A Closer Look
The ASUS cooler uses a copper base with five heatpipes to keep the card cool.
A metal backplate protects the card against damage from handling. It does not have any special function for cooling.
Once the main heatsink is removed, you can see a large black heatsink sitting on the card, cooling voltage regulation circuitry and some memory chips. For users of liquid nitrogen, and possibly watercooling, ASUS has included a second, shorter heatsink to avoid it getting in the way of the LN2 setup.
The dual-BIOS feature of other HD 7970 cards is also present on the ASUS MATRIX. Here it is used to switch between two output configurations to support 1x dual-link DVI as well as 4x DisplayPort. This is a great way to do things. The MSI Lightning came without any native dual-link DVI ports!
Below the cooler, we find four buttons. The big red button switches the fan speed to 100% without any software. The two round buttons on the right change the GPU voltage up and down. Undervolting is not possible. The lowest setting is 1.270 V and the highest setting is 1.335 V, which is, if you ask me, quite limited. The third button is supposed to "take you back to stable video BIOS settings". In my testing, it didn't do anything. Neither voltage nor clocks were affected. Voltage changes through the buttons will not persist through a reboot or shutdown. It seems this button only works in conjunction with ASUS SmartDoctor which can save some properties to the card, so you don't have to set them on every reboot.
ASUS has placed three VGA hotwire connectors on their card, which work with ASUS ROG boards to control GPU voltage from within the BIOS. You can also see some solder pads for "secret" enthusiast features that I'm sure Shamino will reveal in due time. Three classic voltage measurement points are also present.
The card requires two 8-pin PCI-Express power cables for operation. This power configuration is good for up to 375 W of power draw.
For voltage control, the card uses a rebranded CHiL CHL8228G, which is a common voltage controller nowadays. It offers software voltage control, comprehensive monitoring features, and is well supported by most overclocking software.
The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Hynix and carry the model number H5GQ2H24AFR-R0C. They are specified to run at 1500 MHz (6000 MHz GDDR5 effective).
AMD's Tahiti graphics processor introduced the GCN shader architecture. It is also the first GPU to be produced on a 28 nm process at TSMC. The transistor count is 4.31 billion.