👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅07-09-14

When we first heard about the R9-285 we suspected that this card was a taster of things to come. A teaser card if you will. what we didn't expect was a different core altogether. We certainly didn't expect a reduced bus-width which we feel has crippled the card when compared to the R9-280. If more memory and a higher bus-width was applied to the R9-285 we are certain better gains would have been shown. It is now clear the R9-280 was being sold at a break even (or even a loss) to compete with the NVIDIA cards of the same ilk, more so recently as retailers have been clearing remaining stocks of the R9-280 to make way for this replacement. There is simply no sense at all to replace the R9-280 for very little gain other than to hint at what the Tonga core is capable of.

The R9-285 also sees some power and cooling benefits, albeit small, so we shouldn't be too negative about this release and the Sapphire Dual-X cooler does a good job of keeping temperatures under control. The R9-285 is the slightly faster card when all parameters are considered, that much is clear however, the gains are not quite enough to make us rush out and replace a Tahiti based GPU. The target for AMD is however, the NVIDIA GTX760 and to this end the AMD techs can safely sit back with a celebration cigar and proclaim a job well done because given the choice, we would take the R9-285 every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It is the faster card, simple as that. So, while we may appear to have been over critical regarding the new features here, the R9-285 is a damn good mid-range GPU. It is everything the R9-280 should have been (instead of a re-hashed Tahiti core) but we can't help feeling however that so much more could have been done with this graphics card. We we will have to wait and see what a 'full-fat' Tonga core is capable of with upcoming releases of which, we await with baited breath.

To summarise:
The R9-285 is a capable card with a lot to offer. It is faster than an NVIDIA GTX760 and to that end makes it a mid-range card to be reckoned with.

+ Good Performance
+ Great Cooling
+ Good looking
+ Fair price

- Brings too few new tangible benefits to the game
- Starts to suffer at higher settings

Click here for an explanation of our awards at

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