Gigabyte Radeon R285 Review, finally some Tonga action

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Being the middle child has always been a “safe” spot. You’re not expected to represent an industry, while still being classy enough to be nowhere near the bargain bin. We’ve had our hands recently on the R9 280, and with much bench-marking and diligence have found it to be an exceptionally efficient GPU for its price range. Radeon has recently surprised us with its mid-ground between the R9 290 and R9 280, the R9 285. The R285 is based on Radeon’s new Tonga GPU, bringing high-end gaming to a staggering $249 USD, and WQHD – 2560×1440 for the masses. Let’s take a look at how the R9 285 compares to the R9 280 as well as its Nvidia counterparts in temperature, speeds, and performance in top-end gaming.

We received the Gigabyte Radeon R9 285 OC Edition GPU and will be using this card for benchmarks.



The Gigabyte Radeon R9 285 OC Edition graphics card performs amazingly for gamers who demand the best. Equipped with two 100mm inclined fans and two pure copper heat pipes, GIGABYTE WINDFORCE 2X cooling system guarantees powerful airflow and heat dissipation capabilities to keep the graphics card extremely cool and quiet at peak performance.

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The GV-R9285WF2OC-2GD is enhanced through the WINDFORCE 2X cooling system that features an inclined fin design with two 100mm inclined fans and two pure copper heat pipes. The enlarged air channel on the graphics card vents enhances heat dissipation of hot area right underneath each fan and effectively speeds up the air flow for achieving a superior cooling capacity.

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As for visual aesthetics, its fans give it quite an aggressive impression. Sharp corners and a matte black stylized plastic design allow the card to blend effortlessly to any just about any build.

R285 Fan

The underside of the R285 may not have any sort of thermal shielding, but with two WINDFORCE fans, it’s a card that simply just does not overhead.

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The card has two DVI connectors, one HDMI and one DisplayPort connector. Overall the card can handle up to 3.29 TFLOPS its single precision performance and has a texture fill-rate of up-to 102.8 GT/s.

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Chipset Radeon R9 285
Memory Clock 5500 MHz
Process Technology 28 nm
Memory Size 2048 MB
Memory Bus 256 bit
Core Clock OC to 973 MHz (base:918 MHz)
Card Bus PCI-E 3.0
DirectX 11.2
OpenGL 4.4
Digital max resolution 4096 X 2160
Analog max resolution 2048 x 1536
Multi-view 4
I/O DVI-I / DVI-D / HDMI / DisplayPort
Power requirement 500W(with two 6-pin external power connectors)


On paper, the 285 may seem to be struggling behind the 280X, but doesn’t disappoint in the very least considering it’s price range. In FPS tests further through this article, not only did the 2gb 285 outperform the 280 3gb in almost every benchmark, but was capable of some 4k HD gameplay.


Test System:

Intel Core i7-4970X
Asus SaberTooth Z97
16GB G.Skill DDR4 (4 x 4GB)
Kingston Hyper X 128gb SSD
Glacier 800 Watt

Battlefield 4: Ultra Settings- Average FPS

  • Radeon 280 – 49
  • Radeon 285 – 48
  • Radeon 280x – 57
  • Geforce 770 – 58
  • Gefotce 760 – 45

Watch Dogs: Ultra Settings- Average FPS

  • Radeon 280 – 50
  • Radeon 285 – 51
  • Radeon 280x – 57
  • Geforce 770 – 60
  • Gefotce 760 – 43

While Watch Dogs may have some graphical issues at high speeds, the 285 keeps up and even surpasses the 3gb 280 even though it is significantly decreasing power consumption.

In some further benchmarks done by Forbes, we see that the 285 dominates the 760 in benchmarks for ultra HD without optimization, making it to go to card for its $249.99 sweet spot.



Final Reaction

The Gigabyte R285 stands in an strange position. While it has completely trumped its GeForce 760 counterpart, the biggest competitor is actually a predecessor. The R280 is what’s been bench-marking closest to this Tonga titan. Sadly, from a marketing standpoint, having that 5 at the end still makes it seem out of place in the Radeon lineup. At its price point, I would absolutely recommend this card to anyone on a budget, while still looking to get in some 4k Gaming with their overly expensive TV. Yeah, I’m a bit jealous.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

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Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian
Adam "Kharakov" Kharatian 397 posts

Adam "kharakov" Kharat is part nerd, part geek, and full awesome. With deadly writing skills and the sleeping habits of a jackrabbit, late night gaming sessions are all but mandatory.

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