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4850 Crossfire vs GTX 285. Is it a tie?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 12, 2009 10:41:04 PM

Well I recently bought a GTX 285, EVGA SC edition. This has replaced my Crossfired 4850's. The little issues with crossfire that kept popping up and nagging me were not worth the hassle or money, hince where I am now; a single GPU solution that allegedly matches these cards. I did some really sh1tty "test" and observations earlier, here they are....

- Microstuttering in WoW, EQ2 , Fallout 3 and CoD World at War is gone. (obviously)
- FPS has generally stayed the same, but the GTX 280 does not suffer the spikes of FPS drop when lots of stuff appears on screen.
- The 1GB memory on the GTX 285 has allowed me to finally max EQ2 balls to the wall with all shadows at max. The 512mb and p1ss poor CFX support on the 4850's made this impossible
- Alt tabbing in and out of games is instant, with the 4850's I often had a 2-3 second black screen to look at. Annoying even if minor.
- I can actually run Fallout 3 with shadows turned up with the GTX 285, I could with the CFX 4850's, but for whatever reason it was causing odd sporatic lighting issues indoors (espically inside the comic book/newspaper/thingy printing factory).

Those are several of the nagging issues that made me make the switch. Now onto some numbers...

System - Xeon X3370 @ 3.8ghz, 4GB OCZ Reapers, Vista Ultimate 64bit, ASUS P5Q Pro

4850s in Crossfire (HIS IceQ4 Turbos @ 650mhz)

Vantage
- CPU = 15279
- GPU = 12535
P13082

GTX 285 (EVGA Superclocked Edition @ 675mhz)

Vantage with PhysX
-CPU = 46707
-GPU = 12431
P15224

Ill run this without PhysX later and update, just wasnt thinking about it being on till I got suspicious of that high CPU score.


4850s in Crossfire (HIS IceQ4 Turbos @ 650mhz)

Fallout 3 (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, 4AA, Max Shadows)
- Min = 34FPS
- Average = 78FPS
- Max = 92FPS

EQ2 (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, forced 4AA, Max all Shadows)
- Min = 12FPS
- Average = 28FPS
- Max = 35FPS

GTX 285 (EVGA Superclocked Edition @ 675mhz)

Fallout 3 (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, 4AA, Max Shadows)
- Min = 49FPS
- Average - 75FPS
- Max = 113FPS

EQ2 (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, forced 4AA, Max all Shadows)
- Min = 32FPS
- Average = 55FPS
- Max = 72FPS

Call of Duty World at War (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, 4AA, max AF)
- Min = 65
- Average = 81
- Max = 93


Sorry for the lack of "cool games", like Crysis and FC2 as I do not own FC2 and dont have Crysis installed. This wasnt intended to be a scribed in stone bookmark on what go by, just my personal experience per request.

EQ2 is a very demanding game, even though its 4+ years old. The game is poorly coded so it buckles even the best hardware. The 1GB of memory on this GTX 285 really remedies that issue, as turning shadows up just flat out kills FPS, something the 512mb on the 4850 couldnt deal with. The numbers on Fallout 3 however were much closer, as either setup is more than playable.

I can run more test as per request on the GTX 285. Just ask.

March 12, 2009 11:09:43 PM

Thanks for this review. I actually just built a buddy a computer with a 285 and was questioning myself what cf 4850s would have done. I now know it was the right choice. Quick question though. I was planning to replace my e8400 with a q9650 but I can get a Xeon X3370 for $20 Cdn more. I've been told the Xeons are higher binned than the C2Qs but I have not used either. Do you feel it was worth the extra few dollars?
March 12, 2009 11:14:05 PM

This X3370 runs at 3.8ghz with the stock voltage (1.25v), and it runs extremely cool. I took the plunge and I think it was worth it, as I havnt seen any Q9650's running at 3.8ghz with the stock voltage.

As for the "review", I know it isnt much so im sorry for it being sorta amature, ive never been good at running my own benchmarks. But I can run some stuff as per request so just ask. Im messing with some settings right now that may have been questionable for EQ2 so im going to update that in a second here. Ill redo Fallout 3 later tonight or tomorrow.
Related resources
March 12, 2009 11:21:32 PM

Redid EQ2 bench, I fiddled with some shadow and lighting settings and found some things that have no impact visually when turned on, but affect FPS so I turned them off of course. Here are the new results which have also been updated in the main post.

EQ2 (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, forced 4AA, High all Shadows)
- Min = 32FPS
- Average = 55FPS
- Max = 72FPS

Only thing that changed really was the average and min, having shadows on Very high(max) was causing some mean spikes in Enchanted Lands (lots of trees and flora, heavy on shadows) when turning the camera and what not. There was no visual difference between Very High and High.
March 12, 2009 11:26:28 PM

A chance for 3.8 at 1.25v is worth $20 to me for sure. I don't think I'll get that on my 780i mobo with that low of voltage but sounds like it will be a fun cpu to play with. And be it your post was short it gave me enough info to not question my judgement anymore. I think the only game my buddy plays right now is fallout 3 anyways. Way to addictive of a game.
March 12, 2009 11:28:34 PM

The 4850 setup ran Fallout 3 fine as my noobish numbers show, but it was just simply....quarky, when it came to indoor lighting and some shadowing.
March 13, 2009 12:03:04 AM

GTX 285 (EVGA Superclocked Edition @ 675mhz)

Call of Duty World at War (Fraps, Max settings @ 1680 x 1050, 4AA, max AF)
- Min = 65
- Average = 81
- Max = 93

March 13, 2009 12:31:43 AM

So is that an improvement over the 4850s?
a b U Graphics card
March 13, 2009 11:17:39 AM

According to the link, the 285 should be slightly ahead in most situations...which it is.

