We first saw Geforce 7 series mainstream cards a year ago. In March 2006, Nvidia proudly announced its generation of Geforce 7xx0 graphic cards. Geforce code name G71 was top product, and Nvidia also launched 7900GTX/GT and later 7950GT.
G73 chip was also known as GeForce 7600 a mainstream model of that generation,with its average card selling price of 200€. It replaced Geforce 6600 GT at this price range and it had very large shues to fit. The card was well known as best performance piece for the price. It was a rather hard task for new Geforce 7600 to replace the 6600.
Nvidia 7 series is made on 90nm marchitecture, which is process that new 8800 uses at the moment. Reducing the size of transistors in the production process brings a lot of good things as chip gets smaller, it dissipates less heat and is cheaper to produce. Reducing the chip production process is very complicated task, and 80nm was the first step to reduce the transistor size. As we have already mentioned 65nm marchitecture are near future.
Today we will talk about special Nvidia card made by Sparkle. Calibre Geforce 7600GT is special by a fact that it is first Nvidia 80nm chip.
Calibre 7600GT GPU is super overclocked card and its core works at 650MHz. A reference Nvidia Geforce 7600GT with 90nm marchitecture works at 560MHz. Besides the 80nm chip and greater speed, Calibre has all other characteristics that the old 7600 has. Gamers will know to appreciate this Nvidia and Sparkle move, and 80nm card is only an intro into entire 80nm marchitecture transition. This Sparkle gaming warrior supports Microsoft DirectX 9, Shader model 3.0 and true high dynamic range (HDR) imaging. The video memory works at 1600MHz.
A box design is very classy and deserves more credit then just one sentence or a photo. The box kind of reminds of a very neatly packed cake and it contains, besides the card, couple of useful cables. Surprisingly, only S-video and DVI adapter where in there together with manual and drivers CD. Calibre is Sparkle’s brand for expensive and exclusive cards and this test sample was no exemption.
Unicorn is a legendary horse shape like creature and a symbol for this legendary card
Intel Core 2 Extreme E6800, 2x 2.93GHz, 266MHz FSB, 4MB Cache
Sparkle Calibre 7600GT 768 256MB
Corsair Dominator TWIN2X1024-8500 at 5-5-5-15 at 1066 MHz
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 400GB SATA NCQ hard drive
Akasa EVO AK 922 Blue Athlon 64/X2/FX cooler and Intel CPU's
Silverstone DA750W modular PSU
Sparkle Calibre left the reference Nvidia 7600GT in dust. Difference in 3Dmark03 is 2275 marks, 3Dmark05 the difference was 913 marks and 3Dmark06 total of 497 marks. Results clearly shows that Calibre is 15% faster then the regular GeForce 7600 GT card.
We have already mentioned that the biggest performance gain out of this card is in games. In Quake4 and FEAR, the games we tested, average improvement is 15% better then the reference card. Very good result indeed.
In Quake 4 the only OpenGL game in test, with 1024x768 resolution Calibre is 14.5 FPS faster and on maximal 2048x1056 screen resolution and is more then 6.5 FPS faster then the reference card. Additional 4 FPS that Calibre delivers on maximal resolution with antialiasing and anisotropic on, are what make games more playable then on the reference 7600GT (28FPS vs 24.1FPS). Since all the results are average value of tests in certain time period, there is a possibility that gamers will experience lag in certain parts of the game or have game to freeze for a moment on these extreme high resolutions. As mentioned already Calibre is 15% faster in these tests as well.
Sparkle Calibre 7600GT is mainstream card, and one cannot expect miracles, even though it is based on overclocked 80nm chip. FEAR has proven this. You can enjoy your game at 1600x1200 but not higher resolutions. When you have additional graphic options on, playable resolution will go down to 1280x1024. Calibre delivers 34FPS in FEAR on that resolution. Again the magical 15% difference.
Sparkle Calibre 7600GT 768 is the fastest GeForce 7600 we have seen so far. It beats the reference card on every test and gets 15% better results. The card is overclocked on 650MHz/1600MHz, much more then the reference model frequency, which works at 560MHz/1400MHz.
It is a rare card and wont live that much longer as nvidia plans to release the new G84 very soon now, just in a month time. At a suggested retail price at about $150 we think that this is a good card for the money.