The Power for this Performance
    Throughout most of the testing, the CrossFired Radeon HD 4870s have come out ahead of the GeForce GTX 285.  Some results are bigger than others, and sometimes the workloads do favor the GeForce more.  What we need to see is how much power these Radeon cards pull to take the lead over the GeForce.

MSI N285GTX Superpipe OC GeForce GTX 285 Review - Graphics Cards 30

MSI N285GTX Superpipe OC GeForce GTX 285 Review - Graphics Cards 31

    Oh dear.  The Radeon HDs pull a full 150 watts more at maximum, at 130 watts more at idle.  That is quite a bit of power, and therefore a lot of heat to also dissipate from a case.  This is very much a clear win by the GeForce GTX 285, and when we consider performance per watt, it most definitely comes out well ahead of the HD 4870s.

    If I had a pair of HD 4890s onhand for testing, I am sure the results would have been a bit more different (quite a bit faster than the HD 4870s and they feature the full 1 GB framebuffer).  But when we start looking at those, we are now at the $400 mark for the overall price of the CrossFired cards, and they do pull slightly more power than the older HD 4870s.  So if a user wants a cool and quiet running system while at full load, those particular cards are not going to do them much good.


    Overclocking on most modern graphics cards is, in my opinion, a bit pointless.  If a user is doing water cooling, or attempting world records with heroic measures, then that is their call.  As it is, a 5% overclock in core and shader frequencies MAY garner a 2% to 3% increase in overall performance.  These GPUs do not overclock like current processors from Intel and AMD.  Simply put, when using air cooling, and overclocking is going to increase heat and power consumption without significant performance benefits.

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