Sapphire ITX Compact R9 285 OC Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
» Discuss this article (19)
Sapphire ITX Compact R9 285 OC Introduction:
Over the past week, we have seen a bunch of R9 285 cards cropping up from just about every manufacturer. Each of them proved to be non-reference designs featuring dual-fan, heat pipe-based cooling solutions running a variety of core clock speeds from the reference maximum of 918MHz and upwards. Nothing earth shattering in terms of looks or originality until you get to this little 171mm long card that promises to do everything the larger cards do, but in a much smaller footprint. As you can probably guess, to do that would require a custom built card starting with the PCB. This particular one uses Sapphire's own Black Diamond chokes as part of the VRM circuit used to manage the flow of current to the card. Additionally, Sapphire would have to use its expertise in creating unique cooling solutions to make sure the thermals do not get out of check.
As you can guess by the name of the card, the ITX Compact R9 285 OC is targeted at the LAN gaming crowd for use in small form factor PCs, where you traditionally don't see a lot of graphics card punch due to the limited space and power supplies that can be used in the confines of a smallish mini ITX form factor case. It may be that Sapphire starts a trend with this card. Built around AMD's new Tonga core, the ITX Compact comes in both stock and overclocked versions. Priced competitively at $259, you get all the benefits of Sapphire's custom build strategies. As an engineering exercise, this should prove interesting to say the least.
Sapphire ITX Compact R9 285 OC Closer Look:
Sapphire's packaging and artwork have changed dramatically over the past year or so with a more up-to-date look. The bright red scheme looks good and packs a lot of information about the feature set of this card. On the front panel, you can see that this is a factory-overclocked card that has a six-foot HDMI cable included as part of the bundle. The card is equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, is UEFI compatible, and supports 4K resolutions and AMD TrueAudio. The back panel illustrates some of the same features seen on the front panel with a more in-depth description. Along the bottom are the list of supported tech, including the latest GCN architecture, Mantle API, TrueAudio, and Eyefinity 2.0. Inside the appealing outer sleeve is a cardboard box made of recyclable materials that holds the ITX Compact R9 285 OC and the included accessory bundle.
Sapphire usually includes a pretty comprehensive bundle of accessories with its video cards. The bundle included with the ITX Compact R9 285 includes the aforementioned six-foot HDMI cable, a DVI to VGA adapter, Mini DisplayPort to full-size DisplayPort adapter, a dual 6-pin PEG power connection to 8-pin PCIe adapter, driver disk, mouse pad, Sapphire club flyer, warranty contact info, and an installation guide. You get everything you need to get this card up and running.
The packaging and accessories are nice, but the most interesting part of the package is how Sapphire managed to get full-size performance out of a mini-me sized card. Let's take a look to see how the company did it.