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The ALICE TPC is the largest Time Projection Chamber ever built. Given the performance requirements it is also, and justifiably so, dubbed the most challenging one. In this paper we browse through the often contradictory optimization strategies and outline the solutions taken to meet the specifications. Mainly on the basis of the commissioning data taken in 2008 and 2009 we will examine to which extend the ALICE TPC came up to its performance expectations, which were outlined elsewhere [1, 14].doi:10.1088/1742-6596/230/1/012023 fatcat:gkvufyj2zfgoljrzu36uvwcfje