GeForce GTX 580 Showdown: ASUS Matrix vs.EVGA ClassifiedFri, Dec 16, 2011 - 12:00 AM
The ASUS MATRIX GTX580 Platinum
First up we have the ASUS MATRIX GTX580 Platinum graphics card that is available under the part number P/2DIS/1536MD5 for $529.99 plus shipping. This card has the GeForce GTX580 GPU core clocked at 816 MHz and the 1.5GB of GDDR5 RAM is clocked at 4008 MHz (1002 MHz GDDR5). The stock core clock on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 is 772MHz, so this card features a 44MHz core clock increase. This is a 5.7% improvement, so it should provide a noticeable bump in gaming performance.
This card doesn’t have 3072MB of GDDR5 memory like some GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards, but most gamers are playing on a single monitor with a resolution of 1920×1080, so does it matter? That is one of the questions we hope to answer today in this article.
The first thing we noticed with this graphics card is that it is massive. ASUS uses their DirectCU II dual-fan GPU cooling technology to help keep the GTX 580 nice and cool, but the end result is a card that’s fully three expansion slots wide. If you ever plan on running two of these in NVIDIA SLI mode, you need to make sure your motherboard supports a setup like this.
The ASUS MATRIX GTX580 measures in at 11.25″ in length, 5.25″ in height and is 2.5″ in thickness! This is a very large and heavy card that pictures really don’t do justice for. As we mentioned earlier ASUS is using their DirectCU II technology on this card. This means that it has 5 copper heat pipes that are directly touching the GPU and then three of them go to one aluminum cooling fin array and two to another. Each of the independent cooling fin sections has a 90mm fan blowing directly over them. ASUS says these two fans deliver 600% more airflow than the NVIDIA reference design, resulting in a 20% lower operating temperatures despite the overclock. The Samsung GDDR5 memory IC’s sit bare on the PCB, so we are guessing that the airflow from the fan is enough to keep them cool. Not only does the fan keep the card cooled, but they are also very quiet.
Along the right edge of the card you’ll see some features that make this card stand out from the crowd. ASUS has placed their ”TweakIt’ technology on the actual PCB, so you can adjust hardware voltage in real-time as well as turning the fan speed up to 100%. By pressing the ‘+’ or ‘-” button you adjust the GPU core voltage up to +0.125V in 10 jumps. There are also 10 LED lights to show you how far you’ve increased the voltage. This is great for overclocking as you can be running a benchmark and if you start to see artifacts or issues you can just click these buttons for more or less power.
Just above these buttons you”ll see the six holes that make up what ASUS calls the ‘Probelt’. ProbeIt takes the guesswork out of locating the graphics card´s measurement points, identifying them clearly in the form of 6 sets of detection points so you´ll know exactly where to get quick yet accurate readings using a multimeter.
The six Probelt voltage points are:
Usually we don’t have much to talk about on the reverse side of a video card, but the ASUS MATRIX GTX580 is a different card. Here we see that ASUS fitted this card with a black backplate. This is not just for looks as it protects the components on the back of the PCB from being damaged. It doesn’t do anything in terms of cooling though as it doesn’t directly touch the PCB and no memory chips are located on the back of the card.
Directly behind the GPU you might have noticed that there is a large black component clearly visible through the backplate. This is the NEC/TOKIN 0E907 and that would be a high speed Proadlizers. These are basically some of the best capacitors on the market right now as they feature extremely low ESL and ESR, yet have have high current capability and high capacitance. ASUS uses a 19-phase Super Alloy Power technology on this card and told use they used industrial components on it to ensure a long operating life.
The ASUS MATRIX GTX580 can be run in SLI and has a pair of SLI bridges located along the top edge of the card. You should be able to run four of these together in 4-way SLI in theory, but with each one taking up 3 PCI expansion slots there isn’t a desktop case or motherboard that would support that.
You need to feed tons of power to a beast of a video card like this, so ASUS equipped the card with two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Assuming the card can pull the proper 150W from the PCI Express 2.0 slot and each of the 8-pin power connectors it means that this card has 450W of power going to it. Due to this ASUS suggests a 700W power supply with a +12V current rating of 42A for proper operation.
To help alleviate some of your power concerns ASUS placed a pair of red/green LEDs directly behind the PCIe power connectors warn you if you’ve forgotten to connect the power or if the power connectors are not fully plugged in. Green means the card is getting sufficient power and red means that something is wrong.
On the back of the ASUS MATRIX GTX580 in the lower left hand corner you’ll find an area that ASUS calls the ‘Mod Zone’ for obvious reasons. This area is for professional overclockers that want to solder on components to enable advanced mods to get the most from this graphics card. The features here are as follows:
- Disable OCP – Remove overheat, overcurrent protection for extreme overclocking under LN2
- FBVDD0 – Adjust the GDDR5 Memory Voltage
- PEXVDD – Adjust PLL Voltage
- Power PWM Frequency – Double the Super Hybrid Engine clock to provide stability under super high clock (from 250KHz to 500KHz).
Since the ASUS MATRIX GTX 580 takes up three expansion slots they can also customize that! Here you see a pair of DVI-I outputs that are rated to support resolutions up to 2560×1600 (2048×1536 w/ D-Sub). You also have full size HDMI and Display Port connectors! It’s nice to have regular sized outputs as you don’t need any adapters. The highlight of the back interface has to be the ‘safe mode’ button that ASUS is using for this card. By pushing this button it resets the graphics card back to the default clock frequencies and voltages! Think of it like a clear CMOS button for a motherboards BIOS. This switch is a life-saver as it keeps you from possibly bricking the card during an extreme overclock. Enthusiasts and overclockers will certainly appreciate this feature as it takes some of the worry out of overclocking, so you can focus on having fun.
Lastly we have the ‘MATRIX LED load Indicator’ located along the top edge of the video card. ASUS uses five multicolored LED indicators behind the word MATRIX at the top of the card to give you a visual display of the current GPU load on the card.
As you can see the ASUS MATRIX GTX 580 is major departure from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 reference design, but in a good way.