ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X Video Card Review

Today we take ASUS' elite R9 280X product, the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X video card, and put its advanced power phasing and board components to the test as we harshly overclock it. We compare it to an ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II. Then we will put it head to head against the overclocked SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X.

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Power Consumption

We tested the power utilization at the wall of the entire system without a video card, and with each video card at idle and full load. For full load power and temperature testing we used real gaming, in this case every game we tested. The power supply used in testing is an ANTEC 1200W High Current Pro. Our system is very lean with only one optical drive and one SSD being powered. Total system wattage at idle without video card is 95W.

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We began by installing the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X in our test bench, where we found our total idle system wattage was 132W. This was rather high compared to the ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DC II which idled at 114W, and even the overclocked ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DC II that had an idle power draw of 117W. Under full load the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X's power draw increased to 432W. This was 10W more than the stock ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DC II and 4W more than with the overclock.

When we overclock the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X we found the idle power draw increased to 136W, a increase of 4W while idling. Under full load the overclocked ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X required 465W at its peak. This is roughly 40W more than the ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DC II under load. From this, we see the ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DC II was more efficient with power, and converting what power it does use to direct performance. The ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X did draw more power than recent video cards we looked at including the GIGABYTE R9 280X OC Edition and the SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X, however the extra power draw did help the video card overclock to a higher stable frequency than either, so at least it has that going for it.


Temperature Measurement

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When idling the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X had a temperature of 28c with its fans running silently at 10%. It ran the same after we applied our overclock. Under load the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X increased up to 72c. This was with fans running the default profile, and fans only increased to 38%. After overclocking the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X we manually set our fans to 60% to ensure we keep off extra heat, and it did. It only increased to 61c.

The ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DC II idled at its stock and overclocked speeds with a temperature of 26c with fans at 34%. The stock video card increased to 75c with fans going up to 64% under full load in game. The overclock increased the temperature slightly higher to 77c while under load, with fans running at 68%.

We found without manually adjusting fan speed we had an issue with excess heat. While overclocking, we increased our voltages to the highest level using TweakIt. Doing so and playing with fans using the automatic profile caused the temperature to spike to 84c with fans only increasing to 42%. The fans would not manually romp up to high RPMs to dissipate the heat, even when it reached 84c. We found using the Turbo Fan button, increasing the fan speed immediately to 100% brought temperatures down to 49c while overclocking the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X. This created excessive noise.


Fan Noise

The most annoying thing we experienced with this video card was the Turbo Fan 100% button. It does a great job of removing excess heat. We saw it bring the operating temperature down to 49c under full load for extended periods of time. The problem with running 100% fan speed is that there is a lot of noise, which seems to be amplified because of the extra slot the video card requires.

Between the fans moving a lot of air and the turbulence being caused by the airflow, there was some rattling. This became annoying, because at times the fan housing or the finned heatsink would buzz or hum as if they weren't put together tight or correctly (although it is). buzzing actually starts occurring around 80% fan speed, and becomes gradually more noticeable up to 100%. While it is efficient, it just is not practical. Even with headphones and the game and music on, 100% fan speed was still noticeable in our open bench setup.

The fans become audible over the normal systems operating noise around 45 to 50%. This is when we can distinguish that they are moving air. If you have sound from gaming or music you probably won't notice the fans at this speed. We found that the excess noise was still bearable at 60%, which also fortunately provided cool operating temperatures. We could distinguish the fan at this point, but it wasn't annoying. Between 60 and 75% the fans get noticeably louder and can be heard constantly, but probably won't be a nuisance if they are in a tower or closed case. Anything above 80% produced rattling and turbulence, but was good for emergency heat exhaustion.