Friday, July 16th 2010

ASUS Working on MARS II Dual GTX 480 Graphics Accelerator

After treating the enthusiast community to the Republic of Gamers (ROG) ARES Dual HD 5870 graphics accelerator, ASUS isn't wasting any time is designing its successor, referred to (for now) as "MARS II". This graphics accelerator uses two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 (GF100) GPUs on one board, that's right, the first dual-GPU accelerator based on GF100, which is dreaded for its thermal and electrical characteristics so much, that NVIDIA is content with having the second-fastest graphics card in the market (GTX 480), with no immediate plans of working on a dual-GPU accelerator.

ASUS' ambitious attempt is in the design stage deep inside its R&D, where the design is in an evaluation state. The R&D gave us some exclusive pictures of the MARS II PCB to treat you with. To begin with, the card's basic design is consistent with almost every other dual-GPU NVIDIA card in recent past. There are two independent GPU systems, each with its own VRM and memory, which are interconnected by an internal SLI, and connected to the system bus by an nForce 200 bridge chip. On this card, two GF100 GPUs with the same configuration as GeForce GTX 480 (GF100-375-A3) are used, each having 480 CUDA cores, and connecting to 1536 MB of GDDR5 memory across a 384-bit wide memory interface.

ASUS' innovations kick in right from the PCB, since it takes a lot of effort to keep such a design electrically stable, as well form an overclockers' product. MARS II uses a PCB with 3 oz copper layers to increase electrical stability, and used a strong VRM. Each GPU system is fed by an 8+2 phase VRM of its own, which use a new Super Alloy choke that reduces core energy loss. The card takes its power input from three 8-pin power inputs, which are fused.

The card is quad SLI capable, and can pair with another of its kind (and probably single GTX 480s). To cool this monstrosity, ASUS is coming up with a beefier than ever cooling solution. With the product being still at an evaluation stage, how long it will take to reach production, or whether it will in the first place, remains to be seen.
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87 Comments on ASUS Working on MARS II Dual GTX 480 Graphics Accelerator

#2
arroyo
Meh... few months from now the new generation of GPU will come and this card would be on the same performance level as new mainstream one. Why they build such a monster? There always be enthisiasts for this ... but what is the point?

Let's see history of mainstream beating pefromence kings:
7800GX2 = 8800GTS
9800GX2 = GTX260
HD3870X2 = HD4850
HD4870X2 = HD5850
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#3
AsRock
TPU addict
WOW, this going cost like 1k ?.

BT the last two pics would not load for me.
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#4
Kaiser Kraus
Now, we can finally roast something for a change in our wonderfully enclosed cases. :laugh:
Given the ARES I intolerable noise levels at load, expect this to be one noisy piece of hardware.
3 8-pin connectors will be needed to power this monster......:roll:
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#5
arnoo1
lol max power of 525watt xd, that well over max boardpower of 350watt(correct me if i'm wrong), why not dual gtx460?
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#6
robal
Water is the only option for this one.
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#7
inferKNOX
"The new model thermi takes performance up a notch, not only will you now be able to roast whale meat with the grill, but we've ensured that there's enough power to flowing through this baby to roast yourself a whale whole!":pimp:
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#8
pr0n Inspector
I can't help but touch myself after seeing that neatly arranged power section.
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#9
$ReaPeR$
by: arnoo1
lol max power of 525watt xd, that well over max boardpower of 350watt(correct me if i'm wrong), why not dual gtx460?
because then it wouldnt be THE MARS CARD..


by: inferKNOX
"The new model thermi takes performance up a notch, not only will you now be able to roast whale meat with the grill, but we've ensured that there's enough power to flowing through this baby to roast yourself a whale whole!":pimp:
axaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxaxa very funny mate :) :toast:

[quote="AsRock, post: 1961062"]WOW, this going cost like 1k ?.

more like 1,200$ since Mars 1 is 1,000$
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#10
stupido
by: arnoo1
lol max power of 525watt xd, that well over max boardpower of 350watt(correct me if i'm wrong), why not dual gtx460?
that is a good question...
though I think the naming scheme is meaning "we are using 2x"most-powerful-GPU@the-moment" or just SLI/CF on a single PCB :D

though I would really like to see 2xGF104 instead of 2xGF100... should be much better card - gaming I mean... ;)
Posted on Reply
#11
yogurt_21
by: arroyo
Meh... few months from now the new generation of GPU will come and this card would be on the same performance level as new mainstream one. Why they build such a monster? There always be enthisiasts for this ... but what is the point?

