AMD Announces Radeon R9 285X and R9 285 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2014 - 10:46 AM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 285, R9, amd, 285

Today during AMD's live stream event celebrating 30 years of graphics and gaming, the company spent a bit of time announcing and teasing a new graphics card, the Radeon R9 285X and R9 285. Likely based on the Tonga GPU die, the specifications haven't been confirmed but most believe that the chip will feature 2048 stream processors, 128 texture units, 32 ROPs and a 256-bit memory bus.

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In a move to help donate to the Child's Play charity, AMD currently has an AMD Radeon R9 285 on Ebay. It lists an ASUS built Strix-style cooled retail card, with 2GB of memory being the only specification that is visible on the box.

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The R9 285X and R9 285 will replace the R9 280X and R9 280 more than likely and we should see these shipping and available in very early September.

UPDATE: AMD showed specifications of the Radeon R9 285 during the live stream.

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For those of you with eyes as bad as mine, here are the finer points:

  • 1,792 Stream Processors
  • 918 MHz GPU Clock
  • 3.29 TFLOPS peak performance
  • 112 Texture units
  • 32 ROPs
  • 2GB GDDR5
  • 256-bit memory bus
  • 5.5 GHz memory clock
  • 2x 6-pin power connectors
  • 190 watt TDP
  • $249 MSRP
  • Release date: September 2nd

These Tonga GPU specifications are VERY similar to that of the R9 280: 1792 stream units, 112 texture units, etc. However, the R9 280 had a wider memory bus (384-bit) but runs at 500 MHz lower effective frequency. Clock speeds on Tonga look like they are just slightly lower as well. Maybe most interesting is the frame buffer size drop from 3GB to 2GB.

That's all we have for now, but I expect we'll have our samples in very soon and expect a full review shortly!

UPDATE 2: Apparently AMD hasn't said anything about the Radeon R9 285X, so for the time being, that still falls under the "rumor" category. I'm sure we'll know more soon though.

Source: AMD

August 23, 2014 | 12:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Asus DirectCUII...GOD NO please nooo!! that amateurish and stupid design crippled alot of 280x's VRAM. Just check the customer reviews to see how many faulty ASUS 280X are thanks to no VRAM cooling at all.

August 23, 2014 | 02:42 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Odd, running that Asus 280X in my primary graphics testbed right now.  Been doing a ton of work (and a buddy has been gaming on it heavily) for the past 2 weeks.  Also used that card quite extensively since I first got it last year.  Not a single issue that I have experienced so far.  From what I see, airflow over VRAM is perfectly fine, plus those chips don't get hot... unless you are talking about the VRMs (the power delivery).  If you are, again there is plenty of airflow over those parts.  Yet to see any kind of issue on my particular sample.

August 26, 2014 | 10:12 AM - Posted by pepo123 (not verified)


My Asus 280x keeps it all cool for some time now. My previous Sapphire dualx 280x caught fire though. And I mean literally. Lots of smoke and sparks and fire from that VRM section at the back.

August 23, 2014 | 12:18 PM - Posted by Alamo

no HBM memory, there goes my hopes for efficiency, 190 TDP, guess will have to wait for next HBM cards, overall the card is a good replacement for the 280, more features, 4Go ram option, for crossfire and 4k capable system, 249$ price tag is ok in the line with 280, overall not as great as i would have hoped.
but the new bundle is great, star citizen custom ship is epic xD, alien isolation is looking to be great game of the year too.
still kinda getting bored with the 28nm tech, nvidia and AMD squized everything they could out of it.

August 23, 2014 | 12:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The 256-bit bus will cripple it in 4k compared to a 280's 384-bit bus.

August 23, 2014 | 12:31 PM - Posted by Alamo

this what drives me nuts, nvidia is insisting on 256bits, which i thought was stupid, even in their 800 series, now AMD also joins them, i dont get it.
beside NDA has been lifted today, so hoping to see a review from pcper soon i hope, maybe crossfire setup on 4k, would be great.

August 23, 2014 | 12:32 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

A 256-bit bus, in theory, allows them to make a smaller and higher yield part. That makes them cheaper. Yes, it would affect 4K performance but honestly this GPU is simply not targeted at that kind of resolution...

August 23, 2014 | 02:37 PM - Posted by Alamo

ryan tell us when to expect the review of the 285 ^^

August 23, 2014 | 02:54 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Sept 2nd it looks like.

August 25, 2014 | 04:12 PM - Posted by boothman

Ryan, will you guys be getting the new FX CPUs also announced?

August 26, 2014 | 09:27 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath


August 27, 2014 | 07:37 AM - Posted by boothman

Cool. I'm interested to see what the lower TDP parts have to offer. I've also seen a few MB refreshes from Gigabyte, MSI & Asrock. Now if they could get themselves a mini-itx MB or two for the 95w parts, I think they can drum up additional interest in the platform.

August 23, 2014 | 08:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Sure, but $250 is a bad price for it; 280Xs are down to $250 at times, and the 280, which still looks superior, is even lower. If the smaller chip allowed them to sell it under $200, it would be a great card.

August 23, 2014 | 09:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It should perform along side the 770 while using less power and costing a lot less.

You get XDMA, TrueAudio, Mantle & DX12 along with FreeSync.

