Zotac GTX285 AMP Edition (GeForce GTX 285, 1,024 MB)
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The fastest GeForce GTX 285 in our test field comes from Zotac. Its AMP edition only has two current competitors in its league: the GeForce GTX 295 and the Radeon HD 4870 X2. Because both of these cards are dual-GPU models, we can observe without question or controversy that the Zotax 285 AMP Edition is the fastest single-chip graphics card available on the market today.
The Zotac model earns its position through overclocking (the abbreviation AMP indicates "amplified clock speeds"). Standard frequencies come in at 648 MHz for the GPU, 1,476 MHz for the shaders, and 2 x 1,242 MHz for the graphics RAM. Zotac raises these rates to 702 MHz (GPU), 1,512 MHz (shaders), and 2 x 1,296 MHz (memory). Overall performance considered, this catapults the AMP card past the MSI GeForce GTX 285 SuperPipe by about 2.6%. In comparison to the reference GeForce GTX 285, this is a performance boost of 4.8% due to aggressive clocks.
Of course, the gains aren't free; rather, they result in higher noise levels. In 2D mode, the Nvidia reference design remains quiet at 37.9 dB(A), but under heavy load, noise levels climb to a noticeably audible 51.4 dB(A). This is a pity, because the 55 nm GeForce GTX 260 runs at 41.2 dB(A) and the old 65 nm GeForce GTX 280 is measured at 45.4 dB(A). The reference fans for the GeForce GTX 285 are more like those for the original GeForce GTX 260, at 53.8 dB(A). It goes without saying, then, that the fans on MSI's SuperPipe were much quieter.
The graphics chip supports DirectX 10, PhysX, and CUDA. The card's PCB is 10.6" (27 cm) long, and it runs at 300 MHz/100 MHz (GPU/graphics RAM) in desktop mode. The board requires two six-pin PCIe power connectors, both of which are mounted on the rear edge. This design covers two motherboard slots, just like most of the other high-end offerings in our roundup. The retail package includes Racedriver GRID, two power-splitter cables, an HDMI adapter, an S/PDIF cable, and a copy of 3DMark Vantage Advanced. Finally, you'll find two dual-link DVI ports and a video output on the I/O bracket.