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Conclusion

GeForce GTX 285 Gets 2 GB: Gigabyte's GV-N285OC-2GI
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Going back to today’s original question “wasn’t a gig enough?” the answer is: usually a one gigabyte graphics card will have all the memory it can use. We did however find two games where a combination of the highest settings and enormous 2560x1600 resolutions overtaxed graphics memory: Tom Clancy’s HAWX and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky.

The damage from HAWX only occurred at 8x AA however, which is something most people probably don’t need at 2560x1600 resolution, and also something that isn’t even available in Clear Sky.

These problems only occurred at such high GPU loads that even our “winner” couldn’t produce smooth game play, but there's a silver lining here, and it might very well be SLI. We didn't have a second 2 GB board to test, but for the hardcore gamer looking for the highest resolutions and the super-demanding configurations we tested here, SLI could prove to be the perfect compliment to Gigabyte’s memory increase.

With only 896 MB per graphics processor, our GeForce GTX 295 proved the value of SLI in HAWX at everything but the highest test setting, where it simply ran out of memory. Tripling-up on 2 GB GeForce GTX 285 goodness should easily overcome that obstacle. With a little more overclocking effort, we wouldn’t be surprised to see smooth gaming happen using only two 2 GB GeForce GTX 285s.

As for the benefit of 2 GB in Clear Sky, we don’t believe even three graphics processors can take the game from 14.8 FPS to something that resembles fluidity.

Gigabyte produced a great product, but the overall value question appears to concern bragging rights. How much would you pay to be able to tell your friends you can play the latest titles with everything (including resolution) maxed? For those who'd answer "a lot," Gigabyte's GV-N285OC-2GI is a solid path to the best performance possible.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    chovav , August 5, 2009 10:02 AM
    hey, how about GTAIV? they say that the maximal viewing distance of a 1GB card is 32%, and MSI claims for its 2GB card that it's possible to get 100% viewing distance.
    Is there any possibility to test this? this could actually be the only game that will use this amount of memory..
Other Comments
  • -1 Hide
    twisted politiks , August 5, 2009 6:38 AM
    ive had EVGA's GTX 285 for about two months now, nothing new in the memory department
  • -5 Hide
    rambo117 , August 5, 2009 6:55 AM
    wow... that was quite pointless, i was really expecting a good article but it was the same numbers basically, why not just have a single page with the average gains with 2gb vs 1gb (which was completely nonexistent anyways)
  • 1 Hide
    astrodudepsu , August 5, 2009 7:03 AM
    Well, all I can say is good try. Not some of your best work, but worth exploring nonetheless.
  • 6 Hide
    Crashman , August 5, 2009 7:14 AM
    astrodudepsuWell, all I can say is good try. Not some of your best work, but worth exploring nonetheless.


    Tom's Hardware was hoping to find more 2560x1600 scenarios where the 2GB advantage would play out. When very few advantages were found, Tom's did the honest thing and published the numbers anyway.

    I think you can take a lot from this article. I just spoke to a guy who asked "2GB or water cooling?" when looking at cards of the same price. He has a powerful water cooling loop, so the answer was easy.
  • 2 Hide
    one-shot , August 5, 2009 7:19 AM
    I think it is a great article. Too often people approach me thinking a larger frame buffer means extra performance. Actually, just recently a co-worker wanted to get a GTX 285 with 2GB of VRAM. Great article, keep it up!
  • -4 Hide
    SpadeM , August 5, 2009 7:21 AM
    Just a quick question: Since the GTX285 is a high range card, those the same "1GB is enough" rule apply to mid range/low end cards?

    PS: I'm thinking slower GPU might benefit from more memory
  • -2 Hide
    astrodudepsu , August 5, 2009 7:29 AM
    CrashmanTom's Hardware was hoping to find more 2560x1600 scenarios where the 2GB advantage would play out. When very few advantages were found, Tom's did the honest thing and published the numbers anyway.


