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    Mar 2010

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum Unboxing Review GTX580 P/2DIS/1536MD5

    The ASUS Matrix GTX580 Platinum is the premier Republic of Gamers graphics card. With its deep ROG bloodline ASUS engineers have designed an extremely impressive video card for Gamers, Overclockers and enthusiasts alike. On the outside the Matrix 580 has an intimidating appearance similar to its non ROG brother the GTX 580 Direct Copper II. Sharing an NVIDIA Fermi 580 graphics processing core, the Matrix and and DCUII support 512 Shader cores, NVIDIA 4-Way SLI and 1.5 Gigabytes of onboard GDDR5 memory. Both cards have two dual link DVI ports, one HDMI 1.4a and one full size Display port and the much desired Direct Copper heat pipe cooling system. How ever, on the inside we see something much more beautiful and well refined about the Matrix. The release of ASUS's Matrix 580 Delivers new features such as GPU TweakIt allowing high performance overclocking and optimization from within windows through a software interface. No more hardware voltage mods required Onboard voltage adjustment buttons (+ -) provide for convenient tuning of your graphics cards core voltage. Asus has raised the bar once again by including a Safe Mode button for quick and easy operational restoration of a corrupted BIOS or failed flashing. ROG engineers have taken the hugely successful GTX 580 Direct Copper II and given it an appropriate ROG makeover with the true embodiment of an Overclocker.

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum retail box pictured

    ASUS has a strong history of excellent retail packaging with its motherboards, today I can say that tradition has been fully shared with the ROG graphics card series. Conveniently topped with a carrying handle the retail packaging follows suit with Republic of Gamers mother boards in its ROG red color scheme and bold shimmering title. Looking at the box we first see a very powerful explosion as if the performance of this card can not be bound within the limits of its box. The logos for DirectX 11, NVIDIA CUDA, Phys X, and NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready are seen at the bottom of the box.

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum retail box rear of box pictured ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum inside flap of retail box

    When we turn the box over we can see Asus has provided the owners with a brief overview of the cards features. Flip open the front of the box and we find an informative section with more detail of the ROG Overclocking aspects ad features. On the left side of the box we see pictures depicting the physical TweakIt voltage buttons. Also shown is the GPU Tweak software for GPU Core and Memory tuning and monitoring. Near the bottom there is a nice photo of the GPU's 19 phase power design as well as an exploded view of the Direct Copper II cooling system. Additional information on the inside flap of the retail box informs us of the graphics cards specifications. The Matrix Core is factory overclocked to 816MHz and is complemented with 1.5 Gigabytes of GDDR5 onboard memory through a wide 384bit memory bus. The GDDR5 is also overclocked and comes stock at an amazing 4.8GHz. System builders should note ASUS recommends using a 700 Watt or greater capacity power supply with two 8 pin EPS 12 Volt PCI express power connectors.

    The inside flap provides even more detailed information of the unique attributes of this card. The Matrix heatsink acts as a graphics load indicator light blue lights on the Matrix logo represent a light load while red lights represent extreme work load conditions.

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum retail box product window

    After working our way around the box we arrive to find a beautifully crafted GPU with a larger than life feel. Behind the stylishly cut window the pinnacle of graphics cards sits perched as if it is taunting us to let it out!

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum retail box accessories

    Located inside the retail box is an elegantly packaged accessories kit. The accessories kit supplied by Asus includes several useful items. Included in the kit a flexiable NVIDIA SLI Cable for connecting two NVIDIA graphics cards for increased performance seen in the upper left. Below the SLI cable are two six pin to 8 pin PCI express 12 volt converters. These cables are used when an older powersupply does not contain enough 8 pin PCI express power cables to power the card.. moving to the top right we see the Graphics Card Speed Setup guide for effortless installation and configuration of your new graphics card. inside you will find quick answers to your questions about the graphics card installation, layout, features and options. Below the setup guide is the ASUS provided driver support DVD The support DVD includes ROG CPU-Z, ROG GPU-Z, GPU TweakIT as well as the required hardware drivers and software for overclocking and tweaking your system. The last two items at the bottom of the picture are a ROG sticker presumably to be installed on your computer case, the last item is an old school DVI to VGA DSUB 15 adapter. The adapter is intended to provide backwards computability to legacy LCD and CRT monitors.

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum protective retail packaging

    Enough about the retail box, its accessories and their uses! Here is what we have been waiting for! The ASUS Matrix GTX580 Platinum graphics card. Immediately I noticed the long standing tradition of the ROG red and black color scheme, from the heavy armored feel of the fan shroud to its sexy red accents and tapered edges. At the center of the card are two appropriately sized 90mm cooling fans. These fans will provide massive airflow through its enormous cooler. As if packed to survive the Armageddon the card fits snugly in its protective foam enclosure for shipping ensuring your Currier will need to go above and beyond the call of duty to damage this beast!

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum rear of card pictured

    Turn the card over and we find the GPU back plate for the stabilized mounting of the cooler. The back plate also provides assistance in supporting the 11" long PCB reducing component stress by limiting board flexibility. I find this back plate to very comforting as it helps eliminate deadly accidental short circuits or physically damaged components on the back of the card. Located directly under the GPU core we see the ultra-quality NEC TOKIN proadlizers (prompt, broadband and stabilizer) This is used to reduce high-frequency noise in power supplied to the GPU core. Notice the series of holes in the back plate. These holes are intentionally placed as to allow sufficient airflow for passive cooling of the cards printed circuit board. Directly below the GPU core is the GPU's serial number, you may want to take note of serial number during installation as it may be difficult to access in a fully assembled system. On a side note this graphics card is slightly taller than the reference GTX 580 as the PCB stands taller than the I/O support bracket.

    ASUS Matrix GTX 580 Platinum ports and connectors pictured

    The I/O panel of the GTX580 Platinum is very impressive and feature rich for a graphics card. This card sports an unprecedented Safe Mode BIOS switch to be used in situations of a corrupt BIOS or when flashing the graphics card firmware results in failure. Safe Mode is very useful for Overclockers and trouble shooting in a time crunch. The Matrix has two dual-link DVI-I outputs, a full size version 1.4a HDMI output, and a full size display port for professional workstation displays. To the right of the I/O ports we see the rear thermal exhaust vent for the graphics card cooling system. Note, not all of the heat is removed through the cards I/O exhaust. The open cooler design also dissipates heat into the systems chassis.

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