ASUS package their MATRIX GTX 580 Platinum in a large box which shares the same design as their Republic of Gamers motherboards. This allows ASUS to pack a large amount of foam around the already very large card for maximum protection and in a separate box we find the bundled extras. These include the software CD, manual, DVI to VGA dongle, power cables and SLI bridge.
The first thing which is noticeable about the Matrix GTX 580 Platinum when we unbox it is the weight of the card. Attached to the front is a cooler with metal shroud that has a 3 slot design with two 8cm low noise fans which sit over two blocks of aluminium fins. Passing through these fins are five large copper heatpipes which make direct contact with the 40nm GTX 580 GPU.
In addition to enhancing the cooler used ASUS have also added a backplate to the card, covering the black 11.4" PCB and the quality of components have been improved through the use of 19 phase Super Alloy Power. SAP is an ASUS feature which gives us components such as prodalizer film capacitor and alloy chokes for cooler operation and better power delivery to our GPU and memory.
Also present on this card is a feature we have seen before, Matrix load indicators. On the top of the cooler we have the card branding which is normally blue, the more load we apply to the card the more this changes towards red. On the end of the PCB there has been another change when compared to the DirectCU II. Running down the edge of the card we start with voltage read points which sit above a button which immediately puts the fan to 100% and then below this are two further buttons. This feature, called "TweakIt" allows us to increase the power to the card for enhanced overclocking, the LED’s lighting through green towards red the more we increase.
On the DirectCU II ASUS changed the outputs available on the card and on the Matrix these changes have been retained. Therefore we have 2x DVI, full size HDMI and DisplayPort. As with other GTX 580s we can connect two screens to this model and three in SLI mode for surround gaming. Power is provided by two 8-pin PCIe connectors, another change from the reference design.
ASUS also enhance the speeds of their card over the reference and DirectCU II at the factory and this model uses 816MHz core, 1632MHz shader and 1002MHz memory. Again 512 CUDA cores are present and they connect to the 1.5GB of GDDR5 via a 384-bit memory bus. PCIe 2.0, DirectX 11, DirectCompute 5.0, CUDA, PhysX and OpenCL are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content and the card can output 7.1 audio over HDMI.
ASUS also bundle some of their own software with the Matrix which assists with monitoring and overclocking, more on that later.