ASUS Radeon EAH 4870 Matrix
ASUSí Radeon EAH 4870 Matrix is also an engineering marvel amongst Radeon 4870 cards. Like the EAH 4850 Matrix, the card has an imposing look, with a black PCB, dual fans, and dual-slot cooler. Once again ASUS employs a custom board design and cooling on their 4870 Matrix, with the 4870 Matrix board sporting a much more powerful cooler than the 4850 board, or many other Radeon 4870 cards for that matter.
Like the EAH 4850 Matrix, the 4870 Matrix supports ASUSí Hybrid Cooler technology. When running 2D apps at the Windows desktop both fans completely shut off. The cardís fans will remain at 0 RPMs as long as the GPU remains cool, if the GPU begins to get too hot one of the cardís fans will turn itself on automatically, the fan will then remain on until the GPU hits a certain minimum threshold temp. At this point the fan will turn off again and the cycle will repeat itself. The fans will also turn themselves on automatically when you boot up a 3D application or game. In this case, both fans will turn on regardless of the GPUís current temp.
The cooler ASUS has employed on the 4870 Matrix is very impressive. It sports four copper heatpipes, with two of the heatpipes extending all the way to the edges of the PCB (one on the right side, just above the PCIe power connectors and one on the left side of the card, just behind the DVIs)! Besides the quad heatpipes, the cooler is actually composed of dual Orb-shaped aluminum heatsinks. One Orb rests directly above the RV770XT GPU while the second Orb heatsink doesnít come into direct contact with any components on the board and sits to the right. Like the 4850 Matrix, a copper plate comes into direct contact with the GPU, helping to pull heat off the chip and is attached to the four copper heatpipes. The heatpipes used here are much longer than the ones used on the 4850 Matrix further increasing the surface area and thus their effectiveness, and once again some of them encircle the cardís fans.
The dual fans are a little more traditional than the blower-style fan used on the 4850 Matrix, and surprisingly they actually run a little quieter than the 4850 Matrix.
Without the ASUS power management software installed and the cards merely running ATIís reference driver and CCC, we recorded noise levels ranging between 48-50 decibels in Far Cry 2, and a max of 52 decibels in Crysis with the 4870 Matrix. In comparison the 4850 Matrix generated 52 decibels of noise while running Far Cry 2 and a whopping 55 decibels in Crysis.
Before you get too alarmed keep in mind that these noise levels were recorded without
running ASUSí iTracker software. Youíd be crazy to pay the premium for these Matrix cards and not run iTracker, as it does a much better job of managing fan settings than the default ATI driver settings.
Like the 4850 Matrix, ASUS employs a custom board design with 4+2 power on the 4870 Matrix. Also like the 4850 Matrix, the 4870 Matrix board ships with only one dual-link DVI.
In terms of clock speeds, ASUS does OC the 4870 Matrix, but only slightly. The card runs at 770MHz core/920MHz memory, an improvement of 20MHz over stock. Not exactly a massive OC, but it is a slight boost nonetheless.
ASUS ships the EAH 4870 Matrix with one DVI adapter, an HDMI adapter, component video cable, power adapter, and CrossFire connector.