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I'm confused...HD4890 or gtx285

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April 26, 2009 11:06:16 PM

Ok so I am looking at making a new system build here in a month or two with a core i7 920 at its heart. I was also planning on using a GTX285 for my GPU, but i am reading in some places that the 4890 can outpace the gtx285.

So first of all, i would like to put price/performance aside. I know that the hd4890 is a great deal, and would allow me to crossfire sooner than sli'ing a gtx285 (budgetly speaking).

What I want to know:
Does a reference-clocked gtx285 offer "significant" (i know that can mean a range of things) gains over a reference-clocked hd4890? Any legit links comparing the two would be appreciated.

Does an overclocked gtx285 offer "significant" gains over an overclocked hd4890? -same thing about the links

THEN:

AFTER answering those two questions, can someone tell me whether the performance difference (if there is one) is worth the difference in price?

and what would you suggest buying?

The reason i ask to keep price/performance separate is because actual performance difference is more or less factual, while people have their own opinions on what price is worth a certain amount of performance. I would like to get the facts straight first, and the opinions second.

If it makes a difference at all, my preferred mobo at this point is the p6t deluxe(are a lot of these boards coming shipped dead?). I should also get good cooling out of the full tower coolermaster haf 932 for overclocking. I can give any other information on my proposed build if it helps at all.

Thanks everyone.

More about : confused hd4890 gtx285

April 26, 2009 11:09:38 PM

ATI 4890 FTW, xD.
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April 27, 2009 12:17:21 AM

Axeon said:
ATI 4890 FTW, xD.


Yeah that doesn't help at all. Thanks anyways
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April 27, 2009 12:26:17 AM

Ok here it is. If you get a good 4890 you can oc it to 800 to 1000mhz and get performance equal to the gtx 285 at stock speeds. It is a good price/ performance, but you can still get a gtx 285 to perform faster at a higher price. If you want the fastest single gpu solution the gtx 285 is still the fastest, but some are not willing to pay the difference for a small percentage. now if we are talking stock speeds the gtx 285 is quite a bit faster.
To me if you have a crossfire board then it is not worth the price difference as you can always add a second one. With an sli board it is a tough decision. I went 2 285 in sli for my main rig and my secondary rig has crossfire.
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2009 12:36:16 AM

The 4890 in CF holds its own against 285 sli
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April 27, 2009 12:40:40 AM

Well the p6t deluxe is supposed to be both sli/crossfire compatible i think.

Ideally, when i purchase, i would like the best single gpu configuration. I would consider sli/crossfire only after at least a year (unless there were crazy price drops). So when i purchase, i want the single gpu configuration that will give me the best performance for at least a year.

Does anyone have any links to an overclocked hd4890 benchmark? overclocked gtx285 benchmark?

I plan on playing at 1920x1080, so when you say small percentage, do you mean like a 3 fps difference, 5 fps difference, or a 10 fps difference? For example in games like Crysis or FC2.

Ahhhhhhh im stuck between the two! I tend to like nvidia too...
no really good reason though
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April 27, 2009 12:42:52 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
The 4890 in CF holds its own against 285 sli

Never said it didn't. The 285 is still faster and if you have a sli mobo then crossfire is a mot point as is sli on a crossfire board. As I stated the 4890 is a great price/performance and something to think about.
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April 27, 2009 12:49:57 AM

touchdowntexas13 said:
Well the p6t deluxe is supposed to be both sli/crossfire compatible i think.

Ideally, when i purchase, i would like the best single gpu configuration. I would consider sli/crossfire only after at least a year (unless there were crazy price drops). So when i purchase, i want the single gpu configuration that will give me the best performance for at least a year.

Does anyone have any links to an overclocked hd4890 benchmark? overclocked gtx285 benchmark?

I plan on playing at 1920x1080, so when you say small percentage, do you mean like a 3 fps difference, 5 fps difference, or a 10 fps difference? For example in games like Crysis or FC2.

