Review: Water cooled BFG GTX 285 H2OCWE
We're about to show you one of the fastest single-GPU cards around – BFG Geforce GTX 285 1024 H2OCWE. Apart from being famous for its 729MHz core clock, giving it the title of the fastest GTX 285 graphics card, the card is completely inaudible and up to 30 degrees Celsius cooler than reference, air-cooled cards. The GTX 285 H2OC’s copper block is BFG’s ThermoIntelligence design made in cooperation with Danger Den, and the card is single slot. The card will surely feed your gaming hunger as well as provide support for CUDA applications, no matter how demanding you are. Furthermore, lifetime warranty in the US and Canada and the 10 year warranty in the rest of the world are enough to at least make you think about this beast. The following photo shows the hefty ThermoIntelligence water block, which covers the core, memory, I/O chip and the power components.
In order to use the card you’ll have to own a water cooling system, but if you don’t you can always opt on BFG GTX 285 with ThermoIntelligence Advanced Cooling Solution. This card is water-cooled as well, but it comes with a complete solution – the pump, radiator, water block, pipes and the fluid are ready for use and require no additional assembly. All you need to do is place the radiator on the case and insert the graphics card into the PCIe slot. If you’re interested, you can find out more here.
Connecting the GTX 285 H2OC card didn’t take long – we used our water cooling system with Eheim's HPPS 12V water pump and had our system up and running in less than 10 minutes. Most of the water cooling systems will be compatible with this card but BFG ships two types of fittings – 3/8’’ and ½’’. We also found micro fittings in the box, which are used when there are two or three cards in SLI mode. We won’t get into details as all this is thoroughly explained in the manual.
The GTX 285 is based on the 55nm GT200 core with 240 shaders, 32 ROPs and a 512-bit memory interface. The reference design comes with 1024MB of memory running at 1242MHz (2484MHz effectively). BFG overclocked the memory to 2780MHz effectively and the core from reference 648MHz to 729MHz. Shaders have gotten a boost as well and they’re up from reference 1476 to 1674MHz. The following photo shows some additional info.
Geforce GTX 285 is the latest version of the Nvidia fastest single slot card so far, the GTX 280, which comes with a 65nm core and lower clocks at 602MHz. One of the important changes compared to the GTX 280 is the 55nm version’s lower consumption, which lets the GTX 285 get away with a 204W TDP, whereas the GTX 280’s TDP is 236W. Power connectors on the BFG’s card kept their original locations.
The reference designs of GTX 285 and GTX 280 are at a glance very similar, but are easy to tell apart - the GTX 285 comes without the back plate and all the memory is placed on the GPU side, unlike the GTX 280 which distributes the memory on both sides of the PCB, as seen below.
Our today’s BFG card comes with 1024MB of GDDR3 memory, just like the reference card, but the clocks are of course higher. The memory in question is Hynix H5RS5223CFR N3C which is rated at 1300MHz (2600MHz effectively). BFG GTX 285 H2OC’s memory is in direct contact with the copper block, enabling stable operation at 2780MHz, but if you can easily push it even further if you chose so.
The card features two dual-link DVI outs and a TV-out, and the packaging contains a DVI-to-HDMI and DVI-to-VGA converter. Also provided is the audio SPDIF cable, which you’ll need if you want to route audio and video to your HD device via one cable – a routine anyone who’s owned Nvidia’s recent cards will know wel.
The box is pretty small for this caliber of graphics card, and we ended up wondering how in the world did they managed to fit it inside. However, the card is entirely safe and nicely shielded inside.