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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.22.05]
Manufactured by: Gigabyte

Lowest Price Finder:
Buy.com: $70.05

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To Suit Your Needs

Let's face it; not everyone needs a $600 video card. Not everyone needs a $400 video card, or even $300. Sometimes, an integrated video controller is all you need.

Sometimes it isn't though. For instance, this past x-mas I bought my Mom a GeForce 5900 for her computer. Even though she doesn't play Doom 3 or Far Cry, her integrated SiS controller just wasn't cutting it for games like Sims 2 and Myst: Uru.

The low end range normally takes place between $70-100 for a reasonable DX9 card. However in the past few months, NVIDIA and ATI have come up with a way to significantly reduce the cost of their products.

On the NVIDIA side, this is the NV44 chip. It is based on the NV43 chip that powers the GF 6600 series. However, the memory controller has been reworked to make use of system memory for rendering. The use of the x16 PCI-E interface is what allows this; finally, video cards have the bandwidth they need to make full use of system memory.

Because of the way the new chip works, NVIDIA was able to significantly reduce the transistor count, so savings are two-fold; the chips are cheaper to manufacturer, and the cards themselves are equipped with less onboard memory.

The end result are cards like the one we are reviewing today; the NC62TC256D from Gigabyte.

The 6200 TC was introduced in several configurations, such as with 32MB onboard, with a 32 bit data path, or 64MB with a 64 bit data path. I tend to think that the majority of cards being sold will be built like this one from Gigabyte; 64MB with 64 bit data path, running at 550 MHz DDR.

This particular product from Gigabyte is fairly new to the market. The only place we found it at was at Buy.com, for just $70. Other competetive cards are the EVGA version, available for $68 at Monarch Computer, or one from Asus, available for $67 at Newegg.com. So the Gigabyte version is priced competetively.

32MB and 16MB cards aren't that much cheaper; they are around $60-70 each anyway, so there's no reason not to go with a 64 bit 64MB card.

The Card

Gigabyte's 6200 TC comes equipped with a small passive heatsink. Expect every other card on the market to come similarly equipped (although surely not with the same colour scheme as Gigabyte's).

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