The Graphics Cards Value Segment
While graphics processors designers are involved in a 3D performance race in the upper price segments and continue to introduce faster and faster processors, the exact opposite is true at the very low end of the spectrum. Here, the emphasis is on reducing production costs while every cent counts. The fewer the number of transistors, the cheaper it is to make the graphics processor, which in turn helps the vendor make money in this very price-sensitive sector.
The most popular solution these days largely involves taking the processor design from the mid-range and upper performance bracket and paring it down as much as possible. As a rule of thumb, the processor's 3D performance is often the first casualty of such a trimming operation. Paired with slow memory modules on a thin memory bus - think 64 Bit memory connections- it is thus no great surprise that these cards aren't exactly 3D speed demons.
Yet not everyone wants - let alone is able - to buy a graphics card that costs as much as an entire entry level off-the-shelf PC. Ideally, a card in the value segment should be as inexpensive as possible but should still be capable of accommodating decent game play every now and then. The next entry on the wish list in this segment usually reads "future proof," so that future games will also run on the card. This is the exact profile Nvidia had in mind when developing its GeForce 6200 with TurboCache.