|ASUS ENGTX285 TOP GeForce GTX 285 Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 17 January 2009|
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ASUS GTX 285 First Look
In this section, we give a brief first look at the new GeForce GTX 285. ASUS is very well known as the premier name in motherboard manufacturing, and they work hard to leverage that prestige over to their desktop graphics and other product lines. Our first evidence of this is the gold foil-embossed textured-cardboard package that the ENGTX285 TOP comes in. Nobody can deny that the package looks nice, but at the same time we expect the product to work as well as it looks. That moment isn't very far away, either.
The product designers at ASUS have decided to step-up their market perception and have gone after a full-blown 'elegance' attitude with the ENGTX285 TOP. Inside the packaging is a collection CDs containing the product manual and display driver, but there are no games or promotional software. Additionally, ASUS has included a mouse pad made of a pleather (plastic leather) surface that fails miserably at fulfilling its purpose. Personally, I think that if a company wants to include a mouse pad with a graphics card it should be a premium product such as the RatPadz Gaming Surface which is worthy of the pairing.
The ASUS ENGTX285 TOP GeForce GTX 285 comes in one color: black. All add-in card partner products of the GTX 260, GTX 280, GTX 285 and 295 series are identical to NVIDIAs reference version. The AIC partner simply brands their allotment of video cards with a decal, or in most cases simply supplies the decal to NVIDIA for distribution. NVIDIA may eventually offer their AIC's the engineering information necessary to create working modifications so that unique varieties of the GT200-based graphics card can be independently designed, although this is unlikely because manufacturing oversight would be sacrificed.
The underside (or top once installed) of the new GTX 285 shown below exposes sensitive electronic components, but also acts as a heat-dissipating surface similar to many previous GeForce generations. Although the new 55nm GPU does expose surrounding components to less heat, nearly every heat-building component resides on the opposite side of the PCB. Notice that while the GTX 285 is roughly the equivalent to an updated GTX 280, it does actually present several design refinements that aren't apparent at first glance.
The NVIDIA GTX 285 graphics card is a performance optimized high-end graphics card on each and every level. Power is drawn from the PCI Express host bus as well as from two 6-pin power connections. Without any auxiliary power provided to the GeForce GTX 285 graphics card, a LED on the header bracket will shine red and the graphics card will not display any picture. In addition, any connector that is not adequately powered will also turn red. Together this functionality offers immediate feedback for enthusiasts concerned about providing adequate power to the GPU.
At the upper-left corner of the GeForce GTX 285 (shown above) there are connections for standard SLI and 3-way SLI configuration. For many extremely demanding applications and video games, a set of GeForce GTX 285 video cards placed into a 3-way SLI set will be much faster than a set of Quad SLI GeForce GTX 295's. The big question gamers and hardware enthusiasts will need answer for themselves is if their configuration is will support this functionality in terms of power supply, case, and cooling.
Moving on to our detailed look in the next section, Benchmark Reviews will give a close inspection of the technology inside the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP GeForce GTX 285 video card.