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Sparkle Dragon Cyclone GTX 650

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Posted March 17, 2013 by Jake in Video Cards

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Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Price at time of Review: $110
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Excellent value; Low noise; Swappable fans; Small PCB/Cooler design; Beats Radeon 7750; Good gaming for the price
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Negligible cooling performance between the fans on Auto setting
 
BOTTOM LINE:
Modest gaming horsepower, low noise levels, and excellent value for gamers on a tight budget.
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by Jake
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Summary

As we’ve seen with the previous Kepler-based cards, they’ve proven to be impressive, in terms of performance, innovation, features, and value offered to consumers. The GTX 650 continues that trend, albeit in a more tempered fashion, as it’s not the juggernaut of its more powerful siblings. But it’s not nearly as expensive either, focusing instead on the competition’s Radeon 7750.

In that context, the Sparkle GTX 650 manages to beat the 7770 in nearly every regard, certainly in the gaming horsepower arena. The framerates aren’t very high, however, as most games will choke the GTX 650 on the highest quality settings, so we do recommend dropping those settings to improve performance. Really the only facet that Radeon 7750 wins is in the temperature department, assuming it’s a model with an aftermarket cooler. The Sparkle card manages to beat the stock 7750 cooler, though, and the choice of three fans here is unique, offering users a flexible setup to suit their preferences. It could be argued that 3rd party software to control fan speed is good enough, but it’s a question of degree. A Hyundai gets you from point A to B, but the Lexus does it in style.

That said, we do think the Stock or Silent fan included here does an admirable job, keeping temperatures easily in check while also keeping noise levels impressively low. Frankly, you shouldn’t hear the fan inside a case, so for an HTPC setup with light gaming duty, this card is extremely capable, particularly with the Silent fan installed.

In terms of value, the Sparkle GTX 650 retails for $110, which is the lowest priced model we could find that’s available in North America, at least one that’s already overclocked. By contrast, the Radeon 7750 retails for about $100, only $10 cheaper for what is clearly a product that can’t compete with the GTX 650. That leaves us with an excellent value overall for this Sparkle card, with a winner that’s tops in the lower budget range.

We remain impressed by Nvidia’s Kepler products, and the Sparkle Dragon Cyclone GTX 650 continues that trend, providing modest gaming horsepower, low noise levels, and excellent value for gamers on a tight budget.

Sparkle Dragon Cyclone GTX 650

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