MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G PCIe Graphics card


When I first heard about this card I scoffed at the idea of a single GPU needing 2GB of memory. I did not think the games on sale today would make use of the extra GDDR3 and that this was just a gimmick to yield yet more cream from the milk that is the Nvidia G200 core. At the low resolution of 1680x1050 there are some good gains to be had yet I feel that the benefits of the extra 2GB excesses itself when the resolution is increased and the filters are added. This is where a lot of cards begin to falter and the GTX285 Superpipe 2G comes into its own. It simply gobbled up everything I threw at it today and then asked for more. Even Crysis, renown to be bring a GPU to it's knees managed to be playable with the resolution maxed out and 4xAA added.
The packaging is very good, almost perfect with my only criticisms being no SLI bridge, no game and a red PCB. Red and Nvidia should simply not be put in the same room let alone on the same GPU together. However, colour choice is always going to be a personal thing. What I did find baffling was the decision to hide the heat pipes away. One of the best features of the card, both in terms of performance and aesthetics is hidden away. This is akin to buying a shiny new V8 engine, opening up the hood and all you get to look at is the oil sump or taking a girl back to your apartment, undressing her and you find.....well I best not go there. Simply put this is an opportunity missed because as an overall package, it's great, it has everything you need to get going, packaged extremely well and there are some very nice artistic touches on the GPU itself.
My biggest concern with a card such as this is that while the performance is very good, it is simply too expensive. Compare the £350+ you will have to stump up to buy one of these limited edition cards and you are easily into ATI4870x2 and GTX295 territory. A Middleweight jumping into the ring with a heavyweight is never a good idea and likely to end in tears...or worse. The 285 Superpipe 2G is a great card, no doubts there but as good as the dual GPU cards? Not in this life I'm afraid. Some people however don't like dual GPU cards, they can be tricky to setup and sometimes are plagued with driver issues, sadly that is no longer true with dual GPU cards and no matter how much those folk stick there fingers in there ears, dual GPU cards are king I'm afraid.
So, while the card cannot really hold a flame to the performance of flagship dual GPU cards out there, The MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G is still an extremely well built card that does exactly what it says on the tin - it cools well, it has blistering performance (especially at high resolutions) and overclocks like a dream. It is the highest performing single GPU available at present and with that huge 2GB of GDDR3 and excellent overclocking potential, it should last the test of time and maybe offset some of that initial dismay for paying such a high price. So if you are intent on sticking with a single GPU based graphics card, the MSI N285GTX Superpipe 2G is, price aside, the best there is.
The Good
- 2GB of GDDR3
- Excellent packaging
- Great overclocking
- Fastest single GPU solution on the market today
The Mediocre
- Cool, but not as good as expected
- Red PCB may not appeal not some
- The price. It's simply too much to pay for a single GPU when there are better solutions available.
The Bad
- Nothing of any significance.
Thanks to MSI for providing the NGTX285 Superpipe 2G for todays review. Discuss in our forums.
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Most Recent Comments

08-07-2009, 10:11:12

Great review.

Firstly I think the card, esthetically, looks awful - and the MSI logo at the rear looks cheesey over classy.

It does appear to hovver over the ASUS 285, and I think here is the thing. Whenever manufacturers add inordinate amounts of memory to a card, it's a marketing gimmick. I feel it's for the non-enthusiast to see it in a shop list and think that 2G is going to be better than the cheaper 1G alts underneath it. Furthermore, I think for 2G to come into play, ur going to need gaming in excess of 2560 - how rare is that ? Some good timedemos like World in Conflict have a meter showing how much memory gets used, that'd be worth looking at.

Excellent move in changing the key descriptions on the graphs, always found it a pita to follow when it ran the other way.

I do feel that benchmarkers prior to 3dmark2006 have had their day. I'd even argue 06 has, but atleast it keeps a foothold in dx9, that unfortunately game devs also have.

I'd class this card alongside the 9400GT 1G releases, the figures are there to look nice in a sales ad.

Very disappointed that the card doesn't blow the ASUS version away with it's alt cooler.

Good stuff.Quote

08-07-2009, 12:40:37

i think it would have been better if they went all black,

recently more products have been black, the red pcb on the Msi Looks a bit out of place on that card. And also the gtx 285 is to high priced for the same price you can buy a 4870x2 or a gtx295 if you know where to look.Quote

08-07-2009, 13:20:17

Nice review dude. I think Rast has nailed down my thoughts exactly on the extra memory.

One thing that I don't seem to get, why has nvidia stuck with ddr3 while ati has pushed on and gone for ddr5 and previously used ddr4 as well? Marketing again? The higher number not really meaning anything if ddr3 is still capable even at the real top end price range?Quote

08-07-2009, 14:13:23

The benefit in real terms is less than ddr2->ddr3.Quote

11-07-2009, 22:36:16

Like the cooling but not worth the extra moneyQuote

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