in Hardware

Custom Cooled GPU Shootout

One of the sub-categories cropping up amongst OEMs are videos cards which feature highly customized cooling along with special controller chips or other functionality that help facilitate tweaking the card's performance. These cards all have a few things in common. First, they all mount beefy and often very radical cooling designs which are a distinct departure from the ATI / NVIDIA approved reference cooler designs. They also offer some form of advanced tweaking features either in software, firmware or hardware (or perhaps all 3), that a stock reference design wouldn't possess, such as fan and voltage control.The tweaker-friendly video card segment seems to be getting more popular as more OEMs are producing custom cards that fit the mold. We're going to give you a peak into what makes these cards special by giving you the run-down on three available options–the MSI R4890 Cyclone SOC, the ASUS ROG ENGTX260 Matrix, and the ASUS ROG Matrix GTX285–which are excellent representatives of what the segment currently has to offer.