Asus Matrix HD 7970 Platinum Reviewairman -
Category: Video Cards
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As we continue to see a continuous stream of HD 7800 and HD 7900 series video cards hitting the market, it may be difficult to really tell them apart. Between several general models of an HD 7970 there may be little to no difference, or anything that sets it apart from other cards on the shelves. Some people may not desire to have anything super fancy, and these average-line models will suit them just fine. However for those who want the best, most feature-rich and overclockable card, ASUS has released its Matrix HD 7970 Platinum 3GB video card. It's got a feature list a mile long, a very large cooling system, and is supposed to be an excellent overclocker. I am really excited to get to test this video card and I'm anxious to see how it will do and how well its features work. In this review, I will provide a thorough evaluation of the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 Platinum that includes an extensive evaluation of the card, its features, overclockability, packaging, and performance. I will provide a comprehensive list of what all this card can do and how well it does it. Without anything more to be said, let's get started!
To my surprise, when I first opened the plain brown cardboard box that this card came in I thought I had received a motherboard. The box is almost twice the volume of that of other video card models on the market, so I was rightly confused! The front of the box has, in big text, MATRIX HD7970 PLATINUM printed on its center. The logo belonging to its Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of products appears in the top left corner. The bottom left of the front of the box has a Diablo 3 mousepad pictured and a statement underneath it stating that a free mousepad is included — cool. The back of the box contains a table of specifications, such as the card's clock speeds, minimum power requirements, and more. It also lists several of the Matrix HD 7970 Platinum from ASUS, boasting its DIGI+ VRM with 20 phase power circuitry and its VGA hotwire capability — more on that soon.
The front of the box opens up and reveals the card through a plastic window. The inside of this flap provides more information on its features and technologies. TweakIt allows the user to make overvolting adjustments just by pressing a button. The ASUS logo on the side of the card is lit with multi-colored LEDs that change based on the card's load level. These are pretty cool. The GPU Tweak software allows for the user to make adjustments to the card's VRM voltages and everything else you can think of. The DirectCU II technology appears in the cooling system. The card's 20-phase power delivery is unmatched by any other competitor; seems like it will be a very good tool when it comes to overclocking!
Opening the top of the handle reveals two inner boxes. The larger one contains the video card protected by a thick plastic cover (not pictured), and the narrow one contains the card's accessories, DVD media, free Diablo 3 mousepad, and adapters/cables. A 2x3-pin to 2x4-pin adapter is included, along with the VGA hotwire cables, ROG case badge, a DVI to VGA adapter, and a Crossfire bridge. An interesting notable: also included is what is known as an LN2 heatsink for the MOSFETs and other circuitry. If the cooler is removed to make way for LN2 or other extreme cooling, these MOSFETs and other components are not cooled. So, with extreme overclockers in mind, ASUS included the black component to the right of the driver DVD.
When I thought that the box was big, I hadn't seen the card yet! Once I got the card out of its styrofoam container, I was absolutely shocked by its size! It took me a minute to winch my jaw back up from the floor. This card is huge. ASUS decided to make the PCB bigger to accommodate a much larger power plane. By increasing the size of the GPU's power plane by 56%, voltage drop decreases by a whopping 65% — allowing for much cooler operation and much better overclocking. I've put the card adjacent to a reference HD 7970 for comparison. The card certainly is good looking — I like the Republic of Gamers theme. In case it wasn't already obvious, this is a triple slot card as can be seen here.
Now that this card is out of the box, I'm ready to take a closer look at it and see what it looks like up close!