I run three evga 285's ftw 1GB and am quite happy. need a solid CPU for good scaling though. Ideally an over clocked i7 but i use a qx9650 @ 3.8ghz. Can play crysis completely maxed out settings and filters 16x and keep 40-70 fps depending on the intensity of the scene. not a game on the market i can't play completely maxed out graphics(far cry 2 filtering past 2x can get a little skippy at ultra) EDIT: far cry 2 is fine maxed out filtering and vsync'd for some reason i was pulling numbers from when i ran 3 8800gtxs , my apologies for inaccurate information.
so you yeah you can rip through any game you want with 3 285gtx's
When it counts (when you're actually stressing the cards at high res and not a low one like 1024x768) 3 GTX 285s are generally better. While two 295s should have more computing power, SLI doesn't scale as well so that benefit is generally negated by the faster clock speeds and slightly larger amount of memory, and memory bandwidth, per GPU with the 3x285 setup.
3 285's will give you the better power and a hell of alot of heat. If you really want to see what you can do with that kind of set up you really need a good watercooling set up. Even with the 295's I would suggest it but with all three of those cards pumping heat your going to be blasting all the cards and CPU with a ton of heat.
And given you need at least 4GHz to avoid bottlenecking heating you the case is a bad idea if your running air cooling.
Agreed there. I would rather wait and possibly pick up some 5870's. Even if they aren't what your looking for the price of the 285 will drop within the first month of the 5000 series being out.
@BuGeris: if you are playing on a 30" monitors at high res you can use that much power if you want all the eye candy on. However some people want it for benchmarking and some want it for a super folding rig. There is a ton of reasons you might want that power.