ASUS R9 290X Matrix Platinum Review

Conclusion

ASUS R9 290X Matrix Review

Conclusion

So two ASUS Matrix cards that are almost identical in feature-set and looks. The GTX780Ti Matrix was a stormer, with excellent cooling, fantastic overclocking and great performance in every test. The R9 290X Matrix isn't anywhere near as impressive.

In fact if anything we are more disappointed by the Matrix than we've been by a card for some time, especially considering how fantastic the GTX780Ti Matrix is. It didn't seem to matter what test we run, the Matrix just isn't offering enough extra performance to justify its positioning at the ultimate end the market. It's designed for the most extreme overclocking enthusiast, those who demand world record scores. Or, perhaps, those who just wish the comfort that comes from the knowledge that they have the best version of a particular GPU that is available.

We fear either of those two groups of people could come away from the Matrix feeling a little underwhelmed for such a huge investment. We understand that there is an element of silicon lottery in any card. That receiving a great GPU or a poor one isn't related to how much money you spend on the card, but rather just on the luck of the draw. Even allowing for that though the Matrix doesn't quite cut it though. The cooler, whilst absolutely gorgeous to look at, is 11 degrees hotter than ASUS' own DirectCU II card and a whopping 21°C hotter than the MSI Lightning. This heat severely limits the overclock you can attain, which is the entire point of such a high end card. Its just leaves a taste in our mouths that Asus is selling this card on subzero overclocking merits knowing hardly any of you are ever likely to test this theory out and the ones that do will have been given a box of these to speed bin anyways.

Those two cards provide the biggest problem for the Matrix. If you want a R9 290X that's going to perform well on air then clearly the MSI Lightning is a better choice by such a margin that it's over the horizon and out of sight. If you're determined to own an ASUS R9 290X then the DirectCU II is cooler, a massive £75 cheaper and, in nearly every benchmark, faster too. Ah, we hear you cry, this is meant to be run under LN2 or some exotic, non-air, cooling option. By that token then the MSI Lightning (again) is a much better card and if you're going to water cool it then you might as well save a ton of cash and get a reference model.

It's a testament to how good the Hawaii XT GPU is, or perhaps extraordinarily lucky for ASUS, that all the disappointments of the Matrix still don't diminish the underlying performance of the Radeon GPU. It's hotter than many other R9 290X offerings, damn expensive and we can think of at least two cards that would empty our wallets long before we considered this. We know that there are a lot of you out there who don't mind about the odd frame here and there, or just love the looks of this so much that you're willing to pay the steep premium to have it in your rig. Unquestionably it looks fantastic. It's gorgeous and the black heatpipes blend beautifully with the red and grey shroud to leave the card looking as awesome as any other one out there. There is still sufficient speed available that the R9 290X Matrix gets our OC3D Performance award because of the GPU alone and the sheer amount of extra bells and whistles Asus have bolted onto this to sound like a wet dream for all you budding subzero overclockers. For the air cooling and non overclocking crowd absolutely must empty your wallet on this card JUST for the way it looks we feel that in this instance the normal DCUII card would be a much wiser purchase.

      

Thanks to ASUS for supplying the R9 290X Matrix for review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

17-03-2014, 20:14:01

tinytomlogan
http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...210514909l.JPG

The R9 290X core gets the Asus Matrix Platinum treatment, just how well does it do against the Lightning?


Continue Reading

17-03-2014, 21:09:33

Excalabur50
Why buy this at it's price when for the same money roughly you can buy a Lightning that out performs it, is quieter and cooler?
I know where my money would go.....if I had it of course

18-03-2014, 04:54:37

barnsley
This looks nice but it really seems that in terms of AMD gpus especially Asus have gone form over function.

I'd go for the 290x toxic or the lightning over this.

18-03-2014, 05:25:08

tinytomlogan
Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalabur50 View Post
Why buy this at it's price when for the same money roughly you can buy a Lightning that out performs it, is quieter and cooler?
I know where my money would go.....if I had it of course
For the average joe youre right. For a subzero boy this is reported to own the Lightning.... mainstream versus niche.

18-03-2014, 05:42:29

SieB
How the hell can they make a card with a nice beefy heatsink, with two good fans and yet it still be loud and hit 90*c?
Asus, are you even trying? I hope they didn't just slap the 780Ti Matrix cooler on this one as well like they did with the DCUII.

Whether it's made for LN2 or not it should still perform well on air, the Lightining is designed to do what this does and it still performs well on air and is quiet. Asus have not done well with the 290s compared to the other manufacturers, which is a shame.

18-03-2014, 06:30:45

ahimoth
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post
How the hell can they make a card with a nice beefy heatsink, with two good fans and yet it still be loud and hit 90*c?
Asus, are you even trying? I hope they didn't just slap the 780Ti Matrix cooler on this one as well like they did with the DCUII.

Whether it's made for LN2 or not it should still perform well on air, the Lightining is designed to do what this does and it still performs well on air and is quiet. Asus have not done well with the 290s compared to the other manufacturers, which is a shame.
It seems to me that this is more a testament to the power that these cards deliver. Air cooling might just be reaching it's limits with these cards although I think that's also unlikely. Nvidia's cards stay reasonably cool and if the 750Ti is anything to go by the new generation of Nvidia cards are going to be extremely low power and therefore heat.

I wouldn't mind seeing full water block cards with Swiftech H220 like AIO expandable coolers on them. Honestly the Ares should have had a larger radiator than a 120 mm :S Anyway... I'm actually excited that this card runs hot even with this awesome air cooler on it.

18-03-2014, 07:44:31

Ciric
Imho, they might aswell sell this card without a heatsink. Anyone who's going to use the features of this card, will tare it off instantly anyway, and put under chilled water or better.

e: yea yea, i know. Marketing, branding, recognizability, ect ...anyway, just sell it without a heatsink!

18-03-2014, 07:45:39

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahimoth View Post
It seems to me that this is more a testament to the power that these cards deliver. Air cooling might just be reaching it's limits with these cards although I think that's also unlikely. Nvidia's cards stay reasonably cool and if the 750Ti is anything to go by the new generation of Nvidia cards are going to be extremely low power and therefore heat.
The other no ref 290s are all quiet and cool, my Sapphire Tri-X has never gone above 74*c whilst gaming and it is really quiet, to the point I can't hear it over the other fans in my case.

Asus haven't done well with the coolers on the 290/x DCUII and now the Matrix. I think the main reason is because instead of making a cooler especially for the 290 they just used the 780Ti one.
It might work but it's doesn't do a good of a job as it could do. They perform not much better than the AMD reference cooler and that is pretty bad considering the difference in price.

18-03-2014, 08:25:45

Excalabur50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post
For the average joe youre right. For a subzero boy this is reported to own the Lightning.... mainstream versus niche.
You are right BUT as you yourself said how many are going to sub zero it? And for most gamers out there the Lightning is an Epeen card that is cool and quiet whilst still giving great performance
Reply
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