Wednesday, May 25th 2011

ASUS Designs MARS II Dual-GTX 580 Graphics Card for GeForce Enthusiasts

When ASUS first set out to build the MARS, a dual-GeForce GTX 285 graphics card, people thought the designers were crazy. NVIDIA could barely get the two 55 nm G200b GPUs on GeForce GTX 295 to run at GTX 285 specifications of 240 shaders and 512-bit GDDR3 each, and instead ran them with 448-bit wide GDDR3 memory interface, and lower clocks. ASUS managed to back two GPUs with insanely strong VRM and cooling, to achieve a dual-GPU graphics card that was more than just a GTX 295 overclocked. ASUS is back on the drawing boards with MARS II, a new dual-GPU graphics card that runs two GF110 GPUs in the same exact config as on GeForce GTX 580, perhaps with clock speeds higher than those of GTX 580.

The GeForce GTX 590 runs two GF110 GPUs with all CUDA cores and the complete width of the memory bus enabled, but the GPUs and memory are clocked significantly lower at 607 MHz core, 1214 MHz CUDA cores, and 3.42 GHz memory; while the single-GPU GTX 580 runs at 772 MHz core, 1544 MHz CUDA cores, and 4.00 GHz memory. MARS II also aims to get over the various design pitfalls of GTX 590 that made voltage-assisted overclocking practically impossible on air-cooling. To do this, MARS II will make use of a massive 19-phase VRM with Super Alloy chokes. To cool the beast, ASUS will put to use the expertise it gathered over time with its DirectCu series video card coolers. The new cooler will provide uniform cooling to both GPUs. More details, particularly about the when the card will be released, are awaited.

Source: DonanimHaber
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19 Comments on ASUS Designs MARS II Dual-GTX 580 Graphics Card for GeForce Enthusiasts

#1
afw
The 6990 Killer ;)
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#2
DanishDevil
If this is like the last MARS card, it will come at quite a large price premium, and will really only be bought by crazy enthusiasts, and extreme overclockers (which is who this card is made for). Because they won't make that many units, I wouldn't really consider it a "6990 killer" even if it outperforms it by a large margin.

I wonder how the cooling is going to work out. Direct CU II coolers on higher-end cards really are amazing (I own one) so this card may be extremely low noise to boot.
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#3
Flanker
I wonder if they are making another ARES based on 6970
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#4
Over_Lord
News Editor
by: afw
The 6990 Killer ;)
and with a price tag of 999$
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#5
Zubasa
by: DanishDevil
If this is like the last MARS card, it will come at quite a large price premium, and will really only be bought by crazy enthusiasts, and extreme overclockers (which is who this card is made for). Because they won't make that many units, I wouldn't really consider it a "6990 killer" even if it outperforms it by a large margin.

I wonder how the cooling is going to work out. Direct CU II coolers on higher-end cards really are amazing (I own one) so this card may be extremely low noise to boot.
Extreme Overclockers will just get GTX580s and smoke this thing. ;)
It is much harder to cool dual-GPU cards than single GPU cards.

This card is just an e-peen item just like every Mars or Ares Asus ever released.

by: thunderising
and with a price tag of 999$
More like $1200 at launch.
At $999 this card will be a bargain.
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#6
happita
Oh boy, here comes another monster! Rich boys with money to burn will get these while us regular grunts are very easily satisfied with $300 cards :D
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#7
Jonap_1st
by: afw
The 6990 Killer ;)
and The Electric-Bill Killer..
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#9
arterius2
for their sake, I hope they don't make it 3-slot
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#10
Jizzler
You're right, if I'm paying this much it should be a four or five slotter! No one will mistake what it is then.
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#11
blibba
by: arterius2
for their sake, I hope they don't make it 3-slot
I hope you're not suggesting that this should be dual slot. Imagine the noise!

Anyone wanting to fit these into a small space should expect to have to water cool them.
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#12
arterius2
by: blibba
I hope you're not suggesting that this should be dual slot. Imagine the noise!

Anyone wanting to fit these into a small space should expect to have to water cool them.
well Nvidia could pull off GTX 590 with dual slot and their single fan stock cooler, albeit lowered clocks, (but the GTX 590 had pretty decent OC room, and was silent and cool compared to competition ie 6990). 3-slot is just not elegant, its like brute-forcing. I think if Asus is going all out with 19-phase VRM, and top notch components, they should theoretically pull this off with 2-slot. with their fancy heatsink, directCU, dual fan + heatpipe setup, I don't see why this isn't possible. DirectCU(3-slot) was a miss in my book (lost my business there), MSI does the same thing but better with 2 slot, so really, for their sake, I hope they don't lose my (and many others') business again.
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#13
blibba
I disagree. The 590 may be quiet for what it is, but it's still way too loud. I'd certainly never consider putting anything that generates that much noise into my system.

One can safely assume that any dual 580 design will use nearly twice as much power as a 580. That's nearly 600W, when the stock 590 is set to stick within a 365W TDP (unless you manually exceed that).
Posted on Reply
#14
arterius2
by: blibba
I disagree. The 590 may be quiet for what it is, but it's still way too loud. I'd certainly never consider putting anything that generates that much noise into my system.

One can safely assume that any dual 580 design will use nearly twice as much power as a 580. That's nearly 600W, when the stock 590 is set to stick within a 365W TDP (unless you manually exceed that).
I see what you are saying there, but that is assuming they just slap 2 GTX 580 together, and call it that, which still slips under 500W (580's are 244w), which they are not, there is going to be some serious optimization with the circuitry, plus with the help of high quality components, (590 had poor quality components ie VRM) so my expectation? yes, higher TDP than 590, but not that much. 3-slot would be a passable solution, but not elegant, motherboard makers should really leave the slot next to the PCIE16 slot blank, and maybe expand the high-end boards to EATX to compensate. because really, those slots are always blocked anyways.
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#15
blibba
Slots beneath pci-e x16s are filled for flexibility.

Regarding E-ATX baords, some are already available, but for most peopl, even with high-end systems, ATX still makes most sense - triple GPU setups aren't that popular even amongst those that can afford them.

Back to your original remark, I have a 130W GPU (HD6850) in my main system and I choose to use a triple-slot cooler. I don't use any other expansion slots and I have a full ATX case, so the lower noise and temperatures make sense for me. My PC is almost entirely inaudible while GPU folding, for example. With the original reference design, which is praised by most reviews for its low noise, the noise levels when folding were intolerable.
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#16
Dr. Nick
Calling it right now: Quad-slot graphics card. The first graphics card to be deeper than it is wide.
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#17
Zubasa
by: Dr. Nick
Calling it right now: Quad-slot graphics card. The first graphics card to be deeper than it is wide.
Actually the "width" of an expansion card is actually its height.
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#18
DaedalusHelios
by: Jonap_1st
and The Electric-Bill Killer..
And the sour grapes manufacturer. :p
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#19
Relayer
So, how many watts should this thing draw? Assuming possibly being at 580 reference clocks and voltages (with enough pwm stages and cooling to handle it) I'll guess 550W with the card's cooler dumping all that heat into the case. This is if they can defeat the OCP coded into the drivers. If not then what will be the point?
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