4GB GTX 770s start at $350. I expect AIB cards to carry a $10-$50 premium, we could see OC 285 4GB under $299. That is a nice price.

Have to wait for the reviews on Sept 2.

August 24, 2014 | 01:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I bought a 4gb GTX 760, which when overclocked, is a match or slightly better than a 7950 for $300 a year ago. This thing is too expensive. That fact is, 7950's were going for $200 bucks well over a year ago now, before the miners got a hold of 'em. AMD's strategies make no sense to me.

August 24, 2014 | 07:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So you bought a GTX 760 for $300 to match a 7950 that was selling for $200 ?

August 23, 2014 | 03:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What possibly would make you think stacked memory would come out on a refresh card? Nvidia doesn't even have it in their roadmap until 2016 at earliest and you can count on AMD being around the same time. Guarantee they're going to milk GDDR6 (which should be coming out this year) for a generation + refresh before they start using HBM even if it's 100% ready to go.

August 23, 2014 | 10:49 PM - Posted by Alamo

stacked memory is developed by AMD, even nvidia is gonna use it by buying licence from AMD, thats why AMD is gonna have it way before nvidia

August 23, 2014 | 01:30 PM - Posted by donut (not verified)

A review of the 4GB version of these cards in crossfire. I'ed like to see that Mr Pcper.

August 23, 2014 | 02:13 PM - Posted by VolteX

i hope this would cripple the pricing of R9 280 since im planning to go for it hehe X)

August 23, 2014 | 02:35 PM - Posted by Alamo

guessing 290 crossfire is still teh best option for 4k gaming, nvidia and AMD sticking to 256bit bus shows that they are waiting for 20nm to push for 4k.
voltex the 280 is a great card, the only issue i have with it is freesync... and maybe trueaudio if AMD manages to put it in most competitive FPS genre games, that would be a huge plus, not everyone can put 150 bucks on a surround 7.1 headset

August 23, 2014 | 02:37 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Don't forget TrueAudio and XDMA support.  Two things that were seriously needed for AMD in this price range.

August 23, 2014 | 02:51 PM - Posted by General Lee (not verified)

Tonga brings a needed update for AMD in this performance tier. Tahiti was getting long in the tooth, and Tonga will offer the same performance with a smaller more efficient chip with all the new bells and whistles. Ultimately though it's not going to be anything ground-breaking. For that you'll have to wait for HBM and 20/16 nm. As for Nvidia I expect the GM204 will be pretty much the same story one tier higher, an efficient replacement for the GK110.

August 23, 2014 | 04:40 PM - Posted by JohnGR

I was expecting lower TDP. Disappointing.

September 2, 2014 | 01:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

A 24% reduction in power while getting slightly more performance from it wasn't good enough for you?

August 23, 2014 | 05:40 PM - Posted by John H (not verified)

This doesn't feel like a ton of progress vs. the Radeon 7850 from 2.5 years ago (1/31/2012), but maybe i'm off..

+Faster main clock speed ("up to..")
+(apparently) More efficient TDP per clock speed
+XDMA crossfire (this is very good)
+$249 at launch instead of $450 (good progress)
-less memory
-less memory bandwidth (10% higher clock, but 2/3rds width)

Hopefully there are other tricks up the sleeve of the GPU to address performance per shader/clock though..

Thanks PCPer for keeping us informed!

August 25, 2014 | 04:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

remember that the crosshair is on the GTX 760 with this one,there will also be a 285x

September 2, 2014 | 01:02 AM - Posted by mordorson (not verified)

there are going to be 4GB variants, so lower memory capacity isn't really a big deal

August 23, 2014 | 11:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Still waiting on HDMI 2.0 out on a gfx card. According to only HDMI Ready : 1.4a

August 24, 2014 | 01:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what with HDMI 2.0 ?

August 24, 2014 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Importantquestion (not verified)

Does this card require a crossfire connector or is it ran through the bus?

August 24, 2014 | 01:00 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Through da bus!

August 25, 2014 | 04:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

well said :D

August 24, 2014 | 08:45 PM - Posted by Principle (not verified)

I don't understand why anyone would be disappointed with this realease. I am assuming AMD figured out how to squeeze MORE performance than a 280, with a more narrow memory bus at 3/4 of the power consumption. So AMD is going to make more money off the chips, or be able to offer them for a little less, and they still beat any similarly priced nVidia card, while giving Mantle, DX12 and TrueAudio support. This is bringing an udpated GCN architecture to this performance level. The 280 and 280X were just rebranded GCN 1.0 HD 7950 and 7970.

25% power consumption drop, same performance at the same feature size is a HUGE improvement.

If you want to game at 4K, go get a 295X2. A 290 at a minimum.

August 24, 2014 | 11:05 PM - Posted by funandjam

strix cards look like sets of owl eyes

August 25, 2014 | 03:25 AM - Posted by donut (not verified)

That's why there called Strix cards.

August 25, 2014 | 11:26 PM - Posted by funandjam

lol, never bothered to look it up until now, but still, creepy owl eyes are creepy

August 25, 2014 | 11:27 PM - Posted by funandjam

stupid double post!

August 26, 2014 | 01:35 AM - Posted by DaveSimonH

Will be interesting to see how the 285 benchmarks against the 280, especially considering I just put a 280 in my new build :)

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