Ladybird GTX 285 Review
Reviewed by: tacohunter52
Reviewed on: April 4, 2010
The world of video cards has taken quite an interesting turn these past few months. The focus has slowly shifted further and further toward ATI, as users are awed by the 5XXX series cards. The 5870 and 5970 are two of the cards that managed to rip a great deal of attention away from the green team, and with good reason. These DX 11 capable beasts are able to shred through most any game at insane framerates. Not only that, but it seems as though there is a 5XXX series card aimed at every user, which puts NVIDIA in quite a tight spot. The green team hopes to pull some of the focus back with the release of its new series of "Fermi" cards.
This is not a review for one of NVIDIA's new series of cards. Instead, this is a review for one of NVIDIA's GT200 graphical computing beasts, the GTX 285. It's been a long time since I've seen mention of this card in forums, or else where, but it can still hold its own in most benchmarks and it can still cripple many of ATI's offerings. This means the card should still be considered for any new gaming rig. That being said, it does have two very obvious downsides; the price, and the fact that it is not DX 11 capable, which may prove to be one of the cards biggest downsides!
Today, I'll be looking at a GTX 285 from a company that flies ever so slightly under the radar - Ladybird! No, I'm not talking about Hank Hill's dog, I'm talking about a company that sells NVIDIA GPUs. Many of you may have never heard of this company, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should stray away from its products. The Ladybird GTX 285 may perform extraordinarily well in benchmarks. In order to figure out whether or not this is the case, we'll need to put the card through OCC's benchmarking suite. How will it perform? Read on and let's find out!
I can't count the number of times that I say this, but packaging is actually extremely important. Without it, the hardware you purchase would arrive in pieces. Ladybird's packaging did one hell of a job protecting its version of the GTX 285, because that box definitely got tossed around. The card was not shipped to me inside of a "Brown Box", but rather in the GPU's box itself. There were a few dents in the packaging, but much to my surprise, absolutely no damage to the card. The front of the box appears to be rather empty. The right side depicts a helmet with some of the cards specs beneath it. To the left of the helmet is the remains of the sticker labeling the card a GTX 285. The top left of the box features Ladybird's logo. The back of the box also features some of the card's specifications, but it goes into much greater detail. The sides of the box sport Ladybird's logo.
Upon opening the Ladybird GTX 285's box, you'll find a second box, only this one is shiny and black! Upon opening this second box, you'll find a driver CD sitting on top of a thin layer of protective foam. Removing the foam reveals both the GTX 285, and its accessories, very securely packed in more black foam. No wonder the card was not damaged during shipping!
Like many other GPU's, the Ladybird GTX 285 comes with a bunch of goodies. I was a little disappointed to not find a DVI to VGA adapter, however, there was a DVI to HDMI adapter, which in some ways is more important. Most enthusiasts now days are using a monitor that supports DVI. However, there are quite a few enthusiasts that would like to use their 70" HDTV's to game on. The card also comes with a molex to 6-pin connector, a component connector, an SPD/F audio cable, a driver CD, and a quick start guide.
Now let's take a look at the Ladybird GTX 285 itself!
The Ladybird GTX 285 is a stock-clocked card based on a 55nm process. This should of course generate less heat and consume less power than the 65nm GTX 280. The card is clocked at 648MHz and utilizes 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1242MHz. The card, of course, has both PhysX and CUDA support, as well as the ability to utilize PureVideo HD Technology. A quick glance at the Ladybird GTX 285 shows us an oddly sexy-looking card. It uses a completely black cooler with no graphics, other than the Ladybird sticker on the fan. The cooler is equipped with three heatpipes, which tells us it probably performs fairly well. The cooler appears to be the same cooler that Galaxy uses on its cards, which tells us that it probably came from a third party source. The card itself is printed on blue PCB, which is surprisingly attractive with the black cooler. The back of the card contains no memory modules and a ton of screws, meaning all the memory modules are located underneath the cooler, and are hopefully benefiting from this. The multitude of screws tells us the cooler is probably a little more complicated than it looks.
