The Asus ENGTX285 TOP is a PC graphics card based on the GeForce GTX 285.
Following hot on the sizzling heels of the devastating GTX 295 comes this slightly more affordable alternative. But wait a second. Exactly how radical is this 285?
See also: MSI GeForce GTX 280 1024MB review
As the name suggests, the 285 is an upgrade to the existing 280. However, those expecting radical new technology should look away now, as the Asus ENGTX285 TOP is, to all intents and purposes, a slightly refined version of the 280.
Indeed, the Asus ENGTX285 TOP in essence takes the GT200 architecture of the 280 and shoehorns it into a much smaller package - using 55nm rather than 65nm silicon. This is a rather clever way of wringing that last bit of potential from ‘old' technology, as the extra efficiency allowed for by the smaller die size means the 285 can be run at higher speeds.
The standard GTX 285 pushes the core clock speed up from 602MHz to 648MHz, while the memory jumps from 1,107MHz to 1,242MHz. Asus, however, has made the Asus ENGTX285 TOP part of its TOP range, which specialises in overclocked versions, and that means that the core and memory clocks jump to even higher figures - 670MHz and 1,300MHz respectively.
Unlike with some of ATI's cards, the nVidia GTX 285 uses 1GB of GDDR3 in place of superior GDDR5 memory. This means that, when you take into account the multiplying properties of both RAM types, the 285's memory clock merely doubles rather than triples.
See also: Asus GeForce GTX 260 review
The awkward pairing of the 6pin and 8pin power connectors has been replaced by a brace of 6pin connectors. This could actually be more important then it sounds, since it's still difficult to find PSUs with multiple 8pin connectors, so those looking to use several 285s in the same system will find the Asus ENGTX285 TOP easier to wire up for power. This is more a nice trend for the future than an imminent life-changing addition.
You get a 512bit memory interface and 240 stream processors - with the Asus ENGTX285 TOP there's nothing to complain about on this front.
The Asus ENGTX285 TOP fared well across our batch of games tests. Compared to the GTX 280, the 285 averaged between 8 and 13 percent more across our titles at the lower resolution of 1,280x768. This difference rose to 15 percent and beyond at the higher resolution of 1,920x1,200. This doesn't put it up with the GTX 295 or the ATI 4870 X2, but the nVidia GTX 285 should be available for considerably less.
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