ASUS Republic Of Gamers Announces Matrix R9 290X And GTX 780 Ti
ASUS has been widely regarded as a producer of premier products within the enthusiast gaming space. Their Republic Of Gamers (ROG) branded merchandise has earned the company praise and a loyal following of enthusiast gamers and professional overclockers. So, nearly 6 months after their reference designed releases, ASUS finally satiated those followers with both Nvidia and AMD Matrix branded cards, the Matrix R9 290x and Matrix GTX 780ti.
It is very uncommon for ASUS to release two Matrix cards at the same time from both the green and the red teams; their loyalty to each partner is decidedly “Switzerland” in this tactic.
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So let’s see what extra goodies we have with these cards. They are both handpicked and binned GPUs from ASUS, and they promise to deliver supreme overclocking ability, although their factory OC is a little bit less impressive: Only a paltry 50Mhz more for the R9 290x, but a more respectable, if still tame, 144Mhz above the reference 780ti speeds. Now the press release states that the cards have up to 4GB of DDR5 VRAM, which may be a bit insulting to the demographic you are targeting with these cards, as most of them know the 780ti has 3GB of VRAM. Inaccurate press release is inaccurate.
To keep them cool at these speeds both cards feature the amazing DirectCU II cooling and CoolTech fan technology to help reduce temperatures, something I’m sure the hot Hawaii core in the R9 290x will simply adore. DirectCU II cooling is the mainstay for high end ASUS cards, and in these cards they use highly-conductive 10mm copper cooling pipes which are in direct contact with the GPU. To add to the premium nature, the new heat-sink is finished in a stunning matt (this is how they spelt it in the press release) black, which admittedly makes it look very attractive. Now what is not mentioned is the amount of copper heat pipes in contact with the core, as this is also an important measure of its heat dissipating prowess.
The CoolTech fans are more interesting as they provide a unique hybrid blade and bearing design, as the inner fan is a radial blower and the outer fan acts as a flower-type blade with the claim to provide multi directional airflow to accelerate heat removal.
Further features that you pay top Dollar and very top Rand for are the extra overclocker friendly features, such as Memory Defroster tech, which ensures that your video memory modules quickly defrosts during below zero overclocking for sustained stability. The cards, also for those dabbling in the very dark arts, have a dual BIOS jumper switch which engages a liquid-nitrogen BIOS which allows more overvolting options to unleash the beast so to speak. It also features a Safe Mode option which will allow users to restore default BIOS settings instantly, in case their fiddling has rendered the card less useful.
All these features and advanced cooling is backed up by an impressive array of quality components and circuitry. The ROG Matrix cards have DIGI+ voltage-regulator modules, or VRMs, with Super Alloy Power Technology, which delivers an astounding 14-phase power and digital voltage regulation. The Super Alloy Power’s Japanese-made 10k black metallic capacitors and 14 ultra-high-amperage full-moulded chokes and efficient MOSFETS are all read of a list of highly impressive components capable of withstanding high stress and heat levels.
Besides the regular features of overclocking and online streaming provided by GPU tweak, users can look forward to an exclusive ROG edition of GPU tweak, which adds detailed GPU load-line calibration and VRM frequency tuning, which allows fine control over multiple parameters of your card to squeeze out that extra world breaking clockspeed and stability. It goes without saying that whenever a Matrix card enters the market, new benchmarking world records are broken soon after.
ROG Matrix products may generate very little monetary reward for ASUS as their volume of sales are not enough to add a lot to their bottom line, but none can argue that the ROG brand generates a lot of brand value to ASUS as a whole, and that definitely affects their bottom lines in a big way. As of yet no international pricing is available, but I imagine they will easily be north of R10 000 locally.
So what do you guys think? A great piece of tech porn with little value outside of fantasies and Ln2 benches, or something you may consider buying?