The Matrix arrives with a graphics core overclocked by 50MHz from the stock 850MHz speed to a fairly healthy 900MHz - but that's just a starting point for pushing it harder.

The large black cooler that envelopes the Matrix card is designed to move around 20% more air than a standard heatsink, and it runs fairly quietly too.

Underneath that is an extra gigabyte of GDDR5 RAM mounted on a completely bespoke PCB that's tricked out with enough extra voltage regulation circuitry to run a nuclear power plant.

So you can make the most of all these extra electronics, there's a suite of software tools to open up timings for tweakers.

The crucial one is iTracker2, which lets you drill down into specific latencies usually only seen in motherboard BIOSes.

Overclocks in excess of 1GHz or more are made stable thanks to two eight pin power connectors (the norm is two six pin molexes) keeping the juices topped up, and when it all goes wrong, there's even a clear CMOS-type reset switch on the back.

There is only room for one DVI-out port, though, but the card comes with an HDMI-DVI adaptor for multi-monitor set-ups.

What's performance like? It scales well compared to a stock HD 5870 and at the default speeds is competitive with the GeForce GTX 480, faster in some games, slower in others.

In DirectX 11 titles, like Battlefield: Bad Company 2, NVIDIA still has a clear edge. It's tough to find a GTX 480 at this price, though, and even against other souped-up HD 5870s, and agaisnt more expensive cards, the Matrix isn't bad value for money.

If you're after frames per penny, something like Zotac's AMP! Edition GTX 470 is almost a performance match for a lot less cash.

What the Matrix Platinum does like no other is make fiddling fun.

We liked:

The Matrix HD 5870 isn't the fastest or cheapest overclocked version of AMD's flagship graphics processor, but it is better thought out than most and if you plan to actually use its unique overclocking features it's the best choice bar none.

The large frame buffer should put it near the top of your shopping list if you're planning to build a multi-monitor set-up too.

We disliked:

But don't get carried away by its impressive specs, the vast majority of us are better off saving almost £100 and getting a vanilla AMD Radeon HD5870 instead.

Final word:

Absolutely not a card for everyone, but if you want to tweak it, there's none better.