Good Observation actually. But ya most boards designed would have to have better caps, diodes, resistors, transistors, VRMs/ Mosfets, Chokes etc from the non ref design in order to get more from Tahiti pretty much
Originally Posted by BigMack70
You say that "ASUS has engineered the most powerful single-GPU AMD graphics card money can buy right now", but technically the Sapphire Toxic is more powerful (albeit with a hilarious $200+ price premium over this card)
Also, you say with respect to noise "NVIDIA based cards do much better here", but your noise charts show the Matrix 7970 being quieter than all the GTX 6xx cards at both idle and load, so I think this is just flat wrong/inconsistent.
I also don't know what's up with the voltage tweaks not working, but I can corroborate that info - I've had 3 7970s (an XFX DD BE from launch and a pair of Lightnings) and they all topped out around 1200-1225 MHz on the core with about 1.21-1.22V applied - further voltage tweaking did not allow any further overclocking on any of the cards, just like you guys saw here. I don't know what to make of that either, other than clocks in the 1200 MHz range are just the realistic limit for Tahiti silicon (on air) regardless of how much voltage you pump through there.