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Sparkle Calibre P980X+ Review

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Testing is done through the use of benchmarks; here we use a standardized array of tests, which are currently Far Cry 2, Crysis Warhead, BioShock, Call of Duty: World at War, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, 3DMark06, and 3DMark Vantage. The drivers are not tweaked and run at the default setup with the exception of turning PhysX on and off. The test system is overclocked slightly to 3GHz to remove some of the bottleneck from the GPU, and the card is tested once at stock and a second time overclocked. The test results are then compared to video cards that are considered to be in the same performance class.


Comparison Video Cards:




Overclocked settings:

  • Sparkle Calibre P980X+ 799/1346/1862

Overclocking the card was more complicated than expected. The card artifacted at its factory overclocked speeds, and would begin artifacting at reference clocks as well. Thus the difficulty in overclocking – setting the speeds themselves was easy with Rivatuner and SPAtune. Temperatures were around 55C idle and 75C load, so I dismantled the card and replaced the stock thermal paste with some high performance paste. As a safeguard, while the heat sink was off, I also applied more paste to the heat pipe assembly, coating the pipes in a stickier paste to ensure that there would be good thermal contact. The pipes had little paste, and it seemed somewhat grainy, where the paste replacing it was similar to toothpaste. Once the card was refreshed with two thermal pastes, idle and load temperatures dropped 10C to 15C and the card ran stable at reference speeds. The factory default would still artifact although not as quickly or vigorously, and was caused by the high shader clock speed. The core didn’t have much room left in it, a mere 38MHz over the factory tune, while the memory ran up to 1346MHz – a 185MHz overclock! Overall a 5% overclock on the core, 16% on memory, and technically –2.6% on the shader clock speed. Not great, but not bad either – at least the card was pre-overclocked and the memory had some room.



Video benchmarks:

  • Far Cry 2
  • Crysis Warhead
  • BioShock
  • Call of Duty: World at War
  • Dead Space
  • Fallout 3
  • Left 4 Dead
  • 3DMark06 Professional
  • 3DMark Vantage



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