Thursday, May 28th 2009

ASUS Designs Own Monster Dual-GTX 285 4 GB Graphics Card

ASUS has just designed a new monster graphics card that breaks the mold for reference design GeForce GTX 295, called the ASUS MARS 295 Limited Edition. The card, although retains the name "GeForce GTX 295", same device ID, and is compatible with existing NVIDIA drivers, has two huge innovations put in by ASUS, which go far beyond being yet another overclocked GeForce GTX 295: the company used two G200-350-B3 graphics processors, the same ones that make the GeForce GTX 285. The GPUs have all the 240 shader processors enabled, and also have the complete 512-bit GDDR3 memory interface enabled. This dual-PCB monstrosity holds 32 memory chips, and 4 GB of total memory (each GPU accesses 2 GB of it). Apart from these, each GPU system uses the same exact clock speeds as the GeForce GTX 285: 648/1476/2400 MHz (core/shader/memory).
Each PCB holds 16 memory chips, a 6-phase digital PWM power circuit, drawing auxiliary power from an 8-pin PCI-E power connector, the GeForce GTX 285-class GPU, and its companion NVIO2 processor. The PCB holding the PCI-Express bus interface, also holds the bridge chip. ASUS broke away with using the nForce 200 chip, and instead is using a yet to be disclosed third-party bridge chip. Currently, PLX and IDT are two likely sources for such a chip. The memory consists of high-density 0.77 ns memory chips made by Hynix.
The electrical-management on each PCB is care of a Volterra VRM controller, which supports the I2C interface, which means that the card supports software voltage control, perhaps a big plus for ASUS' Voltage Tweak feature that is gaining in popularity. Fused power circuit provides Over Current Protection while also facilitating extreme overclocking.

The cooler internally has the same basic construction as the reference cooler, it uses a single leaf-blower. The card spans across two expansion slots and is slightly higher than the reference design card. ASUS also used slightly longer internal bridges that make more room for third-party coolers, and the likes. Our source from ASUS EMEA conducted a quick 3DMark Vantage test proving the card's seamless compatibility with existing drivers, while also providing a significant boost in performance over existing GTX 295 cards. Being Quad-SLI capable, this card finally makes GeForce GTX 285 (effective) quad-SLI possible, and makes for the most powerful desktop multi-GPU setup ever conceived. ASUS designed this card despite pressure from NVIDIA enforcing its rigid policy of restricting its partners from custom-designing GeForce GTX 295. If everything goes smooth throughout the development process, the card might make it for a gala launch at Computex.
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179 Comments on ASUS Designs Own Monster Dual-GTX 285 4 GB Graphics Card

#1
3870x2
kyle2020 said:
32bit OS's use a max of 3.2GB (I think?) of ram, and that includes GPU ram, so if you have 2GB of ram and then a 4GB card in, it may cause conflicts.

Anyone feel free to correct me if Im wrong.
Im sure this has already been replied to, but it is 2x2gb, each GPU addressing only 2, meaning there are 2 different pots of memory. 32-bit will address the whole 4GB, unless i've missed something.
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#2
Mussels
Moderprator
3870x2 said:
Im sure this has already been replied to, but it is 2x2gb, each GPU addressing only 2, meaning there are 2 different pots of memory. 32-bit will address the whole 4GB.
32 bit applications have a 2GB address space limit per application, so... no. Sure, you'll have 2GB for the card and 2GB usable for the OS, but once it starts duplicating into ram (assuming you're using a DX9 app, 32 bit OS likely means XP) then you're totally screwed.
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#3
3870x2
Mussels said:
32 bit applications have a 2GB address space limit per application, so... no. Sure, you'll have 2GB for the card and 2GB usable for the OS, but once it starts duplicating into ram (assuming you're using a DX9 app, 32 bit OS likely means XP) then you're totally screwed.
I see your point, here are my counterpoints:

It is like saying that a total of 3.2 GB of ram can only be addressed. So if you already have 3GB of ram, you can only address .2GB of your graphics card ram?
Also, who ever needs more than 3.2GB in any game? im sure no game needs more than 2GB at its max.

Im sure you are probably right, but it just doesnt seem right. If it is per application, it is just bad programming, as games can, and have before, ran as more than 1 application (check "processes" tab on your games)
Posted on Reply
#4
mlee49
kinc said:
This is with liquid nitrogen thermal solution installed on the cards. I didnt have time to insluate well enough so cards are only running -40C with 1.175V set via software (up from 1.15V). There is headroom :)

http://www.kinc.se/mars3.jpg
Nice to meet you Kinc, I'm glad to see an Asus rep here. Any chance for more pics? :toast:
Posted on Reply
#5
Mussels
Moderprator
3870x2 said:
I see your point, here are my counterpoints:

It is like saying that a total of 3.2 GB of ram can only be addressed. So if you already have 3GB of ram, you can only address .2GB of your graphics card ram?
Also, who ever needs more than 3.2GB in any game? im sure no game needs more than 2GB at its max.

