So we’ve had a good two weeks of playing around with Sparkle’s newest card, the Calibre branded X560 Ti DF. We unboxed this little number a while ago and since then, we’ve slapped it into our test system and managed to play with it with both Battlefield Bad Company 2 and 3DMark 11. So did it pass with flying colors?
If you’re not big on back reading links, let us break it down for you. The Calibre X560 Ti DF is Sparkle’s latest card based on NVIDIA’s 560 Ti GPU. The 560 Ti uses NVIDIA’s GF114 GPU which is marketed to the mid-end segment of the gaming market. On paper, the 560 Ti graphics and memory clock is about 822 and 1002 Mhz, respectively. The Calibre X560 Ti DF on the other hand, runs at 950 and 1151 Mhz, respectively, which means that the card is slightly overclocked from the factory.
Physically, the card is imposing, but not overly so. It’s a large card yes, but it’s not the sort of card that’s able to warm a family of five on a cold winter’s night. It’s hard to believe, but the overall look and feel of the card from the packaging down to the metal backplate make it seem quietly threatening. It’s exactly the opposite of gaudy and loud – and we definetely appreciate that. Less LEDs, more performance we always say.
That particular styling extends all the way to its packaging which, to be honest, didn’t look like it contained a video card at all. Inside you get the card (obviously), a CD with device drivers on it, additional power plugs and a nifty HDMI cable with a mini connector.
The card itself will take up about two PCI-E slots in your rig, and will be powered through two 6-pin plugs. Cooling is done via two 9cm ball bearing fans, Cool Pro thermal modules and 8mm copper heatpipes. The solid metal backing of the card gives it more surface area to dissipate heat, as well as providing a solid foundation to prevent board bending.
We used two benchmarks and one game to accurately gauge performance numbers. Futuremark’s 3DMark 11 and Unigine’s Haven benchmarks will give us the performance numbers we need, while DICE’s multiplayer extravaganza Battlefield Bad Company 2 will give us real world performance feedback. Our test system is an Intel Core i5 2500K running at 3.30GHz with 4GB of DDR3 memory on an Intel DH67BL board. The system is stock, no overclocks.
We made two passes with 3DMark 11 – one on the default Performance preset (1280×720) and the other on the Extreme preset (1920×1080).
The card managed to net a score of P4944 for the performance preset and X1698 for the Extreme preset.
For Unigine’s Haven benchmark, we cranked up the resolution to 1920×1080 and anisotrophy to x4. The Calibre X560 Ti DF managed to net a score of 920, with an average of 36.5 FPS. Not bad at all.
For the final test, we booted up our copy of Battlefield Bad Company 2. With the resolution set 1920×1080, and anti-aliasing on x4 we set about playing a few rounds of Rush. According to FRAPS, a recording app that we use to count frames, the Calibre X560 Ti DF managed an excellent 90 FPS. Gameplay was extremely smooth, and even with multiple explosions going around me and all the smoke effects during the match, the game was still pretty damn smooth.
So is the Calibre X560 Ti DF worth it? Well, that depends solely on your budget. With a suggested SRP of $259 (or about Php 11000), it’s definitely not cheap. But for that price, you get a nice, powerful card that’s certainly able to tackle the flood of titles come the holiday season.
Card is silent even under full load
If you have the budget, the Sparkle Calibre X560 Ti DF is definitely a card to look at.