Ever since it started the Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand, ASUS has always saved its best for the products in this series, knowing fully that this brand attracts the most demanding of enthusiasts and gamers. You can read more about the ASUS ROG brand in this interview with ASUS' Jackie Hsu, but the short story is if you can afford its premium, ROG products generally perform up to expectations. Whether you really need all the extra features is debatable, but that's not the focus of today's review.
For what we have here today is none other than the latest ROG graphics card that was previewed weeks ago at Computex. The ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum uses NVIDIA's fastest single GPU now, the GF110 found on its GeForce GTX 580 that comes with the full 512 CUDA cores of NVIDIA's Fermi GPU architecture. Inevitably, it's overclocked, but the main attraction isn't its clock speeds or even the huge triple-slot DirectCU II cooler onboard. The reason it's generating quite a lot of online buzz lies in a number of features that encourage serious tweaking.
ASUS has also released a brand new GPU Tweak utility along with this Matrix that will work across all graphics cards, regardless of brand or GPU. It's similar in many ways to what MSI did with its Afterburner utility (which we use for our own overclocking tests) and ASUS is probably hoping that enthusiasts will adopt its new software tool. You can get the free GPU Tweak utility here.
With a core clock speed of 816MHz, the ASUS Matrix GTX 580 boasts a clock frequency that's just a bit higher than the reference 772MHz. The 1536MB of memory is clocked at 4008MHz DDR, which is the same as the standard GTX 580. And that on paper is the difference between this Matrix GTX 580 and the reference NVIDIA GTX 580.
Physically, the ASUS card eschews NVIDIA's vapor chamber technology cooler for its own DirectCU II heatsink. It's significantly bigger than the standard GTX 580 and comes with two cooling fans. At its default settings, these two fans barely make any noise and we definitely rate it quieter than the reference design.