ASUS iTracker, Overclocking and System Setup
While the ASUS HD 5870 V2 is pretty much a standard Radeon HD 5870 with an updated cooler design the ROG Matrix card is a different beast aimed at a totally unique category of user. You can easily see that when looking at the price on the Matrix card, easily $100 more than the standard offerings even though the default clock speeds on it are nearly identical. In fact, if you own THIS card are running at stock speeds, you’re doing it wrong.
We already went over some of the really high-end features of the ROG Matrix HD 5870 including 2GB of frame buffer memory, the color changing Matrix logo indicating the work load, voltage monitor connections open on the back of the card, higher end PCB and cooler design, etc. The other portion of this ASUS product is the iTracker 2 software that allows for easily overclocking, voltage modifications and even memory timing adjustments.
On the surface the iTracker 2 software looks pretty unassuming, just like any other AMD Radeon-centric overclocking tool. It allows the user to adjust the GPU clock speed and the memory clock speed but also the GPU and memory voltages! Not only that, but if you are really crazy you can manually adjust the timings for the memory on the card; something that only the most hardcore of tweakers and overclockers are going to be trying to mess with.
Our overclocking with the ASUS ROG Matrix HD 5870 2GB card was a lot of fun, easy enough to do and incredibly successful. While the default speeds of the Radeon HD 5870 GPU are 850 MHz, we were able to cross 1 GHz without much work:
Using the integrated overvolting capability of the iTracker 2 software we were able to reach 1025 MHz core clock speed with a boost to 1.35v. I should note that actually is a pretty big boost in power but the cooler that ASUS has integrated on this card was more than capable of keeping things stable at this speed.
Just to show you the differences in performance you will see will a move from the 900 MHz speeds up to the 1025 MHz frequency we were able to reach, here is a quick graph of the 3DMark Vantage results on the Extreme setting. In these results we were able to see a 12.5% performance increase courtesy of the 13.8% increase in clock speed – real world results will vary somewhat but with modern GPUs and games that are mostly GPU limited, clock rate increase usually result in nearly linear improvements in frame rates.
ASUS Radeon HD 5870 ROG MATRIX 2GB
For our testing today we are going to be pitting both the ASUS Radeon HD 5870 cards, the V2 and the Matrix, against the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 1.5GB and the GTX 470 1.25GB options. The GTX 480 is more expensive than the ASUS HD 5870 1GB V2 but costs less than the ASUS Matrix card. The GTX 470 however is priced quite a bit less than the V2 HD 5870 by about $50-70 so seeing how performance stacks up to it is important.
Oh, and obviously, since we tested the ASUS HD 5870 1GB V2 and the ASUS ROG Matrix HD 5870 2GB card are running at nearly identical frequencies out of the box, the performance results we see in our benchmarks and going to show them at very similar levels.
- Testing Configuration
- ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution X58 + nForce 200
- Intel Core i7-965 @ 3.33 GHz
- 3 x 2GB Corsair DDR3-1333 MHz
- Intel X25-M G2 160GB SSD
- Corsair Professional Series AX1200 watt power supply (Thanks!)
- NVIDIA Driver version: 260.52
- ATI Driver version: 10.8
- Monitors: 1 x 2560×1600 30″ Apple Cinema display