Asus ENGTX260 Matrix Reviewccokeman -
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Asus has built a winner with the ENGTX 260 Matrix. At stock speeds there is not to much to distinguish itself from the GTX 260 crowd other than the fact it is quiet under load. When you put the screws to it and start overclocking the Matrix it really starts to shine. Improvements ranged from 12 to almost 20 percent over the stock results. This put the performance delivered, up into stock GTX 275 territory for the price of a GTX 260. You can't ask much more from a card than being able to play in a deeper pool than they were meant to. There is no doubt that the ASUS ENGTX 260 Matrix overclocks like mad. The core clock speed showed an increase of 30% or 177 MHz, while the shader clock speed showed an increase of 351Mhz or a 29% increase, with last but not least, the GDDR3 memory gave an increase of 23% or 238Mhz. All of these increases were just huge compared to any of the other GTX 260 cards I have worked with. That alone is worth the price of admission. Once you factor in the cooling performance, the package just delivers. For overclocked temperatures I would idle between 37 and 38 degrees Celsius and load at 52 degrees Celsius. The non-stock heatpipe cooling obviously works and helps push this card to excel, while still remaining cool. Usually, great cooling comes with the price tag of increased noise. Not so with the Matrix GTX 260 as it was not audible over the rest of my case fans.
What helps make all of the overclocking possible is the design of the Matrix. The Super Hybrid Engine allows for better voltage control so that the Matrix provides the power to the GPU and memory as efficiently as possible. Dynamic load detection is used to predict the GPU temperatures and adjust the fan speeds to ensure that the Matrix is kept cool and quiet. This it does quite well. If you really want to get the most from the Matrix you will need to use one of the bundled utilities called iTracker. This little utility has predefined profiles you can use for a slight performance increase or you can go whole hog on the user defined settings where you can control the cloxk speeds, fan speed or profile and best of all the voltage control much like the utility included with EVGA cards. Playing with the voltages did not help much on the GPU core speed or memory, but helped tremendously on the shader clock speeds with an 92MHz jump over what I could get with traditional overclocking methods. The only thing I can find on this card that I was disappointed with, was the fact that the GDDR3 memory modules were cooled only by the airflow exiting the heatpipe assembly.
If you are looking for a card that offers excellent performance when pushed to the limits with exceptional cooling as delivered, the ASUS ENGTX 260 Matrix has got to be on top of or close to the top of your shopping list. When overclocked, it performs to the level of hardware that surely will be much more expensive than the ENGTX 260 Matrix.
- Cooling performance
- Functional Utilities
- Huge overclocked performance incerease
- Memory passively cooled