Asus ARES: Is This The One Graphics Card To Rule Them All?

Asus' new ARES immediately earns bragging rights as one of the fastest single graphics cards ever created. We put the beast through a gauntlet of tests to measure this product's true power. At the end of the day, we answer whether it's worth four digits.

I love computer hardware. In fact, I love it so much that I built my career around it. But I have to admit, after reviewing countless graphics cards, nothing has ever come close to the excitement I experienced when I purchased my first 'big league' graphics card (It was the Canopus Pure3D by the way, sporting a colossal 6 MB of RAM when all of the other 3dfx Voodoo cards only had 4 MB). The point is that, as an experienced reviewer tasked with testing hardware all day, it's rare that I feel anything close to the gleeful anticipation I did in the days of my youth.

How strange for me, then, when I come to realize that I'm wearing a huge cheese-eating grin while unpacking the Asus ARES graphics card.

At first I am a bit puzzled by the package on my doorstep. Asus mentioned that a graphics card was being sent for review. But this package is huge. It looks more the size of a laptop. There's very little information about the product inside, other than a Republic of Gamers (RoG) logo on the top left and some small Radeon-related logos on the bottom.

Opening the box, I'm treated to a locked James Bond-style attache case with reinforced metal edges. The name ARES is proudly emblazoned on a medallion at the bottom-right of the case. Attached to the handle is a small booklet that gives some hints about the product inside. But at this point, who would do anything but open the thing as fast as possible?

As I fold open the case, I notice a number of items protected in compartments cut into the black protective foam. However, my eye is quickly drawn to the colossal graphics card that dominates my field of vision...

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    Top Comments
  • Tamz_msc
    I want that briefcase!
    33
  • thedreadfather
    This card is so overkill for most of us, but so awesome. :D
    21
  • rohitbaran
    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
    20
  • Other Comments
  • Tamz_msc
    I want that briefcase!
    33
  • rohitbaran
    On the second page, that should be Radeon 5970, not Radeon 5890. There isn't any card on the market as 5890.
    14
  • jasonz001
    it actually looks quite small
    -22
  • rohitbaran
    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
    20
  • thedreadfather
    This card is so overkill for most of us, but so awesome. :D
    21
  • Maziar
    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.
    11
  • anamaniac
    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.
    12
  • rohitbaran
    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.
    8
  • rohitbaran
    Lets see if Southern Islands top offering can take on this monster.
    3
  • JOSHSKORN
    Where's the Radeon HD 5970 Crossfire?
    9
  • Anonymous
    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.
    7
  • Lmeow
    Can it play Cr

    What an epic triple slot cooler... Awesome suitcase too.
    13
  • desolationjones
    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.
    4
  • rohitbaran
    jasonz001it actually looks quite small

    Excuse me, we are talking about graphic cards here, not elephants.
    19
  • baracubra
    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
    4
  • Anonymous
    Can it play Mafia II ? :)
    15
  • festerovic
    waiting for the Kratos edition.
    1
  • jsm6746
    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...
    3
  • superdinmo
    i think it will be April Fool before april
    -2
  • falchard
    For $1200, I can get 4-HD5870 and stick it into my Quadfire capable board. Man that would look awesome.
    4