Im sure you are probably right, but it just doesnt seem right. If it is per application, it is just bad programming, as games can, and have before, ran as more than 1 application (check "processes" tab on your games)
check the link in my sig and take the conversation over there.
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#6
3870x2
Mussels said:
check the link in my sig and take the conversation over there.
As said before, you have more knowledge than I on this matter, ill take your word for it:toast:
Posted on Reply
#7
W1zzard
Mussels said:
32 bit applications have a 2GB address space limit per application, so... no. Sure, you'll have 2GB for the card and 2GB usable for the OS, but once it starts duplicating into ram (assuming you're using a DX9 app, 32 bit OS likely means XP) then you're totally screwed.
did nobody read the link?

any normal app won't need access to the full video memory. you tell directx, "give me that", and you get a memory pointer back to the object. then you do the same with the next object. vista/directx are smart enough to shuffle stuff around, and use memory pages so you can use all these 2 gb.
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#8
werez
FreedomEclipse said:
some what true but there are small differences between th 512mb > 1024mb cards & it all depends on how you run your games. from my understanding running with 16xAA is better with a 1024mb card due to the space available to buffer/store all the textures.

Depending on the resolutions, settings u play at & also games. you may see upto 3-5fps increase. but for performance boosts on anything above 1024mb then thats still debatable but from what I have read it hardly makes any difference at all unless u play at super high resolutions on a 40-60" monitor. - its all debatable.
Yes .
Picture this . I`m an average gamer that goes for the "gameplay" and not for the "eyecandy"
I do own a high end video card ( well it was kinda high end when i bought it ) Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 2GB version . Now , i game at different resolutions depending on the game .
I`m playing Counter-strike ( yes , i`m oldschool) , Fifa , Crysis , Unreal Tournament , COD4 , COD5 , Starcraft and so on . Fifa , Starcraft and Counter-strike don`t use the true power of my video card since , Starcraft is 2d , Counter-strike works on really lower end video cards . Now lets talk about Crysis . Ok , all settings high , higher resolution , you name it .
There is absolutely no difference between my video card , and the card a friend owns , a Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 1GB version in 1920x1200 with AA enabled . Now if people are buying a video card with 4 Gb of ram , i believe they are not playing Counter-strike , Day of Defeat or Starcraft . If you are going to buy that card to be "future proof" to play games based on engines like Crysis uses , you won`t have any performance increase. You need better GPU . 2 fps more in Crysis are not noticeable . However in Cod4 you will probably get 10 fps more at a higher resolution , but that won`t really matter since you already get 100 and you can`t see any difference . Now , in the EU the ASUS ENGTX295 is about 430E , but the starting pricepoint was 460 . Extra 2gb`s of GDDR3 and a custom cooler design increases manufacturing costs . Don`t forget that Asus has a higher price on the market than other competitors...
If a GTX295 was 460 Euros , i expect this card to be around 550-560 . So you pay extra money for that cool looking plastic shroud ? Well what happens when you realize you need a water block for your card ? that shroud must come off right ?
I believe Asus just wanted to show the world they can do more to improve a reference video card , other manufacturers can do that two but they don`t , because they know that 2gb extra ram are useless . Asus knows that too since they are just giving 1000 pieces away , don`t you think ?
Sorry for my bad English , but i hope you get the point ...
Posted on Reply
#9
Mussels
Moderprator
W1zzard said:
did nobody read the link?

any normal app won't need access to the full video memory. you tell directx, "give me that", and you get a memory pointer back to the object. then you do the same with the next object. vista/directx are smart enough to shuffle stuff around, and use memory pages so you can use all these 2 gb.
i did. it doesnt use the full memory, but only whats required. but if you ask it to use 2GB of textures in a 32 bit app, somethings gotta give.

you have a better understanding than i do, cause you've programmed 3D apps. You're the w1zzard damnit, its not fair to argue with you. you need to share your knowledge more!
Posted on Reply
#10
3870x2
WoW werez...
regardless of the addressing, I dont see using that much any time soon until modern warfare 2 or a round of 8 player BGH on stacraft II.
Posted on Reply
#11
W1zzard
Mussels said:
i did. it doesnt use the full memory, but only whats required. but if you ask it to use 2GB of textures in a 32 bit app, somethings gotta give.

you have a better understanding than i do, cause you've programmed 3D apps. you need to share your knowledge more!
nobody has a single 3d object that consumes 2 GB of memory. so you have lots of small thingies that are processed individually. imagine how you move ALL that is in your apartment and takes up so much space through the little door when moving
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#12
Mussels
Moderprator
W1zzard said:
nobody has a single 3d object that consumes 2 GB of memory. so you have lots of small thingies that are processed individually. imagine how you move ALL that is in your apartment and takes up so much space through the little door when moving
i can imagine an epic fail.

so to summarise your analogy: its not like its going to suck from the get go, but once the address space limit is full up, things are going to slow down until you got the old furniture out and the new furniture in.

