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ASUS ENGTX260 Matrix GeForce GTX 260 896MB Video Card Review

Conclusions

[ad#review971-top]Test results were about what I expected. There were a couple of weird scores, such as the 4870 getting better PCMark05 and PCMark Vantage scores, and a drop in 3DMark06 and PCMark Vantage when overclocking the ENGTX260 Matrix, but nothing I’ve not seen before. Overclocking beyond the “sweet spot” often degrades performance in some applications. The Matrix blew away the HD 4870 in 3D applications, as it should have.

I haven’t mentioned, but this is my first card in the GTX 200 series. I had figured I’d be impressed, and I was. The GTX 260 was a little out of my price range when released but prices have fallen sharply in the last six months.

Asus has done an excellent job with the Matrix version of the GTX 260. The cooler is quiet and very effective, when overclocked 20%, the GPU never got over 65C, and spent most of its time at 64C. I was a little surprised, even with the elaborate cooler that Asus placed on the ENGTX260 Matrix I expected temperatures in the 70s or 80s. Most video cards have capabilities of adjusting fan speed on the fly, but few if any have the capabilities of Asus’ Matrix Hybrid Cooler.ranging from totally passive to serious airflow.and never getting loud. The cooler in passive mode saw idle temps of no more than 47C.

I am extremely impressed with Asus’ iTracker. Not merely a toy to play with like some utilities, iTracker, coupled with Asus’ Super Hybrid Engine is a very effective and easily used system of getting the most out of your video card when gaming, and just sipping power when using 2D applications, where most rigs get used. Actually, that is one of the reasons I really don’t get into overclocking GPUs, because you don’t want it overclocked 24/7, and invariably I forget to clock it back down when I’m done. I would imagine that neither iTracker nor Super Hybrid Engine will remain unique to the Matrix series, I’d hope not anyway…surely it will find its way into Asus’ next generation of video cards.

Though the ENGTX260 Matrix has been around for several weeks, and it is sold in European, Australian, and New Zealand markets, I couldn’t find it for sale in the US. The GTX 260 currently sells for between $180 and $300 in its various configurations at my favorite online retailer, and Asus’ standard cards go for $200. I imagine that the ENGTX260 Matrix will run in the $225-$250 price range, definitely a value for such a powerful video card with a very elaborate GPU cooler.

ThinkComputers gives the ASUS ENGTX260 Matrix GeForce GTX 260 Video Card a 9 out of 10 score.

Pros:

– Awesome power
– Very innovative utility in iTracker/Super Hybrid Engine
– Hybrid Cooler is effective and definitely innovative

Cons:

– Limited availability

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