Zotac GTX 285 AMP! Edition review

£260
Price when reviewed
January 2009 has been a busy time for Nvidia with the launch of two new high-end cards: the dual-GPU GTX 295 and the single unit 55nm GTX 285. Neither card, however, covered itself in glory. The GTX 295 is far too expensive – we’ve seen one example recently at an eye-watering SRP of £461 exc VAT – and though the GTX 285 is more reasonable it’s still outclassed by cheaper, quicker ATI-based cards.

Zotac’s GTX 285 AMP! Edition looks to redress the balance by taking the GTX 285 and squeezing as much performance out of it as possible. A look at the list of specifications reveals that, underneath the bulky exterior – which sees no modification – a lot of work has been done.

The 648MHz core clock speed of the original card has been raised to 702MHz, and the 1,476MHz shader clock now sits at 1,512MHz. The 1GB of GDDR3 RAM is now clocked at 1,296MHz, 54Hz higher than the standard 1,242MHz clock speed.

These tweaks result in a significant performance boost over the stock GTX 285 card. Our three standard Crysis tests – running at low, medium and high settings at ever-increasing resolutions – were handled without fuss.

And the Zotac thundered through our 1,600 x 1,200 very-high quality benchmark at 33fps; that’s three frames per second quicker than the original GTX 285. It may not seem like a huge increase, but a 10% leap is more than some revamped cards we’ve seen in the past.

If you’re determined to buy Nvidia, then this Zotac card makes sense – it’s the same price as a standard GTX 285 while offering a decent jump in performance. It even competes with the best that ATI hs to offer – it’s marginally more expensive than the HD 4850 X2 but performs at almost HD 4870 X2 levels.

It’s clear that if you’re after a top-end Nvidia card then this is the one to go for – it’s the best Nvidia card we’ve seen for months.

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