Look to the Stars

April 14th, 2010 in .PC Components .Products
Suds McSoapdish
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Once upon a time, gamers and power users could only pray for this kind of dual GPU muscle, but it’s increasingly becoming practical, if still of limited availability and accompanied by a higher price tag.

We’ve seen dual GPU boards starting with the 7000 series from NVIDIA, and then the more recent monster card MARS by Republic of Gamers. That one has a duo of NVIDIA GTX285 cores slapped on one board, resulting in dreamy performance and overclocking potential.

ROG has taken this concept and improved on it with the new ARES, a titanic contraption that really sheds new light on the concept of “insane graphics processing power”.

The beast in its natural environment

Building a myth

ARES, as the name obviously alludes to, continues the MARS theme and legacy. It’s named after the Greek god of war, just as MARS was named after his Roman counterpart. Of course, the ARES moniker also refers to the heavenly bodies named in honor of the Greek deity, and thankfully the end result with this latest ROG invention is aptly impressive.

This is one powerful card, and serious gamers/overclockers should make haste to try and procure one, as we suspect supplies are not going to be plentiful. ARES is one of those limited edition cards that could become collectible thanks to their unique design and power overkill. While graphics cards don’t stick around long, ARES is so capable it’ll be a while before it’s ousted.

What’s inside? OK, for the admission price you get two Radeon HD5870 cores, together fielding 3200 stream processors. This may sound like a bunch of numbers, but it’s more processing than any game title currently on the market needs, and like we said, it’ll likely be a while before any truly test ARES to the fullest.

There’s also a generous 4GB of GDDR5 RAM. This is a serious chunk of memory, doubly useful since ARES is a DX11 card from the ground up. This means it not only works well with the new programming shortcuts and tricks DX11 delivers, such as tessellation and better ray tracing, it’s also well-suited to parallel processing via DX11 routines such as DirectCompute. In other words, ARES can lend its muscle to general computing with better efficiency.

Made to measure

Some people have already been using ARES in their overpowered rigs, and the super card has made several appearances on the Futuremark Hall of Fame survey. It stands to reason that with its processing surplus, ARES will make for excellent overclocking equipment.

Basically, ARES seems to outclass anything out there at the moment, including personal favorite Radeon 5970 – which the new dual GPU board passes by some 25% on 3DMark.

More power to ya

You have to love the experimental, almost decadent approach taken with these super cards. Not only the joy of having two powerful cores, there’s also the huge GDDR5 RAM and added overclocking features, ornate looks and meticulous thermal design. ARES uses aggressive cooling to go along with its powerful hardware, which makes a lot of sense if you’re going to push it in overclocking. 

For those interested in the latest hardcore graphics gear, this is your next destination. Start charting.

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