AMD Radeon R9 285 Review: Tonga and GCN Update 3.0

Grid Autosport and Assassin's Creed IV Results

Grid Autosport is a new addition to our benchmark suite, and the Radeon R9 285 virtually ties the Radeon R9 280 in this game engine. There are small frame time latency spikes of 5 milliseconds consistently throughout the benchmark, but it doesn't manifest in any skippy performance we could notice in this well-coded title.

Assassin's Creed IV delivers the big surprise in our benchmark suite, with the Radeon R9 285 surpassing the high-end Radeon R9 280X. We took this benchmark multiple times to make sure what we we're seeing isn't a glitch. Assassin's Creed IV is known to make heavy use of tessellation, and we can conclude that the extra geometry units in the new Tonga GPU are earning their pay when it comes to this visually demanding title. As for frame time variance, there's very little to report with exemplary low lag across all the cards we tested.

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  • I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :(
    10
  • Other Comments
  • I wanted to see the GPU die and OCing results. :(
    10
  • 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.
    0
  • TL;DR Pay more to get the same performance in a more power efficient form.
    6
  • 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]
    1
  • wow ! at 250$ it actually is a better card even than 280X !! and it was meant for 760....but as it shows here even a 270X is a WAY better card than 760....
    -13
  • 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
    -2
  • 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.
    0
  • 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!
    -4
  • 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!
    -2
  • 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]
    7
  • 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]
    2
  • 502873 said:
    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
  • I'd like to see this lossless color compression in 4k gaming cards
    0
  • That's really dumb numbering...

    The R7 265 is faster than the R7 260X, yet the R9 285 is slower than the R9 280X?
    5
  • 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
    0
  • 930500 said:
    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.
    5
  • 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.
    1
  • 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.
    5
  • 59887 said:
    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.
    0
  • 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.
    4