Honestly we are a little surprised to see this product launching. I bet that ASUS has had this product in development for quite a while and never expected a GTX 780 Ti or the R9 290X product release as these cards are a massive problem for this GTX 760 MARS. See, the performance levels are roughly similar with some wins and losses here and there of course but if you are in the stores to purchase a new graphics card then I betcha that if the performance is the same, you'd go for the product with a single GPU, as you'll far less often have to deal with driver issues. Now there arent't many issues with SLI, I'll give you that but still. The board is great though, it is fast, relatively silent and has good looks. But ASUS did make one mistake, 2GB per GPU isn't going to cut it anymore for a high-end / enthusiast class product in this time and age, especially with UHD gaming on the rise fast. We've seen several games run out of graphics memory with the effect being a slower framerate or unusual stutters. So with that in mind we would really recommend the product if you game at FullHD up-to say 2560x1440. And here also, if you game in Surround on multiple monitors, again the graphics memory of two GB is a too small amount.
ASUS applied their DirectCU II cooler - I have no hard stats on it, but I expect it to be a 400~450 Watt revision cooling solution. The design is rather slim and it fits a dual-slot design. That is a great improvement over the previous 3-slot models. It's good to see that ASUS listens. Overall it is a great flashy looking cooler that matches really nicely with ROG motherboards in combo with a black interior black PC. With two subtle and not too loud fans the aesthetics are just fine. Taste and thus aesthetics however are subjective thing of course.
Cooling & Noise Levels
With the DirectCU II cooler the GPU will get plenty of cooling power thrown at it. As a result the temperature target might remain 70 to 80 degrees C on average under hefty gaming load. And I do want to remind you here that the card is factory clocked on the GPU core with all the Shader processors activated. An added benefit of that is that the dynamic clock frequency will go higher up to the point it reached its power target. So this is why the card is so close and sometimes a small notch faster then the GTX 780 Ti even. Noise it all is okay really. You can hear airflow, but nothing extraordinary.
Not bad, the card is not rated but w measure roughly a 300 Watt TDP, it is high, but for two GPUs that we feel is okay. That 300 Watt TDP also will make running multi-GPU solutions a bit more easy (yes you can install another one and go for quad SLI). With two card we think an 900 Watt PSU would be sufficient. So while it's not great to have a GPU sucking up 300 Watt it could have been a lot worse, really.
The ASUS GTX 760 MARS in most scenarios will be 10% faster than the GTX Titan, comparing towards GTX 680 it seems 40% faster. Drivers wise we can't complain at all, we did not stumble into any issues.We did not have any multi-GPU driver issues to fight off. After installation be sure that SLI is enabled in the driver though. Performance wise, really there's not one game that won't run seriously good at the very best image quality settings. Gaming you must do with a nice 30" monitor of course, at 2560x1440/1600. I mean Battlefield 4 at Ultra quality is still oozing out 65+ FPS there. Or what about Hitman Absolution with 65+ FPS at 2560x1440 High quality and 2xMSAA? At these resolutions the card offers just a phenomenal gaming experience with image quality that you can only see on a PC.
The card is already clocked for you at 1006 MHz and boosting to 1072 MHz. This GPU can take 1150 MHz fairly easily really, and at that stage you added another 10% performance already. Our tweak made the GPU run at 1100-1150 MHz whilst boosting over 1200 MHz (depending on temperature, power draw and load). With additional voltage tweaking we have no doubt you'll pass the 1250 MHz marker, but the power limiters on recent NVIDIA graphics cards are restrictive and a tricky thing.
Cards like shown today are for the true elite gamers and ROG fans out there. The concept is well designed from a hardware point of view, but ASUS probably released this card too late to the market. Unless they can match the price of the product at GeForce GTX 780 / 780 Ti levels this is going to be a hard sell. But yeah, the MARS can keep up with them performance wise. But most people already feel that 3 GB on the GTX 780 / 780 Ti was on the low side, hence we think the 2GB per GPU on the Mars will be a rather big deal. Then again if you game on a single monitor up-to 2560x1440/1600 gaming will be splendid.
Pricing wise you can expect to purchase the card at just over 600 EUR incl VAT, but from what I heard from ASUS is still under discussion, likely due to the reasons I mentioned throughout this review, as yes there are single GPU cards out there roughly priced similar, performing roughly similar that have more memory. Personally I feel that this is a 499 EUR product max, after that it is just very hard to justify the price. Regardless of pricing, ASUS has a very intoxicating and gorgeous graphics card with the Mars GTX 760. It is SO good to see manufacturers design these kind of products. So yeah, it remains fairly inaudible, temps are under control, you get uncompromising image quality and a bucket load of performance. Please remember what we said about UHD high-resolution monitors and respect the fact that you'll need a very fascinating overall PC build as well to feed this card the platform it deserves after which it will quid pro quo for you. I'm very interested to learn what you guys think of this card. And let me end by saying this, I can't help thinking this; what if ASUS would have used two 780 GPUs instead ? Yeah, it would have blown away anything and everything. But it remains a top pick product though, absolutely lovely.
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