Graphics, Hardware, Reviews

AMD R9 285 – A Performance Review

AMD recently released the R9 285 with the 28nm Tonga Pro GPU, destined to serve as its mid-range enthusiast offering.  The Tonga GPU is brand new and is replacing the venerable but aging Tahiti GPU.  The 285 will pretty much take the standard 280’s place in the AMD GPU lineup.  The thinking for AMD with the creation of this card is to take the latest tech from the 290 series and meld it with the 280 series performance.  This isn’t really a refresh for the 280 series and is more of a step forward for it.  The naming may throw some for a loop though, since with the 285 one would think that it is further up the chain that the 280X, which is not the case.

The card that was provided by AMD to test the 285 out was a Sapphire 285 Dual-X OC.  The testing will cover the performance of the card and not the card as a package since this was not a retail boxed version.  In this review the 285 will be put through its paces and tested in a variety of tests.  It will be pitted against the reigning best single core AMD card, the MSI 290X Lightning to see how it fares.  The Overclocking will be looked into and checked to see how much headroom that these cards have.  For a card that MSRPs for $249 we will see if it is a good buy to get you good performance for your money.

R9 285-3R9 285-6


AMD Radeon R9 285 Specifications

Process – 28nm
Stream Processors – 1792
GPU Clock –  Up to 918MHz
Texture Units – 112
Texture Fill-Rate – Up to 102.8GT/s
ROPs – 32
Pixel Fill-Rate – Up to 29.8GP/s
Z/Stencil – 128
Memory Configuration – 2GB GDDR5
Memory Interface – 256-bit
Memory Speed – 5.5Gbps
Power Connectors – 2x 6-pin
Typical Board Power – 190W
PCI-E Standard – PCI-E 3.0
DirectX Support – DirectX 12
Mantle and AMD TrueAudio Technology

Tested GPU Specifications

Model – Sapphire R9 285 Dual-X OC # 100374OCL
Interfac – PCI Express 3.0
GPU – 28nm Tonga
Core Clock – 965MHz (compared to 918 MHz stock)
Stream Processors – 1792 Stream Processors
Effective Memory Clock – 5600MHz
Memory – 2GB GB GDDR5
Memory Interface – 256-Bit
3D API – DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4
Ports – 1 x HDMI, with 3D, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 2 x DVI – 1 Dual-Link DVI-D, 1 Dual-Link DVI-I
CrossFireX Support – Yes – 2 GPUs
Cooler – Dual Slot
System Requirements – Minimum 500W power supply with 2 x 6-Pin
Card Dimensions (L x H) – 10.39″ x 1.34″


  • AMD Stream Technology
  • AMD Avivo HD (DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray Playback)
  • AMD HD3D Technology
  • AMD Eyefinity 2.0
  • Enhanced Multi-GPU Capabilities
  • Discrete Digital Multi-Point Audio
  • SAPPHIRE Dual-X Cooling Technology
  • UEFI BIOS support
  • AMD TrueAudio Technology
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center
  • Dolby TrueHD and DTSHD Master Audio Support
  • Anti-aliasing features
  • AMD PowerTune Technology
  • TriXX Utility
  • Enhanced Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD 3)
  • Microsoft Office 2010
  • Windows 7 support
  • AMD App Acceleration
  • AMD PowerPlay with ZeroCore Power Technology
  • Accelerated Internet Applications Rendering
  • Cutting-edge Quad HD display support (4K Support)
  • Cutting-edge Quad HD display support (4K Support) [for Windows OS only]
  • Dual BIOS ( Legacy and UEFI ) Support
  • Windows 8.1 support