Review: Ships with two bundled games
Nvidia's Geforce GTX 285 is currently the fastest single chip graphics card around. It was launched on 15th of January this year, and the launch was particularly interesting since many partners already had their OC versions of the cards. We’ve seen that the GTX285 is faster than GTX 280, which is a direct result of the 46MHz overclock, and the card now runs at 648MHz.
With the 55nm manufacturing process in motion, Nvidia was encouraged to overclock their cards as the aforementioned process results in a die shrink. That, in turn, results in better thermal properties and lower power consumption.
Apart from the shrinking, GT200 GPU hasn’t changed much during the transition process. We still have 240 stream processors, 32 ROPs and GDDR3 memory with a 512-bit memory interface.
Compared to the GTX 280, the GTX 285 is more efficient as it packs more punch at lower consumption levels. It features 1024MB of memory running at 1242MHz (2484MHz effectively) whereas GTX 280’s memory runs at 1107MHz (2214MHz effectively). The following two photos show GTX 280 and GTX 285 cards, and we see that the 285’s shader speeds are 1476MHz.
As far as bandwidth and data processing power go, the new card has the upper hand thanks to its new and overclocked 55nm GT200 core.
Inno3D, whose GTX 285 card is on our today’s menu, has wasted no time in jumping onboard the OC wagon, as they overclocked their card from reference 648MHz to 700Mhz. The following picture shows Inno3D GTX 285 Overclock clocks. Note that shader speeds are left at reference 1476MHz. Mistakes happen, but it’s not a big deal as BIOS can easily remedy this. We tried overclocking it and the card ran stable at shader clocks of 1600MHz, which might be a tad too much for core speed of 700MHz, but we tend to like round numbers so we gave it a shot.
Moving onto the overclocking results.
Inno3D GTX 280 Overclock looks quite appealing in its gold-black color scheme. The cooler is the same reference dual slot, and it performs nicely. Note that GTX 285’s graphics processor runs cooler than on the GTX 280, in spite being overclocked, which is a result of the die shrink to 55nm.
The cooler covers the entire front of the card, but it doesn’t feature the back plate you’ll see on the GTX 280.
Thanks to the design of the cooler, hot air doesn’t stay in the case but rather gets pushed out via outlets on the I/O panel.
The card features two dual-link DVI outs and a TV-Out. It also comes with HDCP and HDMI support via the DVI-to-HDMI dongle bundled in the box. In order to turn this card into a multimedia beast, you’ll have to bring sound to the card via a SPDIF cable, which you’ll plug into the card’s SPDIF in.
The aforementioned SPDIF in is located next to the PCI-Express power connectors. You’ll probably be happy to hear that you won’t need an additional 8-pin power connector, which is the case with the GTX 280, and you’ll be using only two 6pin ones. As a rule, today’s high end cards draw more than 75W that the PCI-Express slot requires, and Nvidia says that this card’s maximum TDP is 183W. That’s 53W less than GTX 280’s consumption (236W). In real world, the difference is not as evident, but it’s quite impressive taking into account the GTX 285’s higher clocks.
Here we see the SPDIF in and power connectors. The following two photos show the differences in PCB design, most notably on the part where the power components reside.
The graphics core is surrounded by memory modules. Unlike the GTX 280, which features 8 memory chips on each side of the PCB, the new GTX 285 features all 16 modules, 64MB each, on one side of the PCB. We took the back plate off of the GTX 280 in order to show you the rest of the memory – 1024MB in total.
Apart from standard SLI configurations, GTX 280/285 and GTX 260 cards support three-way SLI as well. So, if you can afford three cards of the same kind, all three of them will run side by side using multi-GPU technology. Of course, you’ll need a special SLI connector, but motherboard manufacturers whose motherboards support this technology usually bundle these connectors with their products.
This card also features PureVideo HD (video processing software that puts the GPU to use in HD decoding and playback tasks), CUDA and PhysX but not HybridSLI technology (that combined with an appropriate motherboard lets your card power down during non-demanding tasks, passing the task on to the motherboard’s integrated GPU - more here).
Of CUDA supported apps, we tried out the Badaboom video converter, which really puts the GPU’s muscle to good use while transcoding video formats. CPU-intensive operations that used to go on for hours are now, thanks to the GPU’s power, are down to just minutes. CUDA, or Compute Unified Device Architecture if you will, is an architecture that developers will find quite appealing as programming in high-level programming language C puts some serious parallel processing power at their disposal.
Gaming physics is not an easy task if you want it in realtime, but it’s getting increasingly easier to implement thanks to PhysX technology combined with Nvidia GPU processors. Most popular game supporting this technology is Mirror’s Edge, and you can find it here.
All that aside, Inno3D GTX 285 Overclock cards still feature two additional surprises – Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts and Warmonger gift games. However, talking about physics, it would probably be better for Nvidia to promote their cards by giving away Mirror’s Edge.
The box looks nice and it will keep your card safe and comfy during transport.
You’ll find the box to contain the standard stuff, including the DVI-to-HDMI dongle and a SPDIF cable.