ASUS GTX980 Ti Matrix SLI Review
Published: 12th November 2015 | Source: ASUS | Price: £659.99 @ OCUK |
That was exciting wasn't it.
The GM200 GPU is so relentlessly consistent that we thought we'd pretty much seen everything it had to offer and, through a variety of different manufacturers takes on it, how good it was possible to be.
It's fair to say that the ROG Matrix GTX980Ti has shifted our perspective somewhat. We all knew that the ROG cards would be amazing, they always are, and indeed we knew that the nVidia GPU Boost 2.0 technology was rendering manual overclocking somewhat obsolete. To find a card which has a big old manufacturer overclock on board and yet was capable of being automatically overclocked by the drivers to performance levels that made a mockery of some serious hardware that had been manually fettled left us open-mouthed. To some degree it almost makes the idea that was the genesis for our site, overclocking 3D things, moot. What's the point in fighting with utilities and monitoring tools if you can get exactly the same effect from building a card which has the very best of everything on it, and letting the drivers sort the rest out. It's amazing whether you're running a single card or a pair in SLI. Seriously quiet, incredibly cool and performance so blistering that it almost needs sponsoring by Savlon.
There is an elephant in the room though, so let's stop pretending it isn't there and tackle it head on. The Republic of Gamers brand was about the first to bring together the old hot-rod classic colour combination of red and black. The performance of those products dominated the market so completely that other manufacturers took to producing all their hardware in red and black too. After all, if people are going to buy their hardware to match a common theme, and they do, then it makes business sense to ape the most popular colour choice. The trickle down effect is that everyone now produces black and red stuff and so the brand identity of ROG was watered down. They have taken the monstrously large step of erasing the one thing we all associated them with and going from black and red to black/grey and orange. To say that it is a brave decision definitely under-estimates things. It's like Ferrari changing their badge from yellow to blue.
Does it work though? We think it does. It has the two big effects of making ROG products readily identifiable again, and we think looks excellent. It's well known that one of our team is a big fan of orange, but we all think it really stands out as a classy looking thing. ASUS deserve a lot of respect for removing brand identity and establishing a new one. The fact they have done so with a card that performs so brilliantly it's guaranteed to make people set aside their prejudice and get on board the new colour scheme.
There are only two minor problems with the GTX980Ti Matrix. Firstly the price. ROG products always have a certain price premium to them, and hardcore graphic cards do too, so combining those things together makes for a eye-watering price tag that is just about justified by the performance. The second, and to us more problematic, area is the logo is still one that changes colour depending on how hard the card is working. We hoped this redesign would change the logo to either a static colour or, as we saw on the Gigabyte G1.Gaming, a colour you could choose. Nope. It very nearly ruins the whole thing. ASUS, we know you're listening, just stop it. Nobody cares about how hard their card is working and all it does is screw up our carefully harmonised colour scheme.
The ASUS ROG GTX980Ti Matrix is the cream of the Maxwell crop. Blazing performance, outstanding thermals, excellent software and, logo lighting aside, it really looks the business too. Gold.