Page All: Viewing All Pages
Many enthusiasts now consider a lifetime warranty a prerequisite for purchasing a videocard, and for those of you who fall into that category, you have BFG to thank for pioneering the concept. The company didn't invent lifetime backings, but it was the first to port the concept over to discrete graphics cards, and it has been doing so since the company's inception in 2002. Even today, you can count on one hand how many videocard manufacturers have followed suit, and still have fingers left over.
Today we put BFG's GeForce GTX 285 OCX under the microscope. We already know what Nvidia's new flagship single-GPU (not to be confused with its dual-GPU single videocard) solution brings to the table, and BFG looks to up the ante by overclocking its card beyond the reference design. Not only that, but BFG's OCX model currently ranks as the fastest-clocked GTX 285 on the market. Combined with the company's lifetime warranty, this would appear to be a slam dunk right from the tip-off, but even the favotires have a tendency to falter. Does BFG have game? Let's find out.
|Â||BFG GeForce GTX 285 OCX||EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC Edition||GeForce GTX 285||GeForce GTX 280||GeForce GTX 260 (Core 216)||GeForce 9800GTX +|
|Â Manufacturing Process||55nm||55nm||55nm||65nm||55nm||55nm|
|Â Core Clockspeed||702MHz||702MHz||648MHz||602MHz||576MHz||738MHz|
|Â Memory Clockspeed||1332MHz||1323MHz||1242MHz||1107MHz||999MHz||1100MHz|
|Â Shader Clockspeed||1584MHz||1584MHz||1476MHz||1296MHz||1242MHz||1836MHz|
We already covered Nvidia's new GPU lineup in a recent GeForce GTX 285 review, but to quickly recap, the main difference relates to the die shrink from 65nm to 55nm. The trickle-down effect of this die shrink starts with a lower power consumption, which in turn leads to lower temps, and the end result is more frequency headroom to play with. And that's exactly what videocard manufacturers have done.
Right from the get-go, Nvidia partners have been taking advantage of the new manufacturing process with factory overclocked videocards, and it's here where BFG puts some distance between itself and the competition, at least for the time being. Like other OC'd GTX 285 cards, BFG aggressively clocks the GPU at 702MHz, but the OC'd memory clockspeed of 1332MHz (2664MHz effective) is enough to give BFG the overall speed crown.
Fast becoming a trend, BFG eschews added extras in favor of the bare essentials. In this case, that means oodles of documentation covering everything from installation to the lifetime warranty, a pair of case badges, driver CD, DVI to VGA/D-sub adapter, DVI to HDMI adapter, Molex-to-6pin power adapter, HDTV cable, and an S/PDIF cable. And as with all GeForce GTX 285 videocards, Newegg is currently offering Call of Duty: World at War for free with purchase.
High-end videocards don't often stray from the reference cooling apparatus, and that's certainly the case here. BFG sticks with the two-slot cooling shroud found on every GTX 285 in existence, adding its own custom graphic. Barring a new ATX standard, the poor fella has no idea that he and his hot hands are forever destined to face the floor once installed inside a gaming rig.
One thing we should point out is that while BFG blazed the trail for lifetime warranties for GPUs, both XFX and EVGA now take it a step further and allow users to swap the heatsink/fan for a third-party solution. While the benefit may be negligible in this case (the stock heatsink/fan works extremely well, and is a bear to remove without causing physical damage), we'd still like to see BFG offer its customers similar flexibility.
No surprises here - DisplayPort is MIA, and instead Nvidia's GTX 285 calls for two DVI ports and an S-Video port. Also note that BFG includes a DVI to HDMI adapter, which is a boon to anyone planning on using this card in a home theater environment. Ever tried gaming on a ginormous LCD HDTV? Mmmmm...
Your last high-end videocard may have sported an 8-pin power connector, but not this one. Instead, the GTX 285 requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors, and BFG recommends a 575W PSU with a combined +12V rail rating of 42A or higher. If buying name-brand, you could probably get away with a lower wattage unit (pay attention to the +12V rating), but for a high-end gaming machine, we imagine you had been eyeballing a beefier model to begin with.
|Â IdleÂ ||Â LoadÂ |
We were met with moderate success when pushing the GPU, hitting at wall at 725MHz. That's a 23MHz increase over BFG's factory OC of 702MHz, and a fair bit higher than Nvidia's reference clockspeed of 648MHz. We fared a bit better with the memory, and were able to increase the clockspeed from 1332MHz to 1445MHz. That's more than 200MHz faster than Nvidia's reference specification of 1242MHz.
HardwareLogic's GPU testing consists of the following benchmarks:
- Supreme Commander- Along with revitalizing the RTS genre, Supreme Commander manages topush high end systems, giving both the processor and videocard aworkout. Because of the demands this game puts on a PC's subsystem,we've recently added it to our collection of gamin benchmarks. We usethe built-in benchmark as outlined by ExtremeTech.
- Crysis- One of the most anticipated games of the year, Crysis puts the hurton modern hardware with advanced visuals and DirectX 10 capabilities.We use Guru3D's Crysis Benchmark Tool v1.5.
