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Tuesday, 29 December 2009 13:25

Gainward GTX 285 tested - 2. Gainward GTX 285 2GB, A closer look

Written by Sanjin Rados

 

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Review: The GTX 285 can still deliver a mean punch










We've already mentioned that Gainward has as much as 6 different GTX 285 iterations and that they all use the same cooling. Just like reference cooling, Gainward's solution is dual-slot as well. 

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The cooler features two fans connected to the 4-pin connector via one cable, and regulating the rpm is a breeze. Note that both fans run at same speed. The fans are placed on the large plastic hood, which covers the entire length of the card and hides a large aluminum heatsink. Gainward's card appears a bit longer than the reference design, mostly due to the hood, although the PCB size didn't change and it still measures 26.7cm.

Twin fan design used by Gainward is efficient, but it's worth noting that the heat released off the dissipation surfaces will stay in the case, whereas the reference design makes sure it is pushed out of the case. For this reason, you should make sure that your in-case airflow is adequate.

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Although the cooling solution seems a bit complicated at a glance, it's pretty simple. The main part comprises of the heatsink with the heatpipes, which take care of the GPU, whereas the remaining two components are aluminum plates, which act as passive heatsinks. The black heatsink is placed on the power components whereas the second one takes care of memory modules. Of course, heatpipe technology would've been an overkill in this case since power components and memory don't even come close to the temperatures the GPU emits.

Of course, the card itself features heatpipe technology, and the picture shows four large heatpipes going from the copper base and ending among the aluminum cooling fins. So, the heatpipe transfers the heat emitting from the GPU to the cooling fins (heatsink), where the heat is dissipated. You'll notice that this cooling resembles Gainward's solutions on the GTX 275/260 cards, although lower thermals on the aforementioned cards allow for using three heatpipes and safely getting away with it.

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The cooler has proven to be efficient during our testing, keeping the GPU temperatures at about 72 degrees Celsius, which is much better than the reference card's 82 degrees. On the other hand, we can't say that we're pleased with the operating noise levels, but it's possible to remedy that by lowering the fan rpm and basically sacrificing a couple of degrees Celsius for quieter operation (you can use the provided ExpertTool). Idle operation and casual desktop work won't introduce noise.

As you already know, Gainward strapped its card with 2048MB of GDDR3 memory. All the memory modules are located on the front side of the card, and the memory in question comes from Hynix.

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The memory runs at reference 1242MHz (2484MHz). On this card Gainward decided against overclocking so the GPU retained the reference 648MHz clocks and the shaders are still at 1476MHz.

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The GTX 285 will draw up to 204W and the card is powered via two 6-pin power connectors, which kept their standard location. With the card installed, our test rig drew up to 300W in gaming scenarios (without the monitor) whereas idle operation resulted in consumption of about 122W.

You'll also notice the SPDIF connector, and you'll need it if you want to add audio to your graphics card's video out. On this card, Gainward doesn't provide HDMI out, but the company provides a DVI-to-HDMI dongle. The card also features two dual-link DVIs and S-video out.

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The box is pretty large but sturdy and you'll find a 3DMark Vantage Advanced serial number inside. You'll have to download the program from the internet yourself, but nevertheless it's a nice addition. The box also features a short user's manual, the driver CD with ExpertTool app, S-video connector, Molex-to-6-pin PCI-Express power connector, DVI connector, HDMI dongle and a SPDIF cable.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 29 December 2009 12:43
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