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Sparkle Calibre X265 review
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Monday, 24 August 2009 10:39
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Article Index
Sparkle Calibre X265 review
Features and specifications
Packaging
Sparkle Calibre X265
Testing
Results and conclusion
All Pages

Today we will have a look at the GTX260 graphics card from Sparkle, and more specifically the Calibre X265 model which is the high end model of Sparkle with a custom pcb and cooling system. It has 216 stream processor cores,896Mb GDDR3 ram and clocks of 666/2268Mhz for core and memory. For cooling it uses the Calibre Dual Fly Cooling system which proves to be one of the best in the market...

 

 

 

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Sparkle was established at 1987 and has many years of experience, so we have much to expect from its products.Calibre series focus on two things, high performance and nice aesthetics. The Calibre Dual Fly Cooling system has many innovations and is nice looking also, but will it keep the temps lower than the nvidia reference slot cooler?

 

 


 

 

Let's have a look at features and specifications!

 


All data is taken from Calibre website:

 

 

A few worlds about the cooling system

The Calibre X265/X265HM Graphics Cards features the 2nd generation of Calibre Dual Fly Cooling System by SPARKLE own design. It's the world's first Graphics Card with pillars traversed cooling fins technology which provides ultimate graphics cards cooling solution for users who seek higher graphics performance and lower working temperatures. The cooling system consists of
pure aluminum thermal base, 2 high-efficient heat pipes with 6mm diameter, 2 high-efficient heat pipes with 8mm diameter, the 9 aluminum pillars traversed heatsinks and dual low speed cooling fans. These 4 high-efficient heat pipes connect the surface of the GPU directly, providing the cooling transfer effect of  8 heat pipes. The technique of pillars traversed  can quickly bring the heat from aluminum pillars to the 8 layer cooling fins by direct contact. The perfect combination of the heat pipes and the pillars traversed cooling fins technology provides superior cooling efficiency and greatly enhances the cooling performance of GPU, video memory ,MOS circuit and NVIO on the PCB, let gamers to enjoy good overclocking margin and cooler GPU, guarantees stable system operation even under round-the-clock full load gaming.

 

 

Features

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.

 

GigaThread™ Technology
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

 

HDCP Capable4
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.

 

High-Quality Scaling
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.

 

Edge Enhancement:
Sharpens movie images by providing higher contrast around lines and object

 

Specifications

Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX260
Core Clock: 666 MHz
Memory Clock: 2268 MHz
Shader Clock: 1476 MHz
Stream processors: 216
Memory Size: 896 MB
Memory Type: GDDR3
Memory Interface: 448 bit
Bus Support: PCI-Express 2.0
DVI Output: Dual DVI-I
HDCP support Yes
Minimum System Power Requirement (W) 500 W

 

Let's have a look at the packaging of Calibre X265!


The packaging is probably the most high quality I have seen in a graphic card, is is black with golden font. Also the feel of touching the package gives you the impression it will be really high quality.

 

From the back we can see the features and the after-service.

 

A closer look at features.

 

And at after-service.

 

At the side there is a sticker with the specifications

 

Specifications are also at this piece which is attached to the handle of the box.

 

Inside the Calibre X265 is well protected.

 

Accessories include:

  • Two power adaptor cables
  • User manual
  • Warranty card
  • Cd-rom with drivers and utilities
  • Dvi adaptor

 

 

Let's have a closer look!

 


An overall look of the Calibre X265. We can immediately notice the 2 fan cooling system.

 

In the center there a nice logo of Calibre.

 

 

A closer look at the one of the two heatsinks. We can notice the two heatpipes, the bottom is 8mm while the top is 6mm.The fan speed is auto controlled by the card depending on temperature, or manually from nvidia control panel.

 

Under the heatsink there are some heatsinks that hep assist cooling.

 

Lots of heatsinks also at the side.

 

The Traversed Pillars can be shown here, in fact it is simply some fins attached to the base with 6 pieces of aluminium.

 

One think I didn't like was that despite the sophisticated cooling system the mosfets have no heatsinks, I doubt if the airflow from the fan can keep them at low temps.In any case the spacing between them and the cooler allows us to install heatsinks.

 

From the back.

 

Here we can see the 2 DVI ports.

 

Here are the two 6-pin power connectors.

 

Here we can see the cooler removed,it had hdt heatpipes and wecan also notice the spots where thermal tape is.This cools the memory chips and the nvio chip.

 

Here we can see the cooler base cleaned, it has not perfect lapping, but is sure does its job.

 

The GTX260 core is really big in size, and even a cooler like this only touches a small area.

 

A closer look of the core.We can also notice the ram chips, they are made by Samsung.

 

Now we can move on the testing!


System used for the test


Comparison will be with Nvidia 9800GTX+,Msi GTX 260 and Ati 4850 cards.

 

Crysis 1280x1024 with all setting to Medium


 

 

 

Call of Duty 4 1280x1024 with all settings to medium

 

 

3D Mark Vantage Extreme score

 

 

Temperature

 

 

 

 

Sound Pressure Level

 

 

 

 

Overclocking

The card has some major overclocking headroom because the cooler is really good(I only placed some heatsinks at the mosfets), and I was able to push the core at 696Mhz, the shader clock at 1492Mhz and the memory at 2290Mhz.With some more tries I think there is more room to overclock as the cooling system kept the temperatures low.

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Calibre series do what the say, performance and lifestyle. One of the best vga coolers is placed at one of the best GTX260 cards and makes a very nice combination.As we can see the performance of this card is really nice, and about 20% faster than the Msi Gtx260.

 

Noise levels are also very low,when in desktop or watching movies the card can not be heard at all, at really heavy load the fans spin up but they never become anoying like my old 7950GT's that made me think they will take off.

 

Calibre also offers a 3 year warranty for the people that will register at their website, and is considered to have one of the best after-sales support.They will respond to any email within 48 hours and will help you solve your problem.

 

I would like to see a bit more stuff in the box, because everyone gets happy when there is lots of bundle.There is not even an SLI connector.Also the lack of heatsinks at the mosfets can be disantvantage because at high overclocking they get REALLY hot and heatsinks are a must for stable and reliable operation.

 

 

Pros

  • Extremely nice looking
  • High performance
  • High performance cooler
  • Nice packaging
  • Good support
  • SPA works flawlessly

 

 

Cons

  • Bundle
  • Mosfets have no heatsink

 

 

"If you want a nice looking graphics card that can kick ass in gaming then this is for you..! "

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 



Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2010 10:59
 

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