Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen Graphics Card Review
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Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen Graphics Card Review

March 30th, 2015 Mike Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

Last November AMD launched one of their most recent GPU’s in the form of the R9 285. A Graphics Card based around the AMD Tonga PRO Graphics Core and launched as a replacement for the older Tahiti Core based R9 280 (essentially a reskinned version of the even older HD 7950 Boost itself). So what do we get with the new AMD card? The AMD reference design features a 28nm Tonga Pro Graphics Core, with 1,792 stream processors running at 918MHz, 2GB of GDDR5 Memory using a 256-bit bus, running at a bandwidth of 5500MHz. All whilst offering support for AMD Mantle, DirectX 12, TrueAudio, FreeSync and CrossFireX via the PCIE bus.

What we have here is the Club3D version in the form of the Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen, which differs in a couple of ways. Club3D have dispensed with the often loud, single fan blower styled reference cooler, introducing their own Active Dual Fan CoolStream cooling technology. We also have a slight overclock direct from the factory with an increased Graphics Core speed of 945MHz, but everything else pretty much remains the same.

Let’s take a closer look.

 

Club3D logo large The competition is green with envy

The Club 3D AMD Radeon™ R9 285 graphics card is faster than the competition. That’s because we designed it for a single purpose: to play demanding PC games at maximum detail better than any card in its class.

The Club 3D AMD Radeon™ R9 285 Graphics card is loaded with the latest from Graphics Core Next Architecture, including mixed screen resolution for AMD Eyefinity Technology and support for DirectX® 12 and AMD’s groundbreaking Mantle API. So get Radeon™ and get gaming with forward-looking technology for the serious PC gamer.’

 

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - box front Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - box angled

 

Rather disappointingly, being a review sample the Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen didn’t arrive at pcG packaged within the very same retail packaging you’d find when purchasing the Graphics Card for yourself. Which sadly means I can’t waffle on about all its features and repeat those very same features for you. On the plus side this does mean a little less work for me. 😉

The box we did receive could be the retail box without its outer sleeve, but we’ll never know. It still looks quite nice in plain black with the red and white Club3D logo in the centre though.

 

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - unboxing Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - unpacking

 

With the box lid lifted, we find a two layer inner. The top of which is a tray where the Graphics Card itself is held, the lower tray holds all of the documentation and Driver CD. The R9 285 royalQueen itself is found to be very well protected within an ant-static plastic bag and bubble wrap envelope, so it’s very unlikely to get damaged in transit.

 

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - box contents

 

The Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen box contains the Graphics Card itself, Driver CD, Quick Installation Guide (in English and German) and a ‘Do Not Disturb – Gaming In Progress’ door hanger.

At the time of review the Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen is retailing for approximately £204 from Amazon and comes with a 2 year warranty. Although if you shop around you can pick one up for closer to £180.00.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Club3D

Model

Product Name: R9 285
Product Series: R9
Item Code: CGAX-R92856
EAN Code: 8717249401056
UPS Code: 854365005916 

Interface

Bus Interface: PCI Express 3.0

Chipset

GPU Chipset: Tonga Pro
GPU Clock: ~ 945 MHz
Stream Processors: 1792

Multi-GPU

Multi-GPU: Quad CrossFire Ready

Memory

Memory Size: 2GB
Memory Interface: 256BIT
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Clock: 5500 MHz

Cooling

Cooling Type: Active Dual Fan CoolStream

TDP

Idle: n/a
Idle ZCP mode enabled: n/a
Maximum load: 150 Watt

3D API

DirectX version: 12 capable graphics
OpenGL version: 4.3
OpenCL version: 1.2

Dimensions

Slot Width: 2 Slots
Profile: Standard ATX profile
Card Size: 225x112x38 mm

Weight

Card Weight: 0.7 Kgrs.

