Final words and conclusion
Final words and conclusion
When we noticed that James Bond Spy kit kind of style package arriving here in our lab we obviously knew already that this product was going to be spectacular in many ways. And you know what, the ARES really is ...
As always with these products, they make no sense whatsoever money wise. So I'm not going to explain why this product never ever will be worth the full G you need to drop down for it. Because ... people will still buy it regardless of several other alternatives that actually make more sense.
When we look at the product there is just a lot to like. The performance is good, really good. It cut through our charts with laser like precision. We can also confirm that the product is stable, it works well and it can be tweaked for more performance quite well also. The 1 GHz barrier is where you'll roughly end with the cooling solution, but you'll need a bit of extra voltage in these GPUs though. For that you can use the ASUS SmartDoc software. That application is sluggish, not user friendly and quite frankly not worthy for a product of this caliber, it will however get the job done and in the end that's all that matters. We are puzzled as to why ASUS did not make their iTracker 2 software compatible with this product as it would have saved them this paragraph.
Unfortunately there is one negative that I can not ignore. This card is without doubt the loudest we have ever had in our lab. Forget about GeForce GTX 480 and GeForce FX 5800 ... we have a new winner when it comes to noise levels. This card easily passed 50 DBa (measured at 75 CM distance) when it is under full load and yeah .. that's just not good no matter how you look at it. At the other side of the spectrum, in idle it can hardly be heard, but when these two GPUs start to heat up during extensive and GPU intensive gaming .. dang the ARES will become loud man.
Still with that negative in mind we need to look at what kind of end-user this product is aimed at. And that's very likely the guys that do not give a rats ass about noise ... and / or the professional overclocker who does not give a rats ass either. For them this card will be a gem, an unpolished rough diamond in the works, which will become a nice flat feature diamond when all tweaked out. And you know what ? Anno 2010 it is hard to impress the tech editors with a single graphics card.
Let's not forget the card is here to create a bit of marketing hype as well, it's here to break records, it's here to be on the top position of single card performance. And in all these segments the ASUS ARES does it's job really well. But to you as an end-consumer we can only be flat-out honest ... pick up two 5870 cards or a R5870, pop on a nice cooling setup and you'll have roughly the same performance at virtually low noise levels.
But to ASUS, congratz on an interesting job well done. We salute you and hope to see more of this uber-high-end gear developed in the future. Whatever you think of products like MARS and ARES, you have to acknowledge that they are an incredible lot of fun to play around with. Kinda like that dreamy F1 racing car you really like but can never afford or drive on the common road with. Lovely stuff, really lovely. I'm curious what this card would do though with some LN2 or LCS cooling on it. Perhaps that's something for ARES revison 2.0 ?