In terms of connectivity, the Ladybird GTX 285 has almost everything you need. You'll be able to utilize two Dual Link DVI ports, a component port, or use an HDMI output via the DVI to HDMI adapter. The card uses the ever popular PCIe x16 2.0 interface. If you're looking to SLI the Ladybird GTX 285 with one or even two more cards, you'll be able to make use of the card's two SLI connectors. Otherwise, there is a protective bracket that will keep the SLI connectors from getting damaged. As far as powering the card goes, you'll need two 6-pin connectors, which is better than two 8-pin connectors and one 6-pin connector.
A video card's biggest physical feature is almost always its cooler, and this is mostly because they're of mammoth proportions. The Ladybird GTX 285's cooler looks as though it could do a wondrous job at keeping the card nice and chilly. It also appears as though the cooler could be directly dissipating heat from many of the card's components. However, we'll have to remove it in order to see what's actually making contact with what! The cooler features a huge chunk of very shiny, finned aluminum. The part that actually comes in contact with the GTX 285's 55nm core is copper. The heat should then transfer to the aluminum heatpipes, which will then be transferred to the cooler's hundreds of fins. The opposite side of the cooler holsters a fan that, when paired with the fan shroud, should transfer air evenly throughout the cooler. The memory modules are also cooled by the cooler, but they don't make direct contact with it. Instead, they come into contact with a thermal padded metal bracket, which then contacts the cooler. The Ladybird GTX 285's cooler looks as though it can dissipate a massive amount of heat, however we'll have to wait and see how well it actually performs!
With the cooler successfully removed, we are able to see the card in all of its glorious nakedness. Arranged in a cube around the GTX 285's 55nm core are the sixteen HYNIX memory modules. These make up the card's 1GB of GDDR3 memory, which is clocked at 1248MHz and runs on a 512-bit bus. Directly in the center of the memory modules is the GTX 285's 55nm core, which is stock-clocked at 648MHz and stuffed full with 240 stream processors.
From the looks of it, this card should perform pretty well, so let's get it installed and put it to the tests!
As always, you'll need to install drivers before you can use your new videocard. Installing drivers for Ladybird's GTX 285 is extremely easy. Simply pop the included driver CD into your optical drive, and let the autorun launch. A window will soon pop up giving you the options to install drivers, DX 9, Acrobat Reader, or the GTX 285's manual. To install drivers, you'll want to, intuitively, click ForceWare Drivers. Once selected, you'll be brought to another window giving you a list of operating systems. You'll need to click whichever option applies to you in order to install the drivers.
Once an OS has been selected, the Install Wizard will pop up. Going through the Install Wizard is extremely easy and will take you all of two seconds to do. Simply click "Next" as soon as the first screen pops up. Upon doing so, another screen will pop up. When this happens, simply click next again. Then sit back, relax, and let the drivers install!
Once the drivers are finished being installed, you'll be prompted to restart Windows. At this point, I'd normally choose to restart later and install the included programs first. However, the only included program was Acrobat Reader, which really isn't important to us. That being said, simply click Finish and start gaming!
Now that we've got the Ladybird GTX 285 installed, let's take a quick look at the NVIDIA Control Panel!
Many users that consider themselves computer enthusiasts enjoy messing around with settings. If you're one of these users, you'll be able to mess around with the settings in the NVIDIA Control Panel. To open the control panel, simply right-click on your desktop and select "NVIDIA Control Panel". Once selected, the control panel window will open. If this is your first time using the control panel, you'll be brought to the "Adjust image settings with preview" section. Here, you'll be able to slightly adjust image rendering settings. You'll move a slider toward "Performance" or toward "Quality". Moving the slider toward "Quality" will make curved lines appear smoother, but may ultimately result in lower FPS. I usually leave it set on "Let the 3D application decide". If you really want to mess around with how 3D images are rendered, enter the "Manage 3D settings" section. Here, you'll be able to change both the global 3D settings, as well as creating "overrides" for specific programs. If you royally mess something, up don't be afraid to hit the "Restore" button, which will restore the default settings.
