One of the key advantages of shrinking your product's manufacturing process is theoretically getting the same performance while using less power, and this is a fact that's been borne out with the GTX 285. The difference between this card and its predecessor isn't perhaps quite as dramatic as one might first hope but remember the GTX 285 is also clocked higher, which increases power consumption.
As compared with the competition from ATI, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. The GTX 285 draws significantly less power than the HD 4870 when idling but then considerably more when under load. We'd be inclined to hand the victory to nVidia's latest, though, as that high load figure also accompanies a reasonably significant performance advantage as well.
As well as impressing us with its performance and power consumption, the GTX 285 has one final trick up its sleeve. It's cooler is surprisingly quiet, particularly when idling, and is markedly less intrusive all round than those employed by ATI's top cards.
However, things are less rosy when we come to look at value. There's simply no denying £300 odd (or closer to £350 for the overclocked card we've tested) is a lot to spend on a graphics card, especially given that you can get overclocked ATI HD 4870s for under £200. That said, the GTX 285 does at least occupy a unique territory. The ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 and nVidia GeForce GTX 295 are both way ahead in terms of performance but their dual-chip design can still be temperamental and they cost £400-£500, so by being the fastest single-chip graphics card and 'only' costing £300, the GTX 285 will appeal to many. Overall, though, we still feel it's a little overpriced, regardless of its unique position.
The nVidia GeForce GTX 285 is the fastest single-GPU graphics card on the market, which is impressive enough in itself. However, factor in its surprisingly quiet HSF and lower power consumption than its predecessor and we start to get very excited indeed. Unfortunately, its high price prevents the GTX 285 from getting an outright recommended award but it's definitely one to consider.