Asus ENGTX285 TOP Reviewccokeman - January 15, 2009
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If you know what the GTX 280 looks like then you have an idea as to how the GTX285 looks like as they are nearly identical from the outside view. What's not obvious are the differences that lie under the reference heatsink. The biggest of which is the switch to a 55nm process that should make the GTX285 more efficient than the GTX 280 by reducing power consumption. The ENGTX285 TOP features 240 Stream Processing Cores and 1GB of GDDR3 that runs through a 512bit bus. The clock speeds for this card come in at 670MHz on the GT200 core, the 240 Stream Processors run at 1550MHz and the memory runs at an astounding 1300MHz. The reference design heatsink will take up an additional expansion slot.
The GTX285 features the same connectivity options as the rest of the GT2xx series cards save the 295. That being two dual link DVI ports and an HDTV out. The rear of the card is mostly unchanged, although the heatsink assembly now extends almost through the rear of the GTX285. This still leaves airflow to each card a little less than optimal in an SLI or TRI SLI configuration. The ENGTX285 includes a DVI to HDMI adapter so that you can output the video as well as the sound through a single connection as long as you connect the S/PDIF connection to the digital sound out header on the motherboard or sound card. The heatsink assembly can be seen through the fan assembly, something a little new here.
One thing that stands out like a sore thumb in comparison to the GTX 280 are the power connections. Whereas the GTX 280 used 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-E connectors to provide power, the GTX285 uses a 2x6-pin arrangement. That alone shows that the extra power is not needed with the smaller process on the GT200 core. Next to the power connector is the 2-pin S/PDIF input connection. The Asus ENGTX285 TOP is TRI SLI capable just as the rest of the GT200 series cards are. The dual bridge connections are covered to protect them while not in use. With the clock speeds this card is running, SLI or TRI SLI should offer a substantial increase in performance.
Asus has covered all of the connection points except the power and SLI bridge connections with a protective cover. These, of course, should be removed before you try and install the GTX285 in your system.
Let's get this beast installed and see if it provides an improvement over the previous generation.