Output Configuration

DVI: 1x Dual-Link DVI-D + 1x Dual Link DVI-I
HDMI: 1x version 1.4a
DisplayPort: 1x version 1.2
HDCP ready: YES
RAMDAC: 400MHz
Maximum Resolution Single-Link DVI: 1920×1200
Maximum Resolution Dual-Link DVI: 2560×1600
Maximum Resolution HDMI 1.4a: 4096×3112
Maximum Resolution DP 1.2: 4096×2160
Maximum Outputs Simultaneously: 4
Maximum Display support: 6 (Via DisplayPort and using the MST Hub, please refer to CSV-5300

In the package

Club 3D AMD Radeon R9 285 graphics card
Club 3D knob hanger
Driver & E-Manual CD
Quick install guide

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

First impressions of the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen Graphics Card are a little hit and miss if I’m honest. That’s not to say it’s a bad looking card, because it certainly isn’t and the build quality is certainly good. There just isn’t a lot (if anything) to really give it anything to lift it to the realms of a ‘Most Wanted’ Graphics Card… One thing that the card does impress with, is its size. Measuring just 225(L)mm x 112(W)mm x 38(D)mm, this particular R9 285 is rather on the small side.

 

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - angled rear Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - angled front

 

Underneath the R9 285 shows a fairly busy and black PCB (Printed Circuit Board), with the typical model and warranty stickers. A certain oddity you may have noticed is the distinct lack of screw heads. In fact there are only the four screws keeping the GPU heatsink in place over the Tonga PRO Graphics Core.

Taking a look at the more interesting side of the card, shows the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen to utilise two fans within its cooling system, in what Club3D like to call ‘Active Dual Fan CoolStream’. This uses high performance heatpipes that help to keep the card components cooler than standard cooling solutions. The two fans themselves feature uniquely designed fan blades to increase airflow, whilst keeping noise levels down. Combined they should help to give the end user increased performance during Gaming. The CoolStream shroud is made from a satin black plastic. Rather nicely the fonts of both the white ‘Radeon’ lettering and the red and white ‘CoolStream – High Performance Cooling Technology’ lettering are printed on the shroud rather than simple stickers, giving the GPU a far nicer finish. The two fan impellers both feature ‘Club3D – Play your cards right’ stickers on their hubs. Overall the GPU is aesthetically very clean, but perhaps a little too safe.

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - power inputs Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - PCIE connector

On the nearside of the R9 285 royalQueen, we see the satin black shroud nearly covers its entirety. This is lifted somewhat by a nicely printed ‘Club3D’ name and logo, as well as the same ‘CoolStream – High Performance Cooling Technology’ as featured on the shroud face. Looking at the rear of the Graphics Card we can see the R9 285 royalQueen relies on two 6-pin sockets to help provide it with power for all your Gaming needs. Towards the front where you’d normally expect to find at least one CrossFireX header, there are none. Just like the R9 290, R9 290X and R9 295X2 before it, the R9 285 doesn’t need them as all multi-card functionality is provided through the PCIE bus.

On the PCIE side, we see nothing of any real interest. Which is unsurprising really, as once installed we’ll never see this side of the R9 285 royalQueen again!

 

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - outputs

Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - end

 

Looking to the ends of the card, we find on the output end the R9 285 royalQueen features a total of four outputs surrounded by a satin finish silver expansion bracket. The four outputs are; 1x DVI-D (maximum resolution 2560 x 1600), 1x DVI-I (maximum resolution 1920 x 1200), 1x HDMI 1.4a (maximum resolution 4096 x 3112)) and 1x DisplayPort v1.2 (maximum resolution 4096 x 2160). All of which can be combined to simultaneously display four screens or two UHD (4096 x 2160) displays, although I wouldn’t go expecting to play any of the latest Games on particularly high settings using AMD Eyefinity.

To the opposite end of the card, we see nothing of notable interest, but it does show the Club3D CoolStream cooling solution utilises copper heatpipes surrounded by aluminium heatsinks.

