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Sapphire's ITX Compact R9 285: Good Things In Small Packages

This Card Makes No Compromises For Its Small Stature

Sapphire provides a highly capable Radeon R9 285 in a small ITX-friendly size, delivering a card wielding more performance than the GeForce GTX 760 without making any observable compromises. The diminutive cooler keeps GPU temperatures low, and you aren't forced to tolerate any more noise than competing brands selling larger boards. You won't have a problem overclocking even further, either.

The worst thing we can say about the ITX Compact R9 285 is that it draws about 10W more power under load than the other samples we tested, which is practically negligible. Of course, you'll want to keep the power draw and associated heat generation as low as possible in a mini-ITX system, but we were more concerned that the card would somehow be limited with a smaller power envelope than its contemporaries. Happily, this is not the case.

In the short term, this is the fastest mini-ITX graphics card on the market, and it can be purchased on Newegg at the time of writing for $260. Its reign as king will unfortunately be short-lived, as Gigabyte is expected to release a similarly-sized GeForce GTX 970 next month. But that board could cost as much as $335, giving Sapphire's option enough breathing room to continue to be a viable option at a lower price point.

No matter how you slice it, small system builders looking to put together high-performance rigs have access to more performance - and more choice - than ever before. Sapphire's ITX Compact R9 285 is an important addition to that list of options, a sub-$300 graphics card that has what it takes to deliver big HD gaming in a small package.