Ever since AMD debuted Tonga Pro in the R9 285, everyone had been waiting for the full Tonga XT die. Earlier this week, we got our first hint with the glimpse of the XFX Double Dissipation R9 390X. Today, we’re getting word that the R9 380X will finally arrive in late October, a little over a month from now. This will fill the relatively large gap between the R9 380 and 390.
With GCN 1.2, the R9 380X will bring the efficiency gains first demonstrated in the R9 285. The card will feature 2048 Stream Processors, 128 TMUs and 32 ROPs connected to 4GB of GDDR5 across a 256bit bus. With GCN 1.2’s improved architecture, the 380X should perform about 10% faster than the 280X at the same clocks. Despite a drop in raw bandwidth compared to the 280X, the introduction of delta color compression should alleviate any issues. The card should also feature good DX12 support with asynchronous compute as well as FreeSync.
Unlike the earlier R9 370X which was limited to China, the 380X will be available worldwide. With full Tonga on tap, AMD should be able to strike at the hole Nvidia has left between the 960 an 970. This should hopefully help AMD make some more revenue, gain some market share and be more competitive overall. The only spoiler would be if Nvidia somehow introduced a GTX 960 Ti.
Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information
The popularity of compact graphics cards for small form factor systems has risen in recent years. This is mainly due to AMD and Nvidia making great strides in power and thermal efficiency which allows for more performance in smaller packages. The fact mini-ITX and micro-ATX cases have been popularised by a swath of releases from BitFenix, Corsair, Cooler Master and others also helped this trend. Before the release of Tonga AMD’s R9 270X was the fastest mini-ITX sized graphics card available while Nvidia’s GTX 760 was their fastest. With Tonga that’s set to change as we can now find much more AMD performance – in fact the R9 285 outpaces the GTX 760 so we should have a new mini-ITX graphics card winner on our hands. Sapphire’s ITX Compact OC Edition R9 285 is designed with small form factor users in mind measuring in at just 17.5 cm long yet still featuring a fully fledged R9 285 GPU with a 10 MHz factory overclock – not much but proof that Sapphire’s cooling solution has what it takes. Let’s take a detailed look at the key specifications:
Packaging and Accessories
Sapphire’s packaging has one of their typical dramatic looking robotic characters at the front. Sapphire have opted for a UEFI BIOS and legacy BIOS with this product, you can pick which suits you best.
Around the back Sapphire detail some of the key features of the product, most of which are AMD specifics like TrueAudio support and GCN architecture.
The accessory pack is fairly chunky by Sapphire’s normal standards. They include a variety of documentation, a driver/utility CD and a mousemat.
Sapphire also provide a 1.8m HDMI cable, a mini DisplayPort to full sized DisplayPort adapter, a DVI to VGA adapter and a dual 6 pin to 8 pin adapter.
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.
AMD’s Tonga Pro R9 285 is just around the corner, September 2nd to be exact, and so far we’ve seen a compact mini-ITX version from Sapphire as well as a STRIX version from ASUS. Now it is Powercolor’s turn for the spotlight with their TurboDuo R9 285. Powercolor’s card features their dual slot cooling solution with two “double-bladed” fans: that’s smaller blades at the centre and larger ones at the edge. A modest factory overclock takes the core from the stock 918 to 945MHz and the 2GB of GDDR5 memory retains the stock 5.5GHz speed.
Two 6 pin power connectors provide power to the R9 285 GPU core which has 1792 GCN cores, 112 TMUs, 32 ROPs and a 256 bit memroy interface.
The Powercolor R9 285 TurboDuo will probably stick to reference pricing of $250 and will be available in early September.
The idea behind the ASUS STRIX range is that it can operate silently up until 65 degrees and then after that the fans will spin up. For that reason ASUS has only equipped it to power efficient GPUs, unsurprisingly that meant the GTX 780 saw a STRIX variant and the best AMD card that saw one was the R9 280 – anything above that is too hot-running for the STRIX cooler to be effective. With the R9 285 being released ASUS now has another STRIX variant up its sleeves thanks to the improved power efficiency of Tonga.
The star of the show is the ASUS STRIX cooling solution which features a hybrid fan mode, like you’ll see on many power supplies. The basic logic is that sub-65 degrees celsius the fans do not spin, after that they kick in with a pretty standard fan profile. The core of the cooling design is a DirectCU II implementation: a dense aluminium heatsink array supplemented by direct contact copper heat pipes and a pair of what appear to be 80mm fans.
As the box denotes ASUS have factory overclocked the card, although by how much is anyone’s guess. This ASUS STRIX R9 285 graphics card will offer 2GB of GDDR5 although we may see a 4GB variant later down the line. Expect pricing to command a 10% or more premium over the R9 285 MSRP of $249.99. Availability will be from September 2nd – that’s 1 week tomorrow.
If you’ve been looking for a compact AMD graphics card for a small form factor build up until now your best option has been MSI’s R9 270X Gaming ITX graphics card. Well now it is time for an upgrade courtesy of Sapphire who are putting AMD’s power efficient Tonga GPU to good use. Sapphire are releasing their R9 285 ITX Compact graphics card which as the name suggests features a special compact design but still has enough power to take on compact variants of Nvidia’s GTX 760, and hopefully win.
