We have proven previously that, clock for clock at least, AMD's Tahiti from the Southern Islands family remains the fastest and most forward looking GPU over the competition's Kepler GK104. Ten months on from the initial launch, the Republic of Gamers division at ASUS have come up with a custom triple slot, supercharged version of the Radeon HD 7970, also giving owners a few avenues to squeeze out every bit of potential to satisfy their need for speed.
Ever since the less than flattering relevations about Nvidia's Green Light programme for board makers were exposed to the public, buying a more expensive, custom GTX 680 seems a bit daft given that no (easy) voltage adjustments are possible, thus restricting the clock frequency potential. Thankfully AMD has not imposed such restrictions on their OEM vendors and we've seen companies like MSI and Sapphire coming out with innovative cooling solutions, software utilities and beefed up voltage regulation to allow users to find the upper limits of the TSMC 28nm Tahiti XT core.
Next to a regular reference HD 7970 GHz edition card, the newcomer looks like an aircraft carrier parked next to a fishing trawler thanks to its hulking cooler and extended PCB size.
No surprises here with the oversized box design either, with ASUS deploying the usual red motifs of the Republic of Gamers brand along with a few illustrations of its features all over the packaging.
Included in the box set is a small Diablo 3 themed Steelseries QCK cloth mousepad, a CrossfireX bridge long enough for three slots (not shown here) and some other overclocking related accessories which we will go through later in this review.
Armed with four full-sized DisplayPort and two DVI-D connectors, the Matrix 7970 Platinum is capable of up hooking up to six display Eyefinity from a single card without the need for a (still unreleased) DisplayPort 1.2 MT hub.
There are also dual CrossfireX connectors here, which is a puzzling design decision as the triple slot cooling solution inherently means only one of them will ever be used (explaination: typical motherboards and cases only have seven or eight slots, thus limiting multi-GPU action to only dual cards) without the use of a slot extender or riser.
Utilizing the "Tahiti 2" GHz Edition ASIC that we've cover previously, the card is factory programmed to run at 1100MHz on the core (as opposed to 925MHz on the initial HD 7970, 1050MHz on the GHz Edition) and an aggressive 1650MHz on the memory (only 1375MHz and 1500MHz respectively on the standard cards). These kind of frequencies would require extra binning to pick the creme of the crop, which is a always a good thing for the buyer. We also note with interest the relatively low ASIC quality rating, which implies high electrical leakage (scales better when cold, subzero cold)