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ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card

ASUS has kicked the GTX 285 up a notch and given it a fancy new Matrix title. We find out if it's really worth looking buying.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sat, Sep 5 2009 6:54 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction




ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 29 | TweakTown.com
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The ASUS Matrix GTX 285 has really been a long time coming, noticed originally at Computex it was only going to be a matter of time before we got the hot little product in our hands. Following the Matrix naming scheme, the GTX 285 is the latest model to get welcomed into the lineup with open arms.

We have to wonder though after having a look at some of the features the card offers, is it simply just a standard GTX 285 that has been given a nice dress and a set of heels to hit the town with or is there really something there that's going to grab our attention and help us warrant the $359.99 USD price tag.

What we'll do though before we get stuck into the card to see exactly what it looks like and has to offer is find out what's going on in the package department. Once that's done we'll have a closer look at the card itself then dive into the clocks that are on offer. We'll then really get into what matters and see how the card performs in our array of benchmarks before wrapping everything up.

So with that all said and done let's check out the package and see if it's going to be love at first sight.

The Package




The first note that we have to make is just how nice it is to see that ASUS has mixed it up with the box design; it's good to see that they have decided to move away from the typical box design for this special Matrix model. The overall design has a really nice theme that does look great and grabs our attention.

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We can see that across the top we have the Republic of Gamers logo while as we move down we have the model, which in this case is the Matrix GTX 285. Below that we have a little bit of a motto followed by the ASUS logo in the bottom corner.

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Turning the box over we have a bit more detail on some of the power features that the ASUS GTX 285 offers and we also have a run down an explanation on some of the exclusive software that is included in the package.

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Moving inside we have a pretty standard line up and included is the typical driver CD and quick user guide, also in true ASUS fashion we have a copy of the manual on CD, also included though is another manual on the new iTracker 2 software.

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The cable department also doesn't hold any real surprises - we've got a PCI-E to molex power convertor, component out dongle, DVI to VGA adapter along with a DVI to HDMI adapter and a SPIDF loopback cable which will help get sound through the HDMI assuming you choose to use it.

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As for extras we've got a CD wallet, which is something we've seen many times from ASUS.

The Card




Coming in as part of the Matrix series means that the card is going to have its own cooling design. Like most GTX 285s we have a cooler that really manages to cover the card from top to bottom and left to right.

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The bottom left does show us the ROG logo while the fan on the right side has the ASUS one, but apart from that there isn't a whole lot else to be looking at.

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ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 38 | TweakTown.com


The rear of the card has two PCI-E connectors, one an 6-pin and the other an 8-pin, closer to the front of the card we have two SLI connectors that give us the ability to run up to three of these cards together.

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Something a bit fancy that we do have across the top is the ASUS Matrix logo, when the card is in your system depending on the amount of load the Matrix logo changes color with the help of some LEDs behind it. We start at green when the card is in safe mode and go all the way up to red when the card is under extreme load.

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In the I/O department we have the standard connectors that we've become accustom to seeing - two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a single TV-Out port. What we also have here though is a little connector that does look like a SPIDF audio jack, instead though it's a button with the words "Safe Mode" written on it.

Something that you can do with this card is set clock rates to the BIOS, much like you could with a motherboard. While for the most part this sounds scary, the good news is that if you do mess it up by going too high, with a single click of the button you can go back to the default clock speeds. I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical on this feature, I'll leave my thoughts on it for the final thoughts, though.


Specifications

Looking at the card you have to say to yourself, of course the model comes overclocked out of the box. With the look of the card, fancy new packaging and flash lights on the cooler, we expected some big numbers out of the model, unfortunately we did find ourselves slightly disappointed.

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The core has been bumped up from the stock 648MHz to 662MHz, unfortunately that's all, the shader clock remains at the default 1476MHz while the 1GB of GDDR3 memory comes in at 2484MHz DDR. With the way the card looks and how ASUS has gone about it we expected some more MHz with clocks that would resemble something in the TOP series of cards.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2 and Windows Vista SP1 64-bit
Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 190.38


Today we'll be having a look at how the Matrix performs against a stock clocked ASUS GTX 285 while also seeing what kind of extra performance we get over the little brother to the GTX 285, the much loved GTX 275.


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.


