AMD’s GTX 760 Killer? MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV Review

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by Rob Williams on September 2, 2014 in Graphics & Displays

It may be a year late, but with its Radeon R9 285, AMD claims that it’s come up with the perfect recipe for taking on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 760 – a card that hasn’t seen much of a price drop since its release. Featuring an updated GCN architecture, the R9 285 is an interesting card even outside of its elected battle, so let’s check it out.

Game Tests: Metro Last Light, Sleeping Dogs

Crysis has become infamous for punishing even top-end systems, but let’s be fair: The Metro series matches, if not exceeds its requirement for graphical horsepower. That was proven by the fact that we used Metro 2033 in our testing for a staggering three years – only to be replaced by its sequel, Last Light. I’m not particularly a fan of this series, but I am in awe of its graphics even at modest settings.

Metro Last Light - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: Because this game is a real challenge to benchmark with for both the reasons of variability in the results and the raw challenge, I choose to use the built-in benchmark here but rely on Fraps to give me more accurate results.

Note: Metro Last Light‘s built-in benchmark is not representative of the entire game; some levels will punish a GPU much worse than this benchmark will (namely, “The Chase”, which has lots of smoke and explosions). What this means is that while these settings might suffice for much of the game, there might be instances where the performance degrades enough during a certain chapter or portion of a chapter to force a graphics setting tweak.

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Metro Last Light (1920x1080)

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Metro Last Light (2560x1440)

With results like these, there’s no denying that AMD’s made some improvements in its recent drivers that boosted its performance in this title – the R9 285 matches up or surpasses the performance of its bigger brother, the R9 280X. Note that the 280X was tested way back in March, so had I been able to benchmark it with a newer driver, we’d be seeing different results.

Sleeping Dogs

Many have called Sleeping Dogs (our review) the “Asian Grand Theft Auto“, but the game does a lot of things differently that helps it stand out of the crowd. For example, in lieu of supplying the player with a gazillion guns, Sleeping Dogs focuses heavily on hand-to-hand combat. There are also many collectibles that can be found to help upgrade your character and unlock special fighting abilities – and if you happen to enjoy an Asian atmosphere, this game should fit the bill.

Sleeping Dogs - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: The run here takes place during the chapter “Amanda”, on a dark, dank night. The saved game begins us at the first apartment in the game (in North Point), though that’s not where I begin capturing the framerate. Instead, I first request our motorcycle from the garage. Once set, I begin recording the framerate and drive along a specific path all the way to Aberdeen, taking about two minutes.

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Sleeping Dogs (1920x1080)

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Sleeping Dogs (2560x1440)

The R9 285 continues to outpace the R9 280, and at 1440p, gains 6 FPS average over the GTX 760.

Rob Williams

Rob founded SmartKevin in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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