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| Author: Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig |
Date: July 25, 2010
Product Name: ASUS RoG ARES 4GB
Not that long ago, ASUS released a card which was named after the Roman God of War: Mars. It took the idea of the high performance GTX 295 to the next level by decking it out with a pair of GTX 285 cores in order to make what was simply the fastest graphics card on the planet. Unfortunately, at the time NVIDIA’s SLI drivers left much to be desired and considering its limited run of only 1000 units, the Mars never ended up being a talked-about card. Well, times have changed and multi card scaling has drastically improved so ASUS is once again trying their hand at a limited edition, extreme performance graphics card but this time using ATI cores as their inspiration.
Continuing in the god of war tradition, ASUS is now releasing a graphics card within their Republic of Gamers series they are calling the ARES; a true beast which holds a pair of HD 5870 reference-clocked cores and 4GB of GDDR5 memory. This is actually quite a step up from a standard HD 5970 that uses highly underclocked Cypress cores and “only” 2GB worth of memory. Unlike when the MARS was released, the ARES actually has some competition in the form of XFX’s HD 5970 Eyefinity Black Edition and Sapphire’s HD 5970 4GB Toxic. All three cards will likely only appeal to the elite few who can afford the unbelievably high price of admission.
Considering the ARES will supposedly only have a production run of about 1000 cards, ASUS spared no expense when designing and outfitting it. The heatsink is designed with 99.9% pure copper but at the same time it is completely removable in only a few steps. ASUS has also gone to great lengths to talk about this über card’s overclocking potential and has even given users the ability to adjust its voltages to their heart’s content. There are also additional features backed into the ARES’ frame but we will get to those throughout the course of this review.
We can talk all we want about the potential of ASUS’ new flagship but when push comes to shove, consumers will likely ask one single question: how much does this all cost? Well folks, hold onto your hats because it’s time for a bit of sticker shock. When the butcher’s bill is tallied, you’ll be out $1,200 USD for a single ARES. That’s about $200 more than a pair of GTX 480 cards or equal to the price of three…yes THREE regular HD 5870 cards. Nonetheless, most of the larger retailers should have limited supplies of the ARES next week. As they say: exclusivity usually has a high price. But is this card indeed worth 1200 bones? Let’s find out.