Today, we will be taking a look at the ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum video card. This graphics card is part of ASUS’ high-end Republic of Gamers lineup, which means it is full of features and appears as though it should satisfy both the extreme overclockers and the gamers alike.
Product Features & Specifications
The Matrix comes factory overclocked to 816 MHz on the core and 1632 MHz shaders. The memory was disappointingly left at 4008 MHz (1002 MHz GDDR5), which is far below this card’s potential as will be seen later in the review.
General Card Features
This card has loads of other features besides just a factory overclock. A non-reference cooler for a very non-reference card, the ASUS Direct Copper II cooler. This cooling solution from ASUS features copper heatpipes in direct contact with the GPU and two large fans, which boast a ‘…600% increase in airflow and 20% cooler operation over reference coolers’.
The LED load indicator is an interesting feature in which the illuminated Matrix logo on the card changes color depending on the GPU usage. This is a feature that users with a nice windowed case are sure to enjoy.
The Matrix sports a 19-phase Super Alloy technology, which delivers power efficiently to the GPU. A 15% performance boost, 2.5 times longer lifespan and 35°C cooler operation. The power section also features a NEC/TOKIN Proadlizer mounted directly behind the GPU to provide the most clean and stable power to the GPU as possible. All of this together provides greater overclocking headroom.
Overclocker Aimed Features
The ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum has many features that overclockers everywhere should find useful. The TweakIt section of the board contains voltage adjustment buttons, voltage indicator lights, and a 100% fan speed button. The voltage adjustment buttons allow instant on-the-fly changes of core voltages in 10 steps of 0.0125V up to a maximum of 0.125V above the set software limit of 1.15 v. It also has a bank of voltage indicators LED’s. This is like the unskilled mans hardmod-voltmod. The 100% fan button doesn’t have much practical use for most users since with most overclocking software you are able to setup your own fan profiles.
ASUS has also put their ProbeIt voltage read points on the card, so it is easy to measure the cards various voltages with a multimeter. No need to do a warranty-voiding hardmod on the card to verify voltage settings!
The Safe Mode Button located on the backplate of the Matrix is like the clear CMOS button/jumper on a motherboard. It resets the Matrix back to factory settings and bios. Extreme overclockers will find this useful for recovering from a fail attempt to flash the bios. The backplate of the Matrix also contains two DVI connectors, an HDMI and display port outputs.
The Matrix also comes with GPU Tweak, which is a very high end overclocking utility that allows users to easily overclock this card. It even allows for graphic memory sub-timing tweaks.
Lastly, but certainly not least is the Modding Zone which is more useful to the extreme overclocker. This zone allows users to hard-mod their cards without having to do skillful soldering all over the backside of the card, ASUS has kindly labelled and put four solder points on the rear of the card. This keeps the user from having to look for hours trying to locate the correct solder points. The solder points are for Disabling OCP (Over-Current Protection), Memory Voltage Adjustment, PLL Voltage Adjustment, and Power PWM Frequency. These solder points allow the end user to easily increase the performance potential of their card by simply soldering a jumper across the points. This is nice for the extreme overclocker who doesn’t want to worry about OCP kicking in and ruining a benching run, or who want to run there memory or PLL voltages above stock. By being able to double the power PWM frequency (250kHz —> 500 kHz) you are able to increase the cards overclocking headroom since you are able to provide stable power even at higher clock speeds.
Performance & Overclocking
Test System and Benching Method/Settings
- i7 2600K (stock)
- ASUS Maximus IV Extreme
- 2x2GB G.Skill Ripjaw X 2133 MHz @ 8-9-8-24-1t
- Ultra x3 1600 Watt
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Nvidia 280.26 driver
- ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum @ stock and 970/1940/4800 MHz (core/shaders/memory)
- All synthetic benchmarks were run at their default settings.
- Alien vs. Predator was run at its default setting, and the highest it offered (4xAA, textures set to “3″).
- Hawx 2 was run at 1920×1080 with 8xAA, every setting at its highest.
- Dirt 2 was run at 1920×1080 8xAA/16xAF all settings to their highest.
- Stalker:COP was run at 1920×1080 Ultra settings, 4xAA with tessellation enabled using the Sunshafts portion of the bench only.
- Unigine Heaven (Hwbot) was run with the “extreme” setting.
- Benchmark results are graphed as percentages relative to the stock Matrix GTX 580 Platinum. Meaning the Matrix GTX580 is always 100% and other cards are calculated as a percentage based on that.
- The actual benchmark scores are in parenthesis below the percentages.
By looking at the of results, you can see just how good of a card the Matrix is. With its factory overclock it is able to beat most of the competition even at stock speed. Once overclocked this card was able to approach AMD HD 6990 scores!
Once again the Matrix is able to pull off a number of wins. Gaming with this card at 1920×1080/1200 is not going to be an issue. You will even be able to turn up the eye candy and enjoy gaming the way it was meant to be. The overclocking headroom this card has means you will be able to play the newest games into the near future.
This card was a dream to overclock with the ASUS GPU Tweak software. This card was run at 970/1940/1200 for all the benchmarks with a core voltage of 1.15 v with fans at 80%. This means there is a lot more headroom left in the card for anyone who wants to either flash the bios to achieve volts higher than 1.15v, use the on board TweakIt buttons or modding zone and are willing to have the fans set to 100%. This card even with fans at 100% seemed to be as quiet as the reference GTX 580 at 80%.
The Direct Copper II is a great cooler, which definitely helped to bring this card to its potential. The three slot nature of the cooler is a bit of a drawback, but its performance definitely out weighs the drawback. While running the Heaven benchmark at the overclocked settings with the fan at 80%, the highest temperature was 82°C. The reason the stock memory speed is disappointing was because I was able to get the card’s memory to 4800 MHz (1200 MHz GDDR5) without tweaking the voltages at all. Although, after raising beyond 4850 MHz led to instability and random crashes so 4800 MHz seemed to be the sweet spot for this card.
The ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum is a very nice card. It is loaded with features that both the extreme overclocker and gamer alike are going to enjoy; everything from the onboard voltage buttons and Modding Zone to the GPU loading LED lighting. This card is not without drawbacks though. Its three slot cooler may put some people off from buying the card. Also, on some motherboards, having a three slot cooler can interfere with running SLI due to PCI-E slot spacing. Coming in at $529.99 on NewEgg this card is practically a steal! It has great performance, lots overclocking headroom, and a load of features. If you are in the market for a GTX 580, this card is a perfect fit in almost every way.