    Which is why I said it was worth exploring. I realize you wouldn't do all this work and NOT publish your results, as mundane as they may be.
  • 2 Hide
    rambo117 , August 5, 2009 7:44 AM
    it was quite informative and worth exploring like astrodude said. just wish that it was a little more 'exciting'.. idk, maybe an sli 2gb vs 1gb will prove to be possibley more interesting.
  • 2 Hide
    Hellbound , August 5, 2009 7:51 AM
    If a card is going to cost $350-$400, and perform as much as %50 less than the car that costs $500....get the $500 card. You are already spending an insane amount for a card, might as well go all the way. As for me, I'm waiting for the DX11 cards to come out.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , August 5, 2009 8:01 AM
    rambo117it was quite informative and worth exploring like astrodude said. just wish that it was a little more 'exciting'.. idk, maybe an sli 2gb vs 1gb will prove to be possibley more interesting.


    Three-way would have been best, but there's just not enough samples to go around.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , August 5, 2009 8:10 AM
    Nice article, pity you didn't have two 2-gig cards for SLI and GTA4 ready to be tested - AFAIK, that is THE framebuffer muncher no.1 these days.
  • 2 Hide
    enewmen , August 5, 2009 8:48 AM
    I expect future titles to fully utilize 2gb. So this may be a future-proof card. However, I don't see such titles coming out this year. By then it will be DX11.
  • -2 Hide
    TheFace , August 5, 2009 9:44 AM
    Nobody seems to believe that this might be a driver issue?
  • 3 Hide
    Crashman , August 5, 2009 9:55 AM
    TheFaceNobody seems to believe that this might be a driver issue?


    Same card means same driver, regardless of RAM.
    SpadeMJust a quick question: Since the GTX285 is a high range card, those the same "1GB is enough" rule apply to mid range/low end cards?PS: I'm thinking slower GPU might benefit from more memory


    Are you the guy who bought that 256MB MX440 because it had more memory than the 128MB Ti 4200? Just kidding, but the high-end card is the one that can use the highest detail levels, which requires a greater frame buffer.
  • 10 Hide
    chovav , August 5, 2009 10:02 AM
    hey, how about GTAIV? they say that the maximal viewing distance of a 1GB card is 32%, and MSI claims for its 2GB card that it's possible to get 100% viewing distance.
    Is there any possibility to test this? this could actually be the only game that will use this amount of memory..
  • -1 Hide
    sublifer , August 5, 2009 12:14 PM
    rambo117wow... that was quite pointless, i was really expecting a good article but it was the same numbers basically, why not just have a single page with the average gains with 2gb vs 1gb (which was completely nonexistent anyways)

    Yup. And the reason we never see any gains is because the driver is written with the stock frame buffer size and the OS/games don't know how to take advantage of the extra VRAM. All the cards with higher than stock amounts of VRAM are wastes of money.
  • -1 Hide
    Horizonz5 , August 5, 2009 12:26 PM
    subliferYup. And the reason we never see any gains is because the driver is written with the stock frame buffer size and the OS/games don't know how to take advantage of the extra VRAM. All the cards with higher than stock amounts of VRAM are wastes of money.


    well first the technology is introduced into the market and then companies like Diamond Multimedia will utilize its full potential. I'm sure GTX 295 owners will not be interested in "upgrading". Perhaps Crysis 2 will see too in seeing the 285 will not be money spent poorly.
  • 7 Hide
    freak77power , August 5, 2009 12:28 PM
    Where is Grand Theft Auto IV Test here?
  • 1 Hide
    Vatharian , August 5, 2009 12:51 PM
    Where's the bottleneck? I'd like to see little more testing: What's the difference in SLI: two pairs of 285 with 1 gig ram and 2 gigs. However I reckon 2x2 gig setup would show difference in 1920x1080++ with 8/16x AA enabled... I do own a 8800 SLI setup, but at 1080p any FSAA is unplayable T_T
  • -1 Hide
    scook9 , August 5, 2009 1:02 PM
    The only scenario I can see where this would be beneficial is SLI like mentioned in the conclusion. This is where you really get a bottleneck of frame buffer as you will have multiple GPU's competing for the same memory.

    What I am curious about, could you buy a 1 GB card and a 2 GB card SLI them and have the primary set as the 2 GB so that the full 2 GB gets used between the 2 GPUs? Or would you still have to pay for 2 2GB cards
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