GeForce GTX 285 Graphics Card Round-up

Article Index

Summary and Final Thoughts

Performance Summary: Out of the gate, we expected all three of the overclocked GTX 285 cards to offer a nice performance advantage over the reference NVIDIA GTX 285, and they all met that expectation. Thanks to its overall fastest clock profile, the BFG GTX 285 OCX performed the best by a small margin in most tests. The Zotac GTX 285 AMP!, with the second fastest clocks overall, offered the second best performance. That leaves the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP, which took a close third place but not by a significant spread. In a few cases, all three cards even performed quite favorably when compared to dual-GPU single card configurations like the Radeon HD 4870 X2 and GeForce GTX 295.

ASUS ENGTX285 TOP:
We are fans of factory overclocks, and ASUS consistently offers overclocked cards with each new product launch. For that, we are grateful, but we would have liked to see ASUS push the ENGTX285 TOP a bit further in all clock speed areas. With its rather sparse bundle and the lowest clock speeds of the three cards in this round-up, we were hoping it would be the least expensive card of the bunch. With the $30 mail-in manufacturer rebate being offered through 4/30/09, you can pick this card up for right around $370 (Newegg and ZipZoomFly had it in stock at the time of this publication, but it is strangely not showing up in our price search engine). This makes it the second cheapest card here, but that price relies on a rebate process, which isn't as appealing as just paying $370 off the bat. We hope the price is lowered after the rebate offering expires.

With all that said, we have to admit that we are fans of ASUS's products. The quality and craftsmanship of ASUS products is typically very good, and the ENGTX285 TOP is no exception. We have rarely had issues with ASUS products in the HotHardware labs. For these reasons, if you are leaning towards the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP, you most likely won't be disappointed. Sure, it's not the fastest GTX 285 on the market, and it doesn't have a "lifetime" warranty, but it's a solid product nonetheless.

•  Great performance
•  Factory overclock
•  2-way/3-way SLI support
•  DirectX 10 support
•  3-year warranty (could be better though)
•  Dual-slot card
•  3-year warranty instead of lifetime like other two cards
•  Sparse bundle
•  Most expensive card in round-up without the rebate


BFG GTX 285 OCX:
Because of its high clock speeds, the BFG GTX 285 OCX really delivers on performance. Some of you may worry about stability with these high overclocks, but BFG has been offering factory-overclocks for quite some time now. The company knows what it's doing when it comes to delivering what enthusiasts want. We had no stability issues during our benchmark and play testing. BFG also backs this card with its lifetime warranty and free 24/7/365 tech support, which we think says a lot about BFG's confidence in its products. All this goodness doesn't come cheap unfortunately. Like the ASUS ENGTX285, you can get the BFG GTX 285 OCX for around $370 after a mail-in rebate that expires on 4/30/09 from some e-tailers (Newegg and ZipZoomFly had it in stock at the time of this publication). For those of you who like to shop around more or prefer different stores, the BFG card seems to have the highest availability of the three cards in this round-up (our price search engine reveals at least three more stores that offer the card for $380-390).

The bundle that BFG offers with this card isn't really much to get excited about, though it's practical and includes all the essentials. The case badges are a nice, little touch, but there is no software at all. When it comes down to it, though, we have to put performance first since that's what you'll likely care most about down the road. For its top-notch performance and lifetime warranty, we are awarding the BFG GTX 285 OCX our Editor's Choice.

•  Best performance in this round-up
•  One of the highest overall overclocks around
•  2-way/3-way SLI support
•  DirectX 10 support
•  Lifetime warranty
•  Dual-slot card
•  Sparse bundle
•  2nd most expensive card in round-up without the rebate


Zotac GTX 285 AMP! Edition:
The Zotac GTX 285 AMP! Edition proved to be a great card, grabbing second spot on the podium in most of our tests. We were happy to see Zotac up the GPU clock to 702 MHz but were frankly a little baffled as to why the company didn't crank the shader and memory clocks up a bit more. In addition to being the second best performer in the group, the GTX 285 AMP! Edition is complemented by the best bundle of the group, thanks to its included software. Add the performance and the bundle to the fact that this card is the least expensive of the three tested (around $362-370 without having to rely on rebates), and you can see that the GTX 285 AMP! Edition offers the best value of the bunch.

The one thing that frustrates us about the Zotac card is that its availability seems to be a bit thin currently. When we first searched for the card online, we could only find it in one store. A week or so later, it was available at two stores. While Newegg does offer the standard Zotac GTX 285, it does not currently offer the AMP! Edition reviewed here. Nevertheless, we highly recommend the Zotac GTX 285 AMP! Edition if you find it to be an interesting option. We  also hope you can find it in stock and encourage the Zotac sales team to get a bit more aggressive with retail distribution and stocking efforts.

•  Excellent performance
•  Factory overclock
•  2-way/3-way SLI support
•  DirectX 10 support
•  Best bundle value in this round-up
•  Lowest price in this round-up
•  Lifetime warranty
•  Dual-slot card
•  Not as readily available as other two cards

Tags:  Asus, Zotac, BFG, GTX 285

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