Right after the "Manage 3D settings" section is the "Set PhysX configuration" section. This section does not allow you to do much, but you will be able to Enable/Disable PhysX. Right after that is the "Change resolution" section. Here, you'll be able to adjust your resolution, adjust your refresh rate, and adjust your color depth. If you want to get a little crazier with the adjustments, feel free to move on to the "Adjust desktop color settings" section. Here, you'll be able to set brightness, contrast, gamma, digital vibrance, and hue. After you've choosen the color settings that are right for you, why not move on to the "Adjust desktop size and position" section. Here, you'll be able to adjust exactly what it says; desktop size and position!
Next up in our list of things to adjust is the desktop orientation. To do this, we'll need to enter the "Rotate display" section of the NVIDIA Control Panel. Here, you'll be able to select between landscape, portrait, landscape (flipped), or portrait (flipped) mode. Once you've done that, why not check to see if your system is HDCP capable? Doing this is extremely easy thanks to the "View HDCP status" section. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's take a look at how we can set up multiple displays. Doing so will require you to enter the "Set up multiple displays" section. Once entered, you'll be able to select any additional displays you have attached to your GTX 285, and choose whether or not you want to stretch, expand, or clone your desktop onto it. If either of your monitors has 3D support, you'll be able to enable stereoscopic 3D by entering the "Set up stereoscopic 3D" section.
If you've enabled stereoscopic 3D, you'll want to make sure it's compatible with your games. To check for compatibility, simply enter the "View compatibility with games" section. After doing so, enter the "Adjust video color settings" section. Here you'll be able to tune the color settings for video content. Or you could do what I do, and just leave the settings untouched. If you do decide to mess with the video color settings, you may also want to mess with the video image settings. To do this, you'll need to enter the final menu of the NVIDIA Control Panel. Here, you'll be able to set how much "Edge enhancement" and "Noise reduction" you want to use. You will also be able to enable/disable deinterlacing.
Now let's find out how this baby performs!
HDTV, Dual DVI
- 1021MB of DDR3 memory
- 240 processor cores
- 3-way NVIDIA® SLI™-Ready
- NVIDIA CUDA™ Technology
- PCI Express 2.0 support
- 2nd Generation NVIDIA unified architecture
- Full Microsoft® DirectX® 10 support
- OpenGL 2.1 support
- PureVideo HD Technology
- Dual dual-link DVI output up to 2560x1600
- NVIDIA PhysX™ technology
All information on this page courtesy of http://ladybird.com.tw/VGA-GTX285.asp
In order to find out how the Ladybird GTX 285 performs, I'll put it through OCC's benchmarking suite. This consists of both game and synthetic benchmarks, which will both stress the card and show its true performance. The games used are current games, that most gamers would at some point play. All comparison cards were tested at their stock settings without any changes. The exception to this is the NVIDIA cards, as they had PhysX disabled for the Vantage benchmark. The Ladybird GTX 285 will be tested at both its stock and overclocked settings.
- Processor: Intel Core I7 920 150x20
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20
- Video Card: Ladybird GTX 285
- Power Supply: Antec 1000W
- Hard Drive: 750GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition SP1 64-bit
- Case: Thermaltake Xaser VI
Comparison Video Cards:
- Sapphire HD 5970 OC
- PowerColor Radeon HD 5970 LCS
- Sapphire HD 5870
- NVIDIA GTX295
- Sapphire HD4870x2
- ASUS ENGTX275
- Asus GTX 260 Matrix
- Sapphire HD 4890 Vapor-X 1GB
- Ladybird GTX 285 786MHz/1465MHz/1728MHz
Overclocking the Ladybird GTX 285 was extraordinarily unproblematic. There wasn't any overclocking software included with the card, so I used MSI's Afterburner to push the card to its limits. I started off by increasing the core clock by 5MHz and running the 3DMark Vantage GPU test to insure stability. I then did the same for the shader and memory clocks, respectively. I didn't hit any instability until the shader clock hit 1730MHz. I then decreased the shader clock by an increment of 1MHz until stability had been restored. I then did the same for the core clock and the memory clock until their maximum speeds had been reached. Once this had been done, I proceeded to run through each of OCC's benchmarks to ensure full stability. As it turns out, the core clock still needed to be decreased a few MHz. The end result was a shader clock of 1728MHz, a memory clock of 1465MHz, and a core clock of 786MHz.
