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Sapphire Radeon R9 285 2GB ITX Compact Overclocked Video Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Sep 23, 2014 4:50 am
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Close up with the Sapphire R9 285 2GB ITX Compact OC




Looking at the card, it is immediately apparent how small the card is by the fact that the PCB extends just a little beyond the PCIe x16 slots across the bottom. We've got a single fan design, which isn't a huge surprise, but by looking closer you can see the massive aluminum heat sink that sits under it, along with the copper heat pipes coming out the top. The black PCB looks awesome against the black and silver heat sink.


The quality of this cooler is really amazing. There's a ton of weight to it thanks to how much copper and aluminum Sapphire has crammed into it. Hopefully by cramming such a large amount of metal into such a small space they have created a strong cooler that will be able to handle our overclocking today.






Power comes in the form of a single eight-pin PCIe power connector. This differs from the dual six-pin PCIe connector on the reference design. Moving to the single connector helps reduce the size of the PCB, and hopefully won't impact performance, but we'll find out soon enough.


Moving closer to the front, you can see we've got a switch that lets us move between two installed BIOS. Of course, we don't have a CrossFire connector, as one of the cool technology features on the R9 285 2GB was that it saw the same CrossFire technology that's seen on the R9 290 series. To make use of CrossFire here, you don't need to use a cable.




We are pretty impressed with what's happening in the I/O. Along with the Dual-Link DVI connector, we've also got a HDMI port ,and a pair of MiniDP connectors to round things off. One really cool thing is that Sapphire has chosen to include a MiniDP to DP connector in the bundle. So, if you are using a DisplayPort monitor, and don't have a connector already, you don't have to worry about it.





As you saw on the front of the box, and in the product name, this version of the R9 285 is an OC model. The card comes in with a 928MHz core clock, while the 2GB of GDDR5 carries the standard 5500MHz QDR clock. So, what kind of extra speed does the OC label translate too?


Well, a massive 10MHz on the core (sarcastic tone). While 10MHz is of course an overclock, it hardly seems enough to give the card an OC label. This isn't the first time Sapphire has been guilty of doing this, nor is Sapphire the first company to be guilty of it. When someone starts adding an OC tag to a product, there should be at least a minimum increase in core clock; maybe something around the 25MHz mark.




What makes this more annoying is that the card is able to handle more than that extra 10MHz. At the moment, there doesn't seem to be any ability to adjust the voltage via Sapphire TriXX or MSI Afterburner on the R9 285 2GB. So, with the voltage left unchanged, and the fan profiles left alone, you can see that we managed to achieve quite an amazing 1055MHz clock out of the core.


We also pushed the 2GB of GDDR5 up to 6000MHz QDR. It will be interesting to see just how this ITX Compact cooler performs when we get to testing it. For now, let's take a look at our test system, and the cards that will be in our graphs today.

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