A Page In History: The World’s Fastest Dual-GPU Card
Asus ships this flagship card in a briefcase that you might expect to see a spy carrying around in a movie. Is it full of money? Does it contain the pieces for a sniper rifle? Or will you find the Ares II in there? The low profile, unassuming look might not have been Asus' intention, but it certainly fits well. When you combine this card's high price and gratuitous power consumption, we're not surprised the company only chose to manufacture 1,000 of them.
Apparently, it didn't have any trouble selling them, though. At least here in the U.S., they aren't available anymore.
Asus did hit its target of manufacturing the fastest dual-GPU graphics card on the planet, though. HIS could have worn that crown if the company had put its prototype into production. The Radeon HD 7970 X2 was overclockable, and might have matched the Ares II. However, Asus took that additional step, earning it a well-deserved, if largely symbolic, victory.
There's one other variable we didn't bring up in this story, but have in the past: using frame limiting to address micro-stuttering. AMD needs to learn from the RadeonPro tool we've tested previously and further develop what that utility does to smooth out performance. Software advances would go a long way toward making AMD's real-world experience a lot better.
Make no mistake, Asus' Ares II is the fastest graphics card around. But it really only performs on the GeForce GTX 690's level once you use frame limiting to get stuttering under control. Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690 is less expensive and consumes a lot less power under full load. If you missed out on your chance to own an Ares II, let that be your consolation. Asus' board is bigger, badder, and commands more attention, but almost a year after its launch, the GeForce GTX 690 remains the most elegant high-end card we've ever used.