Let's see history of mainstream beating pefromence kings:
7800GX2 = 8800GTS
9800GX2 = GTX260
HD3870X2 = HD4850
HD4870X2 = HD5850
ummm nope, your comparisons are off,

7800GX2 = 8800GTS - couldn't really find anything on this but the original gx2's were pretty slow due to driver issues so I'd more compare it to a 7900GTX actually.
9800GX2 = GTX275
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Zotac/GeForce_GTX_275_Amp_Edition/29.html
HD3870X2 = HD4870
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/MSI/HD_4850/23.html
HD4870X2 = HD5870
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_5870/30.html

being that those are upper mid or lower highend you've got more than 1 generation if you go dual. If you throw in the gtx295 it competes with the 480 quite nicely.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_480_Fermi/32.html

my ftw edition being faster still.

so last gen dual gpu highend = current gen single gpu highend for the most part these days.

the draw backs are of course higher heat and power requirements than the newer cards, but that won't matter to someone who already has the dual gpu.

so this card will likely last a bit, it's just going to be expensive as hell and of course only be available in limited quantities.
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#12
techtard
If you run 2 of these monsters in SLI you can probably expect the police to bust down your door mistakenly thinking you run a meth lab in your basement.
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#13
_JP_
by: btarunr
To cool this monstrosity, ASUS is coming up with a beefier than ever cooling solution.
Uhm, I think water cooling would be the only viable solution, but considering how few manufacturers release cards with an water cooling kit in them, this might be the first 4 slot air cooler we're going to see.
And even with a design like that, ASUS would probably be forced to put the most powerful Delta fans in that cooler.
Guess that thing will be able to get as loud as a Jumbo-jet taking off.
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#14
1nf3rn0x
btarunr, didn't I tell you GTX 480x2 would be released, yet you remained skeptical! Ha! :D :laugh:
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#15
RejZoR
3x 8-pin power connectors :D I hope it comes with attached phase change unit...
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#16
kylzer
What a beast but damn the price would kill :P
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#18
Melvis
The 4870X2 is starting to look like it is good on power draw lol
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#19
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
HOLY...F***ing...CRAP.:eek:

Even the thought of putting two of these in SLI is enough for my mind to explode. The cooling soultion is probably gonna be godlike.(unless they just go with water cooling)

I know damn well i won't be able to afford this nor be able to power it. I'll just stick with picking up a second 470.:)
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#20
the54thvoid
by: 1nf3rn0x
btarunr, didn't I tell you GTX 480x2 would be released, yet you remained skeptical! Ha! :D :laugh:
On Btarunr's behalf, may i quote:

"With the product being still at an evaluation stage, how long it will take to reach production, or whether it will in the first place, remains to be seen. "


Besides, this isn't NV's solution, it is Asus - and they are nutters. I'm sure they can make it but the cooling solution will be a single plane ticket to alaska and a hole in the frozen ground to put it in.

They'll call it 'Mars to Fermi - Baked Alaska done right'

Qudos to Asus for being mental enough to try anything!

To be fair though (or not so fair) most product reviews for the Mars and the Ares aren't very appreciative.
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#21
mdm-adph
This thing is going to be hotter than the sun. And I'm not talking about sales numbers.
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#22
majestic12
give this card 1.21 gigawatts and run it at 88.7 miles per hour and let's see what happens. Having a nuclear reactor may be necessary to run it though.
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#23
dir_d
I dont think they will get the cooling down, it took them almost 6months to get ARES cooling down.
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#24
CDdude55
Crazy 4 TPU!!!
Ya, they're really gonna have to pull something out there ass in terms of cooling it. Don't think they could just do water cooling as of course, it's not the standard like air is. But really, most people who are actually gonna buy this card, will probably be running a water setup anyways.(and a PSU touched by god)

Cause it's gonna take them forever to find a sufficent enough air cooler to keep that card within reasonable temps.
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#25
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
Leaked pic from the MARS II R&D Cooling lab ....

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