XFX GeForce GTX 285 Black Edition Review :: Features

02-25-2009 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Ben Sun
  • 55nm process technology
  • 1400 Million Transistors
  • 470mm2 die size
  • 1024MB DDR3 memory
  • 240 Stream Processors
  • 80 TMUs
  • 32 ROPs
  • 690MHz core clock speed
  • 1572MHz Shader Clock
  • 2600MHz Memory clock
  • 166.4GB/second memory bandwidth
  • DirectX 10.0
  • Pixel Shader 4.0
  • Vertex Shader 4.0
  • PhysX
  • CUDA
  • 1062.72 GFLOPS
  • TDP 183W

The GeForce GTX 285 is based upon NVIDIA's GT200 architecture. The chip in fact is labeled as the GT200b, for the second revision. This is the first high-end card from NVIDIA to use TSMC's 55nm fabrication process. With virtually every NVIDIA chip being sold today on this process, the transition to 55nm was seamless. The number of transistors is the same on the GTX285 as on the GTX280, 1400 million.

The specifications of the GTX285 are almost identical to the GTX280 that preceded it as the high-end card on NVIDIA's lineup. The number of SPs, TMUs and ROPs remain the same as on the GTX280 (240:80:32) and the memory still has a 512-bit memory bus with 1024MB. Where NVIDIA made some changes are on the clock speeds. The GTX285 has a slightly higher clock speed of 648MHz for the reference board compared to the 602MHz on the GTX280.

XFX brands their highest-clocked video cards the Black Edition, their next highest, the XXX edition, and they also release reference clocked versions of their cards. The GTX 285 Black Edition is clocked at 690MHz for the core, 2.6GHz for the memory and 1572MHz for the Shader Clock. Their XXX Edition is clocked 670/2.5/1476. This makes their GTX285 clocked higher than the NVIDIA reference card and higher clocked than their GTX280 XXX Edition as well. Performance should be higher throughout.

Key features that the GeForce GTX285 support includes DirectX 10.0 Pixel and Vertex Shader 4.0, CUDA, PhysX, anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. Microsoft first introduced the DirectX 10.0 API with the release of Windows Vista in 2007. The release of DirectX 10.0 games have increased the visual quality of the games released including better water, better animation, better visual effects. Another thing NVIDIA is pushing is beyond gaming for their graphics cards.

XFX GeForce GTX 285 Black Edition Review GeForce logo

GeForce logo

CUDA or Compute Unified Device Architecture is the compute engine in NVIDIA's GPUs that developers can use to do game physics calculations via PhysX, accelerate non-graphical applications in computational biology, cryptology and many other computationally intensive applications like GPGPU or Folding@Home. CUDA is backwards compatible on all NVIDIA video cards and can be many times faster than using the CPU, which is traditionally used for these computations.

Scalable Link Interface or SLI is NVIDIA's trademarked multi-GPU graphics solution. 3DFX introduced SLI with the Voodoo 2 SLI cards over 10 years ago. NVIDIA allows up to three video cards to work together to improve performance in applications like games. Note, that this requires two or more video cards with the same chip and a motherboard that supports it like the X58 motherboard chipset or NVIDIA's nForce chipsets. SLI also requires a powerful PSU as the PSU must supply juice for each video card.

PhysX is the hardware game physics engine developed by Ageia Software before NVIDIA purchased them early last year. Today, all NVIDIA video cards based upon the 8 series architecture or above can play the effects in PhysX-enabled games at full speed. A game like Mirror's Edge, which was developed by DICE Software, a division of Electronic Arts, can use PhysX to physically simulate smoke, glass, explosions, debris and more into the game. Here's a chart comparing the various GeForce GTX260 and above cards. Note that it has been reported that NVIDIA is going to rename a variety of older their cards to the GTS brand name, but it makes little sense to rehash the specifications of GeForce 9 series cards and I will concentrate on the GTX brand, as these are the most powerful of the cards NVIDIA has to offer.

GeForce GTX260 GeForce GTX 260 216 GeForce GTX280 GeForce GTX285 XFX GeForce Black Edition GTX 285 GeForce GTX295
SPs 192 216 240 240 240 240x2
Core Clock 576 576 602 648 690 576
Fabrication Process 65nm 65nm 65nm 55nm 55nm 55nm
Shader Clock 1242 1242MHz 1296MHz 1476MHz 1572MHz 1242MHz
Memory Clock 1998 1998 2106 2484 2600 1998
Memory amount 896MB 896MB 1024MB 1024MB 1024MB 1792MB
Memory Interface 448-bit 448-bit 512-bit 512-bit 512-bit 448-bitx2
Memory bandwidth 112GB 112GB/sec 135GB/sec 159GB/sec 166.4GB/second 112x2GB/second
TMUs 64 72 80 80 80 80x2
ROPs 28 28 32 32 32 28x2
Cost (2/18/2009) $184.99 $199.99 $294.99 $329.99 $399.99 $499.99