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GeForce GTX 285 Gets 2 GB: Gigabyte's GV-N285OC-2GI

GeForce GTX 285 Gets 2 GB: Gigabyte's GV-N285OC-2GI
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Big memory capacity hasn’t always been specific to the highest-end graphics cards. It's actually still fairly common for vendors to put a bunch of inexpensive, low-speed memory on entry-level boards, hoping that big number would register as better performance to the folks who haven't yet wrapped their heads around the idea that a big frame buffer is of limited use to an underpowered GPU. The uninitiated would readily jump for the “better” specification they knew, rather than the faster graphics processor they didn't understand as well.

But gamers have since become better-educated with respect to hardware, and many of today’s mainstream cards use fewer of the same expensive memory components as their high-end counterparts. For mainstream and better parts, the economic incentive to expand the memory capacities of low-end cards is almost gone.

More recently, the industry has seen an explosion in both graphics processing and system demands, with games becoming increasingly complicated and gorgeous 30" displays supporting 2560x1600 pixel resolutions. Putting aside marketing tricks of the past, the high end just might be where memory really needs to expand.

You won’t find a higher-end graphics processor than Nvidia's GeForce GTX 285, and that’s why Gigabyte chose it as the first model to support two gigabytes of super-fast GDDR3-2400 memory. Hints of a custom design are seen in its combination of HDMI and VGA connections, rather than a fistful of adapters, and bold claims of a “2 ounce Copper Inner Layer” for its circuit board.

Spreading the VGA and DVI outputs across two connections rather than relying on a second DVI-I interface and adapters eliminated the space Nvidia’s reference design used for its S-Video/Composite combo interface. That’s no big loss to most of us, since those legacy TV outputs were only able to support ultra-low resolutions. Anyone putting this much effort into gaming on a home-theater display should certainly have HDMI, or at least DVI by now.

Gigabyte’s custom circuit board doesn’t look much different than the reference-design cards we’ve seen, though Gigabyte claims slight improvements in its voltage regulator components.

Hynix’s super-fast H5RS1H23MFR-N2C 1Gb GDDR3-2400 memory is clocked at its rated speed, though Gigabyte does overclock the GeForce GTX 285 GPU slightly to 660 MHz, compared to the standard 648 MHz. Unlike Gigabyte’s card, reference models also underclock RAM to a 2,322 MHz data rate.

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  • 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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