Ahhhhhhh im stuck between the two! I tend to like nvidia too...
no really good reason though

In a situation like this it is a really tough decision. Like I said the 4890 when oced to 900 to 1000mhz you will get pretty much stock 285 performance. This is of course all dependent on what games you play. Both would be a great choice, but 4890 would save money.
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2009 12:57:49 AM

Read my link? The 4890 is what, 3% at worst , per resolution, and ties at best. Thats holding its own, and the 285sli isnt faster.
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April 27, 2009 1:03:20 AM

I just looked at that link from jaydeejohn. It seems that in game benchmarks, the two are pretty much neck and neck in cf/sli. However the gtx285 sli gets much better scores in 3dmark. I wonder why this is?

My problem with that link is that it took cards that came factory overclocked. I would like to see performance benchmarks on where someone takes their gtx285 and oc's it to the max, and where someone takes their hd4890 and oc's it to the max. Preferably non-sli/cf, because like i said, i would like to be able to refrain from a multi gpu configuration for as long as i can.

Another reason i would not like to compare sli/cf configurations is because there is another factor in that equation. It could be that ATI just does a better job right now with cf than nvidia does with sli. However, in the future i would expect nvidia to better optimize sli so that it is not a factor anymore.

Thanks for everyone's input. I can't really say i am too much closer to deciding, but at least i am learning more about the two cards. Any more input would be appreciated.
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April 27, 2009 1:07:22 AM

chef7734 said:
In a situation like this it is a really tough decision. Like I said the 4890 when oced to 900 to 1000mhz you will get pretty much stock 285 performance. This is of course all dependent on what games you play. Both would be a great choice, but 4890 would save money.


Well I play mostly FPS, but if i stopped console gaming, then i would play racing/sports games. I am also open to mmorpg's, though i have never done that much with them. I don't know if that narrows it down at all...probably not.
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2009 1:09:59 AM

To me, if both cards are maxxed out, its so close, the extra money isnt worth it. I did see a review with them oceed, but cant remember where.... like has been said, tough decision if money isnt a huge factor, as theyre close in perf, but IMHLO, it still isnt worth the extra monies, in single card setup
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April 27, 2009 1:11:30 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Read my link? The 4890 is what, 3% at worst , per resolution, and ties at best. Thats holding its own, and the 285sli isnt faster.


I agree. But could it be that the ati card they used was better oc'ed than the gtx285? That's my main beef with those numbers, on top of it being a cf/sli comparison.

This is all so strange to me though, because when the hd4890 came out, i thought it was a known fact that the 4890 wouldn't perform like a gtx285. In fact, I thought the gtx275 was supposed to be right with the hd4890.
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April 27, 2009 1:14:47 AM

JAYDEEJOHN said:
To me, if both cards are maxxed out, its so close, the extra money isnt worth it. I did see a review with them oceed, but cant remember where.... like has been said, tough decision if money isnt a huge factor, as theyre close in perf, but IMHLO, it still isnt worth the extra monies, in single card setup


Thanks for your input. I will search the internet for user-based oc's to see if i can find a maxxed 285 and a maxxed 4890 comparison. The money isn't exactly a huge factor, because like i said i want the single gpu setup that will last the longest. This decision might get all the more easier if either card takes a drop in price. However i would expect this of the gtx285, not the hd4890.
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April 27, 2009 1:27:03 AM



This is why I am confused. In that first link, the stock gtx275 performs better than the stock hd4890. So my assumption from that is that an oc'ed 4890 couldnt touch an oc'ed gtx285. But this is not so?

I can't really compare the other two links to the ones jaydeejohn posted because the games are tested at different settings, but i am bewildered by that first link in accordance to the consensus that a heavy oc'ed 4890 is almost just as good as a heavy oc'ed 285.
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2009 1:33:34 AM

It seems the 4890 gets about 2-3% higher in total occee over stock than the 285 doing the same, so it brings them closer yet
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April 27, 2009 1:34:49 AM

Going back to jaydeejohns link, i misread. All three gpu's were user oc'ed. I thought they just took the factory oc's and left them there. However, that site claims that they got a rather poor oc on both of the gtx285's. I have read everywhere that the gtx285 is supposed to oc extremely well, so could it be that they just got a bad batch of cards?

