Club3D R9 285 Royal Queen Review
Published: 11th November 2014 | Source: Club3D | Price: |
If there is one point that needs to be made clear about this GPU it is the fact that it is a direct R9 280 replacement, it performs exactly where we expect it to be in almost every test. Sniper Elite and Unigine shows great increases in game performance compared to the HD 7870 Tahiti GPU we tested, showing that AMD's changes do make a great difference in certain scenarios, but with similar performance in most cases the question does remain, why not just buy an R9 280?
When we look at the pricing we see the R9 285 costing on average around £180 and we see the R9 280 costing around £150, and with similar performance characteristics why not just go for the R9 280? Well I said in the introduction AMD has made a lot of changes to their Tonga GPU, adding features such as FreeSync support, XDMA Crossfire support, TrueAudio support, improved (up to 4x better) tessellation performance and an enhanced memory bus. The forward thinking buyer will know that FreeSync, like Nvidia's G-Sync should offer users a very satisfying gaming experience when compatible monitors come to market and see that the changes to geometry processing (tessellation performance) and colour compression (more efficient memory bus) will offer greater performance in future games where these kind of loads are present, like in our Sniper Elite 3 and Unigine Heaven tests.
Whether or not you should buy a R9 280 or a R9 285 goes down to one thing, pricing or future options. Both will offer similar performance in most of today's games, but the improvements in the AMD Tonga GPU core could benefit users in future titles as tessellation performance and memory bandwidth become increasingly important factors. Today the best performance per £ goes to the R9 280, but will that last into the future. There is also the fact that the R9 285 supports many newer features, the most valuable being full FreeSync support, which when combined with a compatible display will offer a similar gaming experience to Nvidia's G-Sync.
Had AMD released this GPU with 4GB of VRAM instead of 2GB this GPU, this GPU would be the perfect mid-high end GPU looking forward, but with some games already using more than 2GB of VRAM at 1080p, it is likely that texture quality will need to be lowered in some future games, that being said Nvidia's competing GTX 760 only has 2GB of VRAM, so I guess this problem with budget constraints and not the GPUs.
The R9 285 is a great performing GPU, but it isn't anything revolutionary for this segment of the market. For this reason we are giving this GPU the OC3D Silver award. If only AMD had given this GPU 4GB of VRAM.
Join the discussion on the Club3D R9 285 review on the OC3D Forums.