Powerful single card > lesser dual cards.
March 13, 2009 8:20:56 PM

gamerk316 said:
According to the link, the 285 should be slightly ahead in most situations...which it is.

Powerful single card > lesser dual cards.



4850 Crossfire scores significantly higher at 1920x1200 and 1680 X 1050 in CoD WaW.
a b U Graphics card
March 14, 2009 12:05:12 AM

This is strange, considering a GX2 equals/slightly outperforms a GTX280.
And a single GX2 = two overclocked 8800/9800GT

So you'd think that two 9800GTX or two 4850s would dominate a GTX280/GTX285.
March 14, 2009 1:20:15 AM

Bluescreendeath said:
This is strange, considering a GX2 equals/slightly outperforms a GTX280.
And a single GX2 = two overclocked 8800/9800GT

So you'd think that two 9800GTX or two 4850s would dominate a GTX280/GTX285.


In most games that fully support Crossfire they do, but even then the 512mb of memory holds it back when enabling specific things that suck up memory, like shadows and high res.
March 14, 2009 12:55:22 PM

@ bluescreenofdead, a gx2 =s 2 underclocked 9800 GTXs, its not 2 overclocked 8800 GTs.

Look at the specs of the card. Its exactly a sandwiched 9800 GTX (8800 GTS G92), underclocked.
March 23, 2009 12:45:02 AM

Do u remember the core temperatures of the Crossfired graphics cards?
and the temperature of the 285 under load?
March 23, 2009 12:45:10 AM

Do u remember the core temperatures of the Crossfired graphics cards?
and the temperature of the 285 under load?
March 23, 2009 1:20:05 AM

The 4850's never topped 46-48c, they were IceQ4's. The GTX 285 can hit low 80s in gaming.
June 24, 2009 4:27:12 PM

Then you try to put two Gainward 4850 1GB Golden Sample into crossfire and soon you see these two radeons outperform the gtx 285 easly.
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 4:46:24 PM

shhhh... don't mention "microstutter". many here believe it does not exist.
June 24, 2009 5:25:26 PM

hundredislandsboy said:
shhhh... don't mention "microstutter". many here believe it does not exist.

That's because it doesn't. :pt1cable: 
a b U Graphics card
June 24, 2009 5:54:38 PM

Dead thread was dead. Lacp, you are a moron.
June 25, 2009 4:14:54 AM

daedalus685 said:
Dead thread was dead. Lacp, you are a moron.


LMAO I didn't even notice.
June 28, 2009 12:15:47 AM

srry for the reviving, but the only reason a person should go for a gtx 285 over the 4850 is if they have the extra money for it... i got one 4850 for $85 BEFORE MIR... getting two is cheap as hell, where as you would have to spend $100 plus for minor performance increases for the 285, but you do get the satisfaction of having one card, and physx with it. i think it's a win either way
June 28, 2009 6:23:08 PM

I just exchanged a single 9800gtx+ for a 4850 crossfire setup and im really happy with the FPS gives me in games, its an awesome setup for the money.......if it worked as intended and supported resolutions above 1600x1200 without going crazy with flickering and artifacts. (No, both cards are ok, they just cant cope with high res desktop or gaming.) I have never had so much trouble with setting up my gfx as with crossfire it even went so far that i had to reinstall my OS, send a LCD screen in for change of firmware just to come to the conclusion that ATi cant make drivers that work properly.

I just want to say, going for the 285 is worth every penny and i have to warn others thinking of a 4850 crossfire setup. ATi is not even close to the smoothness of nvidia install and the support, i still, after 1,5 week and several tries to contact ATi support, had no answer whatsoever from ATi. I suppose they know their driver department sucks, really, they suck.

Dont go where ive been.
June 28, 2009 6:31:52 PM

Actually got a reply for my 3rd query from ATi today, w00t!!

Dear Customer,

Your Service Request has been received and will be processed shortly. Depending on the nature of your inquiry, further automated messages with additional instructions might follow.

Service Request:8200214984

We thank you for your patience.

Best regards,

AMD Global Customer Care
June 28, 2009 10:00:16 PM

so they put u on hold LOL

both setups are great ofcourse having 1 gpu that can match/pass/or fall in a minor limit is always better than 2 gpus but thats just me.

Get the 4850 GS GLH edition (basicly underclocked 4870 which caused the ati company to stop supporting gainward and palit) and u WILL have a winner in terms of FPS BUT all the other problems 99.9% will stay but u might be lucky ;) 
a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2009 10:49:00 PM

Dual setups are going to cause problems regardless, and they aren't for the uninitiated.

I'm pretty smart, I build pc's and make a good living doing it. Even for that, my first foray into Crossfire was one hell of a journey, mostly one of sheer frustration.

In the end, I decided to do it the right way, which was follow ATI's instructions *to the letter*. It worked. On the way I learned that CCC is more than just overdrive.

The way i figure it, graphics cards are inherently volatile things by themselves. Go with two in one system and you can really expect issues, and for that reason i expect Crossfire/Sli to remain firmly in the hands of the 'enthusiasts' for the forseeable future. It's definitely worth a go if you are prepared to make 2 cards work.
!