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ASUS Matrix Radeon HD 7970 3GB Overclocked Graphics Card Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: ASUS

GPU Testbed and Configuration

For the Radeon HD 7970 3GB review (and all those going forward) we decided it was high time we replaced the somewhat dated Nehalem-based infrastructure (even though honestly, it was fast enough) with something a bit more current.  Obviously that meant going with the new Intel Sandy Bridge-E processor and X79 motherboard - by combining support for 40 PCI Express lanes and 3-4 full size GPU slots it makes for the perfect GPU base.

From this point on, our reviews will based around the following system:

  • Intel Core i7-3960X CPU
  • ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard
  • Corsair DDR3-1600 4 x 4GB Vengeance memory
  • 600GB Western Digital VelociRaptor HDD
  • 1200 watt Corsair Professional Series power supply
  • Windows 7 SP1 x64

The ASUS P9X79 Pro

The Intel Core i7-3960X gives us the fastest consumer-level CPU on the market to help eliminate the possibility of any processor-based bottlenecks in our testing (whenever possible).  There are still going to be some games that could use more speed (Skyrim comes to mind) but for our purposes this is as good as you get without getting into any kind of overclocked settings.  The ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard has enough space for three dual-slot graphics cards when the time comes for testing 3-Way SLI and CrossFire and 8 DIMM slots should we want to go up from our current setup of 16GB of Corsair Vengeance memory.  

I chose to stick with the 600GB VelociRaptor hard drive rather than an SSD as our total installation size with Windows 7 SP1 x64 and 6+ games was already hitting the 115GB range.  Finally the 1200 watt power supply from Corsair offers up more than enough juice for three power hungry graphics cards while running quietly enough to not throw off our noise testing drastically.

Speaking of noise, we have our sound level testing thanks to the Extech 407738 Sound Level Meter capable of monitor decibel ratings as low as 20db.  This allows me to accurately tell you the noise levels generated by the graphics cards that make in-house at PC Perspective.

Along with the new hardware configuration comes a host of new games.  For this review we will be using the following benchmarks and games for performance evaluation:

  • Battlefield 3
  • Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • DiRT 3
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Metro 2033
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • 3DMark11
  • Unigine Heaven v2.5

This collection of games is both current and takes into account several different genres as well - first person role playing, third person action, racing, first person shooting, etc.  3DMark11 and Unigine Heaven give us a way to see how the cards stack up in a more synthetic environment while the real-world gameplay testing provided by the six games completes the performance picture.

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The ASUS Matrix HD 7970 is going to be pitted against the reference versions of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and the older, vanilla HD 7970.  Also, of course, we have the GeForce GTX 680 in the mix as well.  For the AMD GPUs we were using the Catalyst 12.11 beta and for NVIDIA we tested with 306.23.

Now, with that out of the way, let's get on with the results and see how the ASUS Matrix Platinum HD 7970 performs!

December 4, 2012 | 03:35 PM - Posted by Logun

Why the disparity on Metro 2033 @ 2560x1600 with the Matrix vs the GHz Ed? 5% seems like a notable amount?

June 13, 2013 | 02:33 AM - Posted by Jamal (not verified)

parce que vidéo incendie parquet
pac air eau chauffage pac chauffage devis pompe à chaleur
pac air eau entendu elle a parquet le béton en écoutant

December 5, 2012 | 01:46 PM - Posted by mtcn77 (not verified)

Excuse my impatience, what version of catalyst driver have you chosen for this review?

December 5, 2012 | 07:22 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Oops, I am always leaving that out!

For the AMD GPUs we were using the Catalyst 12.11 beta and for NVIDIA we tested with 306.23.

December 6, 2012 | 03:53 PM - Posted by wilson79

awesome show love to win this card

December 6, 2012 | 09:41 PM - Posted by msu232smith

Love the show guys, big fan keep up the good work.

December 6, 2012 | 10:32 PM - Posted by bilmath76 (not verified)

Amazing post keep it up Guys at PCper

December 7, 2012 | 04:33 AM - Posted by Ivica Madjaric (not verified)

This is some monster hardware ;)

December 9, 2012 | 09:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Nice detailed review, keep up the good work!

December 9, 2012 | 12:06 PM - Posted by TRAVERSER (not verified)

Great review!

I was about to replace my old trusty 5870 with a 7950 and now this came along. Oh well, budget was once again wiped out cause the holidays.

December 9, 2012 | 01:48 PM - Posted by clonzelda (not verified)

Is this the Ferrari of video cards?

December 18, 2012 | 07:50 PM - Posted by Elmira Beddow (not verified)

I really like your writing style, great information, thankyou for posting : D.

December 19, 2012 | 12:46 PM - Posted by rich9cinti (not verified)

I have the Matrix 7970 Platnium for about a week now. Some moderately high overclocks at 1230Mhz/7300Mhz. Using 12.11 driver, 3DMark11 score - 11160. I still have some thermal headroom, too. Here's a link to see how I progressed.

December 19, 2012 | 12:48 PM - Posted by rich9cinti (not verified)

Oops, here's the link: http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=367143

February 13, 2013 | 06:49 PM - Posted by Sergiu Gabriel (not verified)

This graphic card is better than MSI GTX680 Lightning ? Will be faster for rendering things like 3D Objects in Blender, video animation, effects, etc...What will be the perfect choice, the ATI or the NVidia cards for graphic design ?

February 22, 2013 | 11:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Screen captures were taken with onboard TURNO FAN MODE enabled ??

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