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Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 GeForce GTX 260 Videocard Review
Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 GeForce GTX 260 Videocard Review - PCSTATS
The Geforce GX 260 core on Sparkle's videocard is clocked at the default speed of 576MHz, the shaders hum away at 1242MHz, while the GDDR3 memory runs at an even 999MHz.
 81% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Sparkle May 26 2009   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > Sparkle GTX260 Core 216

Although it was introduced nearly a year ago, videocards based on nVidia's 'GT200' GPU architecture are still somewhat rare. There are mid-range parts like the nVidia Geforce GTS 250, though these are actually based off of older 'G80' and 'G92' GPUs. Given the ongoing price war of attrition with AMD, it's not surprising that nVidia has driven the prices on its existing line of Geforce GT200-based graphics cards to the point where graphics cards that were previously reserved for the very high end, are now quite affordable mid-range options for the gamer to consider.

Such is the case for the Geforce GTX 260, one of the first videocards based on nVidia's GT200 GPU. Taiwanese hardware manufacturer Sparkle has teamed up with nVidia to produce the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216, a graphics card that stands as a direct challenger to AMD's Radeon 4870 graphics card. The "Core 216" part of the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 videocard's name refers to the GPU having additional shader processors enabled. While the original Geforce 260 GTX had 192 shader processors, the Core 216 variant has an additional 24 enabled, for a grand total of, you guessed it, 216 shader processors. That means this PCI Express 2.0 x16 videocard has a little more raw computing power than the original Geforce GTX 260 did.

Sparkle's GTX260 Core 216 videocard packs in 896MB of onboard GDDR3 memory, is PCI Express 2.0 x16 compliant and retails for about $210 CDN ($183 USD £116 GBP ). The Geforce GX 260 core on Sparkle's videocard is clocked at the default speed of 576MHz, the shaders hum away at 1242MHz, while the GDDR3 memory runs at an even 999MHz. As you might expect, this dual-slot wide graphics card incorporates nVidia Physx, Cuda, and Hybridpower. From the graphics and eyecandy perspective the Geforce GTX260 GPU supports DirectX10, Shader Model 4.0, OpenGL 2.1, and 128-bit HDR.

Another change from the original Geforce GTX 260 is that the the GT200 B3 revision graphics processor has been die-shrunk from a 65nm to 55nm manufacturing process. The GPU contains an utterly massive 1.4 Billion transistors, squeezed into a die measuring 487mm2 in area. While this should lower nVidia's production costs and make the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 more affordable for you, and cooler running, nVidia is still playing catch-up to AMD's RV770 GPU, which is smaller still, cooler, and generally more energy efficient.

Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 Videocard
(Model No. SXX260896D35-VP)


User's Manual, Driver CD, DVI-to-Analog converter, (2) SLI 6-pin-to molex power cables.

Like most gaming videocards, the Sparkle Geforce 260 GTX occupies two expansion slots. The cards can be configured with identical graphics adaptors to run in dual or triple-mode SLI on supporting motherboards. It's always a good idea to ensure there's good case airflow so tightly packed graphics cards don't overheat and run their fans a full duty ( the Sparkle videocards' fan isn't particularly loud thankfully).

On the I/O panel of the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 are a pair of DVI ports which support resolutions of up to 2560x1600 pixels. The white adapter is a typical dual-link DVI output, while the black DVI adapter can also carry audio from the on-board S/PDIF header that Geforce videocards use in place of an on-board audio codec. Unfortunately, the Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 videocard doesn't come with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter or the SPDIF jumper cable, so you'll need to pick those items up yourself before you can enjoy sound and video output over HDMI.

The Sparkle GTX260 videocard supports onboard hardware HD decoding technologies care of nVidia PureVideo, so BluRay, H.264, VC-1, MPEG2, or WMV9-encoded media can be played back with little if any CPU load. Oddly, there is no TV-out port for S-Video/component output on this particular videocard.

The Sparkle Geforce 260 GTX has an officially related thermal design power of 182W, so it requires two 6-pin PCI Express power adapters. Performance videocards requiring multiple power connectors are pretty common, so power supply manufacturers long ago incorporated the extra power connectors necessary. If your power supply doesn't have the twin 6-pin SLI power connectors, Sparkle have thoughtfully included two molex-to-6Pin power adaptors for you.

Next to the power connections is the 2-pin SP/DIF connector to bring an audio signal into the videocard for users that wish to output 1080i video & sound over HDMI (via HDMI-to-DVI adaptor, not included). To understand where all this firepower comes from, we need to take a look at the nVidia GeForce GTX260 GPU....

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Contents of Article: Sparkle GTX260 Core 216
 Pg 1.  — Sparkle GTX260 Core 216 GeForce GTX 260 Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  nVidia Geforce GTX260 and the GT200 GPU
 Pg 3.  Videocard Power Consumption Measurements
 Pg 4.  Overclocking a Geforce GTX260 with nVidia nTune
 Pg 5.  Videocard Benchmarks: 3DMark06
 Pg 6.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, STALKER, Crysis
 Pg 7.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: Call of Juarez
 Pg 8.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: Lost Planet
 Pg 9.  Videocard Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 10.  AA/AF Videocard Benchmarks: FEAR AA/AF
 Pg 11.  AA/AF Videocard Benchmarks: FarCry 2, Crysis
 Pg 12.  Radeon or Geforce GTX260 - Who's the better GPU?

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