Adding Asus' Ares II To Our High-End Benchmark Results
As in the automotive world, the extreme high-end of computer hardware is almost always fun to look at, and rarely practical to own. With its Ares II, Asus set out to build the fastest graphics card in the world, matched by stunning presentation. The final product was mostly supposed to serve as demonstration that the company could build such a performance-oriented product, even if it was only available in limited quantities (the company claims only 1,000 were made, of which only a fraction made it to the U.S.).
So, why bother looking at it now? Because we had one in the lab, that's why. Oh, and it just so happens that only two samples of the other "fastest dual-GPU card in the world" ever left its manufacturer's lab. That was HIS' Radeon HD 7970 X2 (not X2), and we got both of them last year. Creates a nice little comparison, right? The Ares II offers an additional 50 MHz on the core clock, plus liquid cooling to deal with the incredible heat generated by two Tahiti GPUs.
We previously rounded up HIS' Radeon HD 7970 X2, PowerColor's AX7990 6GBD5-A2DHJ Devil13, and EVGA's GeForce GTX 690 in Radeon HD 7990 And GeForce GTX 690: Bring Out The Big Guns. Now that we have the Ares II, it only makes sense to add it to our round-up numbers. We're using the same benchmark system and drivers to keep the comparison fair. It would have been great to get those other dual-Tahiti boards into the lab to run them with the very latest drivers, but they're both such rare museum pieces that it simply wasn't possible. We settled on turning back the clock and adding Asus's effort. Incidentally, we didn't add Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan for much the same reason (not that it would have mattered, since one Titan is slower than a GTX 690).
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 Vs. The Dual-Tahiti Competition|
|Asus Ares II||HIS Radeon HD 7970 X2||PowerColor AX7990 6GBD5-A2DHJ Devil13||EVGA GeForce GTX 690|
|Shader Units||2 x 2048||2 x 1536|
|GPU Clock Frequency||1100 MHz||1050 MHz||925 / 1000 MHz (BIOS)||915 MHz + GPU Boost|
|ROPs||2 x 32||2 x 32|
|GPU||2 x Tahiti||2 x GK104|
|Transistors||2 x 4.31 million||2 x 3.5 million|
|Memory Size||2 x 3 GB||2 x 2 GB|
|Memory Bus||2 x 384-bit||2 x 256-bit|
|Memory Clock Frequency||1650 MHz||1500 MHz||1375 MHz||1502 MHz|
On paper, Asus' Ares II looks good. HIS' Radeon HD 7970 X2 runs 50 MHz faster than PowerColor's Devil13 card at its overclocked BIOS setting, which is why it proved to be the faster board in our original round-up.