Nvidia's GeForce GTX 285: A Worthy Successor?

Test Settings

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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7 920 (2.66 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 4.00 GHz (BCLK 200)
CPU CoolerSwiftech Liquid Cooling: Apogee GTZ water block
MCP-655b pump, and 3x120 mm radiator
MotherboardGigabyte EX58-Extreme
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366
RAM6.0 GB Crucial DDR3-1600 Triple-Channel Kit
Overclocked to CAS 8-8-8-16
GTX 285 GraphicsXFX GeForce GTX 285 XXX Edition
670 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2500
GTX 280 GraphicsEVGA GeForce GTX 280 PN: 01G-P3-1280-AR
602 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2214
GTX 295 GraphicsGeForce GTX 295
2x 576 MHz GPU, GDDR3-1998
Radeon HD 4870 X2 GraphicsSapphire HD 4870 X2 PN: 100251SR
2x 750 MHz GPU, GDDR5-3600
Hard DrivesSeagate Barracuda ST3500641AS
0.5 TB, 7,200 RPM, 16 MB Cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCooler Master RS-850-EMBA
ATX12V v2.2. EPS12V, 850W, 64A combined +12 V
OpticalLG GGC-H20LK 6X Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM, 16X DVD±R
OSMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
GraphicsNVidia Forceware 181.20 Beta
AMD 8.561.3.0000 Beta
ChipsetIntel INF

Pooling the hardware from our previous GeForce GTX 295 quad-SLI comparison allows curious readers to compare today’s results to those of more elaborate, multi-card configurations. Highlights of our system include an Intel Core i7 920 processor overclocked to 4.00 GHz, a Swiftech Apogee-GTZ based liquid cooling kit for overclocking stability, and 6 GB of Crucial DDR3-1600 at moderately-tight CAS 8 timings.

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Benchmark Configuration
Call of Duty: World at WarPatch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game Highest Quality Settings, No AA/No AF, vsync off Highest Quality Settings, 4x AA/Max AF, vsync off
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Very-High Quality Settings, No AA/No AF (Forced) Very-High Quality Settings, 4x AA/8x AF (Forced)
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark Very-High Quality Settings, No AA, No AF (Forced) Very-High Quality Settings, 4x AA, 8x AF (Forced)
Left 4 DeadVery-High Details, No AA/No AF, vsync off Very-High Details, 4xAA/8x AF, vysnc off
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Very-High Quality Settings, No AA/No AF, vsync off Very-High Quality Settings, 4x AA/16x AF, vsync off
3D Mark VantageVersion 1.02: 3DMark, GPU, CPU scores Performance, High, Extreme Presets
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Proximon
    Perfect. Thank you. I only wished that you could have thrown in a 4870 1GB and a GTX 260+ into the mix, since you had what I'm guessing are new beta drivers. Still, I guess you have to sleep sometime :p
  • fayskittles
    I would have liked to see the over clocking that could be done to all cards and see how they compare then.
  • hannibal
    It's so good to see competition!
  • I would like to see a benchmark between SLI 260 Core 216, SLI 280, SLI 285, GTX 295, and 4870X2
  • ravenware
    Thanks for the article.

    Overclocking would be nice to see what the hardware can really do; but I generally don't dabble into overclock video cards. Never seems to work out, either the card is already running hot or the slightest increase in frequency produces artifacts.
    Also driver updates seem to wreak havoc with oc settings.
  • wlelandj
    Personally, I'm hoping for a non-crippled GTX 295 using the GTX 285's full specs(^Core Clock, ^Shader Clock, ^Memory Data Rate, ^Frame Buffer, ^Memory Bus Width, and ^ROPs)My & $$$ will be waiting.
  • A Stoner
    I went for the GTX 285. I figure it will run cooler, allow higher overclocks, and maybe save energy compared to a GTX 280. I was able to pick mine up for about $350 while most GTX 280 cards are still selling for above $325 without mail in rebates counted. Thus far, over the last three years I have had exactly 0 out of 12 mail in rebates for computer compenents honored.
  • A Stoner
    ravenwareThanks for the article.Overclocking would be nice to see what the hardware can really do; but I generally don't dabble into overclock video cards. Never seems to work out, either the card is already running hot or the slightest increase in frequency produces artifacts.Also driver updates seem to wreak havoc with oc settings.I just replaced a 8800 GTS 640MB card with the GTX 285. Base clocks for the GTS are 500 GPU and 800 memory. I foget the shaders, but it is over 1000. I had mine running with 0 glitches for the life of the card at 600 GPU and 1000 memory. Before the overclock the highest temperature at load was about 88C, after the overclock the highest temperature was 94C, both of which were well within manufaturer specifications of 115C. I would not be too scared of overclocking your hardware, unless your warranty is voided because of it.

    I have not overclocked the GTX 285 yet, I am waiting for NiBiToR v4.9 to be released so once I overclock it, I can set it permantly to the final stable clock. I am expecting to be able to hit about 730 GPU, but it could be less.
  • daeros
    Because most single-GPU graphics cards buyers would not even consider a more expensive dual-GPU solution, we’ve taken the unprecedented step of arranging today’s charts by performance-per-GPU, rather than absolute performance.

    In other words, no matter how well ATI's strategy of using two smaller, cheaper GPUs in tandem instead of one huge GPU works, you will still be able to say that Nvidia is the best.

    Also, why would most people who are spending $400-$450 on video cards not want a dual-card setup. Most people I know see it as a kind of bragging right, just like water-cooling your rig.

    One last thing, why is it so hard to find reviews of the 4850x2?
  • roofus
    because multi-gpu cards come with their own bag of headaches Daeros. you are better off going CF or SLI then to participate it that pay to play experiment.