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PowerColor R9 285 Turbo Duo Review

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PowerColor R9 285 Turbo Duo Closer Look:

PowerColor's R9 285 Turbo Duo is built around AMD's third generation 28nm GCN architecture code named Tonga. Much like the bulk of the Tonga-based video cards we have seen, the R9 285 Turbo Duo is a factory overclocked card with frequencies of 945MHz on the GCN core and 1375MHz on the GDDR5 memory. The front view shows that this card ios not only factory overclocked, but comes with a custom three heat pipe cooling solution that uses a pair of PowerColor's own Double Blade fans. A shroud covers the heat sink package and directs air through the heat sink. A red and black color scheme is employed so this card fits right on on with any of the red and black themed gaming centric boards on the market, like MSI's Gaming series and the ASUS ROG series.

The PowerColor R9 285 Turbo Duo is PCIe 3.0 compliant and built for use in a 16x slot, yet is backwards compatible for use in earlier platforms. The back side of the card does not really contain much of interest outside of the spring loaded screws holding the cooling solution in place. A top and bottom view gives the user a look at the three heat pipe-based cooling solution. Measuring just over eight inches long, this card is much smaller than typical R9 280 cards, offering an easier fit in smaller chassis that get more popular each week it seems.

 

 

 

Display connectivity on the PowerColor R9 285 Turbo Duo consists of a pair of DL DVI-D ports, a single HDMI 1.6 port, and DisplayPort 1.2 port. With Eyefinity 2.0 you can use any combination of three of the four ports to run an Eyefinity three monitor setup using either the same size or different size monitors. A vent is above the DisplayPort and HDMI ports to provide some much needed thermal relief by venting some of the thermal load out of the chassis. Pretty much the long running standard for AMD and NVIDIA based cards for some time now. The back end of the card is open, allowing airflow to exhaust out the back of the card. Through the shroud you get a glimpse of the aluminum fin array. The shroud is bent shaped more for aesthetics than for ducting the hot air away from the card, but this design works well enough when put into practice.

 

 

At the front of the top edge of the PCB are the remnants of what would be the Crossfire Bridge connections. The R9 285 uses AMD's XDMA interface for bridgless Crossfire where the data is sent over the PCIe bus. A pair of 6-pin PCIe power connections are used on the R9 285 Turbo Duo ensuring that the card has up to 225W available to feed the card, even though it has a roughly 190W TDP. For this reason a minimum power supply of 500 watts is recommended.

 

 

The shroud comes off the PowerColor R9 285 Turbo Duo by removing four small screws underneath it, and you then get access to the Turbo Duo heat sink and Double Blade fans. The heat sink comes off by removing a quartet of spring loaded screws to reveal the large copper contact plate and prodigious amount of thermal interface material used to ensure contact with the core. PowerColor is using its Gold Power Kit power package to deliver the current needed to supply the boards 5+1+1 phase system. Included in this design is PowerPak SO-8 and SVI2 technology to actively manage the current draw and clock speeds to deliver up to 82% efficiency through the 5+1+1 phase system. A small aluminum heat sink is used to cover the VRM circuit on the card. Small, but it receives a large amount of airflow to keep cool.

 

 

 

PowerColor's Turbo Duo heat sink package uses a trio of copper heat pipes, a copper transfer plate, and an aluminum fin array to remove the heat from the 28nm GCN core. A pair of 8mm and a single 6mm heat pipes make contact with a large copper plate, while the heat pipes take the thermal load up to the fin array to be dispersed by airflow from the quiet running Double Blade fans. These fans are said to run quieter while delivering increases in airflow to keep the card's thermals in check.

 

 

AMD's third generation 28nm Tonga core is built with 1792 streaming processors, 32 ROPs, and an unknown amount of transistors. This Tonga core supports DX12, Freesysnc, Mantle, and is meant for 1440+ performance. 2GB of GDDR5 memory from Elpida, rated for operation at data rates of up to 6Gbps (1500MHz), is used on the R9 285 Turbo Duo. Clock speed out of the box on the GDDR5 memory is 1375MHz, leaving some overclocking potential on the table. The R9 280 uses similar settings, it has a total of 3GB of GDDR5 memory running through a 384-bit bus, while the R9 285 uses 2GB running through a smaller 256-bit bus, reducing memory throughput by comparison.

 

 

The card looks like it can handle the workload and by specs alone looks like a killer card for 1080p gaming on a moderate budget. However, AMD states the target to be 1080+ or 1440 gaming. Let's find out just how well it can compete at that level against the targeted GTX 760.




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