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We can see straight off the mark the ASUS GTX 285 1GB Matrix gives us a small boost in performance when compared to the stock model.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 02 | TweakTown.com


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 03 | TweakTown.com


Like Vantage we again see a bump in performance, but for the most part it's nothing major.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


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CINEBENCH shows us all three cards perform pretty similar with not much separating the pack.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10).

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 05 | TweakTown.com


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 06 | TweakTown.com


In the minimum department we can see a boot from the GTX 285 Matrix when compared to the stock clocked model, the gains begin to slow down as we climb in the resolution table, though.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead


Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com
Product Homepage: http://crysiswarhead.ea.com/
Buy It Here




Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.


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ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 08 | TweakTown.com


We can see that performance between the two GTX 285s is very similar here.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


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ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 10 | TweakTown.com


Far Cry 2 shows us a small bump at the lower resolution, but as we climb up to 1920 and above, the gains become smaller and smaller.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.


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ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 12 | TweakTown.com


Here we see the same theme that we've seen all along, a small bump in performance at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead


Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.valvesoftware.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.l4d.com/
Buy It Here




Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.


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We can see a similar picture to what we've seen all along under Left 4 Dead.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


Far Cry 2

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We continue to see a slight boost in performance thanks to the extra core MHz on offer from the Matrix GTX 285.


World In Conflict

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ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 17 | TweakTown.com


We see very little difference between the two GTX 285s with the minimum giving us a 1FPS bump.


Left 4 Dead

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We see an almost 4FPS increase under Left 4 Dead with these extreme settings on.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 19 | TweakTown.com


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 20 | TweakTown.com


Its weird to see that in the minimum department the Matrix card falls slightly back when compared to the stock model, the averages on the other hand are up.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2 - XP


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 21 | TweakTown.com


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 22 | TweakTown.com


At all resolutions we can see that the Matrix GTX 285 from ASUS gets a bump in performance, be it the minimum or average department.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky - XP


S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage: http://www.gsc-game.com/
Product Homepage: http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/
Buy It Here




S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 23 | TweakTown.com


ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix ROG Graphics Card 24 | TweakTown.com


Under Clear Sky the performance is a bit all over the place with the numbers being better in some areas and slightly worse in others.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.


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It's clear the new cooler does an excellent job of keeping temperatures down when compared to the stock cooler!


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).


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As for noise levels we can see there isn't much of a change with it sitting in line with the other video cards here.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.


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It was interesting to see that power draw was a fair bit up on the Matrix, in both the load and idle department. With that said though the numbers aren't exactly concerning.

Final Thoughts




The first thing we have to talk about before we wrap everything up is the new iTracker 2 software. This is ASUS' own overclocking software that gives you the ability to adjust a whole array of features ranging from not only memory clocks but RAM timings. The good news is if you stuff something up in the process like your motherboard, you're only a button away from being able to reset it.

The whole process of updating the BIOS though with higher clock speeds does seem like a bit of muck around, though. If you wanted something that was going to be faster out of the box, you'd probably simply be better off buying a GTX 285 TOP from ASUS or another company's highly overclocked model for similar money.

The Matrix GTX 285 isn't going to be for everyone and if you expect this video card to offer big clocks straight out of the box, you're going to be disappointed. As far as the bundle goes, there isn't really anything extra going on that we tend not to see from ASUS. While the iTracker 2 software is great, the ability to adjust timings are just going to freak some people out, and if all you want to do is adjust the core, shader and memory clock this can be done with other third party programs on stock clocked models that come in cheaper anyway.

The Matrix GTX 285 really comes with a whole lot of good bells and whistles, but most people are going to find the whistles and bells just aren't loud enough. With that said though, it's not all doom and gloom for the model, out of the box we do get a bump in the core clock which manages to give us a boost in performance and the cooler that ASUS offer is nothing short of excellent - we can see from our test that the load temperature on our card when compared to a stock one went down significantly.

Finishing this up, as we have said, the Matrix GTX 285 isn't going to be for everyone - some people will love the ability to write their own clock rates and memory timings to the card thanks to the iTracker 2 software, others will also love the lower temperatures that the video card offers. At the end of it all, you have to really decide if these are features you want or not, with the GTX 285 being around for so long now we've got a lot of companies that offer higher out of the box clocks and just all round cheaper cards.

You'll have to figure out if the Matrix GTX 285 from ASUS is the GTX 285 for you.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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