Graphics Cards Guide

ASUS Matrix GTX580 Platinum review

ASUS Matrix GTX580 Platinum - Over the Top

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Overall rating 9/10
The DirectCU II cooler is excellent - quiet and effective
Safe Mode button to restore BIOS
ROG features useful for extreme overclockers
GPU Tweak utility makes tweaking the GPU easy and convenient
Default clock speeds are too conservative
Takes up three expansion slots

Designed for Serious Overclockers

Designed for Serious Overclockers

It's not an ROG product without some really cool features for the hardcore crowd. Firstly, there's what ASUS calls Mod Zone that caters to the extreme overclockers who practically rip out the standard coolers for their own liquid-cooled versions (we're talking LN2 capable ones here). On the PCB, there are clearly marked solder pads that when soldered, enable rather risky things like removing the built-in safeguards for overheating and overcurrent. That's the 'Disable OCP' marked on the PCB below. The Power PWM Freq meanwhile doubles ASUS' Super Hybrid Engine (its power management IC) clock on this card to provide stability even under high clocks. The other two contact pads allow the adjustment of memory voltage and PLL voltage. This is definitely not for beginners. 

Then there's ASUS Probelt. It's a feature that we have seen for a while on ASUS' ROG motherboards, but it's the first time we have seen it on an ASUS graphics card. Basically, it's a set of voltage measurement points where enthusiasts with the inclination and a multimeter can just poke their sensors and check the voltage of the memory, graphics core and PCIe bus.  



Perhaps ASUS saw the success of MSI's Afterburner utility that has become popular among enthusiasts to tweak their graphics cards. If that was indeed the case, then the GPU Tweak is the response. On first glance, it's similar to the more powerful tweaking utilities out there and there's even a re-skinned GPU-Z that shows the key specifications of the installed graphics card.

What's important to most enthusiasts is that they can control the voltages, clock speeds and fan speeds easily and GPU Tweak's main control panel provides that. It can even lock the clock speeds and voltages such that when the user changes the core clock slider, the core voltage changes correspondingly. It's a nice touch for the less experienced users who may not have any clue to the appropriate voltages.

While GPU Tweak isn't hard to figure out for anyone who has previously tried any software tweaking utilities, we felt that it could do with more tooltips that explain in slightly more detail what each feature does. At the moment, the tooltips when they appear, just seem to state the name of the function/feature, without more information. The real-time monitoring panel (the left panel below) also seems to launch slower than we liked, but that's a minor quibble.

If you really like your tweaked settings, the GPU Tweak has a special BIOS Burn-in feature where your favorite clock, voltage and memory timings for the graphics card is saved in its BIOS. This means that your graphics card will start booting up with these custom settings. The catch is that this is only available on supported ROG graphics cards like the Matrix GTX580 Platinum, presumably because it has a Safe Mode feature in case users really mess up the BIOS with this Burn-in function.

The GPU Tweak also has a built-in recording feature, but it doesn't appear to be working when we tested it. ASUS has said that it's coming soon and with MSI's Afterburner also adding a similar Predator, video-capturing feature, both companies are competing to bring enthusiasts the best tweaking utility. And for free!