Running x64 here just gives you a bigger door.
Posted on Reply
#13
werez
I think we are forgetting something :
RV870 , DirectX11 are just around the corner . Nvidia is moving to GDDR5 . Gpu`s are currently hitting 1000MHZ . Imagine the performance boost . So do we need 4GB VRAM ? how do we benefit from that ? we don`t ... This is like the last line of defense , other manufacturers won`t respond to this "monstrosity" . A stock GTX295 is more than you need . And like i first said , two GTX 275 in SLI , will be a better solution to improve performance , and you will save money .
Posted on Reply
#14
Mussels
Moderprator
if no one ever came out with top models with ridiculous amounts of ram, we'd all still be on 16MB cards werez.
Posted on Reply
#15
Kitkat
sounds cool but also sounds pointless havent we been down this road to see no real result and only bragging rights.

Jizzler said:
Bout time we saw something unique. Go Asus!

nVidia, know your place! Get back to the fab and cook me more GPUs!
Thats funny I thought there place was childish arguments with intel??? :)
Posted on Reply
#16
werez
yes , but i can play Counter-strike with my 16mb video card , and it`s still the most played game out there , isnt it ? :)
That was my point , Mussels ...
Posted on Reply
#17
GSG-9
Mussels said:
if no one ever came out with top models with ridiculous amounts of ram, we'd all still be on 16MB cards werez.
:)

werez said:
yes , but i can play Counter-strike with my 16mb video card , and it`s still the most played game out there , isnt it ? :)
That was my point , Mussels ...
Sadly I think its surpassed by wow these days, and you have to count 1.5-/1.6/CS:CZ/CSS all separately, you cant count them as the same product. I love cs...
Posted on Reply
#18
3870x2
He kinda has a point, I can play crysis full settings 1920x1200 at 20+ FPS on my 4870 while having warcraft III in the background. 512 MB ram. 4GB isnt really needed. 2GB isnt really needed. By the time you need any more than 1.5GB of VRAM, the GTX295 will be obsolete like the 7950GX2.
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#19
Weer
Calling it a "Limited Edition" card = They can charge a boat for it.
Posted on Reply
#20
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Weer said:
Calling it a "Limited Edition" card = They can charge a boat for it.
I agree. 2x GTX 285 + digital PWM + 2x memory + third-party bridge chip..should cost something.
Posted on Reply
#21
W1zzard
usually i am convinced that there is no point in going 2 GB VRAM. simply because any card would be too slow (fps wise) at such settings. no difference between 7 and 14 fps.. both isnt playable. with this card however, there might be chance that we could see some benefits.

only exception might be gta4 which seems to benefit nicely from more memory even at less demanding resolutions/AA. read: shit engine. not to mention the extremely gay DRM - i boycott it for benchmarks
Posted on Reply
#22
Weer
3870x2 said:
He kinda has a point, I can play crysis full settings 1920x1200 at 20+ FPS on my 4870 while having warcraft III in the background. 512 MB ram. 4GB isnt really needed. 2GB isnt really needed. By the time you need any more than 1.5GB of VRAM, the GTX295 will be obsolete like the 7950GX2.
That's not completely false, but think 2560x1600. It needs 1024MB to run @ 20FPS. Now, are you going to get 20 FPS running Crysis @ 2560x1600 on this card? Yes. So, 1024-1536MB has a point. And the extra 512MB is always good to have.. sandbox editors, running multiple games, games that have texture issues that take up tons of RAM but look great.. I know all the issues that exist because I have an 8800 GTS 512. A card that had too little vRAM.
Posted on Reply
#23
h3llb3nd4
W1zzard said:
usually i am convinced that there is no point in going 2 GB VRAM. simply because any card would be too slow (fps wise) at such settings. no difference between 7 and 14 fps.. both isnt playable. with this card however, there might be chance that we could see some benefits.

only exception might be gta4 which seems to benefit nicely from more memory even at less demanding resolutions/AA. read: shit engine. not to mention the extremely gay DRM - i boycott it for benchmarks
Now you know why there is extreme piracy...

@ weer: But 2560x1600 is rare and hardly anyone uses it...I bet you rich ppl wont buy those screens until they're more popular...
Posted on Reply
#24
Weer
btarunr said:
I agree. 2x GTX 285 + digital PWM + 2x memory + third-party bridge chip..should cost something.
Oh no, I just meant the two words. Pricey!

But this is technically how it goes. In order to produce a card better than the maximum, they'd have to call it something of a "Limited Edition", because otherwise no one would buy the "regular" GTX 295. Now that they have that title.. they can go wild.. and they have.

Do you remember the "Limited Edition" X1950XTX Limited-Crossfire-Edition? I'm sure you know when it came out. Two super-charged X1950XTX's in both looks and performance, with the best GDDR4, that came in a collector's silver-brushed metallic case, and cost about twice the price of the already not-worth-it X1950XTX.

But this card is definitely worth it.. for me and everyone else who wants to game this summer without waiting for GTX 380. If it costs 600$, I'll get it. But it's extremely unlikely, says me.
Posted on Reply
#25
Weer
h3llb3nd4 said:
Now you know why there is extreme piracy...

@ weer: But 2560x1600 is rare and hardly anyone uses it...I bet you rich ppl wont buy those screens until they're more popular...
What are you talking about, African brother? 750 US$ for the 30-incher.
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