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    ASUS Matrix Platinum GTX 980: Review

    By now you probably know that NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 is our favourite GPU for high-end gaming. Whack two of these in your system and 4K gaming isn’t an unrealistic expectation. NVIDIA knows gamers love it, which is why the price of graphics cards based on this chip remain rather lofty, still hovering around the $800 price point. This makes it one of the most expensive graphics cards available, but ASUS has delivered an even higher premium version of this premium product. The Matrix Platinum GTX 980 sells for over a grand, but there’s a good reason for the price rise.

    “Designed by overclockers, for overclockers” is the mantra behind this product’s design. It has every feature a serious overclocker could ever desire, starting with a seriously high-end power supply. GPUs pushed to the absolute limit need the cleanest, most stable power supply around, which is why ASUS has endowed this card with a ridiculous 14 phase power supply using DIGI+VRM for rapid, accurate adjustments in voltage. Power is fed via twin 8-pin power connectors, with an additional 4-pin Molex connector used to power the card’s defrosting feature. Several voltage measuring points are easily accessible on the rear of the card, allowing quick and accurate voltage monitoring.

    This is a card that has been designed to operate at the chilly temperatures offered by liquid nitrogen cooling. A small switch on the card enables the defrosting loop,which removes any icing from the memory, lowering the risk of cold bugs. Unfortunately we weren’t able to test this feature, but this card is also a demon when overclocking on air. The huge DirectCU II cooler is based around five 10mm heatpipes that removes heat from the GPU and dissipates it to the large coolingshroud. Twin fans are help to remove the heat, and one uses a new inner radial blower to improve performance without increasing fan noise. ASUS claims this cooler is up to three times quieter than the stock cooler, and our sound meter pegged it at just 43dB under load, making this one of the quietest GTX 980s we’ve tested. A glowing “Republic of Gamers” logo on the outside edge of the card changes colour to indicate GPU load, which will be a nice addition for those with large case windows.

    ASUS has obviously given this product a small factory overclock, with the Boost Clock speed increasing from the default of 1216MHz up to 1342MHz. Memory speed is at stock out of the box, but we managed to top it out at 7960MHz beforeglitching started to show up in games. Unfortunately the GPU is tied to a very strict power increase of just 38mV due to NVIDIA regulations, which limits what this card can do without voltage modifications. Using this amount of extra voltage, we managed to reach a maximum stable Boost Clock of just 1440MHz, whichis on par with other GTX 980s.

    If you’re not going to be dousing this card in water or liquid nitrogen, the raft of extra features on this card simply aren’t necessary, making the price increase hard to swallow. However, if you’re on the hunt for world records or aren’t afraid to do alittle voltage modification to power up your water cooled system, the Matrix Platinum GTX 980 is a tantalising product packed with all the features you could ever ask for.

    9/10 / PRICE  $1039

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