Overall the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen looks very clean and will suit any Gaming rig colour scheme, it just seems to me to be missing that certain something that makes it all the more desirable.

 

Hardware Installation

 

Installing the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen into our Test Rig was a nice and easy task, as per the norm it simply slots into the top PCIE slot and held in place via two thumbscrews. The card was then hooked up to two 6-pin PCIE power plugs and the relevant display cables plugged in.

  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Cooler Master HAF XB Power Supply Corsair Professional Series AX 760i
    Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer CPU Intel Core i5-4690K
    CPU Cooler Raijintek Themis RAM HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit
    Graphics Card Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen SSD HyperX FURY 120GB

     

    Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - installed top Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - installed angled Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - installed front

     

    As you can see from the images above, the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen may not look anything to get all enthusiastic over when outside of your Gaming rig, but once installed it actually looks rather nice. The red, black and white colours used on the card, complement our predominantly black and red Test Rig quite nicely.

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    Our Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional N 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all associated drivers also installed. AMD’s Catalyst Omega Software was downloaded and version 14.12 was used throughout testing.

    For testing purposes we use MSI Afterburner (here), to help us with our testing and overclocking.

     

  • Overclocking the Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen using MSI Afterburner (Version 4.1.0)
  •  

    Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen - OC Settings The Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen is pre-overclocked from the factory and has slightly higher speeds than that of the AMD reference card. The reference having a Graphics Core Clock of 918MHz and Memory Clock of 5500MHz, where as the royalQueen recieves a slight boost with a Graphics Core Clock of 945MHz with the Memory Clock remaining the same.

    With a little tinkering in MSI Afterburner I found this review sampled could be pushed up a further 152MHz on the Core Clock and a rather small 200MHz on the memory. This gives us a total Graphics Core clock of 1100MHz and 5700MHz for the Memory. In order to help keep the overclock stable, the Core Voltage is increased by +40 and the Power Limit raised to its +20 maximum. I did try increasing the Core Voltage further in order to give me the opportunity to increase the overclock, but this oddly caused the card to throttle during the benchmarks even though the temperatures weren’t high?!

     

    Hardware Performance

     

  • Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen – STOCK (Core: 945MHz / Mem: 5500MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 23.00 70.00 47.00 114.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 23.00 70.00 47.00 54.7 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 23.00 67.00 44.00 48.00 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 22.50 71.00 48.50 874
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 22.50 66.00 43.50 6535

     

  • Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen – OVERCLOCKED (Core: 1100MHz / Mem: 5700MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 23.00 71.00 47.50 128.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 23.50 71.00 47.50 61.9 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 22.50 69.00 46.50 56.0 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 23.00 69.00 46.00 962
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 23.00 68.00 45.00 7318

     

    Comparative Test Results (at stock):

    NOTE: Please note that all of these benchmarks are valid and correct at the time of review and we do not use historical data. Each benchmark is re-run every time (against our Test Cards) for each new GPU review using the latest Drivers at that time. Therefore the scores may fluctuate between reviews as Driver optimizations come into play…

     

  • BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS
  • TOMB RAIDER
  • METRO: LAST LIGHT
  • Metro: Last Light - Benchmark Settings
    Results measured in FPS (average)
    Zotac GTX 980 AMP!
    87.33
    XFX 290X Black OC Edition
    81.33
    Zotac GEFORCE GTX 970
    74.67
    XFX 280X Black OC Edition
    58.33
    Zotac GTX 960 AMP!
    55.33
    Club3D Radeon R9 285
    48.00
    XFX 270X Black OC Ed
    43.33
    All Graphics Card Results 2015
  • UNIGINE HEAVEN 4.0
  • 3DMARK (Firestrike)
  •  

    The Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen performs more or less as you’d expect and is sandwiched between the XFX R9 270X DD Black Edition and XFX Radeon R9 280X DD Black Edition on the AMD front, which means it also doesn’t perform too badly at stock, but when overclocked you’ll be getting significant gains in Gaming performance. Then goes on to better the newer Zotac GEFORCE GTX 960 AMP! during the synthetic benchmarks, yet being knocked back considerably in the Gaming benchmarks (even when overclocked!).