Sapphire’s R9 285 ITX Compact graphics card measurements in at 17cm long, 11cm tall and dual slot thickness. A single 100mm fan is in charge of the cooling alongside what appears to be three 6mm copper heat pipes. Sapphire are equipping their standard dual-BIOS feature so you can choose between UEFI and legacy. The card runs at stock clocks of 918MHz core and 5.5GHz memory. Expect pricing of this card to hold a slight premium over the MSRP of $249.99 for the R9 285.
AMD’s R9 285 was confirmed by AMD earlier today but now AMD have gone one step further and revealed detailed specifications as well as performance numbers. AMD’s R9 285 pretty much conforms to all the rumours we’ve heard so far: there’s 2GB of GDDR5, 1792 GCN cores, a 256 bit memory bus and a fairly modest TDP of 190W which is fed by a pair of 6 pins. The core clock will be up to 918MHz and the memory clock will be 5500MHz. Being a GCN based card there is also support for Mantle and DirectX 12.
How does the R9 285 perform? Well AMD claim up to 15% faster in Battlefield 4 at 1440p when comparing to the Nvidia GTX 760. They also revealed some 3DMark Fire Strike numbers where the R9 285 scored 25% higher than the GTX 760 in the Fire Strike test and 27% faster in the Fire Strike Extreme Test. Given that AMD’s R9 285 is expected to cost $249, the same as the MSRP of the GTX 760, things look set to get very interesting for graphics card buyers.
During the “30 Years of Graphics and Gaming Commemoration” event AMD officially announced the presence of the R9 285 graphics card. AMD claims the R9 285 GPU will be their most power efficient GPU yet, although the tech-specs are still under-wraps until its official release which is rumoured for September 2nd. The AMD R9 285 is rumoured to have 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory over a 256 bit memory interface. The R9 285 is based on the Tonga Pro silicon and there will also be an R9 285X Tonga XT variant. The R9 285 Tonga Pro features 1792 GCN cores while the R9 285X gets 2048.
AMD claims all its partners will be unveiling R9 285 products on launch day. Pricing, clock speeds and other details are still all to be confirmed but you can stay on top of all our R9 285 coverage right here. During their live stream event AMD revealed the ASUS STRIX R9 285, pictured at the top, which they auctioned off on eBay with the proceeds going to the charity “Child’s Play”.
The rumour mill has spun up once again to give us some more information about AMD’s R9 285 graphics card. The new GPU from AMD which is to be based on the Tonga silicon will reportedly get launched on September 2nd. The R9 285, or Tonga Pro, will be launched first and then R9 285X, Tonga XT, will launch later in September. But fear not, you won’t have to wait until September 2nd to see if this rumour is true because it is reported that an announcement will be made about the product as soon as August 23rd.
What should we expect with Tonga and its two variants? Well current speculation suggests it will be AMD’s most power efficient GPU design yet, to ease concerns that Nvidia’s Maxwell will be able to trump AMD’s offerings – AMD is expected to reveal that this isn’t the case. At the live event on August 23rd AMD could also have some Direct X 12 and Mantle related announcements ready, but for now we are more interested in the fact the R9 285 will be in the mix.
For those who can’t remember the R9 285 is expected to have the following specs: 1792 stream processors based on the GCN 1.1 design, 32 ROPs, 112 TMUs, a 256 bit memory bus, 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory, a TrueAudio DSP and CrossFire XDMA support. The expected TDP is just 150W which is incredibly efficient given the slower R9 280 has a 200W TDP, and the R9 280X has a 250W TDP. The R9 285 and R9 285X are designed to challenge Nvidia’s upcoming higher-end Maxwell parts by offering competitive pricing and vastly improved power efficiency.
Just a few days ago pictures of upcoming AMD R9 285 graphics cards were leaked into the press, such as the Sapphire R9 285 pictured above, but at that stage we were still unsure as to what the key specifications of AMD’s R9 285 were supposed to be. Well, we do know that the AMD R9 285 is going to be based on the new “Tonga” silicon and now we have information about what Tonga is made up of. The block diagram for Tonga, which you can see below, was released with the launch of AMD’s new FirePro W7100 graphics card.
There are rumoured to be two SKUs of the Tonga silicon, one SKU will make use of all 32 Compute Units (CUs) and the other will make use of 28 CUs, meaning four CUs are disabled on that one. AMD’s FirePro W7100 is based on the cut-down Tonga SKU that has 28 CUs. The 28 CU version is now being dubbed “Tonga PRO” while the 32 CU version is “Tonga XT” and is expected to launch at a later date. If rumours are to be believed AMD’s R9 285 will be based on Tonga PRO and an R9 285X will arrive later on with Tonga XT.
The R9 285 is confirmed to have the following specifications so far: 1792 stream processors, 32 ROPs, a 256 bit memory bus, 2GB of GDDR5 memory, a TrueAudio DSP and CrossFire XDMA support. Expect more information about the R9 285 to arrive as we edge closer to the expected launch this month.