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Conclusion

Asus ARES: Is This The One Graphics Card To Rule Them All?
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When it's all said and done, the Asus ARES remains an impressive piece of hardware, drool-worthy and deserving of admiration for the engineering that went into it. But the blind glee we had upon opening the card's spectacular package is fleeting, replaced with a respect for what the card can do, combined with a sinking realization of what the price tag puts it up against.

That price tag is $1200, folks, and aside from any other complaints we might have about the ARES, this is the elephant in the room. ASUS let us know they originally targeted the $1000 price range but the cost of binning the cards to ensure that they could perform above par raised the MSRP substantially. At $1200 the ARES is $280 more than a couple of GeForce GTX 480s in SLI at the time of writing this article, and as we've seen in the benchmarks, a dual-GeForce GTX 480 configuration can put a real hurt on the Asus card, especially at 2560x1600 with AA enabled. Even if you're not a fan of the GeForce GTX 480, a pair of Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition cards a combined 4 GB of memory will set you back $1000, $200 less than the ARES.

But perhaps the most appropriate price comparison is the Sapphire Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC, equipped with the same 4 GB of GDDR5 as the Asus card, but factory overclocked with a 50 MHz core clock advantage, available for under $1100. The Radeon HD 5970 TOXIC doesn't come with a gaming mouse, mind you, but it does include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, DiRT 2, and an active DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter to make Eyefinity a lot easier--things that may be more or less attractive than Asus' GX800 gaming mouse. But Sapphire delivers all of this for $100 less than the ARES, and that doesn't make Asus' card look like a good value in comparison (we should note that the ARES is not yet available for purchase at the time of writing).

Certainly there's a case to be made for the ARES as the overclocker's choice, with adjustable voltage ready from the factory and a beefy cooling system. But while the overclocking results are undeniably impressive, the cooler's impressive ability to move air was muted by the noise it makes under load.

On a final note, we have to consider the target audience of this card. Let's be honest, nobody buys a $1200 graphics card because they're overly concerned with performance per dollar. They buy it for high performance, exclusivity, style, and maybe even bragging rights. On these fronts, the Asus ARES can not be denied.

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Top Comments
  • 33 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 15, 2010 6:07 AM
    I want that briefcase!
  • 21 Hide
    thedreadfather , July 15, 2010 6:22 AM
    This card is so overkill for most of us, but so awesome. :D 
  • 20 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 6:22 AM
    BTW, it would be really cool to see a 5890, for that would give the GTX 480 a run for its money, something it is already not earning! :D 
Other Comments
  • 33 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 15, 2010 6:07 AM
    I want that briefcase!
  • 14 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 6:21 AM
    On the second page, that should be Radeon 5970, not Radeon 5890. There isn't any card on the market as 5890.
  • 20 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 6:22 AM
    BTW, it would be really cool to see a 5890, for that would give the GTX 480 a run for its money, something it is already not earning! :D 
  • 21 Hide
    thedreadfather , July 15, 2010 6:22 AM
    This card is so overkill for most of us, but so awesome. :D 
  • 11 Hide
    Maziar , July 15, 2010 6:38 AM
    Great review,
    However i agree with Tom's about that there are better options in terms of price/performance ratio.This card looks good and packs lots of power but i wish that it had a lower price.
  • 12 Hide
    anamaniac , July 15, 2010 6:38 AM
    I was excited, but after reading the article, I'm dissapointed.
    Maybe they set the bar too high when they made the MARS, a $1200 GTX285x2.
    I wish the MARS/ARES came with waterblocks though.

    Sounds like the card needs some better drivers.
  • 8 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 6:43 AM
    Well, the card is heavy, power consuming and expensive, but its performance is truly great. BTW, they could have kept the Sapphire Toxic 5970 in the benchmark tests for the sake of immediate comparison. Anyway, this is a great review.
  • 3 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 6:44 AM
    Lets see if Southern Islands top offering can take on this monster.
  • 9 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 15, 2010 7:00 AM
    Where's the Radeon HD 5970 Crossfire?
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , July 15, 2010 7:02 AM
    With the I7 in the test bed OC'd to just a bit over 3 Ghz I have to wonder how close the CPU is to bottle necking the GPU.
  • 13 Hide
    Lmeow , July 15, 2010 7:15 AM
    Can it play Cr

    What an epic triple slot cooler... Awesome suitcase too.
  • 4 Hide
    desolationjones , July 15, 2010 7:39 AM
    Why do the sli 480 benches for Crysis look completely off? In Crysis at 1920x1080, a single 480 gets the exact same performance of 480s in sli And at 2560x1600, sli 480 gets better performance than at 1920x1080. That doesn't make any sense. Driver issues were mentioned for alien vs preditor, but not for Crysis.
  • 19 Hide
    rohitbaran , July 15, 2010 7:41 AM
    jasonz001it actually looks quite small

    Excuse me, we are talking about graphic cards here, not elephants.
  • 4 Hide
    baracubra , July 15, 2010 7:47 AM
    desolationjonesWhy do the sli 480 benches for Crysis look completely off? In Crysis at 1920x1080, a single 480 gets the exact same performance of 480s in sli And at 2560x1600, sli 480 gets better performance than at 1920x1080. That doesn't make any sense. Driver issues were mentioned for alien vs preditor, but not for Crysis.


    Crysis and SLI don't go well together all the time. When I built my 8800GT SLI rig bck in 07' I got worse performance with SLI enabled than without. After many many drivers and game updates, I finally managed to get 6 extra frames with SLI. FYI, I was running a Q6600 OC to 3.4ghz, and the cards worked fine in other games
  • 15 Hide
    Anonymous , July 15, 2010 7:50 AM
    Can it play Mafia II ? :) 
  • 1 Hide
    festerovic , July 15, 2010 8:01 AM
    waiting for the Kratos edition.
  • 3 Hide
    jsm6746 , July 15, 2010 8:34 AM
    you really have to water cool if you want to up the voltage of a 5870 or 5970... the noise from that 80mm fan running 100% is atrocious...
  • -2 Hide
    superdinmo , July 15, 2010 8:35 AM
    i think it will be April Fool before april
  • 4 Hide
    falchard , July 15, 2010 8:47 AM
    For $1200, I can get 4-HD5870 and stick it into my Quadfire capable board. Man that would look awesome.
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