A Closer Look
We mentioned earlier that the Asus Matrix GTX285 is more than your average GTX 285 even though it looks like one. Well here's the proof. Firstly the heatpipes are actually 8mm wide rather than 6mm in generic versions. This will hopefully mean lower operating temperatures (5°C lower according to Asus) and we will of course take a look at this in our usual Thermal Testing
Asus also claims that 8+2 phase power circuitry and covered rather than toroidal coil chokes provide lower power noise, also leading to increased overclocking ability. To take the reigns in what should be a spine tingling overclocking session, Asus provide a software utility called iTracker 2. It proved to be fairly likeable and provides access to the memory timings, GPU and memory voltage control and of course GPU, shader and memory frequencies.
The memory timings control panel is particularly interesting. Luckily Asus was on hand with some recommended tweaks here but all are available via three different timing profiles. A 'OC' mode slackens the timings slightly to allow for higher frequencies and a performance mode tightens them with a default setting at hand in case it all goes wrong. There are similar settings for the clock frequencies.
Speaking of things going wrong, you may have noticed a small button on the rear of the Asus Matrix GTX285. This is part of the VBIOS Burning and Recovery suite which enables you to flash the Asus Matrix GTX285's BIOS with your own settings. If the flash goes wrong then the Safe Mode button is there to save the day recovering the BIOS and getting you overclocking again after replacing your underwear of course.
The cooler, as we've already mentioned, isn't your average stock cooler. Those fatter heatpipes will be working to make sure heat is taken away from the core as quickly as possible but unlike totally redesigned coolers like those on the Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 275 896MB
and Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X 2GB
, the Asus Matrix GTX285's cooler is based on the reference design so all that hot air is expelled out the rear of your case instead of most of it ending up spilling back into it.