comes down to it, nVidia's GT200 GPU at the heart of the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216
videocard proves itself a worthy competitor to ATI's RV770-series of GPUs that
power the Radeon HD 4890, 4870 and 4850 videocards.
multi-GPU videocards like the Radeon HD 4870 X2, or SLI solutions like the
Geforce GTS 250, performance from the single-GPU Sparkle GTX260 Core 216
videocard was consistent in pretty much all the benchmarks PCSTATS threw at the
PCI Express videocard.
is also a decent overclocker, which is likely a result of its 55nm die-shrink.
The default core clockspeed of the videocard is 576 MHz, with its 896MB of GDDR3
memory clocked at 999MHz.
quick minutes spent in nVidia nTune brought about a respectable overclock to
682MHz core and 1221MHz memory. Overall heat and noise levels were acceptable
for a videocard of this class. At $210 CDN ($183 USD £116 GBP), the Sparkle
GTX260 Core 216 represents a good value for a fast single-GPU videocard - that
much is clear no matter how you look at it.
Given the results PCSTATS has witnessed in recent ATI
videocard reviews, I think it's safe to say that nVidia has a ways to go before
it can match value quotient. Still, those kinds of questions generate a
different response from every gamer....
In terms of power consumption the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 isn't horrendous,
but it's still a generation behind AMD's new 40nm lower-mainstream GPUs (it's
not a head to head comparison). AMD's move to 40nm production will only make
this competition more difficult for nVidia in this respect.
For those PCs equipped with a decent power supply,
running a single Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 is a good single-GPU alternative to
AMD's Radeon HD 4890, 4870 and 4850 videocards.
Most importantly, the new 216-shader endowed Sparkle
GTX260 videocards have enough power to play recent video games like Far Cry 2
and STALKER at high resolutions, with pretty much every eyecandy option dialed
up. In the end, what more could you really ask for?
With the requirements of PC games slacking off a little
from the break-neck pace of just a few years ago, nVidia's GT200 GPU and the Sparkle
GTX260 Core 216 videocard offer up decent staying power. Now that the price has
come down to $210 CDN, this videocard ought to be on your short list if a
graphics card upgrade is in the cards for you, particularly if you have an
SLI-friendly motherboard already.
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