    Audibly when left to its own means the R9 285 royalQueen will ramp up its fan speeds when needed and knock out a fairly loud 48dB of sound, but when throwing up the fans to 100% to help cool the card when overclocked, the royalQueen knocks out a hefty 62dB of noise. Certainly too loud for me, even with a Closed Cup Gaming Headset on, but regardless of you benchmarking or not, it is highly unlikely you’ll ever run the card’s fans at this speed throughout day to day use or Gaming.

    The overclock from 945MHz to 1100MHz meant the R9 285 royalQueen gained a 16% performance increase on the Graphics Core and a rather small 4% on the Memory Clock. I did aim for a higher overclock on both, but the memory on this particular sample did not like being pushed at all, whilst a further increase in the Core Voltage above +40 would cause the GPU to throttle back even though the temperatures had very little variance. Overclocking the R9 285 royalQueen as shown in the charts above, does gain you a pretty significant boost when Gaming. Sure the Batman Arkham Origins FPS is higher, but unless your running a monitor with a screen of 120Hz+ you aren’t likely to notice. An average gain of 7.2 FPS in Tomb Raider takes it above the 60 FPS target with an average of 61.9 FPS which will make the Game feel more fluid. The jump to 56.0 FPS on the Metro Last Light benchmark is nothing to be smirked at either, but doesn’t quite hit the 60 FPS golden mark we all aim for.

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    If I’m totally honest, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with the Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen, six months ago it would’ve proven a pretty good Graphics Card for HD Gaming, but with the competition hotting up how does it fare now?

    The R9 285 royalQueen, being a review sample had the outer sleeve normally found on the retail box missing. Not entirely a bad thing of course, despite lacking the specifications and features (even a model name!), the simple black box with the red and white Club3D logo in the dead centre, actually looked refreshingly uncomplicated and quite nice. The GPU inside was revealed to be very well protected within an antistatic bag, which was further protected within a bubblewrap envelope, then further still by the cardboard bumpers of the box itself. With all the protective layers discarded, the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen was revealed to be solidly built, but looked a little too safe for my liking and lacking that certain spark that makes you want to own it. That isn’t to say it’s a bad looking card because it isn’t. The satin black dual fan CoolStream shroud with its white and red fonts offers a nice contrast and looks rather nice when installed into your rig, especially with a red and black colour scheme. It’s just a little too safe…

    Running on to the R9 285 royalQueen’s performance shows the GPU to perform as you’d expect, sitting between that of its AMD brethren the R9 270X and R9 280X. Then with a gentle overclock we were able to gain an impressive 16% increase in speed from the Tonga PRO Graphics Core, raising its Core Clock from 945MHz and Memory of 5500MHz, to a hefty Core of 1100MHz and Memory of 5700MHz. Our review sample didn’t really like its memory being touched, but we all know it’s about the grunt from the GPU Core at HD right? 😉 , that translates into much better in Game performance. On the downside this came at a cost, with its fans running at 100% to help keep the GPU cool when running overclocked during the benchmarks, the Club3D R9 285 royalQueen knocked out 62dB of noise, which is of course a little extreme.

    All in all Club3D’s little number isn’t a bad Graphics Card at all. The real problem is in the area of its pricing… Sure you get support for Mantle, DirectX 12, AMD TrueAudio, FreeSync support and CrossFireX via the PCIE bus, but with a price ranging between £180/£205 you could buy the cheaper and better for Gaming Nvidia GEFORCE GTX 960, or the even better still the AMD Radeon R9 280X and still save some money.

     

    Verdict

    Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…



    Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Club3D Radeon R9 285 royalQueen a Bronze
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Club3D for providing this sample for review

     


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