Power Consumption and Final Thoughts
55nm GT200: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 1GB Review - Graphics Cards 50

Well, there you have it – the GeForce GTX 285 is definitely using less power than the GTX 280 card all while running at higher clock speeds and performing better in our gaming tests.  The 55nm process might not have paid off as much of a dividend as we were initially hoping on the GT200 design but financially this is a move NVIDIA needed to make.  You really can’t ask for much more than that!


Our short time with the GTX 285 has left me pretty impressed – even though the GTX 280 was the top performing single GPU graphics card on the market, the GTX 285 easily outpaced it by about 10-15% in my tests.  Even at real-world resolutions like 1600×1200 and 2048×1536 the GTX 285 was able to run noticeably faster than the GTX 280 OC.  Of course the AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 was the best card in our graphs but in reality it is priced higher than the GTX 285 and utilizes a pair of GPUs to get the job done (much like NVIDIA’s own GTX 295 did to beat out the 4870 X2 for the performance crown). 

55nm GT200: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 1GB Review - Graphics Cards 51
Nom, nom, nom…

If you already own a GTX 280 or even at GTX 260 card, I don’t think the GTX 285 is going to add enough performance to warrant the upgrade price but users of the 9-series cards or even 3000-series card from AMD should definitely perk up their ears a bit with the release.

UPDATE: BFG apparently has had some issues with yields at these speeds and we got an email THIS MORNING that the clocks were being pulled back on the OCX model.  The new clocks will be 702 MHz/1584 MHz/1332 MHz, respectively.  The changes shouldn’t result in too dramatic a shift in the performance numbers we are showing you in this piece though.

Pricing and Availability

No doubt the best part about this release is the price: while the original GeForce GTX 280 launched with a $649 price tag, the GTX 285 cards will be selling for as low as $379 starting today.  That is an astonishing price drop for BETTER performance than you would have gotten a year ago. 

The one drawback to this debate is the fact that AMD recently dropped the price on its Radeon HD 4870 X2 cards to around $450 – and you can find them for $399 if you try after a mail-in rebate.  While we hate rebates as much as the next guy, you can clearly see in our graphs that the 4870 X2 is a much better performer and thus if you can spare the extra cash, it MIGHT make for the better graphics purchase.  If you have a distaste for rebates and doubt you’ll see that cash, then the $379 for the various GTX 285 GPUs could look better and better. 

Even better news for bargain hunters might be the fire sale deals on GTX 280 cards you can find online: we’ve some going for under $300!

UPDATE: the GTX 285 cards are already showing up before this is review is up! 
Final Thoughts

Both the BFG GeForce GTX 285 OCX 1GB and the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP 1GB cards are terrific examples of what the new NVIDIA 55nm GT200 chip can offer in terms of performance, features and flexibility.  The BFG model was definitely the better performer but it will likely run you an additional $20-30 over the cost of the ASUS card that is available for $399 of this writing.  With this release NVIDIA has taken back the single-GPU performance crown, though from itself, and put the HD 4870 cards in a slightly tougher spot than they had been before.  It looks like NVIDIA’s torrent of releases this winter is finally at an end; going out with a win is always a plus.

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