- Far Cry 2
- Crysis Warhead
- Darkest of Days
- Call of Duty: World at War
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Resident Evil 5
- Left 4 Dead
- 3DMark 06 Professional
- 3DMark Vantage
Far Cry 2:
Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main story line of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.
- Anti-Aliasing: x2
- Game Settings: Very High
- VSync: Off
The Ladybird GTX 285 didn't appear to perform to well in our Far Cry 2 benchmark. In fact, it only performed a few FPS above the GTX 275, except at the lowest resolution. In that instance, it actually performed one frame worse than the GTX 275. When overclocked, we saw a minor FPS increase. The Ladybird GTX 285 is not off to a great start. Hopefully it will be able to redeem itself in our later benchmarks!
Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.
- Anti-Aliasing: x2
- Game Settings: Enthusiast
After the Ladybird's horrid performance in Far Cry 2, I was very pleased to see its performance in Crysis Warhead. In other words, the card performed as it should. When overclocked, we really didn't see a performance gain, but this usually doesn't happen in this benchmark anyway.
What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.
- 4x Anti-Aliasing
- 16x Anisotrophic Filtering
- PhysX: Low
- Ambient Occlusion: On
- Quality: High
- Resolution: 1280x1024 - 2560x1600
Higher is Better
Once again, the Ladybird GTX 285 performed extremely well in this benchmark. It was outperformed only by the 5XXX series cards and the GTX 295. In addition, we saw a massive performance gain when overclocked. Hopefully we'll continue to see results like this in the rest of our benchmarking suite.
Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.
- Game Settings: Maximum
- FPS measured via Fraps
I was once again disappointed in the Ladybird GTX 285's performance. In the lowest resolution, it didn't even manage to outperform the GTX 275. As the resolution got higher, the card started performing better. However, it still appeared to not be performing as well as it should have. The overclock gave us a minor FPS gain in all resolutions.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.
- Vsync: Off
- Ultra Preset
- Game Settings: Maximum
While the Ladybird GTX 285 did offer sub par performance in our last benchmark, it did absolutely no such thing in Dawn of War II - it was only outperformed by the newer ATI cards and the GTX 295. That being said, it managed to outperform the GTX 295 in the 1920x1200 resolution! The overclocking offered a decent FPS increase.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter rivals, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to become the Dark Knight.
- 4x Anti-Aliasing
- PhysX: Off
- Ambient Occlusion: Off
- Quality: High
- Resolution: 1280x1024 - 2560x1600
I must say that the performance of this card is very unpredictable. Once again, it performed very well, only being outperformed by the newer ATI cards and the GTX 295. Not only that, but the overclock gave us an ungodly increase in performance. To bad the Ladybird GTX 285 doesn't perform like this in all our benchmarks.
Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City, who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and co-op multiplayer.
- 4x Anti-Aliasing
- PhysX: Off
- Ambient Occlusion: Off
- Quality: High
- Resolution: 1280x1024 - 2560x1600
The Ladybird GTX 285 once again performed as it should, although it did seem to be lacking in the lower resolutions. It was outperformed by both the GTX 295, GTX 285 and the newer ATI cards, but this is to be expected. We saw some very decent performance gains after the card had been overclocked.
Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie "I Am Legend" comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job; survival!
