The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 video card proves to be a step in the right direction for NVIDIA in taming power consumption. The 55nm revision has enabled higher efficiency and increased overclocking overhead while still keeping thermals in check. I suspect in the near future we’ll see a few GeForce GTX 285s with lighter coolers and 3rd party PCBs to cut costs.
The two cards reviewed today, the PNY GeForce GTX 285 and the XFX GeForce GTX 285 Black Edition, both consistently beat the PNY GeForce GTX 280 used for testing. With current market prices, the Black Edition is $100 more expensive than the PNY GeForce GTX 285 at $399 plus shipping, but it comes with a copy of Far Cry 2 and an aggressive factory overclock. To counter that though, the $299 shipped PNY GeForce GTX 285 was able to overclock its core an additional ~20MHz, but such a feat should be taken with a grain of salt given the variations in card qualities regardless of manufacturer.
The XFX card does hold one ace up its sleeve though: the double lifetime warranty. PNY only offers a 3 year warranty while XFX offers a lifetime warranty and if you sell the card, the purchaser is also eligible for a lifetime warranty. This might explain why the PNY card hasn’t been very popular. The lifetime warranties on the majority of NVIDIA cards have been a major selling point, PNY may want to take note.
Both GeForce GTX 285 cards performed flawlessly during testing and consistently beat the GeForce GTX 280 in all benchmarks. Of the two cards today, the PNY offers great value while the XFX offers top-tier stock clocks and a bundled game. Either GeForce GTX 285 would be a wise choice for those individuals looking to game at 1680×1050 to 1920×1200 resolutions with all the eye candy turned all the way up, so decide with your wallets between the bundles and warranties.
Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 comes out swinging and knocks the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280 into the history books. Nvidia has slimmed down the power consumption and unlocked even more performance.