Aimed at a price of roughly 500 EUR the ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX PLATINUM hauls ass in its genre. It is an impressive product that comes with all the variables right. It already starts when you open up the package and simply lift it, the thing weighs roughly a kilogram.
The product breathes and oozes extreme performance and overclocking. Now admittedly it is hard to go wrong with a 7970 anyway as the default aka reference R7970 is already a product with a very high 'like' factor for sure. It performs well and within all parameters, like heat and noise it's already doing a terrific job.
However the customization that ASUS applied to this R7970 MATRIX PLATINUM ROG edition raises the bar once again. Obviously the overall looks are downright terrific, the DirectCU II based cooler however does require a three-slot form factor and while it does bring in much better cooling at roughly the same noise levels as the reference design, the sheer size of it might bother some of you.
Regardless of size there really isn't anything left to complain really, excellent temperatures, even better noise levels (or the lack of it) and a product build out of the best components. For the pro-overclockers out there even a VRM heatsink bridge is delivered with the package for if you need to remove the cooling for say an LN2 session.
Impressive on the entire 7000 series is as always, the power consumption. The board is rated with a 210~215 Watt TDP, that means when you completely stress it, that's the power consumption. Our measurements showed the board TDP is roughly 209 Watt during gaming, its very good for this kind of performance especially when you take into account that the product is factory overclocked for you. Just as impressive is the board's IDLE power state, in desktop mode when not in use it can throttle down and disable huge segments of the GPU allowing it to draw 10 Watt only. Once your monitor jumps into energy saving / sleep mode then the power draw of a 7970 drops towards 2.7 Watt.
When you look at the R7970 overall, performance, the new Eyefinity updates, PCIe gen 3 compatibility and all other stuff then we can only conclude that we like the Radeon HD 7970 in the enthusiast graphics card arena. For those that embrace multi-monitor gaming, it's for you guys that AMD decided to go for that massive 3GB framebuffer / graphics memory. They could have opted for the 1.5 GB route but with extreme resolutions graphics memory starts to really matter. So it might seem a little excessive, but we are very happy that in terms of graphics memory no compromises have been made.
Overclocking then, again impressive results. The MATRIX PLATINUM obviously already is factory overclocked and if you compare the reference R7970 at 925 MHz on that core clock and then compare it with this 1100 Mhz product .. then all I can say is .. wow.
But due to it's exemplary PCB and power design there is room left, if you manually overclock without voltage tweaking 1200 MHz is viable. However with voltage tweaking 1275~1300 MHz can be achieved quite easily. Mind you that this is based on an overclock with the air cooler with the ventilator RPM speed left at default. If you increase fan RPM then the 1400 MHz is something that comes in range.
It is time to wrap this review up, the ASUS Radeon HD 7970 MATRIX PLATINUM that originates from the ROG team is a little gem with lots of hidden features. It's a dish best served cold for the pro-overclockers though. It's abundantly clear that this product is aimed at these guys with that extreme PCB and power design, the VGA Hotwire functionality, the the extra buttons for voltage and fans, that snazzy Matrix LED indicator and of course also the many monitor outputs you can use to setup even an Eyefinity6 solution.
The cooling, the factory overclock, the six-monitor output, a quality build, voltage checkpoints and regulation and for the pro-overclockers an LN2 cooling pot ready PCB makes all this a very interesting product. To date it's definitely the fastest R7970 on the block in its default state. And though it might be a hint late to the market, we are sure it'll be embraced by many.
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