Review: GTX 285 bordering with impossible clocks
Today our focus will be solely on speed, as our lab welcomes the fastest single GPU card around – the GTX 285 For the Win (FTW). After GTX 285 card with its 55nm GT200 processor hit the market, a somewhat interrupted GTX 280 overclocking race continued. In case you didn’t know, GTX 280’s successor is exactly the GTX 285, and the difference is the newer, smaller and cooler GPU. The new card allows for higher maximum clocks, and EVGA followed it up with their FTW card. The FTW’s core runs at 720MHz, which is 118MHz and 72MHz higher than GTX 280 and reference GTX 285 clocks, respectively. Our guest today is Geforce GTX 285 For the Win card, and it rightfully deserves its title.
This is the first time we’ve seen GPUZ showing such high clocks of a GTX 285/GTX 280 card. EVGA pushed all the GTX 285 FTW components to their max, and we see that the memory got juiced up from reference 1242MHz (2484) to 1386MHz (2772MHz) – GPUZ read the memory clocks wrong, and it also resulted in wrong memory bandwidth readout. The card’s memory bandwidth is up from reference 158.9GB/s to 177.4GB/s. EVGA’s portal lists the card’s memory clocks as 1386MHz (2772MHz), and that’s what you’ll be getting if you buy this card.
The card features 16 Hynix (H5RS5223CFR-N3C) memory chips, 1024MB of memory with 512-bit memory interface in total.
You might’ve expected some kind of special cooling for this turbo-fast card, but there was simply no need for it. Reference cooling does a good job and it doesn’t run too loud, so EVGA decided to keep it around. It’s a dual slot cooler that covers the entire front of the card, and features a fan on towards the end and air outlets on the I/O panel.
Still, not all GT200 chips are capable of stable operation at 720MHz. We found out that EVGA handpicks the chips, and only the crème of the crop end up on their FTW cards, whereas others are left to power some weaker models. However, 720MHz is not an easy feat, even with 55nm GT200 chips.
The GT200 core features 240 shader processors, 32 ROPs and a large 1GB GDDR3 frame buffer, enabling the card to chew up newer games at high resolutions. The following page shows how much faster than reference, the Geforce GTX 285 FTW really is.
Motherboard: MSI P45D3 Platinum ( Provided By: MSI );
Processor: Intel Core 2 QX9770 Extreme edition na 3.6GHz ( Provided By: Intel );
Memory: Corsair Dominator 12800 7-7-7-24 ( Provided By: Corsair);
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 300G 10,000RPM ( Provided By: SmoothCreation );
Drivers: AMD ATI CCC 9.2, Nvidia Geforce drivers 182.06
EVGA GTX 285 FTW runs at 720MHz, and we can’t help but wonder how many chips had to be thoroughly tested for these speeds. If you’re worried that EVGA might’ve not done a good job, then rest assured that you’re wrong, as the company includes their warranty on these babies.
Vantage test at extreme settings reports the EVGA GTX 285 FTW to be 11% faster than the reference cards, but lower settings report the performance difference to be about the same as well.
Older 3DMark06 tests don’t reflect the true advantage over the reference 648MHz, and it only shows the EVGA FTW 720MHz to be 2,2% better. However, gaming will show that FTW is better by about 11%, just like in the Vantage tests.
Far Cry 2
Overclocking the GT200 core on GTX 285 FTW card does a world of good, and EVGA’s card runs by about 9% better than reference.
Left 4 Dead
At lower resolutions, the reference GTX 285 can lock horns with GTX 285 FTW, but starting from 1680x1050, EVGA starts leaving the reference card behind. 1920x1200 sees the FTW leave the reference card behind by more than 9%, whereas the highest resolution again introduces the 11% advantage.
World in Conflict
Radeon HD 4870 X2 loses at quite a couple of resolutions, and it’s only the highest ones that show the true power of joint RV770 chips. RVGA GTX 285 FTW is again up to 9% better than the reference GTX 285, and it’s quite a feat at 2560x1600 and filters on, where it scores a decent playable framerate, and lags behind the HD 4870 X2 by only 3 frames.
We had no trouble with temperatures during gaming. As far as overclocking goes, you’ll hardly beat EVGA’s feat, and our cards ran unstable at higher clocks.
EVGA GTX 285 FTW is without a doubt the fastest single GPU card – and its only competitor is the same company’s Hydro Copper 16 that comes with a water block and same-clocked GPU. The GTX 285 comes with 1GB of GDDR3 memory running at 2772MHz. Reaching these speeds is no easy task, and it proves that EVGA used the crème of the crop chips for the aforementioned cards.
The card is not cheap, but at least it offers a lot of quality for the price. This is what Evga tries to do with its cards, unconditionally the fastest but sometimes this effort comes with a price burden.
The reference GTX 285 runs up to 11% slower, and we’ve seen that GTX 285 FTW shows its true muscle at higher resolutions, and it’s intended for exactly those. If you’re gaming at 1920x1200 or even 2560x1600, and you don’t want a dual GPU card, then the best single GPU card around, EVGA GTX 285 FTW, is the card for you.