Asus is heading to Mars, but not in a planetary sense.
The company has gotten frisky and has designed the Asus Mars 295 Limited Edition, a revamp of the GeForce GTX 295 reference card that uses the same device ID and existing Nvidia drivers. The difference here isn't exactly a complete makeover, but rather the implementation of several special features not found on other GeForce GTX 295 helpings currently on the market.
According to TechPowerUp, the Asus Mars 295 Limited Edition uses two G200-350-B3 GPUs, the same processors used on the GeForce GTX 285. Mounted on a dual-layer PCB (printed circuit board), Asus has loaded 32 memory chips (16 per PCB) and opened up the GDDR3 memory interface to 512-bit, enabling a full 4 GB of memory (2 GB for each processor). The GPUs themselves, one on each PCB, have all the 240 shader processors enabled (1476 MHz), however they still clock in at 648 MHz, the memory at 2400 MHz each.
Along with 16, high-density 0.77 ns Hynix memory chips, the GPU and its companion NVIO2 processor, each PCB also holds a 6-phase digital PWM power circuit that draws auxiliary power from an 8-pin PCI-E power connector. One layer holds the PCI-Express bus interface and an undisclosed third-party bridge chip (PLX or IDT, perhaps) rather than the standard nForce 200.
On the electrical front, overclockers should get a kick out of the Over Current Protection provided by the fused power circuit. The card also supports software voltage control by way of a Volterra VR controller on each PCB, supporting the 12C interface. To keep everything cool, the custom Asus card uses the same single leaf-blower found on the reference cards, however the board features longer internal bridges that can accommodate third-party coolers. Unfortunately, end-users will have to give up an expansion slot, as the card takes up two spaces, making it slightly higher than the reference card. Still, with all the Nvidia meat packed into one card, it's worth the sacrifice.
For now, the card isn't scheduled to hit the market, but it may make an appearance at Computex. As it stands, Nvidia may send Asus into time out, as the former company has a strict policy or restricting its partners from custom-designing the GeForce GTX 295. However, Asus played it smart and used the GTX 285 processors, and has even made the GPUs Quad-SLI capable. Hopefully we'll get a glimpse during Computex, and see if this monster card can deliver the goods.
Image: courtesy of TechPowerUp