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BFG GTX 285 OCX 1GB Video Card Review

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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Heat & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Heat and Acoustics


285OCX-55.jpg

Heat output from the BFG GTX 285 OCX is pretty much identical to that of the EVGA GTX 285 SSC which isn’t surprising in the least considering both cards share the exact same core speed. All in all this means the overall temperature of the OCX is extremely good for an overclocked card and this goes to show one of the major strengths of the new 55nm core.

As for acoustics, the fan speed profile BFG chose for their card is identical to that of the EVGA SSC. That means this BFG card is quiet as a mouse when at idle but its fan does tend to pick up speed when the going gets tough in high usage situations. Don’t get us wrong and assume this card gets loud when pressed; rather it is the exact opposite since there is almost no way you will hear it if you game at a moderate sound volume. Considering the dust-buster sound most high-end cards are making these days, this comes as a welcome change.


Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.

285OCX-53.jpg

*Non-Reference HD 4870 1GB

And there you have it folks, another near-identical result for the EVGA and BFG cards. It seems that the very slight advantage the BFG card has in memory clocks doesn’t translate into any real-world power consumption increases since its 1W difference is well within the margin of error. All in all, this is actually an excellent result particularly in the case of idle power consumption where Nvidia seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of ATI.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Overclocking

Overclocking


Considering the amazing clocks we achieved with the EVGA GTX 285 SSC (751 / 1694 / 3008) I had some high expectations for the OCX. Let’s see how it did.

Maximum Stable Overclocks

Core: 724Mhz
Shaders: 1647Mhz
Memory: 2986Mhz (DDR)

All in all these overclocks are extremely good considering the clock speeds of a stock GTX 285. As we saw in the past, the memory on these GTX 285 cards can overclock like a crack addict on Red Bull with speeds flirting just shy of the 3Ghz mark. It is also apparent how close BFG was cutting things when they spec’d out their original 712Mhz clock speed for the OCX considering we had to fight with this card to get above 720Mhz. There is no worse feeling when a pre-overclocked card hits an overclocking wall a few Mhz above its clock speeds since that is a telltale indication the manufacturer may be pushing things a bit too far. Thus, we are glad BFG decided to back the stock clocks for their flagship GTX 285 to a more reasonable 702Mhz.

It should be mentioned that EVGA reps have hinted that they have a “little something” going for their SSC Edition that other manufacturers didn’t latch onto. By looking at the results attained by the OCX, I’d have to say that isn’t an idle boast.

24049769f4b3bb25.jpg
 
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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
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Messages
12,841
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


So there you have it; another successful launch from Nvidia has come and gone with board partners like BFG releasing highly overclocked models of an already-powerful card. Make no mistake about it; BFG has come to the table with all guns blazing when it comes to the performance of their OCX model. Price aside, this GTX 285 is currently the top dog when it comes to single GPU out-of-box performance which is saying a lot considering the competition it is up against. This is illustrated extremely well when you compare its performance to even the HD 4870 X2 and GTX 295 in some applications that hold back the dual chippery found on the highest-end video cards.

There are however some worms of apprehension making their way through my mind so please read through this before I have to get my flame suit on. I really have to appreciate BFG’s candor and honesty when it came to admitting that they set their sights too high with an original 712Mhz core clock on this card and felt better about releasing an OCX version clocked at 702Mhz instead. What bothers me a bit is that this in turn makes this card’s clock speeds a near match to those found on the EVGA SSC Edition with the only difference being a miniscule difference in memory speeds. Remember, this is supposed to be BFG’s flagship GTX 285 but the competition over at EVGA has not yet released their flagship FTW Edition which is sure to carry a clock speed significantly higher than 702Mhz if it is ever released.

The clock speeds on the OCX point us towards the next interesting tidbit concerning the GTX 285: it seems that overclocking on the 55nm cores is somewhat limited to around 730Mhz which runs contrary to what we saw with the GTX SSC Edition. The OCX on the other hand was able to attain almost no additional overclocking on the core but the memory was more than willing to rock and roll. Indeed, the memory on these GTX 285 cards seems to have an ungodly willingness to overclock to the 3Ghz mark which until very recently was considered well beyond the means of air-cooled GDDR3 memory.

What really amazes us about these new GTX 285 cards is how efficient they are when it comes to power consumption. At idle the BFG GTX OCX puttered merrily along consuming less than 150W which is perfect for those of you who pull double duty of word processing and gaming with your computers. Add to that the extremely quiet operation of the fan and you have a card that can be as mild mannered as a sleeping baby while retaining the fangs of a true performance beast.

Indeed, there really isn’t much to distinguish this card from EVGA’s SSC model other than the fact that the OCX seems to have little to no availability here in Canada. That doesn’t stop this card from having its own allure and a lot of that appeal comes from the fact that I won’t have to RMA my card over an international border anymore since BFG has a Canadian-based RMA facility. This attention to what may amount to a small portion of their market should win them accolades from all of us Canadians.

Since we can’t consider the inexact science of overclocking into the way we look at this card, BFG’s attention to excellent customer service coupled with the truly high-performance graphics card the have produced with the GTX 285 OCX means this card wins our Dam Good Award.


Pros:

- Extremely good performance
- Efficient
- Relatively small acoustical footprint
- Lifetime Warranty
- Canadian RMA facility

Cons:

- Availability
- Price


 
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