MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G PCIe Graphics card

MSI LogoAnyone else bored of seeing NVidia reference cooling? I know I am. Over the past year we have seen very little innovation from graphics card manufacturers who have seemed content to stick with the tried and tested reference coolers. Not that that’s a bad thing of course as the stock cooler on the GTX285 is very good, it’s just there is little, bar the price, to separate one product from another. So then, it’s great to see that MSI (Micro Star International) have Incorporated a new cooler design to compliment their latest NVidiaGTX285 graphics card.
The Twin Frozr thermal design features intelligent dual-PWM fans which change speed depending on the GPU’s temperature and load conditions. While this in itself is nothing original as most, if not all GPU coolers have this PWM feature, few cards on the market feature two fans which will give the end user peace of mind should one fan fail. The most intriguing part of the design is the industry leading 5-heatpipe design. Other GPU heatpipe solutions feature up to four heatpipes but by adding a fifth, MSI claim this increases the heat flow from the core to the finned heatsink much more efficiently. This heat, which is spread across the over sized heatsink, is then dispelled by the dual fan design.
New cooling designs are no guarantee to increase performance though and for this reason MSI have also incorporated an extra gigabyte of GDDR3 making 2GB in total. In the past, such a huge increase in memory has done little for a GPU. Today however, with the added realism of DX10 and ever bigger and cheaper displays becoming very popular among gamers, large rafts of memory on a GPU are needed if one wishes to run games at the highest possible quality settings.
The fun doesn’t stop there either as MSI, being an enthusiasts favourite, have also overclocked the GTX285 to take advantage of this new cooler. Let’s take a look at the full specification:
Graphics Engine: GeForce GTX 285
Bus Standard: PCI Express x16 2.0
Memory Type: GDDR3
Memory Size(MB): 2048
Memory Interface: 512
Core Clock Speed(MHz): 680
Memory Clock Speed(MHz): 2500
Memory Bandwidth(GB/sec): 160
Texture Fill Rate(billion/sec): 54.4
DVI Output: 2
D-SUB Output: 2(via DVI to D-Sub adaptor
TV-Output: 1(via S-Video to Composite)
HDMI-Output: 2(via DVI to HDMI adaptor)
HDTV Support: Y
HDCP Support: Y
HDMI Support: Y
Dual-link DVI: Y
Display Ouput: (Max Resolution) 2560×1600
RAMDACs: 400
DirectX Version Support: 10.0
OpenGL Version Support: 2.1
SLI Support Y
3-way SLI Y
As you can see, the MSI GTX285 2G OC edition is overclocked from a stock speed of 648MHz on the core to 680MHz and a slight overclock on the memory from 1242 to 1250MHz. These clock speeds appear very conservative considering the adding cooling this card has so it remains to be seen if the card will overclock any further. Something I will be putting to the test later in the review. For now though let’s take a look at the packaging and appearance of the card…