ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card

Today we take the time to look at the overclocked TOP GTX 285 from ASUS and see if it can shine a light.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Wed, Feb 4 2009 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card



One thing I really can't stress enough about the TOP line-up of graphics cards from ASUS is that they are more than just a few extra MHz on the core and memory. Past experience has always shown that the clocks offered by a card carrying this marking are clearly above the norm.

What's interesting, though, is that this time around ASUS has not only got a TOP card on offer but also an Extreme one for the GTX 285. The TOP is the lower clocked of the two and what we're hoping is that ASUS hasn't just decided to ease off the MHz simply to squeeze a few more dollars out of people wanting even more performance.

Speaking of more dollars, the ASUS ENGTX285 TOP can currently be purchased over at Newegg for $409.99, which isn't too bad when you consider the fact that it's only $10 higher than ASUS' standard GTX 285 offering.

Let's now take a look at what comes packaged with ASUS' TOP GTX 285 before moving onto the card itself and its performance numbers.

The Package




Straight away we can see that nothing has really changed over the past few months with the ASUS box design. We can see it has a black and green design for the most part with a picture that stands out; in this case, a warrior on a horse. Across the top of the box we have the ASUS logo with their motto and below that we have mention of a special offer.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Moving down, we have some of the main features mentioned like 1GB GDDR3 and HDMI, while we can also see the model mentioned across the bottom. This time it is of course the TOP variation of the GTX 285.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Turning the box over, we have a rundown of features and recommended system specifications. Half of the box is taken up with information explaining some of the special software that is included with the ASUS card.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Included in the box is our standard driver CD, speed setup guide, HDMI information booklet along with another CD that has a copy of the manual on it.

Also included is a special offer that lets you get 10% off up to five games or CUDA applications. This is done by going to the nZone website and entering the key that is present on the card.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


As far as cables go, there is much of the same old present here; component out dongle, dual molex to 6-pin power, DVI to VGA and DVI to HDMI connectors along with a S/PDIF loop-back cable to get sound through the HDMI convertor.

The Card




Upon pulling the card out of the box, there isn't anything that we haven't seen before as far as the overall shape goes. While the card may be overclocked, it still uses the same default cooler that is present on most GTX 285 cards at the moment.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Where it does differ, though, is with the sticker of choice. We again see our warrior that we saw on the front of the box with the ASUS logo seen at the bottom corner and the fan. It does tend to take a while for companies to mix it up as far as cooler designs go and some don't even bother.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Looking around the card, we see our two 6-pin PCI-E connectors at the back of the card, while next to that we see another smaller connector; this uses the S/PDIF loopback-cable which helps get sound through the HDMI dongle.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Closer to the front of the card we have our two SLI connectors which give us the ability to use up to three of these bad boys. As one of our recent articles showed, to date the GTX 285 in a Tri-SLI configuration is the fastest setup available.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Following the reference design as far as the PCB goes, there isn't any surprises with two Dual-Link DVI connectors present and our standard TV-Out port. The top of the card also has a number of vents which let the hot air escape out the back of your case.


Specifications

As the card carries with it the TOP naming, it is of course overclocked out of the box. Compared to the stock model we've got some pretty good clocks on our hand; the core has been bumped up from 648MHz to 670MHz, the memory from 2284MHz DDR to 2600MHz DDR and the shader clock from 1476MHz to 1550MHz.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


At the moment, though, these are just numbers. What we need to find out is how this translates into real world performance. Let's get onto the next page and see exactly what we have going on here.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1 64-Bit
Drivers: Catalyst 8.12, Forceware 181.20


Today we will be comparing the GTX 285 TOP from ASUS against a few cards like the HD 4870 X2, HD 4870 and GTX 280. What we really want to look out for, though, is how it compares to the stock GTX 285. Is there enough performance to warrant the increase in price that is present with an overclocked card? Let's find out.


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Straight away we can see a little bump in performance with the TOP card; ASUS has managed to squeeze around 5% more performance under Vantage.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


In the minimum department we see very little difference between the two GTX 285 offerings, but in the average department we can see a consistent boost being offered.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


CINEBENCH doesn't make any use of the overclock and for that reason we see both cards perform quite close to each other.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Our ASUS performance is a bit more in line here and manages to give a slight bump in performance when compared to the stock clocked offering.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Across the board we see a small bump in performance, but nothing to get really excited about.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


The TOP offering from ASUS continues to give us a boost in performance in both the minimum and average department.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


While Clear Sky does very little for NVIDIA cards, we continue to see a reasonable performance increase present when compared to a stock clocked model.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


With the overclocked card in hand, performance is slightly down compared to the stock offering. Unfortunately this is a pretty common accordance in L4D with overclocked cards.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


Far Cry 2

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


We see that the overclock on offer manages to help JUST break that 30 FPS minimum that we love to see in our games.


World In Conflict

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Under WIC we again see that small bump in performance and while small, it is consistent.


Left 4 Dead

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


We again see that under L4D performance is just down compared to the stock model.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Under XP we continue to see a small bump in WIC performance.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


Across the board we see a boost in performance with the overclock again able to break that 30 FPS minimum we love to see; in this case at the high 2560 x 1600 resolution.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky - XP


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


At all resolutions we see a small boost in performance thanks to the extra MHz on offer from the TOP card.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


With the same cooler as the stock model, noise levels are similar as expected.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


The same goes with the sound levels.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.


ASUS GeForce ENGTX285 TOP Graphics Card


With the card mostly based off the reference design, we see the power draw is very similar to the stock model from GIGABYTE.

Final Thoughts




At $409.99 from Newegg, you are paying a premium for the ASUS overclocked offering, but it's not a big one. Ultimately, it's up to the person buying the card to say if the card offers roughly $40 more performance then some of the cheaper brands on the market.

For us it's a yes and no, depending on who you are. If you can overclock yourself and the discount voucher doesn't interest you then it's clearly not worth it. If you can make full use of the voucher then any extra spent will probably be saved again. And finally, if you simply can't be bothered with overclocking then $40 isn't that much to pay to have a card that is faster than stock.

Really, we have a pretty good card here; good performance and a nice bundle help make the card attractive. While the money can be saved for some people who can overclock, if you can't be bothered and want to simply put the card in your system and start gaming, it's pretty good value.

With that said, though, we're looking forward to testing the Extreme model from ASUS which carries with it even higher clocks and as expected, a higher price tag. Overall, we have a good card here and while not for everyone, it does cater to a market who no doubt are going to love it.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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