NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TC 64MB -
I already told one of my NVIDIA representatives last week that I had a very hard time with this product in the terms of placing it right in the market with the right perspective. We are a hardware enthusiast site that is targeted at the gaming community, so there is my personal friction and thus perspective. Let's analyze it. Who buys this product?
Well, certainly not the serious gamers among you. The card by far is not powerful enough to play modern games at decent framerates, even in a low resolution. So the business user then? Naah, forget it. For the office user this product is too expensive. They'll all choose mainboards solution with integrated graphics. But on the other side, this card will flat out beat such an integrated solution in many ways and features.
I did find one perfect audience for this card, home theater PC builders. The card is excellent for it as it offers, for the money, some serious media decoding/encoding and nifty playback quality and features.
But we all know where the 6200 TurboCache is going to end-up. The big mega stores like media-markt and manufacturer's like Medion that will sell a complete PC for 499 EUR, labeled with the flashy stuff like "Ultimate gaming machine." Consumers that do not have an idea what they are buying yet just go for the big red colored stickers that say 256 MB, Pentium 4, GeForce 6 etc etc. That's where the real market can be found for this product.
Compared to the normal GeForce 6200 this product performance is severely limited due to some major factors. Among them, the graphics core, slower framebuffer bandwidth due to usage of system memory. And related to that there is the use of 64-bit framebuffer memory over 128-bit on the standard 6200 versions. Granted, that'll bring down the price significantly, but the trade-off is a loss of 30-40% performance over that product. Right now ATI just introduced their competing product, based on the same ideas. It's called Hypermemory and they'll bring a product on the market based on the x300. It actually might be able to compete very well with the 6200 TC series.
Is it a bad product then? Oh, hey... no no no... by all means not at all. It's a fantastic card for many reasons, just not for gaming. And hey .. it surely was fun not to bump into a CPU bottleneck for a change :)
Boards like these do not lend themselves towards grim gamers, which can be expected at this price positioning. This by itself is a card for good office and HTPC ( Home Theater PC) usage. And you can still play a game or two on it, yet not a rather modern one. Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Quake III for example is a blast on this card. But if you decide to start up Doom 3 the you'll... cry. Oh and we did not include any Anisotropic filtering or Antialiasing tests as this card of course does not lend towards that at all.
The card needs to go under the 50 EUR range before becoming sensible buy. The trend over the last year or 2-3 has been a major shift in graphics card prices. I just took a peek at some local shops. Top to bottom became very expensive. The 6800 Ultra's and Radeon x800 XT's (yes not 850) still are selling for 550-600 EUR. Two years ago we where at 350-400 EUR for the high end range products. The mid range was 150 EUR and that low range roughly 50 EUR. What happened there?
So summing it up, the product is exactly where it should be, the low-end segment. It offers a stack of functionality that really is breathtaking. The card works well, really well and is 100% stable. The performance of all the functionally and features again is on par with a low-range product. But the price you pay in my humble opinion still a bit it on the high side. None the less, once used for a while, you'll definitely learn to appreciate this card. But as a gamer you need to steer clear of this card.
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GeForce 6200 TC 64MB
Product: 64/256 MB Graphics card
Price: 60-70 EUR
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