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GeForce GTX 285 On Water Cooling: Zotac's Infinity Edition

The Zotac GeForce GTX 285 Infinity Edition sample we received was assembled without gloves. It probably looked great when it left the manufacturer, but by the time it got to us those fingerprints had turned into dark stains upon an otherwise brilliant sand-cast copper finish. Zotac confirmed for us that each one of these cards is hand-assembled. The difference between our sample and a retail product would be a sticker covering the copper section, cleaning it up.

The GeForce GTX 285 Infinity does, in fact, use an off-the-shelf Danger Den DD-GTX285 cooler. That’s actually a good thing, because it means buyers can get fittings and associated components through the Danger Den Web site.

The DD-GTX285 water block allows cards to be chained together by swapping the plug from the card’s face with the hose barb at its top. Using multiple cards in this fashion requires each card to be spread apart by at least two slots, but the cooler’s single-slot body allows other products, such as sound and RAID cards, to be mounted in the empty slot between two graphics cards. Unfortunately, Zotac neglected to replace the two-slot back plate from the card’s original air cooler with a single-slot plate found on at least one competitor’s product. Removing the back plate offered photographic proof of this concept.

If not for the mounting plate, this could have been a single-slot card.If not for the mounting plate, this could have been a single-slot card.

Zotac still maintains an edge over its single-slot-corrected competitor in the area of performance, because the GTX 285 Infinity is factory overclocked by a far greater amount. Builders of 3-way SLI systems will still have to reconsider all the blocked slots that Zotac’s card does not offer before deciding which solution best fits their needs.

Zotac includes its Firestorm application for overclocking the GeForce GTX 285 Infinity Edition beyond the already-high speeds it provides. The card arrived factory overclocked, with a 722 MHz GPU engine, 1,584 MHz Shader clocks, and DDR3-2700. That compares very favorably to the GTX 285’s reference 648 MHz GPU, 1,476 MHz shader clocks, and DDR3-2484, but the card was pretty much at its limit when we received it. We were able to raise the memory data rate by an insignificant 11 MHz, but tweaking the GPU and shader engine speeds resulted in instability.

Zotac adds a 3DMark Vantage Advanced Edition license and the game Race Driver: GRID from Codemasters to its accessory kit. A VGA and two six-pin power adapters allow configuration on older systems, while an internal S/PDIF-to-graphics-card cable allows onboard audio to pass through the DVI-to-HDMI adapter.

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