help, of course. However, reduced detail levels don't really help out performance in some games as much as you might want. Doom 3, for instance, doesn't get a whole lot faster going from High to Medium to Low detail (at least in my experience).
  • patrick0 - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    A Budget-card comparision, with 1024MB System memory? I think it would have been better to use 512MB of system-memory.
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link


    The ATI solution does not have DVI -- just one HD15 analog port.

    These cards are fine for running native resolution desktops, but you are not going to want to push them over 1024x768 even without AA/AF ... as you can see the numbers dropped off at that resolution for most tests and 800x600 is really the sweet spot for gaming with these cards.

    If you really want to guess about the framerate, just remember that moving from 1024x768 to 1280x1024 increases the number of pixels per frame by a greater ammount and percentage than when moving from 800x600 to 1024x768. Eventhough we can't effectively extrapolate performance from our (fairly linear) graph, we can bet that we'd be getting < 30fps which is considered unplayable by our standards. As HL2 posts relatively high framerates (compared to other games of this generation), we made the call to limit our tests to 1024x768 and lower.

    If LCD users want to game on a 1280x1024 panel with these cards, they'll need to do it at a non-native resolution.
  • Wellsoul2 - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    Again..anyone with an LCD monitor would prefer
    native resolution numbers. No amount of AA/AF
    seems to make up for the crappy interpolated
    video at lower resolutions.
    At least give the numbers for Doom3/HL2..
  • Wellsoul2 - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    I'd like video reviews with 1280x1024 resolution.
    This is the native resolution of my 19in LCD.

    It would seem more useful to have tests for the
    low budget cards at high resolution for LCD and
    using no AA/AF.

    People I know are buying the new cheap cards because they have DVI output to use with LCD.
    If you buy a cheap/mid priced computer they often
    have built in analog video only.

    I'd like to know if you can run Half Life 2 at
    1280x1024 with no AA/AF on these cards and what
    the frame rate is.
  • cryptonomicon - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link


    what is this thing? these puny performance cards with only 32mb memory can beat previous generations of retail mid-range cards??? how the heck...
  • KristopherKubicki - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    stevty2889 and others:

    The tests are run on the highest end components to assure the bottlenecks are the video card and not the CPU. Furthermore, since we test every single other video card and motherboard on the same setup, it makes sense for us to use the same hardware this time around as well.

    Neither the X300 nor the 6200 will receive a magical advantage by using low end hardware instead of high end.

  • Hikari - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    The x300 is more like a neutered 9600 instead of a 9200 I thought. Given that the one tested here won in HL2, that would seem to be the case, no?
  • Marlin1975 - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link


    Ignore, just re-read :)
  • Marlin1975 - Thursday, May 12, 2005 - link

    DerekWilson see my other post at 5. I then saw the graphs are not wrong, BUT you said the "The 16 and 32 MB TC cards round out the bottom and top of the pack respectively" which is not true. The 64mb and 16mb round out the bottom, while the 32mb is at the top.

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