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AMD Announces R9 285 Graphics Card At Live Event

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

AMD announced the R9 285 at its "30 Years of Gaming and Graphics" event.

AMD has broadcast its "30 Year of Gaming and Graphics" live event via Twitch, where the company announced the Radeon R9 285 graphics card. This new product is equipped with the Tonga Pro GPU and is intended to succeed the Radeon R9 280, bringing a similar level of performance to a lower TDP and a lower price point.

The GPU on this new card boasts 1792 stream processors, the same number as the current Radeon R9 280. The Radeon R9 285's 918 MHz maximum GPU boost clock rate is slightly slower than the Radeon R9 280's 933 MHz cap, though. On the other hand, the R9 285's 1375 MHz actual/5.5 GHz effective memory speed is notably faster than the 280's 1250 MHz/5.0 GHz specification, so net performance may be slightly faster.

The Radeon R9 285 requires two 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors and carries a maximum 190 Watt TDP, which is a good bit less than the Radeon R9 280's 250 Watt maximum draw. In addition, the Radeon R9 285's Tonga GPU supports new features such as AMD TrueAudio and FreeSync technology.

Along with this new graphics card, AMD also announced the Never Settle Space Edition bundle. This expands on the current Never Settle portfolio of games that are available to certain Radeon graphics card buyers, with the addition of Alien Isolation and Star Citizen to the list.

Both the Radeon R9 285 and the new Never Settle Space Edition bundle will be available starting September 2, 2014. AMD had some fun with the live audience by announcing a fake $329 asking price, but revised that to the product's true $249 MSRP.

With similar specifications and an identical asking price compared to the Radeon R9 280, the new Radeon R9 285 doesn't appear to offer any groundbreaking performance advantage over it's predecessor but we won't know for sure until we test an actual card in our labs. There might be a notable difference in power draw though, and we will get you the test result data as soon as we can

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 7 Hide
    larkspur , August 23, 2014 10:41 AM
    "2gb GDDR5". The R9 280 comes with 3gb. I am also seeing the basic R9 280 going for $215 on Newegg (or $185 with a rebate). I'm eager to see the reviews, but this looks like a good time to pick up an R9 280 if you are looking in that price segment.
  • 1 Hide
    chaosmassive , August 23, 2014 10:49 AM
    Hd 7970 190 watt version...
    Sounds awesome...
    Still need to wait review fo e this card to know its awesomenesa...
  • -1 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , August 23, 2014 11:35 AM
    only thing I see diff is the support of directx 12
  • Display all 33 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    Zeroplanetz , August 23, 2014 12:21 PM
    Just get a decent power supply, stop worrying about watt usage and enjoy the sale prices of the 280's. You'll probably save more getting great deals than being able to lower your power bill by that much. Just my opinion though.
  • 2 Hide
    blubbey , August 23, 2014 12:49 PM
    "On the other hand, the R9 285's 1375 MHz actual/5.5 GHz effective memory speed is notably faster than the 280's 1250 MHz/5.0 GHz specification, so net performance may be slightly faster."

    Nope, not how memory bandwidth works. It's (bus width * "effective" ghz )/8 or (bus width * memory speed)/2 - in that case, it's usually 1000-1750MHz, effective's going to be 4-7GHz, unlikely you'll see lower/higher than that.. Doesn't matter if the memory's 1.1x faster if the bus width is 1.5x the size.

    Quote:
    Hd 7970 190 watt version...
    Sounds awesome...
    Still need to wait review fo e this card to know its awesomenesa...


    Nope, slightly slower 7950 if I'm not mistaken. 7970 is 2048:128:32@~925MHz iirc, this is 1792:112:32@918MHz. Not to mention the bandwidth difference, 2GB of 176GB/s v 3GB of 288GB/s.
  • 7 Hide
    srap , August 23, 2014 1:25 PM
    So, why isn't it called R9 275 if it is behind the 280 in every aspect?
  • 2 Hide
    eklipz330 , August 23, 2014 2:43 PM
    Power savings can lead to higher over clocks, no? I would wait for this over the 280 for precisely that possibility
  • 1 Hide
    army_ant7 , August 23, 2014 2:49 PM
    Is this an improved architecture or just another variation of the GCN like what could be found on the HD 7790 thus having True Audio and (I assume) actual game Freesync capabilities? That's the real question. If it's the former, then it could very well be on par with the HD 7970 with fewer cores and power consumption.
  • 2 Hide
    Yuka , August 23, 2014 3:28 PM
    Need benchies... I'll hold my breath until then, since going by the specs alone, this looks to be under my 7970 at 1.1Ghz by a big margin.

