XFX Radeon R9 285 Black Edition: Black Never Goes Out Of Style
There's something to be said for picking up the cheapest graphics card you can find and then overclocking the heck out of it. But there's also an undeniable exclusivity reserved for premium products that offer something extra. With the highest factory overclock we've seen so far on a Radeon R9 285, XFX's Black Edition slots into the second category.
Despite its lofty claim to fame, this aptly-named card sports XFX's typical down-to-business style in classic black-on-black. Only the silver and copper hardware contrasts with the minimalistic monochrome theme. Built onto a 112mm-tall PCB measuring 220mm (8.75") in length, the board isn't particularly large. Moreover, it fits into a dual-slot form factor at 38mm (about 1.5") wide. That makes it almost an inch shorter than AMD's reference Radeon HD 7770. And at 544 grams (1 lb 3 oz), it's not particularly heavy either. Asus' Strix 285 is 316 grams (13 oz) heavier. In short, you shouldn't have any problems getting the XFX R9 285 Black Edition to fit inside a majority of PC cases.
Let's talk about that class-leading overclock. At 975MHz, the GPU operates 57MHz faster than reference, which doesn't sound like much. However, no other manufacturer is pushing this card higher. The board's 2GB of GDDR5 memory employs AMD's suggested 1375MHz (5500MT/s) frequency, exceeded only by Sapphire's R9 285 Dual-X OC at 1400MHz.
The images clearly depict XFX's Double Dissipation cooling system. Its block is surprisingly thin, channeling four 6mm copper heat pipes to the black aluminum fins. Both 85mm fans are enveloped by a polycarbonate shroud. As an aside, the protector covering the glossy shroud left a significant amount of adhesive residue behind, which took a bit of time to clean off for the pictures.
The card requires two 6-pin power connectors, easy delivering up to 75W in addition to the PCI Express slot's 75W ceiling. This is the same setup we've seen on all of the Radeon R9 285 cards we've come across so far. Like AMD's Radeon R9 290 and R7 260, the R9 285 doesn't need CrossFire bridges to support multi-GPU configurations.
XFX's Black Edition card is equipped with dual-link DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.
The bundle includes two dual-Molex-to-6-pin PCIe adapters, documentation and a driver CD. There are no video adapters, cables or value-adds in the package, which is something of a disappointment in a premium product.