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XFX Radeon R9 285 Black Edition OC Review

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XFX Radeon R9 285 DD Overview

XFX Radeon R9 285 Black Edition Double Dissipation graphics card, model R9-285A-CDBC, sells online for $249.99 (Amazon | Newegg). The kit includes various documentation, driver installation DVD, a 6-pin to 4-pin power cable, and an 8-pin to 6-pin power cable. AMD has replaced the external CrossFire interconnect bridge accessory with a PCI-Express based technology that is managed by the Catalyst Control Center software on modern CrossFire/CrossFireX motherboards.

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The first thing you’ll notice about this video card is the unique “Double Dissipation” cooler. The fansink is quite elaborate: XFX replaces the stock AMD vapor chamber cooler with a “HydroCell” vapor chamber of their own design. Then they install two Duratec IP-5X dust-free 90mm fans whose design prevents dust from ever reaching the fan bearings, and surrounds the whole assembly with an aluminum “Ghost 2 Thermal Technology” shroud whose design is said to improve cooling by directing air out the sides and bottom of the card.

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The XFX Radeon R9 285 DD is designed with a 28nm AMD Tonga GPU clocked to 975 MHz, factory-tested to remain stable under demand. XFX also equips their R9 285 with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory clocked to 1450MHz (5500 MHz data rate). Add to this the custom ’Double-D’ thermal management system keeping this video card cool, and you’ve got an ideal formula for top-end graphics performance.

The XFX Radeon R9 285 DD graphics card measures 8.75″ long x 4.5″ wide x 1.5″ tall. Graphics cards with these dimensions are well suited for installation into nearly any compact computer case or small form factor enclosure when there’s sufficient clearance. Since the card exhausts most air back into the case, make sure to have adequate ventilation.

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Available connectors on the XFX Radeon R9 285 DD graphics card includes a DVI-I and DVD-D display outputs, one HDMI 1.4a port, and one DisplayPort 1.2. Although XFX has taken care to design the card’s ventilation openings around the graphics outputs to exhaust heated air outside the enclosure, much of it vents back into the case.

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The XFX Radeon R9 285 DD graphics card operates at 975 MHz, which does not leave very much room for additional GPU tweaking. Enthusiasts can use their favorite overclocking tool to squeeze more speed out of the card, which makes use of the ultra-efficient fansink cooler to reach maximum potential while remaining stable under stress.

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XFX’s Radeon R9 285 DD video card requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors for proper operation, inserted at the tail end of the card. XFX recommends a minimum power supply rating of 750 watts, although our own power consumption tests indicate something a bit more modest would work fine. See the power consumption section later in this review for more details.

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The back of the card doesn’t have any sort of cover or heatsink plate, so you can see all the screws that secure the cooling apparatus to the card. White circular “Warranty void if removed” stickers cover two of the screws. I don’t know if it makes any difference in the real world, but some users might prefer a backplate to protect the minuscule electronic components on the card from damage and static discharge.

In the next section, we share details on the new AMD ZeroCore Power Management technology featured on the Radeon R9 285 graphics card…


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3 comments

  1. Mugatu

    How is this card beating a GTX 780 in BF4 @ 1920×1200?? There is no way.

    1. Olin Coles

      I merely test the product, and post the results. If I had to explain why one performed better than another, it would begin with how AMD co-developed BF4 and optimized it to play with their Radeon graphics cards (as opposed to NVIDIA working on BF3), and then end with how Radeon R9 285 nearly matched performance on rare occasion with GeForce GTX 780 in two other tests. Overall though, GTX 780 is considerably more powerful than R9 285.

  2. Xantosh

    Is it true you can quad crossfire these (due to Bridgless crossfire) and how would even 2 or 3 of these compare to say a 4gb (or even 3.5gb lol) video card, because my board is capable of x16 x16 x4 (with a power stabilization buckle)

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