Sparkle 8800 GT Passive: The Fastest Silent GPU in the Worldby Anand Lal Shimpi on November 29, 2007 12:00 AM EST
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We're impressed. Usually HTPCers have to make a tremendous tradeoff when picking a graphics card, more often than not they're stuck with a pretty fast, but still mid-range GPU. With the 8800 GT, we have a GPU that's basically as fast as an 8800 GTX and with Sparkle's card we have such a beast without a fan.
The card gets hot, but as we've seen, it can easily be used inside a case alongside a very warm CPU. A well ventilated chassis will obviously help and we're not sure what the high temperatures will do to the longevity of the GPU (overclocking the graphics card is obviously not recommended), but that's what warranties are for (it looks like Sparkle provides a one-year warranty on its cards, ouch).
The only thing Sparkle's 8800 GT is missing is HDMI output, but we figure most HTPC users are accustomed to dealing with using DVI only at this point. We do commend Sparkle for making sure that its first 8800 GT would be passively cooled, if more companies would take this approach we might actually see some better product differentiation in the market. Sparkle's website also indicates a 256MB version in the works.
Pricing isn't bad either, although we're skeptical until we actually see these things ship. Given how quickly the other 8800 GTs have sold out, if you see this thing at $319 and are interested, we suggest moving quickly.