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MP3 SOUND RECORDINGS
These recordings were made with a high
resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's
own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps
encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation
from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of
what we heard during the review.
These recordings are intended to give you an idea of how the product sounds
in actual use one meter is a reasonable typical distance between a computer
or computer component and your ear. The recording contains stretches of ambient
noise that you can use to judge the relative loudness of the subject. Be aware
that very quiet subjects may not be audible if we couldn't hear it from
one meter, chances are we couldn't record it either!
The recording starts with 5~10 seconds of room ambiance, followed by 5~10 seconds
of the VGA test system without a video card installed, and then the actual product's
noise at various levels. As this particular card did not add any noise the test
system, we have provided only a recording of the test system with its system
fan set to the levels tested. For the most realistic results, set the
volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't
change the volume setting again.
Gaming: Please check out the gaming-oriented reviews of the GTS 250
1GB at Tech
Reviews, The general consensus is that it is more or less equivalent
to the HD 4850, and offers slightly better performance than the 512MB version
of the GTS 250/9800 GTX+ when image quality settings and resolution are cranked
Cooling/Noise: The cooler employed by Sparkle does an adequate job
cooling the GPU. It is practically inaudible when idle, but when the fan speed
increases under load, it becomes too loud for SPCR. This is classic low-cost,
brute-force fan cooling: A fan that spins fast enough is a cheaper alternative
to a larger, more costly heatsink. Most of the contemporary graphics cards we've
tested in the past year or so, the HD 4830/4850/4870
and GTX 260 for example,
all generate less noise on full load than the Sparkle GTS 250. The heatsink
seems too small to cool the card effectively unless the fan speed is cranked
Power Consumption: By our estimates, the Sparkle GeForce GTS 250 1GB
requires approximately 22W when idle and up to 124W DC when stressed to the
limit. The idle figure is impressively low for a card of the GTS 250's caliber.
The load figure is more or less what you'd expect given the 3D performance.
It should also be noted that our sample is 9.5" long with two power connectors,
while some GTS 250's are 0.5" shorter with only one power connector. These
slimmed down versions may be even more power efficient.
Overall, the Sparkle GeForce GTS 250 1GB is a good midrange graphics card with
a competitive price-point to battle the Radeon HD 4850. It has a native HDMI
port (though a S/PDIF feed is needed for audio) and it is very quiet and power
efficient when idle. Once the GPU is stressed, however, the fan kicks into overdrive
to compensate for the undersized heatsink, making it unsuitable for any silent/quiet
PC. Among GTS 250 variants, this one may have the dubious distinction of the
cooler with the smallest surface area. With such a small heatsink on a card
that can draw more than 120W of power, it's no wonder that the fan has to ramp
up to high speed under load. For silent PC gamers, a better aftermarket heasink/fan
replacement is probably mandatory with this Sparkle.
Sparkle GeForce GTS 250 1GB
* Quiet when idle
* Low idle power
* Native HDMI port
* Heatsink too small; has a loud fan to compensate
Our thanks to Sparkle
Computer for the
video card sample.
* * *
Articles of Related Interest
Asus EN9400GT Silent Edition
Radeon HD 4870 Matrix
PowerColor SCS HD4650: A Fanless Budget Graphics Card
EN9800GT Matrix Edition
the Gap: ATI Radeon HD 4830
Redefining Budget Gaming Graphics: ATI's
Asus ENGTX260: A Quiet Graphics
Card for Gamers?
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