ASUS Mars II review -
ASUS every now and then, does crazy weird stuff, for example every year they are producing a handful of graphics cards that pretty much nobody can buy.
We've seen the original brutal Mars, the exemplary ARES but ASUS is at it again with the all new Mars II, yep that's right. The x-factor products makes it prodigal return to manage a little bump and grinding.
Seriously, only a thousand of the product as shown today have been made, currently IF you can find them they retail at 1299 EUR (!), yes you might have to sell a kidney to obtain one of those ROG invested graphics cards.
Money aside, the product tested today is uber cool though. It's the stuff that make my digitized ticker, tick a little faster -- and once you have it in your hands, you'll make a nervous giggle.
Yep, the Asus Mars II has arrived, never ever has the phrase "mines bigger then yours" taken so serious. From the moment you pick up the 3 kilograms weighing product up-to the moment when you quickly check that first 3DMark run, you'll be impressed as what ASUS managed to do here, is serous... serious stuff. Or I should say heavy, if you look at it per pound, I'm not joking around the card is reallllly heavy. It's so heavy that it is delivered with PCIe graphics slot support brackets, so you won't damage the slot in that 90 degree angle.
But yeah, ASUS took the GTX 590 concept and pretty much only took the two GPUs and left the rest "as-is". ASUS merged GTX 580s onto a single PCB and each of them GPUs is tick-tocking away at 782MHz, making the Mars II much faster than the (already discontinued) GTX 590.
|GTX 580||GTX 590||Mars II|
|Memory||1.5GB||2 x 1.5GB||2 x 1.5GB|
What you will also notice is that ASUS decided to not spare any expense here, the Mars II has a very sturdy metal shroud with two 120mm (!) fans, and a metal back plate covers the entire rear.
All that power comes at another cost though, the Mars II is noticeably wider than usual, in addition to taking up three slots. Its dimensions are 13" x 6.2" x 2.5". You'll need a beefy power supply as well as not one, not two.. noper-di-nope, three 8-pin PCIe connectors are required.
For the tweakaholics amongst us ASUS threw in a 100% fan speed button. Each GPU gets an 8-phase power system, and each set of memory 2 phases, making for a total of 20 phases on a single PCB, ASUS actually claims 21 so there's another power phase going on somewhere. To help cool this beast, each heatsink has four copper heatpipes.
Ah well, talk is cheap, have a look and then we'll head onwards into the review of the Lucifer of graphics cards, and I truly meant that in the darkest way.
We've seen the original brutal Mars, the exemplary ARES but ASUS is at it again with the all new Mars II, yep that's right. The x-factor products makes it prodigal return to manage a little bump and grinding. Money aside, the dual-GPU product tested today is uber cool though. It's the stuff that make my digitized ticker go tick a little faster -- and once you have it in your hands, you'll make a nervous giggle. Ah well, talk is cheap, have a look and then we'll head onwards into the review of the Lucifer of graphics cards.
ASUS MARS review
If you have been living under a rock and don't know what the ASUS Mars is .. let me give you an easy breakdown. You take two GeForce GTX 285 graphics cards, stick 4 GB of memory on there (2GB per GPU), sandwich them, SLI them up, market it as MARS, slap a limited edition label on there and make only a 1000 units. That in a nutshell is the product we'll be testing today. So without making a long and boring introduction, let's pop one of these little frackers into our finest test system and see where it ends up performance wise .. will this really be the fastest graphics card in the world anno September 2009 ?