Palit GTX 260 Sonic Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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With each new generation of video cards, there will be the initial offering that is basically the reference design cards from the manufacturers. A while later, the cards that have been modified with custom cooling or completely redesigned to offer a product that can be clocked higher and run cooler start to make it to the market. One of these manufacturers is Palit Microsystems. Its Sonic lineup has proven to be popular as well as highly overclockable. The Palit HD 4850 Sonic clocked higher than any other HD 4850 I have tested, not by just a small margin but by a huge margin. The performance when overclocked was boosted up to the level of a stock GTX 260 192sp card. So what makes the Sonic so much different from the stock cards out there? It is usually the custom cooling, redesigned PCB and additional overclocking capabilities that push the performance to a higher level out of the box than their competitors. Couple this with a price point that is reasonable and you have a winning combination.
The Palit GTX 260 Sonic 216SP is indeed a card that should push the performance boundaries for a card readily available to the masses. This card comes pre overclocked with clock speeds of 625MHz on the GPU core 1348MHz on the 216 shader cores and 1100MHz on the 896MB of GDDR3 memory. The cooling solution used includes dual fans and a heatpipe based copper/aluminum heatsink to eliminate cooling as a barrier to performance. If this card clocks half as well as the Sonic Hd 4850 it should be an incredible graphics solution.
The front panel of the package contains some basic information about the card. HDCP compliance, the fact that this is a Sonic edition card as well as the clock speeds and technologies it uses. The rear panel list the specifications in 12 different languages. The Frobot is the dominating character on the front panel and is the the way to distinguish the Palit brand from the others on the shelf.
Opening the package brings a nice surprise in the way that Palit has started shipping its cards. Instead placing the card in an anti static bag in a cardboard box surrounded by a series of cardboard braces that invariably bend and allow the card to shift and bounce around during transit, Palit have chosen to go with a foam insert cut to fit the card, reducing the possibility of damage.
The bundled accessories that are included are actually a bit better than what I have seen from Palit in the past. This bundle includes a DVI to D-sub adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter, S/PDIF sound input cable, HDTV dongle, a dual molex to 6-pin PCI-E power adapter and last, but not least, the driver disc and quick install guide. The adapter should allow the Palit GTX 260 Sonic to be connected to just about any display.
Let's dig a little deeper into what makes the Palit Sonic tick.