- Anti-Aliasing: x4
- Anisotropic Filtering: x16
- Game Settings: Maximum
As our last game benchmark comes to an end, we find that the Ladybird GTX 285 was able to, once again, perform as it should. In each resolution it stayed about ten FPS above the GTX 275, and when overclocked, offered a decent performance gain.
3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest begins. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.
- SM2.0 Graphics Tests: GT1- Return to Proxycon, GT2- Firefly Forest
- CPU Tests: CPU1- Red Valley, CPU2- Red Valley
- HDR/SM3.0 Graphics Tests: HDR1- Canyon Flight, HDR2- Deep Freeze
The Ladybird GTX 285 continues to perform as it should in 3DMark06. The overclock offered a decent performance gain, but not as much as I would have liked to see.
Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista-based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. "Entry" is 1024x768 progressing to "Extreme" at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.
- Settings (each preset): Default
- Entry: 1024x768
- Performance: 1280x1024
- High: 1680x1050
- Extreme: 1920x1200
The Ladybird GTX 285 offered some relatively odd performance in 3DMark Vantage. In most of the presets, it performed as it should have on the charts. However, in the "High" preset, we saw some odd performance. It still managed to outperform the GTX 275, but only by a few hundred points. With the overclock, we saw a decent increase in scores.
There is no question that the 5XXX series ATI cards are the current cream of the crop, and only the new NVIDIA cards will be able to take that away from them. That being said, the GT200 cards can still pack a punch, and many users might find they don't need anything more. One major downside to GT200 cards, however, is the price. For almost the same amount of money, you can pick up a DirectX 11-capable 5XXX series card. Hopefully the release of NVIDIA's new series of cards will change this.
Ladybird is a company that many people have never heard of, which may cause some to doubt whether or not a prosepective buyer should trust its products. However, from what we saw with the Ladybird GTX 285, this is not the case. Although the card gave us sub par performance in two of our benchmarks, it did perform extraordinarily well in the rest. The card did not come factory overclocked, but it did come with a non reference design cooler. In fact, the Ladybird GTX 285 appears to use the same cooler as the Galaxy GTX 285. This cooler utilizes three heatpipes and actually manages to perform very well. With the fan speed set to 75, it's barely audible yet kept the card around 68Â°C throught all our benchmarks. There are definitely better coolers, but the Ladybird GTX 285's was not too shabby! This cooler allowed the card to go through a very decent overclock, which in turn gave us a very decent increase in performance.
In terms of connectivity, the Ladybird GTX 285 has just about everything. You'll be able to utilize two DVI ports, a component port, or a DVI to HDMI adapter. That being said, I was a little disappointed to not see a DVI to VGA adapter. While this really isn't too big of a deal, there are still some users rocking monitors that only support VGA connections. The card also includes two SLI connectors, allowing you will be able to SLI this baby with two other GTX 285s, if your heart so desires. As far as powering the card goes, you'll need to use two 6-pin connectors. These days this actually doesn't seem like much, especially because 5970s requiring two 8-pin connectors and one 6-pin connector keep popping up.
I find it relatively hard to recommend this card to anyone. Not because of the card's poor performance in two benchmarks - even though it didn't perform as well as it should have, it still gave extremely playable framerates - but rather because I find it hard to recommend the Ladybird GTX 285 due to its price. I have no problem spending $350 on a video card, but for almost the same price, you can pick up a HD 5850. The 5850 supports DX 11 and will provide the same, if not greater, performance. One of the only things I can see lowering the price of the GT200 cards would be the upcoming release of NVIDIA's new 400 series. When those start to go on sale, purchasing a newer card would likely be a better investment for your money. However, there are some users who will only purchase NVIDIA cards, and if you are one of them, the Ladybird GTX 285 might just be perfect for you.
- Good performance
- Decent cooler
- Cool looking card
- Decent overclock
- Priced about the same as a 5850
- No DVI to VGA adapter