For now Sparkle kept to the original NVIDIA reference card design, you'll notice when blue colored PCB's appear that you got one of the cards which is designed by Sparkle themselves. Own made PCB's allows Sparkle to lower the price while it also offers more freedom in creating special limited series. Anyway, in both cases you'll get a video card which functions great. The NVIDIA reference design measures the same dimensions as the former 8800GTS cards, only difference is that with the 65nm production process the video processor requires less juice, this card can perfectly do its work with a single slot cooling solution where the GTS needed a dual slot heat pipe equipped heatsink.
Although the Digital Video Interface (DVI) is getting older and bound to be replaced, it is still used for most equipment available today; even TV's have such an interface nowadays. The demand for high resolutions has pushed this interface to the maximum, but the industry came up with a fix called dual-link DVI, a nifty trick to increase the bandwidth between the video card and monitor. Owning a 25" LCD with support for dual-link DVI is great because of the wide availability of dual-link DVI, though always be careful with what you buy because not every video card will support this feature. Our Sparkle comes with native HDCP support, an encryption technology made for digital high definition content. Besides that NVIDIA added support for older televisions and other output devices via a HDTV/S-video/Composite connector.
Scalable Link Interface, SLI, is a feature used for offering the very best rendering power the industry has to offer those days, this way two video cards of the same model can be joined together and double the rendering performance, in theory... Past experience teaches us that SLI is only useful for high-end video cards when there is nothing faster available, binning two mid-range cards together will not outperform high-end products, nor be cheaper.
Performance/power consumption ratio is one of the new trends we saw introduced when Intel launched their Core 2 Duo CPU architecture. Compared to the same priced 8800GTS, the new 8800GT comes with a G92 GPU build on the 65nm manufacturing process, in this case increasing the performance per watt ratio. This has not only an effect on how they have to cool the video card components; it also affects the need for enough Ampéres at the 12V line. Nevertheless, NVIDIA claimed the 8800GT to consume around 100W, this way it still requires an additional PCIe power connector.
Turning over the card reveals an all green PCB. The heatsink is held onto the card via 12 screws, NVIDIA sure found a way to entertain those who want to trade in their default heatsink for something better. The back side of the board, as for the NVIDIA reference model, holds place for both the GPU and memory PWM controllers. The controllers themselves haven't changed compared to previous 8800 models and can be found at the left.
|The Primarion PX3540 is used for controlling the GPU core, the Sparkle 8800GT features 2 PWM phases.||Single phase PWM, the Intersil 6549 already proved to be a reliable power source for GDDR3 memory.|