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ASUS R9 280X Matrix Platinum Review

There is no doubt that the Asus R9 280X Matrix Platinum is engineered to the highest standards. Not only is it supplied in a very high state of overclock, but the results are very close to the flagship Sapphire HD7970 6GB Toxic Edition of the last generation. The Matrix Platinum is much quieter than the older Sapphire card, which will please many people.

An argument has been made that the R9 280X is just basically a reflashed HD7970 GHZ Edition, but in the real world these are still very capable graphics cards that can power the latest games at 1920×1080 and 2560×1600 resolutions.

While we aren’t questioning the performance of the Asus R9 280X Matrix Platinum, we are surprised to see a triple slot cooler fitted to a R9 280X, even if it is overclocked. Many users who want to run high end Crossfire find it difficult to make room for 6 slots … just for a simple 2 way Crossfire configuration.

We wouldn’t mind so much if the triple slot ASUS cooler was leading the way in regards to cooling performance, but the Vapor X cooler on the Sapphire R9 280X delivers a lower thermal output while taking up only two slots. There is no doubt that the ASUS cooler is one of the quietest on the market, but we had hoped that a triple slot cooler built to this standard would perform better.

Every card, even within the same range will overclock to a slightly different level, and our particular review sample hit close to 1,200mhz. This is impressive and pretty much close to the highest result we have seen for a HD7970 with air cooling.

The cost of this card is rather high in the United Kingdom, Overclockers UK are already listing this card at £319.99 inc vat – placing it as one of the most expensive R9 280X available at launch. We would expect prices to drop a little, although the high engineering standards from ASUS and their reputation mean they can command a price premium and still sell well.

This is certainly one of the best R9 280X solutions you are likely to get, however we do question the use of a triple slot cooler. It makes sense on the ultra high end ARES cards but we don’t believe a R9 280X needs something quite so gargantuan.


  • very high state of overclock, out of the box.
  • very quiet.
  • built to the highest standards.
  • excellent bundle.


  • Expensive.
  • triple slot cooler.

Kitguru says: A beast of a card with no expense spared by ASUS. The cooler is ultra quiet however the fan profile could be set up with a slightly more aggressive profile to drop temperatures further. Is a triple slot cooler really necessary on a R9 280x?

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Rating: 8.5.

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  1. a 3 slot cooler seems insane for basically what is a 7970. I like the card overall, but in crossfire I would have no motherboard visible and the cards would be butting against each other.

  2. I would have bought this one if the price was £280 and it has a two slot cooler. three slot coolers just take up too much room

  3. Zardon, any chance you can throw up the 7970 Matrix Platinum (http://www.kitguru.net/components/graphic-cards/zardon/asus-matrix-hd7970-platinum-graphics-card-review) up there in tests? Probably the best apples-to-apples comparison over ASUS’ flagship model between these two generations.

  4. Isnt Vapor-X running @ 950 Mhz while the Matrix Platinum running 1100 Mhz. Wouldnt that give a fair bump in the degrees? (enough to justify the 11c higher in gaming)

  5. My bad i see the site ive been looking at only displays base clock at 950, the boost clock is 1070. Nevermind then 🙂