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Albatron TC6200Q Albatron TC6200Q: We take a look at Albatron's entry level video card which features NVIDIA's TurboCache technology.
Date: May 4, 2005
Manufacturer:
Written By:

    Most computers sold today are still ones that have an integrated video card.  This is a step to lower the cost of the entire system, as integrated video cards are much cheaper to produce than a discreet video card.  Where I work (retail store) about 80% of all computers we sell have integrated graphics cards.  This is either in the form of Intel chipsets or for AMD systems SIS/VIA chipsets.

    When we think about nVidia we don't really think about low end video cards.  Rather we see the high end video cards such as the GeForce 6800GT or 6600GT, which create the buzz in the online community.  However no company can really do well unless they diversify their product line, which is why nVidia has had lower end video cards, such as the MX series and more recently the FX5200's.

    Albatron is a completely nVidia based card company.  All their video cards are based on nVidia chipsets, from the 6200 series to their version of the 6800 Ultra.  They among others should have a very good grasp at what it takes to make a solid nVidia based video card.  So lets look at one of their lower end video card choices for PCI-Express.

Albatron TC6200Q

    Albatron sent us their entry level TurboCache product, that 'supports' 256MB of memory, though has 64MB of local memory.  For a quick look at their specifications for this card .  We will take a look at most of the specifications as we go through the review, but lets take a quick look at the card, its box and contents.

    What are the contents of the box?  Lets list it:

  • The video card
  • Manual
  • SVHS to RCA converter
  • Driver CD
  • Game Demo CD
  • Ars Fatalis Game CD

    As we can see this card didn't come with much in the way of extras, though the converter cable was nice to include for those who still have older TV's/VCR's with only RCA inputs.  The manual itself was the standard Albatron fare, pretty thorough and long, but in multiple languages.  One thing that I missed was a DVI-VGA connector, to allow for dual displays to be used on this card with two analog monitors.

    As for the software that was included, one word describes it, laughable.  The bundle consisted of the drivers, which are standard and useful, game demos for games that cost about as much as the CD itself, and Ars Fatalis, an RPG game.  This game is very badly designed, as it doesn't work properly with the included video card, even after applying the latest patch to it.  The drivers of this card are the same in design as has been looked at previously, thus one of the bright spots of this software bundle.  One thing that was glaring in its omission was DVD player software which would have been a better choice than the two game CD's by a large margin.

    The card itself is a rather simple design, with actually on the card, thus helping to cut costs in one way.  This is much cleaner than most cards, with two empty spots for a possible video capture chip.  The heatsink is a very simple aluminum heatsink with few fins and no fan, as this GPU runs fairly cool, thus making the package silent.  The outputs of the card are basically the same as most cards today, with a DVI port, VGA port and SVHS port providing connectivity.  Lets now take a look and see if this card can provide a quality experience in displaying images on your screen or on your TV.

Quality Tests

    First we will look at the 2D quality of the video card.  This is one of if not the most important aspect of the video card, though many people do not take the time to look closely at the quality of display that they are constantly looking at.  So lets take a look at how well this budget video card does with 2D applications.  The test is the same as we've been using for a while, with the reference display being a Matrox G400 video card attached to a 21" Dell badged Trinitron monitor.  The screen resolution was 1600*1200, with a color depth of 32bpp and a refresh rate of 85Hz.  So lets see how it did in comparison.

Test Matrox G400 Matrox Parhelia Albatron TC6200Q HIS X700 Pro IceQ Turbo Intel 915G IGP Albatron FX5750
Black Text / White Back: 5 7.5 6 7 4.5 5.5
White Text / Black Back: 5 8 7.25 7.5 5 7
Bitmap Test: 5 9 7.25 8 6 6.5
Overall Rating 5 8.25 6.75 7.5 5.25 6.25

    The 2D quality of this card is actually better than that of the PCX5750, with better results all the way around.  The 2D quality is quite a bit better than the 915G, but isn't nearly as good as either the ATi video card and the Parhelia.  The black text on white background is somewhat blurry but otherwise a solid image.

    Next lets take a look at the video out quality of this card, as one of the uses people may have for this card is as a device for displaying either a movie on the TV, or other images.  Our test uses two computers, to provide a actual test image result via uncompressed (HuffYUV) video captures.  Our capture card for these various video cards is the ATi Radeon AiW 9600Pro which will give use some of ATi's best TV-In quality, except for the newer Theater 550 chip based cards.  The reference video was from a claymation video called "Chicken Run" which provides real colors but also a good variety of bright colors.  Lets see how this budget card works here.

Reference Image

 

Albatron TC6200Q

Matrox Parhelia

Asus AX800XL Image

HIS X700 Pro Test Image

Albatron PCX5750

    The image of the 6200 isn't very good, as its fairly blurry in the way of the actual image, with the text being very blurry.  The image is cut off slightly more than the Parhelia, which in turn is also slightly cut off the reference image.  The PCX5750 does antialias the text quite a bit. Otherwise the card slightly squishes the text horizontally by a small amount.  As for the image quality of the output we see that there are points where there is a slight bit of blur and a higher brightness on the picture, but is still nicer than the image of the 6200.  However the nVidia cards do provide a better image quality than the ATi cards, though in this case it isn't much.

    We will forgo our Anti-Aliasing and ansiotropic filtering tests in this case as really most people will not be too worried about these settings and in reality the quality is the same as all of the rest of the cards in its series. 

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