Asus Matrix HD 7970 Platinum Reviewairman -
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ASUS has definitely come through and provided one hell of a video card. As far as history goes, the ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum Edition is the fastest, most overclockable, quietest, and really best bang-for-your-buck out there. It places first in nearly every test, only a handful of defeats from the NVIDIA GTX 680 and maybe once or twice with the 6GB HD 7970. With a launch price set at $480, this video card is only an extra $40-$50 over other HD 7970s. For that extra $40-50, you get so many extra features and you can have the unofficially fastest single-core card on the market. With the exceptions of the few tests where it lost out by a few frames per second, the ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum Edition sweeps the floor and achieves win after win.
As far as overclocking goes, you can't go wrong with the ASUS GPU Tweak software. It's a complete suite for overclocking your video card, from the obvious core and memory clocks, but also the voltages. Typical video cards might allow for the GPU core voltage adjustment, but ASUS takes that to an entirely new level. Not only do you get to change the GPU voltage, but you also get to play with the VDDCI voltage and the memory voltage. No other card can do this right now that I am aware of, and this makes it a special treat to work on. With the benefits of the DirectCU II cooler, the ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum Edition keeps its cool and stays at a happy temperature even at 1.36V on the core! I wouldn't have dreamed of going past 1.3V on air, but the ASUS held up very nicely and performed very well. Something that I've never gotten into (though I wish I could) is LN2 (liquid nitrogen) overclocking. With the build quality of this card matched with its volt-mod capabilities, I have a feeling we will see records broken with this card. I really hope to see that happen!
Overall, I am quite blown away by this card. ASUS didn't stop at enlarging the PCB to fit an unmatched 20-phase power circuitry or adding overvolting buttons directly on the PCB, but it kept going and produced the king of the hill HD 7970. If I had a $500 budget for a video card, I would be very torn between a GTX 680 or this impressive specimen. Either way, I know I would be happy with my choice. The HD series cards have seemed to make a comeback over the past six months since the GTX 680 launch; just look at our latest reviews. I must hand it to ASUS with this video card. It really is a force to be reckoned with!
- Great overclocker
- Super wide range of voltage options
- Safe Mode button instantly reverts back to known-good settings
- Voltage adjustment buttons on the PCB allow the user to adjust the voltage on the fly
- Impressively quiet even at 100% RPM for both fans
- Free Diablo 3 mousepad
- GPU Tweak software provides a great software-based overclocking environment
- Potentially 1.3GHz+ and 7GHz+ memory clock speeds on air
- Super Alloy Power
- Cannot run three DVI monitors out of the box — must acquire full size DP to DVI-D adapter