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ASUS HD 7970 3GB Matrix Platinum Edition Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: November 14, 2012
Product Name: HD 7970 Matrix Platinum
Part Number: MATRIX-HD7970-P-3GD5
Warranty: 3 Years
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ASUS GPU Tweak….Redux



Like many other graphics card manufacturers, ASUS has their own overclocking software suite. Dubbed GPU Tweak, it may not be as well known as the EVGA Precisions and MSI Afterburners of this world but it is just as functional and we actually believe it may be the best enthusiast software around. By eschewing the unnecessary frills and oddities of some other tweaking software like Gigabyte’s ill-fated SoC Tuner, GPU Tweak puts every one of the necessary functions within reach. This version has also been upgraded with a number of unique add-ons within its handy Advance mode that will surely help overclockers.

In order to provide quick set-up-and-go overclocking options, ASUS has included a handy feature which links the GPU voltage and core speed at predetermined intervals. Increasing voltage automatically adjusts the core speed and vice versa. Naturally, this feature can be disabled but we actually found it quite handy for performance tuning. Memory voltage and VDDCI modifications can also be done and the limits are actually quite high so proceed with care if you don’t have more exotic methods of cooling.


Scrolling down to the second screen, we see that both 100mm fans can have their speeds manually changed independently of one another and AMD’s Power Target for their Boost feature can be tuned up to 120%. More importantly, ASUS has included a Load Line feature which acts very much like the LLC setting on a motherboard. As any video card comes under load scenarios, its core voltage drops but ASUS’ Load Line setting compensates for this, evening things out and potentially increasing stability in highly overclocked situations.


As with most other tweaking software, ASUS has included a GPU monitoring toolbar which is remarkably well fleshed out with a nearly endless list of items that can be enabled or disabled.


Overclocking Results


We spent over 13 hours tweaking ASUS’s Matrix and it was a profoundly rewarding experience. While most cards (especially of the GeForce variety) hold to a very stringent set of constraints, this HD 7970 was nearly limitless with what it had to offer. If you have the time and are willing to put in the effort to utilize every overclocking feature it has to offer, we can’t think of a better card for enthusiasts than the Matrix.

As usual, we didn’t’ increase fan speeds past the 75% mark but it should be noted that using the Matrix’s Turbo Fan option didn’t improve our overclocking results by one iota. This basically means we were able to hit the limits of software voltage modification and ASUS’ TweatIT without temperatures becoming an issue. In order to get higher clock speeds, we likely would have needed to use the hard-mod soldering locations on the PCB.

Now onto the results. For benchmarking purposes, we hit the 1377MHz mark with the core voltage set to 1.4V while the memory proved to be even more malleable to overclocking than expected with a maximum speed of 6.854 Gbps. Those are by far the highest numbers we’ve ever achieved with a HD 7970 but they were only stable in some short-run applications. For 24/7 stability, a slightly more pedestrian (but nonetheless impressive) speed of 1328MHz was achieved with the memory hovering at 6.818 Gbps. These results were all attained with Load Line at 100% which did seem to aid in stability as higher speeds were achieved.

As you might expect, even at these lower speeds, the Matrix’s performance results were astounding:



 
 
 

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