MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G PCIe Graphics card

Test Setup

Test Setup

To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configurations used in this review can be seen below:
 
i7 Rig

CPU: Intel Nehalem i7 920 Skt1366 2.66GHz (@3.8 Ghz)
Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
Memory: 3x2GB Corsair DDR3 1600mhz @ 8-8-8-24
HD : Hitachi Deskstar 7k160 7200rpm 80GB
GPU: MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G
Graphics Drivers: Supplied by MSI
PSU: Gigabyte ODIN 1200w

 
During the testing of the setups above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used before the benchmarking began, with a full defrag of the hard drive once all the drivers and software were installed, preventing any possible performance issues due to leftover drivers from the previous motherboard installations. For the 3DMark and gaming tests a single card configuration was used.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
 
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage

3D Games
• Crysis
• Far Cry 2
• Oblivion

• Race drive: GRID
• Call of Duty IV
• Unreal Tournament III
 

Power Consumption

Power consumption was measured at the socket using a plug-in mains power and energy monitor. Because of this, the readings below are of the total system, not just the GPU. Idle readings were taken after 5 minutes in Windows. Load readings were taken during a run of Furmark.
 
 
Despite only needing 2x6pin PCIe cables, the GTX285 is certainly a hungry beast. While not the most power consuming card on test it was only second to the dual GPU cards.
 
 
Temperatures

Temperatures were taken at the factory clocked speed during idle in Windows and after 10 minutes of running Furmark with settings maxed out (2560x1600 8xMSAA). Ambient temperatures were taken with a household thermometer. As we use an open test bench setup consideration should be given to the fact that the temperatures would likely increase further in a closed case environment.
 
 
 
Idle temps were quite good on the 285 but load temps rocketted. Unusually, the fans didn't spin up much past there idle speeds. I did increase the fan speed manually which brought the temps down to a much more reasonable 68c on load but as all the cards above were tested with the fan set in automatic I can only go on the readings obtained in this configuration. I would like to say that the 2GB of ram would have added to the GPU temps but as we saw previously, the cooler is not attached to the memory cooling plate so the fact that the card is a 2GB model is pretty much irrelevant.
 
 
Overclocking
 
For our overclocking tests I used the RivaTuner utility which worked perfectly with our setup. To test stability I ran 3D Mark 06 and a few runs of Call of Duty 4.
 
stock
 
Overclocking the GTX285 with Rivatuner was a relatively simple affair. I first clocked the card to the rather hopeful overclock I managed with a watercooled 285 I reviewed previously. At this speed the card performed flawlessly so I was intrigued to see just how much further I could take the card. I settled on a fine overclock of 755/1639/1285 (core/shader/memory) which is the best speed I have managed out of any GTX285 I have reviewed thus far. This is even more amazing when you consider that this card is carrying an extra GB of memory which will usually hinder overclocks, not add to them!
 
The results of this overclock can be seen below:
 
 
Not a bad increase at all. The increase at high res, while at first glance appears small is pretty significant in that at this resolution, every frame counts and a good 10% increase in FPS is nothing to be scoffed at.
 
After returning the card back to it's stock speed I ran our standard set of GPU benchmarks...
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Most Recent Comments

08-07-2009, 04:20:21

JN
"Could 2GB of GDDR3, a non reference cooler and a pre-overclocked G200 core make the N285GTX the fastest single GPU on the planet? Read all about it in our latest GPU review..." - by W3bbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...205314306s.jpg

MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G PCIe Graphics card

08-07-2009, 06:11:12

Rastalovich
Great review.

Firstly I think the card, esthetically, looks awful - and the MSI logo at the rear looks cheesey over classy.

It does appear to hovver over the ASUS 285, and I think here is the thing. Whenever manufacturers add inordinate amounts of memory to a card, it's a marketing gimmick. I feel it's for the non-enthusiast to see it in a shop list and think that 2G is going to be better than the cheaper 1G alts underneath it. Furthermore, I think for 2G to come into play, ur going to need gaming in excess of 2560 - how rare is that ? Some good timedemos like World in Conflict have a meter showing how much memory gets used, that'd be worth looking at.

Excellent move in changing the key descriptions on the graphs, always found it a pita to follow when it ran the other way.

I do feel that benchmarkers prior to 3dmark2006 have had their day. I'd even argue 06 has, but atleast it keeps a foothold in dx9, that unfortunately game devs also have.

I'd class this card alongside the 9400GT 1G releases, the figures are there to look nice in a sales ad.

Very disappointed that the card doesn't blow the ASUS version away with it's alt cooler.

Good stuff.

08-07-2009, 08:40:37

theelusiveyoda
i think it would have been better if they went all black,

recently more products have been black, the red pcb on the Msi Looks a bit out of place on that card. And also the gtx 285 is to high priced for the same price you can buy a 4870x2 or a gtx295 if you know where to look.

08-07-2009, 09:20:17

ali_james
Nice review dude. I think Rast has nailed down my thoughts exactly on the extra memory.

One thing that I don't seem to get, why has nvidia stuck with ddr3 while ati has pushed on and gone for ddr5 and previously used ddr4 as well? Marketing again? The higher number not really meaning anything if ddr3 is still capable even at the real top end price range?

08-07-2009, 10:13:23

Rastalovich
The benefit in real terms is less than ddr2->ddr3.

11-07-2009, 18:36:16

cjone2
Like the cooling but not worth the extra money

18-07-2009, 17:24:13

mighty_moll
Although pricing is an important issue - performance is the deciding factor. I'd love to see how 2 of these cards performed on the bench tests in comparison to the current leading 2 card GPU set-ups.
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