The Radeon R9 285 will arrive Sep. 2 at $249

Looks like most of the rumors were spot-on about this one. In a live-streamed fan event this morning, AMD formally announced its next graphics card, the Radeon R9 285. This card is based on the Tonga GPU, a somewhat smaller and cheaper-to-produce successor to the Tahiti chip used in everything from the Radeon HD 7970 to the R9 280X. Tonga looks to be based on the slightly revised version of the GCN architecture used in the Radeon R9 290, which includes some new features like TrueAudio and XDMA CrossFire. Here's a look at the card and the full specs sheet revealed by AMD:

The biggest news with R9 285 is the fact that the Tonga chip and cards based on it should be cheaper to produce, particularly because it has a 256-bit memory interface instead of the 384-bit one used in Tahiti. Otherwise, Tonga's complement of graphics resources looks very similar to its older brother's, and I'd expect the 285's performance to be somewhat lower than the R9 280X's.

No surprise, then, that the R9 285's biggest attraction may well be its $249 price tag. Here's how the new Radeon product stack looks:

AMD is comparing the R9 285 to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 760, which looks to be the primary competition. Although the specs show 2GB of memory, the firm said during the announcement that 4GB versions of the R9 285 will be coming, too. I expect those to cost a little more, but they're probably a smart buy for anyone considering using one of these cards with a 4K display at some point.

The Radeon R9 285 is slated to be in stores on September 2.

To further sweeten the pot, AMD is attaching a new version of its Never Settle game bundle to the R9 285 and all other R9-series Radeons. The Never Settle: Space Edition bundle includes Alien Isolation and access to the in-rolling-development Star Citizen game. As part of the Star Citizen access, folks will also get a custom-designed ship to use in-game, the nifty looking fighter shown below.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to warm up the test rigs in Damage Labs...

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