I should compare the oc's some people reach with their 285's on the internet with the oc's reached on that link. Then i would know if the cards they got just happened to not be as good at ocing.
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a b U Graphics card
April 27, 2009 1:38:53 AM

From what Ive seen, the 4890 gets about 14% over stock, whereas the 285 will do 10-11%
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April 27, 2009 1:48:19 AM

chef7734 said:
Here is another review for 4890.
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...
The 4890 oced performes aabout to what a stock gtx 285 can. Yes the gtx 285 is the faster card but it is only you that knows if a 5 to 15%(estimate) is worth it.


Wow that was a pretty good link. The stock 285 really only outshines the 4890 when there is anti-aliasing enabled. But even then the difference is only like 4 frames at most. But this isn't consistent with the other link you gave me chef (the one where even a stock 275 beats the stock 4890).

There must be other factors here, such as how well either card works with the other hardware, or that between those two links they used different drivers. Or that there is a difference in performance between the different brands used.

That last link you sent chef really made me really want to consider the 4890. However, with the inconsistencies between the benchmarks in different links, I have to say that the mystery continues. If i can't find a perfect oc'ing comparison, it might just come down to my gut feeling and or price drop of the 285.

Thanks guys, and if you find anything else, you know i really appreciate it!
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April 27, 2009 2:00:06 AM

Problem i find with review sites is they are never consistent. You will get different results depending where you go. Visually and real world you will not notice a difference. Only when you run fraps and benchmarks will it really see a difference. You can not visually see a difference between 60fps and higher., especially if you are running a lcd at 60hz. If you are on the fence I would buy the 4890 and save some money.
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April 27, 2009 2:08:36 AM

chef7734 said:
Problem i find with review sites is they are never consistent. You will get different results depending where you go. Visually and real world you will not notice a difference. Only when you run fraps and benchmarks will it really see a difference. You can not visually see a difference between 60fps and higher., especially if you are running a lcd at 60hz. If you are on the fence I would buy the 4890 and save some money.


I guess you are right about the difference in review sites. I am just surprised at how off they can be.

The hd4890 is definitely a card that i am considering a lot more now then when i first made this post. For me, only time will tell (prices, special deals, future reviews).
Another selling point on the 4890 is that it is dx 10.1 compatible, though that was never a major selling point for me anyway. the 285 has physx and cuda so i guess they even out.
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April 27, 2009 2:11:34 AM

I know this wasn't part of your op, but is there a reason you haven't thought of using any of the dual gpu cards? The 4850x2 slightly outperforms both the gtx285 and the 4890, and currently cost about $70 less...and your board supports quad crossfire, so you could still add another one when you wanted to upgrade. So to answer your question about price to performance ratio of single card solution, its neither card you are considering, its one that is not yet been mentioned.
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April 27, 2009 2:17:29 AM

Problem is the 4850x2 is crossfire. If you play games that do not enable crossfire you are stuck with a single 4850 then you have to worry about multi gpu driver issues. Then if one gpu goes out you are sol where as if you have a dual card setup and one card goes out you still have a backup. I hate it when people compare a single gpu solution to a dual gpu solution. You could buy 2 4850's and eqaul the 4850x2 and not worry about the sketchy x2 support especially with the 4850x2 only being made by sapphire.
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April 27, 2009 2:25:05 AM

belial2k said:
I know this wasn't part of your op, but is there a reason you haven't thought of using any of the dual gpu cards? The 4850x2 slightly outperforms both the gtx285 and the 4890, and currently cost about $70 less...and your board supports quad crossfire, so you could still add another one when you wanted to upgrade. So to answer your question about price to performance ratio of single card solution, its neither card you are considering, its one that is not yet been mentioned.


One reason for me is because multi gpu cards are fairly new, and so i would like that technology to age a little so that any known bugs are worked out. Also, like chef said, some of the driver support isn't there. I really just want to give it more time before i invest in a multi gpu card.

Another reason is that the power supply i want is the corsair 750TX at 750 watts. if i avoid quad cf/sli, then i don't have to worry about getting a new psu.

Thanks for the thought though.
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April 27, 2009 2:29:30 AM

Something that i didn't consider is that with the gtx285, i can buy from evga and get the warranty that covers oc'ing, and i get the trade up program.

