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.

Synthetic Tests: Futuremark 3DMark, 3DMark 11, Unigine Heaven 4.0

We don’t make it a point to seek out automated gaming benchmarks, but we do like to get a couple in that anyone reading this can run themselves. Of these, Futuremark’s name leads the pack, as its benchmarks have become synonymous with the activity. Plus, it does help that the company’s benchmarks stress PCs to their limit – and beyond.

3DMark

While Futuremark’s latest GPU test suite is 3DMark, I’m also including results from 3DMark 11 as it’s still a common choice among benchmarkers.

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Futuremark 3DMark

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Performance

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Extreme

What I find interesting here is that the R9 285 outpaces the GTX 770 in 3DMark and 3DMark 11’s Performance test. Now, to be fair, the GTX 770 isn’t pre-overclocked like the R9 285 is, but that’s still quite impressive to see.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Unigine might not have as established a name as Futuremark, but its products are nothing short of “awesome”. The company’s main focus is its game engine, but a by-product of that is its benchmarks, which are used to both give benchmarkers another great tool to take advantage of, and also to show-off what its engine is capable of. It’s a win-win all-around.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

The biggest reason that the company’s “Heaven” benchmark is so relied-upon by benchmarkers is that both AMD and NVIDIA promote it for its heavy use of tessellation. Like 3DMark, the benchmark here is overkill by design, so results are not going to directly correlate with real gameplay. Rather, they showcase which card models can better handle both DX11 and its GPU-bogging features.

MSI Radeon R9 285 Twin Frozr IV - Unigine Heaven 4.0 (1920x1080)

In 3DMark, the GTX 770 fell to the R9 285, but the tide changes when moderate tessellation is brought in – something that’s not too much of a surprise given previous trends.

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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