The Nintendo 64 had a reputation for being great at drawing triangles, but not so good at texturing them, so that many games fell back on heavy use of untextured (though Gouraud shaded) triangles, giving them a more cartoony look compared to PlayStation games.
What was it about the hardware that made the N64 bad at textures?
I have seen it claimed that it was because the texture cache was only 4K. But according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_technical_specifications#Graphics_processing_unit_(GPU) the PlayStation texture cache was only 2K!
It can't been lack of memory bandwidth; according to the answer to How fast was Rambus compared to regular EDO RAM? the RDRAM on the N64 was considerably faster than the EDO RAM on the PlayStation. Even if you divide it by two to take into account the need for CPU and GPU to share the unified memory, it's still faster.
I have seen it suggested that it was because of memory latency, but in the light of the above, it seems unlikely that the N64 had worse memory latency than the PlayStation.
I have seen it suggested that it was something to do with lack of DMA and the need for coordination between the CPU and GPU. Is there any truth in that? If so, what exactly was the issue? Or was it something else?
Back to the original question, i was a pretty big limitation, as mentioned it wasn't a cache in the traditional sense it was an explicitly loaded block of memory that was the only place you could render from. It could not be updated mid triangle, so if you wanted a texture that wouldn'y fit, you were stuck with adding more tris and doing more explict loads, which generally led to poor performance.