ASUS MATRIX GTX285 Reviewccokeman - September 3, 2009
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With the GTX285 getting a little long in the tooth and the next generation of video cards right around the corner, you have to wonder why you would make another high end model? Build it and they will come. Limited Edition cards with higher performance and more robust looks and cooling sell even with the higher price tag. Does everyone who makes that purchase use it to its fullest extent? Not always, but the performance is there if you need it. Kind of like spending 100 grand on the flavor of the month super car and only driving it at the speed limit. The MATRIX GTX285 is a high end machine and still proves to be the highest performing card in this test when you get right down to it. The default clock speed on the MATRIX is only 15MHz higher than that of the stock GTX285 and is 8MHz lower than the TOP version from ASUS out of the box with identical shader and memory clock speeds. What helps separate this card from the others is that it comes with more robust cooling by way of the larger heatpipes used in the cooling solution. These are upped from the reference size of 6mm to 8mm, helping transfer the thermal load more effectively to the fin array. According to ASUS, this size increase provides 46% more coverage of the contact plate. Load temperatures in my 75 degree room were quite respectable under load in both the driver controlled stock testing and manually controlled overclocked testing. At the stock speeds and driver controlled fan speeds the load testing created a temperature of 65 Celsius. When the GPU was overvolted and overclocked, I bumped the fan speed up to 100% to keep the GPU and memory as cool as possible and the temperature under load averaged 64 Celsius. Not bad considering the voltage was increased to get there. The fan, while noisy at 100%, does not seem to be any louder than the Scythe KAZE fans used on my CPU heatsink.
Another item that creates a point of difference is the usefulness of the iTracker software utility. Not only can you tailor the performance to your needs with a total of eight different profiles, but you can also adjust the memory and have the ability to flash the Vbios with the best profile for your needs. Wait a minute, isn't that a little on the risky side? Well, sure it is, but ASUS has made sure that you won't brick your MATRIX by incorporating a way back from the edge. If you happen to push too far, and you will, the safe mode button on the bracket allows you to recover by reflashing the original BIOS. Desperation to relief with the touch of a button. When it came to overclocking, the MATRIX I was able to gain 75MHz on the core, 130MHz on the shader processors, and 111MHz on the 1GB of GDDR3 memory. Not earth shattering but these clock speed increases offered an increase in performance while still retaining the ability to run all of the benchmarks in the OCC suite. Built with high end components, including solid caps and low(RDS) on MOSFETs, covered chokes and 8+2 phase power design power, cooling and stability are all part of the design. If you are a gamer (really, who of us isn't?), this card is one you can be sure will deliver on the promise of performance for a price that is competitive with that offered by other brands. Add in the looks and bling factor of the load level LEDs and you have a winner on both the performance and looks front.
- Disaster recovery
- OC margins with voltage