Sparkle Calibre P980X+ geForce 9800GTX+ 512MB Video Card Review

Conclusions
So what about the Sparkle P980X+? To be honest, when the geForce 9800GTX+ was released, I really didn’t think much about it, because the Radeon HD 4850 and 4870 had outperformed the 9800GTX by a considerable amount. I figured that the GTX+ would be merely a warmed over GTX, and I had low expectations of it.

We see here by the test scores that there is more to the 9800GTX+ than that. It will outperform the HD 4850 in most tests I used here, and I would have compared the two but I didn’t have one available at the time. The HD 4870 did outperform the P980X+, but by much less than I would have thought.

I really like what Sparkle has done with this card. The cooler is just awesome, in innovation, looks, function, and performance. I have been looking at heatpipes running through bases for a long time, and wondered if it was practical to have a heatpipe actually pivot in the base. Obviously it is ok, because I never saw a load temp over 50C, which is much lower than the temps I have gotten accustomed to.

Something else I should mention is nVidia’s latest geForce drivers, 182.08. I read late last year that nVidia’s new drivers would start increasing GPU performance noticeably. The latest drivers increased performance over the bundled drivers in every instance, some a little, others a lot. The new drivers increased the 3DMark Vantage score by over 1000 Marks. Sparkle’s SPA Tune also is notable in the software department, it is a cool little utility and greatly appreciated as a dashboard to see stats without opening the nVidia Control Panel.

I have to admit that the P980X+ isn’t much of an overclocker, the factory clock reaches the point that further overclocking does not increase performance. Every video card has that point, and Sparkle has found it so you don’t have to. I found no other issues with the card.

The Sparkle P980X+ runs $159.99 at my favorite online retailer, about midway in price of the range of 9800GTX+s. All of the cards at the lower end of the price scale are reference clocked. Looking at the list of 9800GTX+ cards, I find only one that is clocked higher than the P980X+, and it costs $30 more. A heavily factory overclocked card with such a cool GPU cooler is definitely worth the middle-of-the-road price. ThinkComputers.org gives the Sparkle P980X+ geForce 9800GTX+ a 9 out of 10 score.

Pros:
– Cooler is innovative and functional
– GPU heavily overclocked at the factory
– Good performance for the price

Cons
– Someone that just has to overclock their video card beyond the factory clock may not be satisfied

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