Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig
Date: July 25, 2010
Product Name: ASUS RoG ARES 4GB
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The Story Behind the ARES

We donít normally go into the back stories surrounding the various high-end cards on the market but the one told by ASUS about the ARES is actually quite interesting. Naturally, it all started with the need to bring one of the fastest graphics cards on the planet to market even though most people chalked the preliminary designs up to nothing but flights of fancy.

Believe it or not, the inspiration behind the RoG ARES stems from a card that was released several generations ago: a custom dual 7800GT board which packed 512MB of GDDR3. Dubbed the Extreme N7800GT Dual, this card was introduced back when SLI was still in its infancy but it represented a stepping stone for most of ASUSí custom dual GPU cards. Shortly thereafter the industry saw a renaissance of dual GPU products ranging from NVIDIAís 7950GX2, 9800GX2 and GTX 295 to ATIís own 3870X2, 3850X2, 4870X2 and finally the current HD 5970. However, the next stop on ASUSí tour was back into the NVIDIA realm.

The ASUS GTX 295 MARS wasnít released all that long ago and despite its eye-wateringly high price, its run of 1000 units sold out in a matter of days. Its two GTX 285 cores allowed it to retain the title of the fastest graphics card in the world for some time even though initial reviews were less than positive. Itís attention towards cutting edge design won it many fans and it also laid the foundation for the ARES.

Looking carefully at their previous custom designs, ASUS decided to go with something roughly akin to that original dual 7800GT card since its axial fan design was found to have several redeeming airflow qualities. However, since a pair of HD 5870 cores sported a TDP far above and beyond that of the older 7800GT, changes naturally had to be made. The first step was to add a central 100mm high flow fan followed by a pair of massive copper heatsinks. This not only allows for adequate cooling at stock speeds but also keeps temperatures in check if the card is overclocked.

The final step (other than actually designing a tailored PCB just for this card) was to finalize the design of the heatsink shroud in order to direct airflow while at the same time being true to the RoG series the ARES finds itself in. At first glance this may seem a bit extreme to any outsider looking in but weíll say right now that this design really does work.


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