Asus readying ROG Ares

ATI Radeon HD 5970 with some extra grunt

FINNISH WEBSITE MUROPAKKETI has gotten its hands on a couple of pictures of Asus’ upcoming ROG Ares graphics card and to call this a monster card would be to put it lightly. Although it’s more or less an ATI Radeon HD 5970, Asus has tweaked the design and increased the clock speeds to be able to offer something out of the ordinary.

The card itself is a custom design by Asus and it has no less than two 8-pin and one 6-pin power connectors. Although it looks massive, it doesn’t appear to be any longer than a standard 5970, but it’s a fair bit taller and might be hard to fit in some cases that aren’t wide enough for this type of card. This isn’t Asus’ first attempt at a custom design dual GPU card though, but as with previous models, this is expected to be a limited edition.

From what we can tell from the somewhat blurry PCB picture, Asus has added one DVI port, an HDMI port and what appears to be a DisplayPort as well. AMD’s reference design on the other hand relies on a pair of DVI ports and a mini DisplayPort connector. Asus has also upgraded the power regulation by using four phase inductors, rather than the three phase inductors found on AMD’s design. Considering the clock speeds this card is running at, the extra power phases are likely required for the card to run stable.

Speaking of which, the clock speed of the GPU’s is 850MHz, that’s 125MHz faster than on the standard 5970’s. Then there’s that small matter of Asus doubling the graphics memory from 2GB to a massive 4GB. This is as far as we know the first consumer graphics card to break the 4GB barrier. The memory is clocked at 1,200MHz, although this isn’t much of a feat for GDDR5 memory and it might leave some space for some overclocking.

One problem with the card is that it uses a 2.5 slot design, this means that it eats up three slots in your system. The reason for this is the massive heatsinks which appear to be made from solid copper and feature no less than three heatpipes each. A large fan is positioned in the middle of the card and the cooling design is very similar to that found on past dual GPU cards from Asus, such as the Extreme Dual N7800GT. Luckily this time around there’s no need for an external power adapter.

Only a single benchmark score has leaked so far and it’s 3DMark Vantage. The Ares scores X14104 on an unspecified test system, compared to X11000 for a standard 5970. This is a 28 percent improvement, but the question is if the extra cost will make it worthwhile. We’re sure we’ll see some overclockers getting their hands on these cards, but most mere mortals will only be able to dream about having one of these monster cards in their system.S|A

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