Analysis and Conclusions
Out of the box, the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 is one of the faster single GPU graphics cards you can buy. In our testing on the previous page you saw how it was obviously a bit faster than the reference Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition (it is 50-100 MHz faster after all) while also besting the GeForce GTX 680 from NVIDIA in many games as well. With the late summer driver releases from both companies many games (like Metro 2033 and DiRT 3) switched places as to who was in command but in reality, both are very close once again. If I had to pick a single GPU winner, it would likely still be the GTX 680, but cards like the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 can really flip the table.
If you are a user that simply wants to open the box, install your card and start gaming with little regard to tweaking, then this likely isn't the card for you. Though only a $50 premium over the much louder reference designs, you'll probably be happier saving the money and picking up a copy of some PC title you've been lusting after.
Features and Build Quality
Obviously the killer features for the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 lie not in the out of box clocks but in the little additions and design changes that equate to the massive overclocking we saw with our sample. Things like the larger power plane on the PCB design, black Japanese capacitors and the 20-phase DIGI+ VRM combine to offer an engineering standard on a Radeon HD 7970 card we really haven't seen before.
Features like the VGA Hotwire connections, TweakIt buttons, Turbo Fan and Safe Mode buttons are really meant for overclockers that do this more for profession than for gaming, and though we don't really have the capability to take full advantage of them here, the fact that they exist should give "normies" like us a good fuzzy feeling. Over-engineered is oftern NOT a bad term.
Finally, the efficient and incredibly quiet cooler offer all users – stock, overclocked and LN2 – the ability to run at lower temperatures and significantly lower noise levels than your run of the mill reference cards.
Pricing and Availability
At $499, the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 is one of the most expensive Tahiti-based single GPU cards you can buy. However, that is a $50 premium over the most basic HD 7970 GHz Edition cards, none of which can even come close to matching the feature set and design quality of this card. The only direct competition might be the MSI R7970 Lightning priced at $489 that is quite good but doesn't have a leg up on the Matrix.
- ASUS Matrix HD 7970 3GB – $499
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition – $449
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 – $389
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 – $449
Even if you aren't into volt-modding and LN2 you will find reasons to love the ASUS Matrix.
ASUS has really done a fantastic job with the Matrix HD 7970 graphics card, in either standard or Platinum branding. A combination of superior technical design, quiet and efficient cooling as well as a ton of overclocking headroom will likely make this card one of the best options for an entire generation of graphics cards.