The year of 2009 has not been a very lucky one for Nvidia as the company has been losing its ground all along unable to hold back the onslaught of AMD’s graphics department. The release of the Radeon HD 4890 and Radeon HD 4770 in the spring and the crushing blow of the new Radeon HD 5x00 generation in the fall have passed unanswered as the G200b core, which is not commercially optimal, remains Nvidia’s only weapon. Yes, the GeForce GTX 295 is still the fastest graphics card available but by a small margin over the Radeon HD 5870 whereas the latter is free from the drawbacks of dual-processor solutions and supports DirectX 11, all of which make it a much more appealing buy.
Whether Nvidia can produce a worthy response to AMD’s attack is yet to be learned as the GeForce 300 series is going to be announced in late November. So far, if you need high performance in games, but do not like ATI Radeons for some reason and do not want to put up with the drawbacks of a multi-GPU solution, the only choice that remains is GeForce GTX 285. This graphics card is fast and supports PhysX technology which is unavailable on AMD’s products. Moreover, Nvidia offers a better GPGPU support as yet, although the fifth generation of Radeons may change this situation.
The majority of GeForce GTX 285 cards are nothing but copies of the reference sample. To be exact, they are manufactured at contracted facilities for Nvidia and then sent to Nvidia’s partners for distribution. The partners do not contribute much to the manufacturing process. They usually limit themselves to changing the sticker on the cooler’s casing and, occasionally, pre-overclocking the card (e.g. the EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC). It doesn’t make the cards any worse, especially as the common manufacturing source means a tougher quality assurance control, but the hardware reviewer can hardly be interested in such uniform products.
Therefore, it is indeed a pleasure to meet an original exception such as the ASUS Matrix GTX285 that we are going to discuss today. The Matrix series is targeted by ASUS at dedicated gamers and overclocking enthusiasts. This series features custom-designed PCBs and unique cooling systems as well as a lot of overclocking and fine-tuning features (like the option of adjusting the voltage of the GPU and memory). At the moment the Matrix GTX285 is the senior and highest-performance model in the ASUS Matrix series. Let’s have a closer look at it.