A Closer Look
The first part that comes off is the cooling plate on the back of the card. It cools only the memory chips on that side and adds additional protection to components of the card. Another aspect is that heat migrates from the GPUs to through the PCB, so cooling on this side helps a bit too.
Next we removed the fan shroud. Unlike all the other fan shrouds I have seen so far, this one is made from metal and covered with a robust powdercoating paint job.
Now you can take a closer look at how the ARES thermal solution works. A central fan creates airflow through the fins of two copper heatsinks that sit on each GPU.
Each of these blocks is made from 100% copper and uses four heatpipes to move heat away from the GPU cores to the fins in its upper portion, where heat is dissipated in the fan's airflow.
The last piece to come off is this black cooling plate that covers all secondary heat sources like memory chips and voltage regulation circuitry. This multiple component approach is extremely useful to extreme overclockers who use watercooling or LN2. They can focus on cooling the GPUs and use pieces of the stock heatsink to cool the other components, which is usually good enough.
Here you can see all the components that make up the ASUS ARES.
Wow! ASUS has equipped their card with two 8-pin and one 6-pin power connector, and you need them all to run the card. This configuration provides at least 450W power (150W (8 pin) + 150W (8 pin) + 75W (6 pin) + 75 W (slot)).
The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Hynix, and carry the model number H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C. They are specified to run at 1250 MHz (5000 MHz GDDR5 effective).
The voltage regulation circuitry is quite extensive and seems to be an upscaled version of the HD 5970 reference design. You have two Volterra VT1165 voltage regulators for the GPU voltage and a third VT1165 for VDDCI. Whereas the HD 5970 uses a 3+1+1 phase configuration per GPU, the ARES uses 4+1+1.
The PCI-Express bridge chip which connects the two GPUs and interfaces with the system via PCI-Express 2.0 is made by PLX. Apparently PLX lets ATI rebrand their product. According to AMD the bridge chip supports PCI-Express 2.1 x16 which supplies enough bandwidth to both GPUs for any situation.
AMD's Cypress GPU comes with 2154 million transistors and is produced on a 40 nm process at TSMC Taiwan. The ARES uses two of these beasts running in an internal CrossFire configuration.