Sapphire Radeon R9 285 Dual-X OC Video Card Review

Final Thoughts
The Radeon R9 285 leaves me with mixed feelings. Let me first talk about what AMD was trying to accomplish with this card. They wanted to take on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 760 graphics card. Now we did not have a GeForce GTX 760 graphics card on hand, but looking at reviews we can see that the AMD Radeon R9 285 beats it every time. So to that extent AMD can be happy that they have beat NVIDIA as far as performance goes.

The Radeon R9 285 also adds many of the features that we have seen on newer AMD GPUs. This is the first mid-range card that has AMD TrueAudio DSP, which you might not know what it is, that is because no one is really talking about it. Also this card has XDMA CrossFire which means you do not have to use a CrossFire connector to run two cards, it is all done via the PCI-Express interface. You can run 4 displays off of the 4 display connectors on the card. Tonga does support FreeSync, but we have yet to see any FreeSync monitors yet.

One thing I do have a problem with is the naming of the card. The R9 285 naming suggests that it would be a replacement of the R9 280, but it does not seem that way. The R9 280 has more memory and that is what gamers want if they want to game at resolutions above 1080p. Another thing to think about is the pricing. The R9 285 has a suggested retail price of $249 with the Sapphire card we are reviewing today coming in at $259. Many R9 280 / 280X models are around the same price or within a $40 windows which makes them more attractive as they do have better performance and more memory. I’m not sure what AMD should have named this card, but it should not have been the R9 285.

I think when talking about the R9 285 it is what the R9 280 should have been. AMD has worked on better performance and efficiency. They have also added features that we only saw on newer Hawaii-based cards. For those expecting a massive performance or efficiency boost it is just not there. We will have to wait for a full-blown Tonga card to possibly see that.

The Sapphire version of the card we reviewed today has a healthy overclock on both the core clock and memory. This will give you a little more performance than a stock version of the card. The card is also cooled by Sapphire’s Dual-X cooling solution that does a pretty good job and is very quiet. The shroud of the Dual-X color has purple accents which you are either going to love or hate. As I mentioned this card is selling for $259 at my favorite online retailer. Overall ThinkComputers gives the Sapphire Radeon R9 285 Dual-X OC Video Card an 8 out of 10 score.

– Dual-X cooling solution is quiet
– Good overall performance at 1080p gaming
– Ability to connect up to 4 displays
– Both memory and GPU factory overclocked
– AMD XDMA CrossFire, TrueAudio DSP and FreeSync supported

– Not a huge performance / efficiency boost
– 2 GB VRAM compared to 3 GB on the R9 280
– Confusing naming

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