Hey, don't get me wrong, but from a REALISTIC, DOWN-TO-EARTH point of view... =D
I don't think the 285 is worth the extra $70 up from the 280...I mean, it uses a bit less power, generates a bit less heat, noise, etc. But a 280 is a 280, and small gains don't say anything when you have a huge GPU to begin with. Nvidia made a stupid move when they made the 280. Kind of a redneck idea, "HEY! Let's just make a REALLY HUGE GPU with as many transistors as we can, and sell it for as much as we can! Who CARES about heat and power anyway?!?" Meanwhile, their 9 series GPU's are sitting there beside the 8 series GPU's on store shelves, and no one can tell the difference, everyone says "Higher number = way better!" And the 8-series are saying to the 9-series "Hey, I've seen you before...you're like that vision I had of myself with a new cooler design, and an extra SLI bridge!"
According to nvidia the 285 uses ~50W less than the 280, which isn't a deal breaker for me. Same with the noise. Once I settle on a card I'm going to WC it so both of those don't matter. I'm just trying to set myself up for a bit of future proofing. Right now I have a Q6600 that clocks really well (3.83GHz) so I don't feel the push to upgrade to a I7 considering the prices but with my current P45 mobo I cant SLI and I'm not a big fan of going with a nvidia chipset because of all the horror stories. I still have 78 days left on my stepup so I still have some time to decide. Maybe I'll bite the bullet and switch to an nvidia mobo and step up to the 295 (hoping the prices drop a little before time runs out), and then get another later in the year when retail prices are lower. Of course by that time then there will be the usual argument of the current single cards being as good as two slightly older cards. Any thoughts on a game plan?
On more serious note Biff the next board you'll be upgrading to will be a X58 and you'll have all the SLI/Crossfire fun you'll ever want and still have a great clocking qaudcore, just with amazing memory performance and hyperthreading that finally works.
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