ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3

ASUS overclocks the 55nm NVIDIA GeForce GTX285 to decent effect.

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ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3
  • ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3
  • ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3
  • ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3

Pros

  • Good performance, comparatively low power consumption

Cons

  • Expensive, inadequate aftermarket overclocking utilities

Bottom Line

ASUS' ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 provides good graphics performance in a factory overclocked single-GPU package. It offers good value compared to its base model counterpart.

Would you buy this?

It may not have the jaw-dropping performance of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX295 but the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 graphics card comes close and it only has a single GPU. Employing 55nm manufacturing technology and factory overclocking, the ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 is one of the fastest cards on the market and outperforms ATI's current dual-GPU offering in many tasks.

One of two recent additions to NVIDIA's GT200 family, the GeForce GTX285 is a 55nm refresh of the single-GPU chipset found in the popular GeForce GTX280. It runs cooler and has lower power consumption than the 65nm GTX280. NVIDIA has taken advantage of this, boosting the core clock from 602MHz to 648MHz, memory from 1107MHz to 1242MHz, and shader clocks from 1296MHz to 1476MHz.

With the ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3, ASUS takes things even further, providing factory overclocking of the core, shader and memory speeds to 670MHz, 1296MHz and 1550MHz, respectively. The graphics card doesn't stretch the chipset to its absolute limits — ASUS' Ultimate edition card has even higher clock speeds.

One of the main advantages of the shrunken die size is lower power consumption. The GeForce GTX280 required 236W power, but the 55nm GTX285 consumes only 183W. This means that you won't have to fork out as much for a power supply. The graphics card only requires 2 6-pin power connections, as opposed to the 6-pin/8-pin configuration needed for the older card.

The ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 offers a single cooling fan, with a black shroud covering the entire printed circuit board in order to maximise airflow between the GPU core and memory modules. Although this isn't necessarily the most effective cooling method, the fan does an adequate job and keeps the graphics card at 50 degrees when idle and 77 degrees under duress. The fan is not particularly noisy.

The graphics card is 267mm long and 35mm wide; the same size as most high-end cards. Unlike the Manli GTX295, the ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 doesn't weigh the same as the knight and horse pictured on the graphics card, so it won't increase the overall weight of your gaming rig too significantly.

We tested the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 on our graphics testbed with an Intel Core i7-965, 6GB of DDR3 RAM and a Western Digital 300GB VelociRaptor hard drive, installed in an Antec Skeleton case.

In both 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 06, the ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 performed well, scoring X6191 and 9708 respectively. These are some of the best scores we have seen for a single GPU card, falling just below the ASUS EAH4870X2/HTDI/2G which managed scores of X6328 and 10,360.

The ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 performed well in most of our gaming tests. In Left4Dead, the graphics card managed a very good 82.93 frames per second, while in Half Life 2: Episode Two, which uses an older version of the Source engine than L4D, it ran at 131.32fps. The latter score is below what the ASUS EAH4870X2/HTDI/2G achieved.

The Manli GTX295 scored 74.25fps in both Call of Juarez and Far Cry 2, but the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1GD3 didn't fare as well, at 52.4fps and 60.17fps, respectively. The GeForce GTX285 chipset trumped the Radeon HD 4870 X2 in our most demanding benchmark, Crysis Warhead, managing 34.55fps to the ATI card's 29.2fps.

NVIDIA's 55nm graphics chipset refresh has already stretched its legs with the GeForce GTX295 and the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP/HTDI/1D3 simply shows what it is capable of in a graphics card with a single GPU. At the moment, the GeForce GTX285 remains the best single-GPU graphics card money can buy.

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