Notwithstanding the triumph of dual-chip homogeneous multi-GPU solutions in the sector of premium graphics cards, classic single-chip designs do not give up yet. Far from that, they can even put up a fight as our today’s test session has showed. The transition to 55nm tech process has helped the G200 processor to get rid of its main drawback, low frequency potential. As the result, the successor to the GeForce GTX 280 delivers high performance, being competitive to the seemingly more advanced Radeon HD 4850 X2 across a number of tests. Moreover, the pre-overclocked version of the card offered by EVGA is often faster than ATI’s solutions while boasting a far lower power draw.
Let’s discuss this in more detail.
The new card beats the Radeon HD 4850 X2 in five tests and has one draw, which is an achievement for a single-chip solution. The pre-overclocked version from EVGA has 8 wins and 1 draw; it is only in Fallout 3 that this card is far slower (by 20%) than its opponent. The average advantage over the Radeon HD 4850 X2 is about 6%. Coupled with the lower power draw and comfortable noise characteristics, the EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC looks preferable.
The reference GeForce GTX 285 is 1 to 12% ahead of the GeForce GTX 280 at 1680x1050. The average advantage is about 10%. Compared with the Radeon HD 4850 X2, the new card has four wins and one draw (one win is due to the incorrect operation of CrossFireX technology in Dead Space). The maximum loss is 31% in Fallout 3. The pre-overclocked frequencies increase the performance of the GeForce GTX 285 by an average 6-7%, which ensures 6 wins. The Radeon HD 4850 X2 is far faster in Fallout 3, Red Alert 3 and X3: Terran Conflict, however.
The GeForce GTX 285 loses its ground as the resolution grows up. Working at the reference frequencies at 1920x1200, the new card is ahead of the Radeon HD 4850 X2 in three tests only, Dead Space, Devil May Cry 4 and Prince of Persia, but the average gap is not larger than 2%. The factory overclocking adds 8% to the card’s performance, ensuring seven wins in 15 tests.
The average advantage of the GeForce GTX 285 over the GTX 280 is about 13% at the highest resolution, but the Radeon HD 4850 X2 looks far better here. Nvidia’s card claims three wins only, and one of them is achieved due to the lack of software support for ATI’s multi-GPU technology in a specific game. The pre-overclocked version from EVGA is more confident, winning seven out of 15 tests.
The overall situation is rather ambiguous. The reference, non-overclocked GeForce GTX 285 resembles the GeForce 8800 Ultra to some extent. The performance growth thanks to the increased GPU and memory frequencies is not as big as to make the card competitive to the Radeon HD 4850 X2, especially at high resolutions. Higher frequencies, like those of the EVGA GeForce GTX 280 SSC, are necessary for that. The EVGA is competitive in terms of performance and even preferable with its other consumer properties, yet the final choice will depend on what exactly games you play. Some people will prefer the EVGA GeForce GTX 280 SSC while others will have to put up with the noisier and less economical Radeon HD 4850 X2.
EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC Summary
As for the specific product we have worked with, we can say that from the technological standpoint EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC doesn’t really differ from Nvidia’s reference card. By the way, we don’t think there will be GeForce GTX 285 modifications out there with unique designs despite its simplified PCB. It is a very good graphics card which is often faster than the Radeon HD 4850 X2 thanks to factory overclocking. It is in fact the fastest single-chip graphics card today. You may only be disappointed with the scanty accessories, but this factor can hardly be decisive for a gaming card. If you need a fast but economical and quiet gaming solution which does not depend on software support for multi-GPU technologies, the EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC is one of the best options out there. Or you may want to check out EVGA’s similar product with the suffix FTW which comes with even higher GPU and memory frequencies.
- Best gaming performance among single-GPU graphics accelerators;
- Outperforms ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 in some tests;
- Uses 55nm G200 modification;
- Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
- Minimal effect of enabled FSAA on performance;
- 240 ALU, 80 texturing units, 32 RBE;
- PhysX acceleration support in the GPU;
- Hardware HD-video decoding support;
- S/PDIF sound over HDMI;
- Relatively low power consumption and heat dissipation;
- Relatively low level of generated noise.
- No DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1 support;
- Incomplete hardware support of VC-1 decoding;
- No integrated sound core;
- Almost zero overclocking potential;
- Scanty accessories.