When we released our initial comparison of HyperMemory and TurboCache last week, we received quite a bit of feedback requesting tests with budget systems. We do stand by our testing methodology - we use the highest end equipment to build a system around the component that we are testing. This removes all bottlenecks from the rest of the system and demonstrates the capabilities of a particular piece of hardware. But that doesn't mean that we aren't willing to look at the performance picture from a different angle as well.

Evaluating performance in a low end system is not useful for comparisons because we lose the ability to grasp where all the bottlenecks and performance issues come into play. Ideally, we would test all hardware with all other combinations of hardware in order to describe completely what's going on in every case. Unfortunately, this is an impossible task (though that doesn't mean we haven't considered it). In this case, it does make sense to decrease the performance of one component in the system in order to evaluate the impact on graphics performance.

Both HyperMemory and TurboCache claim an increased dependence on system RAM. The architecture of TurboCache seems to make it even more of a candidate for system RAM dependence as the pixel and ROP pipes can operate directly in system memory.

While it may be true that budget systems are beginning to ship with 512 MB or even 1GB of RAM, getting a hold of PC3200 that runs at 2:2:2:6 is a little over budget for most cheap systems. This extended investigation into the impact of system memory performance on budget graphics hardware will probe the effects of running slower memory timings as well as PC2700 memory. Right now, 3:3:3 DDR400 can be found for very low prices, but we'll test with the slower RAM to cover our bases.

So, read on to discover the facts about budget graphics cards and system memory performance. The results just might surprise you.

DDR400 3:4:4:12 Graphics Performance


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  • kobymu - Saturday, May 21, 2005 - link

    I was hoping for some information about how these card suffer/gain in performance when move from the AMD platform to INTEL's, considering the differences in memory subsystem.

    1.Assuming that the graphic card will deploy some sort of DMA, in an Intel platform, it should have a shorter path (only needs to go through the northbridge) as opposed Amd (pci-e controller/chipset -> integrated memory controller on Amd cpu).


  • AtaStrumf - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

    Yea I know, my spelling sucks. But hey, nobody is perfect :-) Reply
  • Rand - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

  • xsilver - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

    sintax = syntax
    sorry... I usually dont correct people on spelling but it was funny cause you were talking about language and spelt something wrong :P
  • AtaStrumf - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

    OK, I guess technically, in this particular case you're right, that the order can be reverse of what is logical and still get the right message across, I just think it's more than a little bit confusing.

    English language in general, not unlike programming language, is however extremely depedent on the order of words (sintax), because it's grammar is very simple, missing many, shall we say "features", of other languages like declension for example, that's why I think it's important to keep it right.

    If you're interested you can read up on my language here:

    Our grammar's complexity has to be second only to that of chinese'/arabic scribble, so most of us over her are inherently grammar experts :-)

    OK, I'll stop bugging you now ;-)
  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 20, 2005 - link

    Now we just need to get Derek to run some tests with 2.5-3-3 RAM and a realistic CPU choise like a Celeron of Athlon 64 3000+. ;) Reply
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    As I said -- I cannot say decrease, as the percentage was calculated as an increase. Sorry I forgot to mention that I'm not going to recaculate my data and reenter it into the graphing engine in order to call it a decrease when all I need to do is change a couple words :-)

    Besides, all of the percentage data in our processor and graphics articles is a percent increase. Why break tradition now :-)

    Lexically, I could have swapped 2:2:2:8 and 3:4:4:12. Of course, as per English, it makes the same ammount of sense to do what I did. Technically, I don't believe there are any restrictions on the order of prepositional phrases. I will admit that saying "increase to fast from slow" could be tough to skim, but hopefully no one will think games run faster with crappier products.
  • AtaStrumf - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    He, he this is just hilarious Derek. I give you two perfectly fine options and you go and find a third, totally confusing one. "increase to 2228 from 34412" :stares in amazement: OK maybe my English isn't quite up to par with you guys, or maybe I have been reading a few too many biochemistry books, while not sleeping enough, but this just doesn't make any sense to me. I would recalculate for decrease and say "...decrease from 2228 to 34412", but that's just me. Reply
  • ReadyFireAim - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    The 128MB onboard memory version on the X300 (256MB supported) is available @ Newegg for a mere $2 more than the 32MB onboard TurboCache that's recommended here.

    "The 128MB onboard X300 HyperMemory part should perform significantly better than what we are seeing here"

    Is it fair to assume that the 128MB X300 will be the beat these others; the $2 cost difference doesn't matter to me at this point.
  • DerekWilson - Thursday, May 19, 2005 - link

    I'm sorry about the graphs there -- I've changed them to say increase to 2228 from 34412.

    Actually, it would have been improper to change increase to decrease, as the percentages would be smaller for percent decrease. (increase from 15 to 20 is 33%, but decrease from 20 to 15 is 25%).


    Integrated graphics performance generally isn't as high as even these budget cards.

    Also, 754 boards would be inappropriate for this test -- these cards are all PCI Express cards.

    We did use the same system from our previous test -- the Athlon 64 FX-53 nForce 4.

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