A GeForce 275 with some Sparkle
If you've followed the video card industry for any length of time, you're undoubtedly familiar with vendors such as Asus, Gigabyte, or MSI. The GeForce GTX 275 card we're reviewing today is from a manufacturer I'm not personally familiar with, though NewEgg's substantial selection of Sparkle products suggests it's flown under my radar. At the same time, however, the company's USA website has a large "Coming Soon" tag hanging off it. Luckily the main Taiwanese domain has any information you need and it's easy enough to find product data.
Sparkle produces two variations of the GeForce GTX 275°™the SXX275896D3S-VP and the SXX275896D3-VP. The advantage the "S" conveys, in this case, is so slim one wonders why the company bothered to define two SKUs at all. The "S" variant uses a core clock of 648MHz with a memory clock of 2304MHz and a shader clock of 1440MHz. The company's slightly cheaper non-S card runs its core at 633MHz with a 2268MHz memory clock and a 1404MHz shader clock. Run the numbers, and the "S" SKU ends up with a 2.3 percent core clock advantage, a 1.5 percent RAM clock boost, and shaders clocked 2.6 percent higher. The card that we will be reviewing today is the SXX275896D3S-VP, which is the faster of the two models.
Our retail bundle was bare-boned, including just the card itself, two 4-pin to 6-pin power convertors, and a single VGA-to-DVI adapter.
Save for a bit of custom artwork, this is a bog standard NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 video card design. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that°™I'm not personally a fan of flashy gizmos, LEDs, or useless clutter°™but it doesn't leave Sparkle's GeForce GTX 275 much to shine with when it comes to enticing customers away from other, potentially better-known brands. Sparkle has done some of its own custom-cooler design at other times, but for now, the company is sticking close to home.
Neither the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 nor its primary competitor, the ATI Radeon HD 4890, are new entries to the field, but driver updates and a swap to an AMD-based platform may cast performance in a different light. We'll also examine the higher-end offerings to see where the sweet spot is (or isn't).