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Thief and Arma 3 Results

AMD Radeon R9 285 Review: Tonga and GCN Update 3.0
By , Igor Wallossek

Thief doesn't suffer from Mantle's high memory requirement in Battlefield 4, showcasing gains with AMD's API across all Radeon cards with a single exception: the Radeon R9 285. AMD's new card actually shows a performance deficit with Mantle enabled. It looks like the new Tonga driver needs some work to accommodate the new product.

As for frame time variance, there is definitely some latency with this engine. It is mostly within acceptable limits with the exception of the GeForce GTX 660, a card that demonstrates significant spikes above 15 milliseconds.

Next up is ARMA 3, a game that slightly favors the Radeon R9 285's architectural improvements and color compression over the Radeon R9 280's brute force approach. It is interesting to see the frame time latency results, with the GeForce cards suffering consistently higher average and 75th percentile numbers, while the Radeon R9 285 and 270X have the highest 95th percentile spikes.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    m32 , September 2, 2014 5:34 AM
    I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :( 
Other Comments
  • 10 Hide
    m32 , September 2, 2014 5:34 AM
    I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :( 
  • 0 Hide
    JeanLuc , September 2, 2014 5:35 AM
    The idle power consumption numbers are odd, the previous generation cards use less then at idle didn't they? Not that 15 watts is going to break anyone's bank account but its strange nether the less.

    Good to see AMD have tackled the noise and temperature issues that have plagued it's previous 28nm cards as well but it's a bit late in the day given that 20nm shouldn't be to far off now.
  • 6 Hide
    chaospower , September 2, 2014 5:35 AM
    TL;DR Pay more to get the same performance in a more power efficient form.
  • 1 Hide
    gear999 , September 2, 2014 5:35 AM
    Really nice article guys. I'm impressed by how the 285 actually was able to keep up with the 280. And I'm shocked by the fact that The $250 Nvidia card loses to a $170 AMD card. Thank god I bought a GTX 770 :p 

    Also, on the last page, you guys wrote R7 270X instead of R9, and in the chart it says "Relative to Radeon HD 7950 Boost". Oh, and in the Pros section, it says the 285 has R9 260 like performance?

    [EDIT by Cleeve]
    Thanks for the proofread, fixing it now! :) 
    [/edit]
  • -2 Hide
    tomfreak , September 2, 2014 5:38 AM
    Had the tonga 285 come with a 6GHz/7Ghz GDDR5 & 4GB VRAM, the result will be a lot different. Whats with AMD putting on a 5500 memory? facepalm.jpg
  • 0 Hide
    srap , September 2, 2014 5:41 AM
    While this is really a third GCN iteration, showing it as a version number of 3.0 (as in: "Tonga and GCN Update 3.0") makes no sense for me.
  • -3 Hide
    Amdlova , September 2, 2014 5:41 AM
    some one write this with a .45 acp on the head. I see some error on numbers models etc...
    I prefer get a r9 280 and downclock get same results. I can't see the point of this heat on graphics. maybe drivers. OR THIS IS HAWAII XT! Too much Heat!
  • -2 Hide
    Amdlova , September 2, 2014 5:44 AM
    Quote:
    I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :( 

    I think the guys see if they hit the OC the room Will burn! maybe a problem with drivers.
    Last time i see that Heat 290x tests. lol!
  • 7 Hide
    Gillerer , September 2, 2014 6:02 AM
    On the first page, it says "Improvements are always welcome but with the memory interface cut in half compared to the Radeon R9 280,...".

    But in fact, the memory interface was cut by a third (384 bit -> 256 bit), not half.

    [Edit by Cleeve]
    Good point, fixed! Thx.
    [/edit]
  • 2 Hide
    mister g , September 2, 2014 6:10 AM
    You guys might want to update the first chart of this review; the one comparing the specifications of the 280, 285, and the 280X. The 280X is a Tahiti chip not Tonga.

    [Edit by Cleeve]
    Good catch, fixed but might take a while to populate. :) 
    [/Edit]
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , September 2, 2014 6:16 AM
    Quote:
    Had the tonga 285 come with a 6GHz/7Ghz GDDR5 & 4GB VRAM, the result will be a lot different.

    Faster memory would have helped but more would not have made much of a difference: most of the extra memory on GPUs with more memory channels gets filled with extra copies of resources to improve availability. Without those extra channels, filling more RAM with extra copies would make little difference.
  • 0 Hide
    west7 , September 2, 2014 6:30 AM
    I'd like to see this lossless color compression in 4k gaming cards
  • 4 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , September 2, 2014 6:50 AM
    That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?
  • 0 Hide
    MrstimX , September 2, 2014 7:42 AM
    probably AMD's hand was forced due to gsynch, so they had to quickly phase out all non freesynch cards before dec..might expect a r9 285x by end oct
  • 5 Hide
    logainofhades , September 2, 2014 7:42 AM
    Quote:
    That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?


    Yea this should have been named 275 or 275x.
  • 0 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , September 2, 2014 7:49 AM
    No, because that would imply that it's slower than the 280.

    The 280X probably should have been the 285, and this card should have been released as the 280X. Or it could be next-gen; call it the 380 or 375.
  • 4 Hide
    logainofhades , September 2, 2014 7:55 AM
    It kinda is slower than the 280. It trades blows with it, but still is not equal. I would say 275x would be fitting as the 280/280x are 384bit/3gb cards, where as the 270/270x are 256bit/2gb cards.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , September 2, 2014 8:13 AM
    Quote:
    It kinda is slower than the 280. It trades blows with it, but still is not equal. I would say 275x would be fitting as the 280/280x are 384bit/3gb cards, where as the 270/270x are 256bit/2gb cards.

    The 270/280 are just rehashes of HD7xxx designs while the 285 is a cut-down 290... and the 285 does beat the 280 enough times to earn its place in the 28x range.

    Give the 285 a 6GT/s memory interface and it would slot in more solidly between the 280 and 280X.
  • 4 Hide
    Cryio , September 2, 2014 8:26 AM
    Quote:
    That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?


    Indeed, naming schemes are always kind of bogus.

    260< 260X < 265

    280<=285< 280X

    That's just the way it is.
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