Now with CES upon us Asus has announced their next custom dual-GPU card, the Asus ARES II. Like the Radeon HD 5870 based ARES (I), the ARES II is effectively two Radeon video cards on a single board. Specifically, Asus is building a single card Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition crossfire solution, packing two overclocked 7970GE GPUs and 6GB of memory (3GB per GPU) on to a single card. Clockspeeds are at 1050MHz for the core and 6.6GHz for the memory, 50Mhz(5%) and 600MHz (10%) over a stock 7970GE respectively.
Meanwhile cooling the beast will be something even more outlandish and unique for a 1st party video card: closed loop liquid cooling augmented with standard air cooling. Rather than going with an even bigger HSF like the ARES (I) or competitor PowerColor’s Devil13, Asus is sticking with a dual-slot card and moving most of the cooling duties to a 120mm radiator. The radiator itself is a single 120mm block with a pair of fans in a push-pull configuration, very similar to aftermarket CPU coolers we’ve reviewed in the past such as the Corsair H80i. These closed loop coolers have proven to be extremely effective in the past so it will be interesting to see how Asus’s implementation plays out, particularly with the uniquely high power/heat properties of a dual-GPU video card. Meanwhile Asus also has an 80mm fan on the card itself (thereby making this a hybrid configuration) and based on their description we believe this covers cooling the memory and VRMs, while the closed loop cooler is dedicated to the GPUs.
Finally, like past ARES and MARS cards, the ARES II is once again a limited edition product with Asus constructing just 1000 cards, each numbered and sold in a collectable fashion. Unfortunately Asus hasn’t announced specific pricing or a launch date, but based on their prior cards $1500 is not out of the realm of possibility.
|Asus ARES II||PowerColor Devil13 HD7990||Radeon HD 7970 GE|
|Stream Processors||2 x 2048||2 x 2048||2048|
|Texture Units||2 x 128||2 x 128||128|
|ROPs||2 x 32||2 x 32||32|
|Memory Clock||6.6GHz GDDR5||5.5GHz GDDR5||6GHz GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||2 x 384-bit||2 x 384-bit||384-bit|
|VRAM||2 x 3GB||2 x 3GB||3GB|
|TDP||A Lot||A Lot||250W|
|Transistor Count||2 x 4.31B||2 x 4.31B||4.31B|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|