Are there brands for ati cards that have these same features?
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April 27, 2009 2:45:58 AM

no problem...i respect your point of view...but just to clear up a couple of factual errors for other people who may read this, the x2 cards have had a lower failure rate than most single gpu cards (with the 4870x2 being rated one of the most reliable on the market now, and the 4850x2 not far behind), the technology has been around for almost two years now, and AMD/ATI now fully supports the 4850x2 and has since catalyst 9.1 .
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April 27, 2009 2:50:15 AM

I think XFX might have a lifetime warranty. From what I've read, step up is only occasionally useful if you buy a card at it's peak early adopter price and plan to buy the next one at peak as well.

If you can get a really good deal on a GTX285 then I'd go with that. DELL has had big discount coupons at least twice since the beginning of the year. I got %35 off a BFG GTX285 OC ($256 with free shipping). I missed getting the same discount on an OCX by a day. You can try search for gtx-285 discount in Google, and something will come up if you're willing to wait. Of course if you wait long enough the prices will come down on their own ;) 

I don't think I'd get a GTX 285 unless it was at a pretty good discount. I was looking for a good $250 card at the time.

One of the key factors for me was noise. From what I've read the GTX285 might be quieter than the 4890 (they both run hot though, and I think they're both still pretty loud).
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April 27, 2009 3:01:10 AM

dang $256? I will definitely have to look into that! That would make things clear cut for me. Seeing as how i have a month or two, maybe the prices will come down on their own, but maybe i can find some of those discount coupons.

Thanks :) 
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April 27, 2009 3:11:19 AM

belial2k said:
no problem...i respect your point of view...but just to clear up a couple of factual errors for other people who may read this, the x2 cards have had a lower failure rate than most single gpu cards (with the 4870x2 being rated one of the most reliable on the market now, and the 4850x2 not far behind), the technology has been around for almost two years now, and AMD/ATI now fully supports the 4850x2 and has since catalyst 9.1 .

Where is your source for these numbers?
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a c 106 U Graphics card
April 27, 2009 3:18:15 AM

If you're woried about the best bang for your buck you really should be looking at a 4890 and the GTX275. The performance of the GTX275 is close enough to the 285 that it's hard to justify the price difference. As they both have their strengths and weaknesses in different games, which of the two you should go with depends on your preference.
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April 27, 2009 3:23:54 AM

megamanx00 said:
If you're woried about the best bang for your buck you really should be looking at a 4890 and the GTX275. The performance of the GTX275 is close enough to the 285 that it's hard to justify the price difference. As they both have their strengths and weaknesses in different games, which of the two you should go with depends on your preference.


I'm not as worried about best bang for the buck as i am about being able to go the longest without turning to sli/crossfire. I know the price difference doesn't justify the performance increase, but i am hoping prices will drop or that i can find a great deal.
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April 27, 2009 3:27:22 AM

touchdowntexas13 said:
dang $256? I will definitely have to look into that! That would make things clear cut for me. Seeing as how i have a month or two, maybe the prices will come down on their own, but maybe i can find some of those discount coupons.

Thanks :) 


Here's the best places I found to look for deals:

http://bensbargains.net/
http://www.dealcatcher.com/
http://www.xpbargains.com

Those site all listed the Dell deal, but the way I found it was by searching Google Groups for "GTX 285" and sorting by date. Someone posted the coupon codes on a forum. So I guess word-o-mouth is the way these things work.

I have to admit I was getting obsessed, but I really wanted to buy the GTX 285 :p 
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Best solution

April 27, 2009 3:27:27 AM

You will get the same time out of all the cards I discussed. It comes down to what games you play and how each card handles those games. If mostly what I played was crysis and games written with the nvidia in mind I would stick with nvidia as you will get better performance out of a card the game was optimized for and vice verse with ati.
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April 27, 2009 3:37:50 AM

FredSRichardson said:
Here's the best places I found to look for deals:

http://bensbargains.net/
http://www.dealcatcher.com/
http://www.xpbargains.com

Those site all listed the Dell deal, but the way I found it was by searching Google Groups for "GTX 285" and sorting by date. Someone posted the coupon codes on a forum. So I guess word-o-mouth is the way these things work.

