XFX GTX285 Black Edition ReviewRHKCommander959 - February 17, 2009
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The GTX family all shares the same basic design, except the GT295 of course. The new design includes a die-shrink to 55nm, which should at least increase energy efficiency. The card is built on a 512-bit memory bus, which combined with 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1300MHz (2600MHz effective) leaves the card with a ton of bandwidth. The reference design requires two expansion slots. The top of the card has a similar image to the front box, with the celestial background and “BLACK EDITION” floating ethereal in front. The fan itself has a sticker with the BE logo. The back no longer has a back plate since the memory is moved to the inside, and is covered by the complex circuitry, twelve screws to mount the cooler, and nine for the core shim. The position of the rows of RAM can be seen from the clusters of transistors spaced evenly out, sixteen total. The central cluster is for the core.
The GTX285 also shed the 8-pin connection for a 6-pin, although the circuit board still has the two unused ports. The GeForce logo is on the side near the two 6-pin connections. The other side has a small vent near the top. The fan on the cooler is angled to allow for more air to get into the card in a dual-card configuration, a problem that plagued SLI users in the past with the older square coolers.
The rear of the card gives a glimpse to the fan area, and two screw holes that back plates use to be mounted. The front has a grill for venting the card's hot air out the back. Two screws hold the cooler to the plate, as do the four hex screws that come with the DVI connections. A LED is installed in the corner for statistics and lights up green when the system is running. The plate is angled to help grab onto any support slots on a case's expansion area.
Near the two 6-pin power connectors is the audio connection for HDMI audio. The included cable hooks up here. The card has two SLI ports standard on most nVidia cards for full connection bandwidth. This card, like the GTX 280, is able to be used in a Tri SLI configuration.
With the heatsink removed, all of the many Hynix GDDR3 rows of chips and massive integrated heat shield are seen. The thermal paste is adequate, although too much is applied. The thermal tape feels like a better quality than most, using threads that hold a thermal paste-like substance together; it also feels better than the older rubbery pads that were previously used. Replacing the stock thermal paste usually gives a nice drop in temperatures. The fan is the Magic brand and is made in China, uses four wires, and runs on 12V 0.48A.
The integrated heat shield is branded at the bottom, B3 for the updated 55nm process, where A3 was used on the 65nm GTX280. Surrounding the core is a shim, which also keeps the region rigid and square. This is needed for many safety reasons. Since the core is so large, it could possibly lift from the printed board and cause damage if the board flexed, for example. The memory is Hynix GDDR3, and reads H5RS5223CFR N3C 851A VTHG23571. It uses 1.8v and is rated for 1300MHz and is RoHS compliant (the modules do not contain lead). Looks like there will be some headroom since the memory is running at stock.
Let's get it running and see what it can do!