*Our 200th Review!* Most video card manufactures stick to the reference design’s from Nvidia and ATI. Sparkle and international graphics card manufacture that has been pushing into the US recently has a product line called Calibre. The Calibre line is perfect for enthusiasts who are looking for better overclocking and/or quieter video cards. Today I have the chance to take a look at the Sparkle Calibre X265, a GeForce 260 with a slick looking cooling solution and a performance bump.
Product Name: Sparkle Calibre X265
Review Sample Provided by: Sparkle
Review by: Wes
Pictures by: Wes
NVIDIA GeForce GTX260
Minimum System Power Requirement (W)
NVIDIA® unified architecture
Fully unified shader core dynamically allocates processing power to geometry, vertex, physics, or pixel shading operations, delivering up to 2x the gaming performance of prior generation GPUs
Full Microsoft® DirectX® 10 support
DirectX 10 GPU with full Shader Model 4.0 support delivers unparalleled levels of graphics realism and film-quality effects
3-way NVIDIA® SLI™ technology
Industry leading 3-way NVIDIA SLI technology offers amazing performance scaling by implementing AFR(Alternate Frame Rendering), under Windows Vista with solid ,state-of-the-art drivers.
NVIDIA HybridPower™ Technology2
Lets you switch from the GeForce GTX 260 graphics card to the motherboard GeForce GPU when running non graphically-intensive applications for a quiet, low power PC experience.
PCI Express 2.0 support
Designed for the new PCI Express 2.0 bus architecture offering the highest data transfer speeds for the most bandwidth-hungry games and 3D applications,while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing PCI Express motherboards for the broadest support.
Massively multi-threaded architecture supports thousands of independent, simultaneous threads, providing extreme processing efficiency in advanced, next generation shader programs
NVIDIA® Lumenex™ Engine
Delivers stunning image quality and floating point accuracy at ultra-fast frame rates:
16x Anti-aliasing Technology: Lightning fast, high-quality anti-aliasing at up to 16x sample rates obliterates jagged edges 128-bit floating point High Dynamic-Range(HDR) Lighting:Twice the precision of prior generations for incredibly realistic lighting effects-now with support for anti-aliasing
NVIDIA® Quantum Effects™ Technology
Advanced shader processors architected for physics computation enable a new level of physics effects to be simulated and rendered on the GPU –all white freeing the CPU to run game engine and AI
NVIDIA® ForceWare® Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
Delivers a proven record of compatibility reliability and stability with the widest range of games and applications
ForceWare provides the best out-of-box experience for every user and delivers continuous performance and feature updates over the life of NVIDIA GeForce® GPUs
OpenGL® 2.1 optimizations and support
Ensures top-notch compatibility and performance for OpenGL applications
Dual 400MHz RAMDACs
Blazing-fast RAMDACs support dual QXGA displays with ultra-high, ergonomic refresh rates –up to 2048x1536@85Hz.
Dual Dual-Link DVI Support
Able to drive industry’s largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560x1600 and with support for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection(HDCP).
NVIDIA CUDA™ Technology:
CUDA technology unlocks the power of the GPU’s processing cores to accelerate the most demanding system tasks – such as video encoding – delivering up to 7x performance over traditional CPUs.
NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.
Discrete, Programmable Video Processor
NVIDIA PureVideo is a discrete programmable processing core in NVIDIA GPUs that provides superb picture quality and ultra-smooth movies with 100% offload of H.264 video decoding from the CPU and significantly reduced power consumption.
Hardware Decode Acceleration
Provides ultra-smooth playback of H.264, VC-1, WMV and PEG-2 HD and SD movies.
Dual Stream Decode Acceleration
Hardware acceleration for HD picture-in-picture enables a complete HD movie playback experience.
Dynamic contract Enhancement
Provides post-processing and optimization of High Definition movies on a scene basis for spectacular picture clarity
Designed to meet the output protection management (HDCP) and security specifications of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats, allowing the playback of encrypted movie content on PCs when connected to HDCP-compliant displays.
Advanced Spatial-Temporal De-Interlacing
Sharpens HD and standard definition interlaced content on progressive displays, delivering a crisp, clear picture that rivals high-end home-theater systems.
Enlarges lower resolution movies and videos to HDTV resolutions, up to 1080i, while maintaining a clear, clean image. Also provides downscaling of videos, including high-definition, while preserving image detail.
Inverse Telecine (3:2 & 2:2 Pulldown Correction)
Recovers original film images from films-converted-to-video (DVDs, 1080i HD content), providing more accurate movie playback
and superior picture quality.
Bad Edit Correction
When videos are edited after they have been converted from 24 to 25 or 30 frames, the edits can disrupt the normal 3:2 or 2:2
pulldown cadence. PureVideo uses advanced processing techniques to detect poor edits, recover the original content, and display perfect picture detail frame after frame for smooth, natural looking video.
Noise Reduction :
Improves movie image quality by removing unwanted artifacts.
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and object
I’ve always been a sucker for well thought out and stylish packaging. The X265 is no exception with a sharp black packaging with a checkerboard design all over it. The Calibre branding is all over the front of the packaging but for some reason a sparkle logo is nowhere to be found. On the back of the packaging there is a little bit of information about how they test your video card before sending it out and what you can expect for service and warranty after buying the card. Inside the packaging the card is inside of a clear plastic clamshell held in place with cardboard.
Our Test Rig
Cooler Master 840 ACTS Case
Intel 920 i7 CPU
12 gigs of Cruicial Ballistix Ram (two triple channel kits, one red and one blue)
Crucial 128Gb M225 SSD
EVGA Classified Motherboard
Noctua NH-U12P 1366 special edition
Samsung Sata DVD burner
Cooler Master Ultimate 1100Watt power supply
In order to get a good idea of how the X265 compares to other setups I will be comparing it against one Sapphire 4870 1Gb and also Two Sapphire 4870’s running in CrossfireX (one is 1Gb and the other is 512). For testing I am using a combination of synthetic benchmarks and real world testing on a 28 inch monitor running at 1920x1200. Our tests consist of a 3dMark Vantage benchmark, the default benchmark in World in Conflict with settings on full high at 1920x1200, and windows Experience Index rating using Windows 7. The variety of tests should give us a good idea of how the X265 stands.
2 4870's in Crossfire
Sparkle Calibre X265
Windows Experience Index
3D Mark Vantage
Texture Fill Test
Color Fill Test
After all of the testing there wasn't really a surprise with the Crossfire coming out on top. The X265's 3dMark and World In Conflict performance on the other hand were a big surprise. Besting the aging 4870 by over 3383 the X265 proves that just because it's not as powerful as its big brothers it can still perform with the best. In World in Conflict the X265 picked up 3 FPS card vs card. Another area during testing that the X265 stood out was in the noise department. Under full load it wasn't silent but compared to the wind tunnel the 4870 creates it was a drastic improvement. With that being said it stayed a full 10 degree's Celsius cooler when under load. Obviously the fancy cooler they included with the X265 does its job.
So for our 200th review I spent some time with the Calibre X265 from Sparkle. As it turns out its a great card! It dominated the 4870 in most tests, only being beat by two 4870's in crossfire (and even then it the gap wasn't as far as it should have been. Sparkle has a great design with the X265's heatsink, not only was performance quieter than the 4870, it also kept the card cooler. If you're on the market for a mid range video card that will play anything you can currently throw at it, the X265 is a great choice. Its added benefit above reference 260 cards is the great heatsink and just enough of a bump in performance to make it worthwhile.The only problem I have with the X265 is now my 4870's are really showing their age ;), how do I explain to my wife that I NEED an upgrade.
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