I have to admit I was getting obsessed, but I really wanted to buy the GTX 285 :p 


Once again, thanks a lot. I bookmarked all three links lol

"you will get the same time out of all the cards I discussed. It comes down to what games you play and how each card handles those games. If mostly what I played was crysis and games written with the nvidia in mind I would stick with nvidia as you will get better performance out of a card the game was optimized for and vice verse with ati."

I play/want to play tf2, ut3, cod4/WaW, crysis/warhead, battlefield 2. Now these are all FPS, but if i stopped console gaming then my game variety for the pc would increase. I really have never noticed a "play with ATI" in any games, but i have played a bunch with the "play with Nvidia". What games are "optimized" for ati?
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April 27, 2009 3:56:26 AM

chef7734 said:
Anything that uses the hl2 engine comes to mind. Not sure what others, but I am sure other ati users will step in. Here are some more http://ati.amd.com/technology/crossfire/gaming.html
http://game.amd.com/us-en/play_games.aspx


Oh, ok cool. I guess i never noticed when booting up tf2 or HLDM. Based on games i play, i think nvidia would be the way to go. But i will try to make the best choice at the time of purchase.

Thanks everyone. As always, the forums on Tom's Hardware deliver great user information!
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April 27, 2009 4:09:30 PM

chef7734 said:
Where is your source for these numbers?


failure rate info comes from gpucafe.com....I don't think its any secret how long dual gpu cards have been around, and the crossfire/sli technology they are based on has been around even longer. To see that the 4850x2 is fully supported just visit the amd/ati website and see. Full driver support since 9.1 and included on all ongoing updates.

I think its odd that you would call a card that has been around for several months new and untested technology, but you are singing the praises of cards that have been out for less than a month.

As far as some games not supporting the crossfire technology...are there really any games out there that can benefit from it that don't support it? Sure, some older games might not, but those games will run fine under once gpu....

The argument that one gpu might fail on a 4850x2 also does not make sense to me either. Sure, one gpu might fail on a dual gpu card, and lets assume its out of warranty. You have to replace a $260 card, but it can still be used as a single gpu card until it is replaced....if you buy a gtx285 and one gpu fails you have to spend $330 to replace it, and you are without video until you do....so how exactly is a dual gpu card more risky than a single gpu card??

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April 27, 2009 5:08:49 PM

i'm gonna opt out of that argument.

I think this is my ideal situation:
the new gt212 architecture is supposed to be out Q2 of 2009. (anyone have any info/updates/confirmation of this?)
hopefully this drives down the prices of the gtx285
Then i would go the evga route for the warranty/step up program
After the release of the new gt212 cards, i would wait 100 days and check out reviews, wait for better optimization and drivers, and bug fixes. Then i would conclude whether it would be worth the step up.

As of now, i read in a lot of places that those new cards won't be anything to talk about, and that ATI will be king until 2010. imo, thats all speculation, and nvidia could come out with something fantastic, but maybe not.

that's what i would like to happen.
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April 27, 2009 5:28:10 PM

sorry, that wasn't really directed at the original poster...I was just trying to clear up some misconceptions and confusion I've seen from one of the posters in this thread.
the most important thing in a build is to go with what YOU feel is best, and I would never want to talk you out of it. I just threw my original post out there in case you hadn't considered it and was going to leave it at that, but I thought I should set the record straight concerning some of the other post.
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April 27, 2009 5:49:34 PM

touchdowntexas13 said:
i'm gonna opt out of that argument.
....
Then i would go the evga route for the warranty/step up program
....

I think step up has some limitations. It's not clear to me how long cards are eligible for stepup.
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April 27, 2009 6:28:50 PM

I wasn't taking offense or anything, I just didn't want to get caught up in that.

http://www.evga.com/stepup/
http://www.evga.com/stepup/default.asp?switch=3
90 days after purchase, not after registration
the gtx285 is included in the step-up list
stepping up can only be done once.
card must be in working condition, with all original packaging and other materials
no cross shipping

those are the limitations that would apply to me.
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April 27, 2009 6:44:03 PM

I'm wondering if the card will get removed from stepup whenever the price takes a dive. It wouldn't surprise me.
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April 27, 2009 7:02:05 PM

Well they have kept the gtx260-216, and it has taken some pretty big price drops. Who knows though, they could. That's just something i will have to make sure of when its time to purchase.
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April 28, 2009 2:10:21 AM

So actually yes if you were going to pay full retail for a new card anyway then step up is worth it. For example if you buy a GTX285 now for $300, and a new screaming card comes out with a MSRP of $400, then you could step up for $100. If NewEgg sells the new card for $300 (instant rebate, mail-in rebate, whatever), then effectively you paid $100 to rent a graphics card for a few months. That's not necessarily a bad option.
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May 9, 2009 5:31:51 PM

Hey I just want to put my two cents in. Here was my experience with the BFG gtx 260, XFX 4890, and last but certainly not least BFG gtx 285.

