Sparkle X560 Ti DF Calibre Review
It's been a while since we've reviewed a Sparkle card here at OC3D and to say we're impressed is an understatement.
Starting with the looks, this is a gorgeous card. An all-black design isn't exactly new and to a certain extent your own mileage may vary with whether you like the almost heraldic logo, but it's small and inoffensive if you don't. However the combination of the pretty cooler and subtle packaging and logos really lends an air of class to the whole proceedings.
Overclocking was a breeze too. Out of the box the Sparkle Calibre is the fastest GTX560Ti on the planet, and we still had enough headroom to get an extra 70MHz out of the core, pushing it past the 1GHz barrier. This isn't "numbers only" performance either as the overclock gave us visibly higher performance in every single one of our tests.
Indeed, if the looks are understated, the performance screams from the rooftops. The difference between this Calibre version of the GTX560Ti and the reference design is so wide that it turns a card that is targeted at people who want a little bit of performance and light gaming, into something that can keep pace with a stock GTX570!
We're so used to seeing cards that can give us good numbers in 3D Mark but fall down when the gaming gets tough that to find a card which, if anything, underperforms in 3D Mark when compared to its gaming abilities is quite astonishing. It doesn't even come at a price to your ears or central heating either as the cooler is quiet and capable of keeping the GPU well under 80°C despite our 1GHz overclock.
In fact the only black mark on the Sparkle card is how hard it is to get hold of. One would assume that a card that has this huge level of performance would be available everywhere, yet it's extremely hard to find anywhere that is selling it. If you can find one the pricing doesn't reflect it's premium abilities being available, in the few places we've found it, for less than many other GTX560Ti's, at around £170.
Even if it was £200 we'd be raving about it, so to find that all these great qualities don't break the bank either means this has to go straight in as one of our highest recommended products for gamers on a budget and worthy of our Gold Award.