Club3D R9 285 Royal Queen Review
Published: 11th November 2014 | Source: Club3D | Price: |
After our world's were rocked by Nvidia's Maxwell it was quickly forgotten that AMD had also released a new GPU recently in the form of the R9 285, which acts as a direct replacement of AMD's ageing R9 280... or is it the HD 7950?
While this GPU isn't meant to compete with Nvidia's high end, we must remember that in the mid-range segment of the market neither manufacturer has a substantial performance lead over the other, so lets see how this performs and if AMD's Tonga presents a good value gaming proposition.
AMD's Tonga GPU
R9 285 is based on AMD's new Tonga PRO GPU, which is actually not the full Tonga chip. Cards based on full fledged Tonga are expected to be launched later this month under the R9 285X name.
Tonga PRO R9 285 has 1792 Stream Cores, 112 TMUs and 32 ROPs. Radeon R9 285 is clocked at 918 MHz with the memory at 1375 MHz, but the Royal Queen will run slightly overcloked with the GPU core running at 945MHz.
The Memory configuration is what differentiates this card from its Tahiti based R9 280 predecessor as Tonga has uses a shorter shorter bus (256b) and a drop from 3GB of vram to 2GB. To counteract the disadvantages presented by using a smaller bus AMD has developed more efficient algorithms for features like like color compression, which has increased memory bandwidth efficiency by 40%. The only question is, are these changes enough for gamers and benchmarkers not to notice?
Another improvement in the AMD Tonga are it's improved geometry processing performance, which allows the R9 285 to perform up to 4x the tessellation throughput then AMD's previous R9 280 GPU, which is great given how popular that affect is in games today is a great thing.
Another change in AMD's Tonga is that it supports 4K video encoding/decoding, something that even the Hawaii based R9 290 and 290X doesn't include. By enabling native support for 4K h.264 content in fixed function hardware, AMD claims to offer 47% more performance over NVIDIA's GTX 760 when using applications like Cyberlink Media Espresso and Arcsoft Media Converter 8.
One other feature AMD's R9 285 has is full support for FreeSync technology, AMD's competitor to Nvidia's G-Sync. Before the release of the AMD R9 285 now the only a few AMD discrete GPUs had proper support for AMD's FreeSync, these GPUs were the AMD R9 290X, R9 290 and R7 260X. AMD will need to refresh their GPU lineup come up with the R9 300 series before FreeSync monitors hit the market as where AMD has 4 GPUs with Full FreeSync Support Nvidia has GPUs supporting G-Sync all the wat back to the GTX 650. AMD need more FreeSync compliant GPUs if they want FreeSync to be successful.
Don't forget AMD also has the Never Settle: Space Edition Bundle, which has recently added several new space-themed games to the already large line-up of 27 free games to choose within the bundle. These games include Star Citizen, Alien: Isolation, Space Run, and Habitat.
Right now AMD is giving a free AMD Gold reward code with every purchase of an R9 280 series cards and above, meaning that those who purchase an AMD R9 285 will receive 3 games for free, or more if you want some of the Indie bundles. More information on the promotion can be found here.