After much anticipation and speculation we can finally present our review of AMD’s new “Tonga” based graphics card. Today we are reviewing Tonga Pro, that’s the first iteration of Tonga, which forms the R9 285 graphics card. It is expected that a Tonga XT variant will arrive at a later date to form the R9 285X. We’ve already known the specifications of the R9 285 for a while since AMD officially revealed them a few weeks back, but let’s go over them again:
On paper the R9 285 should be very similar in performance to AMD’s R9 280 and as a result it should be faster than Nvidia’s GTX 760 given the fact AMD’s R9 280 was. At $250 MSRP the R9 285 is a direct competitor to the Nvidia GTX 760 – AMD’s marketing campaign for the R9 285 is spearheaded by the fact it beats the GTX 760. At $250 it is also a direct competitor to the R9 280, especially as it offers similar performance. I wouldn’t be surprised if AMD allows them both to co-exist at the same price point because they do offer slightly different things. The R9 280 offers more memory but the R9 285 better power efficiency, while the two trade blows on performance depending on the type of game or applications. Things get a bit confusing though when we start looking at actual retail pricing instead of MSRPs – AMD’s R9 280 can be had for as low as $210 so at that price the R9 285 starts to look a bit expensive at $250.
AMD sent us Sapphire’s R9 285 Dual-X 2GB graphics card for review. This card comes factory overclocked from the 918MHz stock speed to 965MHz on the core, and from the 5500MHz on the memory to 5600MHz on the memory. It also comes equipped with Sapphire’s custom Dual-X cooling solution so it will perform better than a “reference” R9 285 graphics card.
AMD’s R9 285 is position below the R9 280X but above the R9 270X, it does appear AMD wants to replace the R9 280 with the R9 285 –
although we are awaiting confirmation on this – we can now confirm the R9 285 makes the R9 280 End-Of-Life (EOL).
AMD claims that the R9 285 offers the best of both the R9 290 series and the R9 280 series. By this they mean it has all the performance of an R9 280 series card but it also has all the updated features of the new R9 290 series such as built in H.264 decoding, FreeSync support, the AMD TrueAudio DSP and the bridge-less XDMA CrossFire feature.