    Cheers!
  • 3 Hide
    PsychSC2 , August 23, 2014 4:12 PM
    With lower price and power consumption, this can be great for the Tonga GPU. It's the same architecture and slightly greater than the R9 280 in terms of net performance.

    So presumably, getting an R9 280 or 285 will not have that big of a gap in terms of overall performance. :) 
  • 2 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 23, 2014 4:23 PM
    Haha looks like they were poking at Nvidia who charged a huge extra charge for its first Maxwell card, while AMD is charging close to its actual performance replaced card.

    As for those questioning the architecture, unless they did a die shrink to 20nm like they have been planning I don't think they would of managed that big of a power reduction without changing the architecture. Given the major focus on the mobile market now though, they seem to be following Nvidia's plan and working on reducing power consumption while maintaining performance. Chances are this is a GCN2.1, GCN3.0, or a die shrunk GCN 2.0 architecture. Since GCN2 didn't change anything really for the shaders just added some extra features like True Audio DSPs there is no telling how much they have changed.
  • 1 Hide
    tomfreak , August 23, 2014 6:04 PM
    should have been called R9 281.

    dont go calling it R9 285 if it doesnt beat 280x.
  • 3 Hide
    Junit151 , August 23, 2014 6:58 PM
    Quote:
    only thing I see diff is the support of directx 12

    Support for DX12 is kind of a big deal.
  • 1 Hide
    semitope , August 23, 2014 7:23 PM
    Quote:
    only thing I see diff is the support of directx 12


    and trueaudio and freesync full support. They seem to be refreshing their old cards with newer features. This also shows that the reason AMD cards have high TDP and heat is probably the wider bus. I guess higher speed VRAM is the better route.
  • 2 Hide
    james pinnix , August 23, 2014 9:11 PM
    This gpu isn't impressive but the X versions now that I am interested in since I am currently building a new rig ...........very slowly. ...........

  • 1 Hide
    vaughn2k , August 23, 2014 10:42 PM

    Quote:
    "On the other hand, the R9 285's 1375 MHz actual/5.5 GHz effective memory speed is notably faster than the 280's 1250 MHz/5.0 GHz specification, so net performance may be slightly faster."

    Nope, not how memory bandwidth works. It's (bus width * "effective" ghz )/8 or (bus width * memory speed)/2 - in that case, it's usually 1000-1750MHz, effective's going to be 4-7GHz, unlikely you'll see lower/higher than that.. Doesn't matter if the memory's 1.1x faster if the bus width is 1.5x the size.

    Quote:
    Hd 7970 190 watt version...
    Sounds awesome...
    Still need to wait review fo e this card to know its awesomenesa...


    Nope, slightly slower 7950 if I'm not mistaken. 7970 is 2048:128:32@~925MHz iirc, this is 1792:112:32@918MHz. Not to mention the bandwidth difference, 2GB of 176GB/s v 3GB of 288GB/s.


    Now you have said it is slower than HD7950, could you please provide the number/s for comparison?
  • 1 Hide
    SuperVeloce , August 24, 2014 1:39 AM
    I lol'd at what this article says about memory config being faster than 280/7950.
  • 0 Hide
    makaveli316 , August 24, 2014 2:33 AM
    What a joke of a card. What's the point of this?
  • -3 Hide
    prit87 , August 24, 2014 2:41 AM
    the model doesn't justifies the card r7 265 is stronger than r7 260x and r7 260x is stronger than r7 260 so i was hoping that r9 285 would be better than r9 280x and will sit in the middle of r9 290 and r9 280x and will give a direct competition to the gtx 770 with better performance at low price but sadly seems nothing like that :( 
  • -2 Hide
    blubbey , August 24, 2014 2:49 AM
    Quote:


    Now you have said it is slower than HD7950, could you please provide the number/s for comparison?


    Both have 1792:112:32 cores, 285 has 918MHz boost v 925MHz boost 7950 . 285 has 2GB 176GB/s bandwidth v 7950's 3GB w/ 240GB/s.

    Same core config, slightly slower clock speed, less memory, less bandwidth.
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