A ton of technology in here
In the world of graphics cards there a lot of also-rans, cards that were released but didn't really leave a mark on the industry. Reference cards are a dime a dozen (not really, though $0.10 HD 7970s sounds like a great thing to me) and when the only thing vendors can compete on is price it is very hard to make a compelling argument for one card over another. The ASUS Matrix Platinum HD 7970 that we are looking at today in no way suffers from these problems - it is a custom design with unique features that really give it the ability to stand out from the clogged quarters of the GPU shelf.
As you should expect by now with the ASUS ROG brand, the Matrix HD 7970 not only has a slightly overclocked clock speed on the GPU and memory but also some unique features like VGA Hotwire, TweakIt buttons and more!
ASUS ROG Matrix Design
Before we dive into performance and our experiences in overclocknig the HD 7970 with the ASUS Matrix Platinum we wanted to go over some of the design highlights that make this graphics card unique. Available in both Matrix and Matrix Platinum (hand picked chips) revisions, this triple-slot design will include a custom built PCB with 20-phase power and quite a bit more.
This "exploded" view of the Matrix HD 7970 shows a high-level view of these features with details to follow below. Some of the features are really aimed at the extreme overclockers that like to get their hands into some LN2 but there is still a lot to offer users that just want to try their hand at getting additional performance through air overclocking.
ASUS' custom DirectCU II cooler is at work on the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 using all copper heatpipes to help lower temps by 20% compared to the reference HD 7970 while also running quieter thanks to the larger 100mm fans. These fans can be independently controlled and include the ASUS dust proof fan technology we have seen previously.
Is a GTX 590 just not enough for you?
A Legacy of Unique Engineering
ASUS has often been one of only a handful of companies that really pushes the limits of technology on their custom designed products including graphics cards, sound cards, notebooks, motherboards and more. Just a little over a year ago I wrote a review of the ASUS ARES Dual Radeon HD 5870 graphics card - the first of its kind and it was labeled the "Ultimate Graphics Card" at the time. Life on the top of mountain doesn't last that long in the world of the GPU though and time (and the GTX 590 and HD 6990) left the Greek god of war in the rearview mirror.
This time around we have a successor to the MARS - the NVIDIA version that combines two top-level GPUs on a single PCB. The new ASUS MARS II we are reviewing today is a pair of binned GTX 580 GPUs paired together for full-time SLI and built with a limited edition run of 999 units. In many ways the MARS II and the ARES share a lot of traits: custom designed cooling and PCB, a unique aesthetic design, limited edition status and significant physical weight as well. Of course, the price tag is also pretty high and if you aren't comfortable reading about a $1300 graphics card you might as well turn around now... For those that dare though, you can be sure that the MARS II will have you dreaming about PC gaming power for years to come!
Republic of Gamers Means Business
I have got to be honest with you - most of the time getting me excited for graphics cards any more is a chore. Unless we are talking about a new architecture from NVIDIA or AMD, card vendors are hard pressed to the same attention from me they used to a couple of years ago when every card release was something to pay attention to. Over the next week or so though it turns out that ASUS and Gigabyte have a few noteworthy items definitely worth some grade-A analysis and reviewing starting with today's: the ASUS ROG Matrix GTX 580 beast.
The Republic of Gamers brand is reserved for the highest-end parts from the company that are obviously targeted at three main segments. First, the serious gamers and enthusiasts that demand the top level performance either because they can't stand to lose at gaming or just want nothing but the best for their own experiences. Secondly are the professional overclockers that live on features and capabilities that most of us could only dream of pushing and that need LN2 to get the job done. Finally, the case modding groups that demand not only great performance, but sexy designs that add to the aesthetics of the design as whole and aren't boring. The ROG brand does a very commendable job of hitting all three of these groups in general and specifically with the new Matrix-series GTX 580.
In the following pages we will document what makes this card different, how it performs, how it overclocks and why it might be the best GTX 580 card on the market today.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 1, 2011 - 03:03 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ROG, matrix, just delivered, GTX 580, asus
Just Delivered is a section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
We like big graphics cards and we can't deny...when the FedEx guy shows up with a great big box and....okay, sorry about that. But it is true, we definitely love it when new GPUs find their way to our testing facilities. Today is no different as the delivery guy dropped off a box that gave us the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) MATRIX GTX 580 1.5GB.
We first saw this card at Computex in June and we are without a doubt preparing a full review of it in the next week or so, but we wanted to show it off right away - after all, we like to share the goodies that make their way to PC Perspective as often as we can. At first glance you can easily tell that the ROG MATRIX GTX 580 is more than just your standard 580-based solution - it takes up three slots with its large cooler and uses dual 8-pin power connectors rather than an 8-pin and 6-pin combination.
It has some very unique options including buttons directly on the PCB that instantly put the fan at the full 100% speed and + and - keys for increasing and decreasing the GPU clock rate without the need to go into software. Pretty damn cool!
There are voltage measurement positions on the PCB and a Safe Mode button to instantly revert back to the standard clock rates if you have pushed the card too far - this will make things much easier for those overclockers that push things well past reasonable limits.
The cooler is GARGANTUAN but keeps the temperatures reasonable while the card runs on a 19-phase PCB.
ASUS MATRIX GTX 580 - Reference GTX 580 - ASUS ARES
This probably won't beat out the Radeon HD 6990 for the fastest graphic card around but we are thoroughly expecting to be impressed in our full review.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2011 - 02:41 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: computex, asus, GTX 580, mars, matrix, ROG
While also announcing a set of new motherboard at Computex 2011, ASUS was also showcasing two new graphics cards in the Republic of Gamers line based on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580 GPU. The MATRIX GTX580 and MARS II cards will offer a unique take on performance and engineering that haven’t been seen in the enthusiast graphics markets before.
The MATRIX GTX580 will offer support for TweakIt, ProbeIt and SafeMode overclocking capabilities at the hardware level while the GPU Tweak software will allow the user to adjust setting and monitor the card in the OS. The card is built with a 19-phase construction (!!) which should offer very impressive power efficiency as well as stability during overclocking. The cooler on the MATRIX card also promises to be 20% improved on the NVIDIA reference design.
The MARS II goes a step further by including a PAIR of GTX 580 GPUs on a single PCB offering what will likely be the fastest graphics card on the planet. The same hardware features like TweakIt and ProbeIt as well as the GPU Tweak software and the 19-phase power construction.
It looks like if you want the fastest graphics solutions available ASUS will have you covered with either the MATRIX GTX580 or the MARS II, depending on your wallet capacity.