- PT Boats- Akella DX10 benchmark of the upcoming naval action sim PT Boats. The demofeatures all the visual effects and some of the highly detailed modelsthat will be available in the game. The main DX10 graphics features ofPT Boats: Knights of the Sea tech demo-benchmark: Advanced oceanrendering, Soft particles, Reflections, light beams and advancedtransparency and Advanced HDR for gunfire and sun reflection. hebenchmark supports all the latest DirectX 10 graphics cards.
- Call of Juarez- This first person shooter from Techland Studios serves as anotherpunishing DirectX 10 benchmark, stressing various subsets of the GPU.
- 3DMark06- 3DMark06's Graphics Tests (used to be called Game Tests in previous3DMarks) are optimized to be as GPU bound as possible, hence the changein naming. The CPU tests on the other hand are the other way around -heavily CPU bound.
- PCMark Vantage- 3DMarkÂ® Vantage is the new industry standard PC gamingperformance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vistaand DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests,several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.3DMarkÂ® Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine,developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the newgraphics API from Microsoft.
|Â||BFG GTX 285 OCX||EVGA GTX 285 SSC Edition|
|Â Crysis 1280x1024, High||61||61|
|Â Crysis 1280x1024, High, 16xAA||55||56|
|Â Crysis 1680x1050, High||50||50|
|Â Crysis 1680x1050, High, 16xAA||43||44|
|Â Crysis 2560x1600, High||30||29|
|Â Crysis 2560x1600, High, 16xAA||25||25|
|Â SupCom 1280x1024, High||62||62|
|Â SupCom 1280x1024, High, 8xAA||62||62|
|Â SupCom 1680x1050, High||54||53|
|Â SupCom 1680x1050, High, 8xAA||54||53|
|Â SupCom 1792x1344, High||53||53|
|Â SupCom 1792x1344, High, 8xAA||53||52|
|Â PT Boats 1280x1024, High||63||62|
|Â PT Boats 1280x1024, High, 8xAA||50||50|
|Â PT Boats 1680x1050, High||61||61|
|Â PT Boats 1680x1050, High, 8xAA||41||41|
|Â PT Boats 1792x1344, High||59||59|
|Â PT Boats 1792x1344, High, 8xAA||33||33|
|Â Call of Juarez 1280x1024, High||60||59|
|Â Call of Juarez 1280x1024, High, 4xAA||53||53|
|Â Call of Juarez 1680x1050, High||49||49|
|Â Call of Juarez 1680x1050, High, 4xAA||44||44|
|Â Call of Juarez 1920x1080, High||45||44|
|Â Call of Juarez 1920x1080, High, 4xAA||39||39|
|Â F.E.A.R. 1280x1024, Max, 4xAA/16xAF||194||202|
|Â F.E.A.R. 1680x1050, Max, 4xAA/16xAF||171||174|
|Â F.E.A.R. 1792x1344, Max, 4xAA/16xAF||144||145|
|Â 3DMark06 Default||17,268||17,292|
|Â 3DMark06 1792x1344, 8xAA/16xAF||10,809||10,776|
|Â 3DMark Vantage Performance||15,620||15,535|
|Â 3DMark Vantage High||10,066||10,145|
This time around, we added a few more benchmarks to our testing, including some higher resolution benchmark runs. While still not as high as what you could get with a swank 30-inch LCD display, we do get a picture of how the GTX 285 scales as you continue to push the resolution higher and crank up the visual quality settings. We also see that BFG's card squeezes out a few close benchmark wins, befitting its ranking as the fastest-clocked GTX 285 currently available.
It's worth noting that we remain impressed with Nividia's new GPU. There's a lot of gaming goodness to be had from this card, and God bless you if you have both the coin and wattage to support three of these cards in a tri-SLI configuration.
|Warranty & Support||10/10|
|Price / Value||8/20|
Our RecommendationThis wasn't our first rodeo with Nvidia's GTX 285 GPU and we knew what to expect from the outset, but the question is what does BFG bring to the table? In this case, BFG brings the fastest-clocked GTX 285 yet available, and even though it's not by a wide margin, it was enough to win the majority of our benchmarking tests.
But more important than the extra 1-2FPS the OCX model affords you, we place a bigger emphasis on the BFG brand. Specifically, two key elements. We're talking about the lifetime warranty (register that card within 30 days of purchase, folks), and the 100 calendar day Trade-Up program. Too often enthusiasts get caught up playing the waiting game, delaying a purchase in anticipation of something better, bigger, and faster just around the corner. Having a 3+ month Trade-Up program alleviates that concern and makes it easier to pull the trigger.
Our few complaints are essentially the same as before. At $420 street, the factory OC doesn't come cheap, checking in at up to $70 more expensive than other slower-clocked GTX 285 videocards. And while we're reluctant to complain about a lifetime backing, we'd like to see BFG offer a more liberal policy that allows users to overclock and modify the cooling solution without voiding the warranty.
Gamers looking for a GTX 285 have a lot of choices to wade through, and it doesn't get any more expensive than BFG's OCX model. It also doesn't get any faster. No matter how you slice it, BFG's GeForce GTX 285 OCX is both the fastest-clocked and fastest-performing GTX 285 on store shelves.
Other Reviews of Note
It'salways nice to have more than one opinion on a component before youspend your hard earned money. For one, we may see something othersmissed, or vice versa. As with all reviews published at HardwareLogic,we'll not only give you our recommendation, but also point out somereviews from other sites around the web.