About a month ago I set out to do my first build. Old computer was about 4 years old HP from Bestbuy. Here is what I was running at start of my first build.

Biostar TA790GX 128m mobo
AMD Phenom II 720BE
8GB OCZ DDR2
Antec 650 PSU
Antec 900 case
BFG GTX 260 bought at bestbuy for 250.00.

Nothing in my system is overlocked all running at stock.

Build went perfectly and was a lot easier than expected. First game I installed was Crysis Warhead and then Red alert 3 because I loved the C&C series but the old CPU wouldn't run the newer ones.

Crysis ran very smooth with the GTX 260 everything ran fine and the graphics were flawless.

Now two weeks later bestbuy ran a sale for 15% off all BFG products. So I thought well the 285 just came out I wonder how much it is. I checked the site and the sale price was 297.00 I figured hell another 50.00 bucks that's a no brainer.

I pulled the 260 out and went to exchange it for the 285. When I got there I noticed a salesman putting the 4890's on the shelf and I thought wow cool packaging plus the 4870's were awesome when they came out so this thing must rock right? I had heard a little bit about the 4890's but hadn't really reviewed them much and being at the store at that time I couldn't check the reviews in store. I made a quick executive decision and opted for the 4890 over the 285 which I had originally taken the 260 back to exchange for. Not to mention the 4890's price tag was 299.00 and the 285 was on sale for 297.00.

I got home and installed everything, and started up crysis. Initially I thought hmm.... not much difference in graphics over the 260. Then I started noticing that the graphics were choppy every now and then, not horrible but not as smooth as the 260 for sure. I kept the 4890 for a day and eventually decided hell my 260 ran better than this.

Next day I hopped in the car with my repackaged 4890 and went back to bestbuy. I exchanged again for the 285 I was originally going to exchange for. Plus I ended up getting $1.00 back after taxes whoo hooo.

Popped the 285 in and booted her up and flawless again. Graphics were better than 4890 and no choppy cut scenes in crysis. Plus my video editing time went down drastically over the 4890. There is a difference over the 260 as the 285 is faster and I can tell.

All in all I think the extra 50.00 I spent for the 285 was well worth it. I would go with the 285 if anything plus the 285 is going to run anything that comes out for a while. You should have no problems with any game on the market right now that's for sure.

If it was me here's what I would do. Normally once a month Bestbuy will run a sale for 15% BFG or all computer components. If you are leaning towards the 4890 go ahead and get it, try it out and watch the ads. You have 30 days to take it back for refund or exchange. Once they go on sale if your not happy or completely blown away exchange it for the 285 and see what you think. Every system will run differently. Mine just happens to like the 285 better and so that's the direction I headed.


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May 9, 2009 7:06:28 PM

I have to agree that I am really leaning towards the 285 right now. I will most likely be trying to find a deal on Newegg or a coupon code from Dell. I have heard of the 285 costing as little as $250 from Dell with a coupon code.

In reference to what you witnessed with the three different gpu's, Nvidia cards are just known to perform better with Crysis, so you can't really make a smart decision based just on that, but it's a good comparison nonetheless. For example i think i remember reading a review that the 4890 performed better in that game HAWX, but ATI cards are known to do better in that game partly because of their DX10.1 support. Sometimes the game can be a factor in itself.

I still think the 285 is my best bet, but i really want to see a good deal on it.
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May 9, 2009 7:37:27 PM

Hey all. Yes, it depends on what games you want to play. I'm really happy with my 285, but I wouldn't have bought it if it wasn't going for $257 or so. I haven't had a chance to put it through it's paces yet. Crysis is on it's way ;) 
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