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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.

NVIDIA BIOS Editor (NiBiTor) Version 5.9 Released

NVIDIA BIOS Editor (or NiBiTor), got its timely update, the application is now at version 5.9. NiBiTor allows enthusiasts to extract and manipulate with the VGA BIOS from a supported graphics card. With each new release, the a number of new GPUs are added to the supported products list, bugs fixed, and stability improved. The GPUs added to the list with this release include:
  • GeForce GTS 450
  • GeForce GTS 360M
  • GeForce GT 310M
  • GeForce GTX 285M
  • GeForce GT 240M
With this release, NiBiTor also adds the ability to manipulate with minimum/maximum fan speeds.


ASUS Designing Dual-HD 5870 Graphics Accelerator?

ASUS is known to toy with bleeding-edge technology to give out high-end products. Earlier, ASUS put two GeForce GTX 285 GPUs into one accelerator to give out a custom-design product that outperformed NVIDIA's dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295. According to, ASUS might be doing something similar, this time around with AMD's Cypress GPUs in its Radeon HD 5870 avatar. It is said to be working on a dual-HD 5870 graphics card, codenamed "Ares".

While the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970 uses full-featured AMD Cypress GPUs (with all its stream processors and memory bus width available), ASUS will attempt to use the one disparity between an HD 5970 and two HD 5870 to its advantage: clock speeds. The Cypress GPUs in HD 5970 feature lower clock speeds (725/1000 MHz core/memory) compared to the single Cypress GPU on the HD 5870 (850/1200 MHz). Electrical constraints are probably the reason behind this. It is likely that ASUS will use stronger VRM circuitry to power the two GPUs to run at higher speeds, while also providing some overclocking headroom.

AMD in a recent conference call to the press said that it didn't expect to see custom-design HD 5970-like accelerators till Q2 2010, although we don't infer there to be any sort of restriction in place, as was the case with NVIDIA and its GTX 295. Ares is likely named after the Greek God of warfare by the name. An apt successor to Mars (which also happens to be the name of the Roman God of war), ASUS' previous attempt at an extreme high-end graphics card of its own design.

Galaxy Prepares Special Dual-GPU Accelerator

After AMD completed its mid-thru-high end product launches under its DirectX 11 compliant Radeon HD 5000 series, it looks like NVIDIA eased up restrictions for partners to design high-end dual-GPU accelerators. ASUS had launched a limited-edition accelerator making use of two GeForce GTX 285 GPUs, but limited quantities, and other factors which we're not aware of, may have influenced the company to sell it for over $1000 a piece. Galaxy, for one, is second in line, with a single-PCB dual-GPU graphics accelerator, which it reportedly plans to release before Christmas.

For now, the card exists only in its drawings and CAD designs. The PCB layout drawing shows the card have a layout similar to the single-PCB GeForce GTX 295. With space for 16 memory chips on the obverse side and a backplate in the CAD design, it is deduced that the card has 512-bit memory interfaces per GPU, and hence could be a dual GeForce GTX 285 accelerator, much like the ASUS MARS dual-285. The cooler looks to have independent coolers over each GPU with circular heatsinks that have radially-projecting fins, and a baseplate to cool other components. Galaxy wants this to be a Christmas special. Here's hoping it doesn't draw inspiration from the ASUS MARS as far as pricing is concerned.

EVGA Precision and GPU Voltage Tuner Updated

EVGA released timely updates to two of its frontline performance control software utilities, the Precision overclocking and monitoring tool, and GPU Voltage Tuner. Version 1.8.1 of the EVGA Precision adds support for newer NVIDIA GPUs, an updated OSD component, among other interface updates that enhance usability. The following are details as listed by EVGA:
  • Added NVIDIA GeForce G210, GT220 and GT240 series graphics cards support.
  • EVGA On-Screen Display Server has been updated to version 3.5.0. Floating injection address hooking technology, which has been introduced in the previous version, is now disabled by default and can be enabled via the "Stealth mode" option in the server's properties.
  • Added hotkeys cross-links checking, Precision no longer allows defining the same hotkey for two different actions at the same time.
  • Added "Browse" button to "Screen capture" tab to allow users to change target folder for screenshots.
  • Added inegration with external overclocking stability testing applications.
The EVGA GPU Voltage Tuner got its update to version in the form of support for EVGA's new GeForce GTX 285 Classified graphics accelerator. Registered EVGA users (registration is free) can download both the utilities from the EVGA website.

Zotac Unleashes GeForce GTX 285 Batman Edition

"Batman: Arkham Asylum adventure has received glowing reviews from press all around the world just like our ZOTAC GeForce GTX 285 has. Putting them both together to make the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 285: Batman Edition was an obvious combination for us," said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International.

The new ZOTAC GeForce GTX 285: Batman Edition features unique artwork featuring Batman. Also unique to the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 285: Batman Edition is a coupon for a full copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum, redeemable online at NVIDIA's nZone.

First Radeon HD 5870 Performance Figures Surface

Here are some of the first performance figures of AMD's upcoming Radeon HD 5870 published by a media source. Czech Gamer posted performance numbers of the card compared to current heavyweights including Radeon HD 4870 X2, Radeon HD 4890, and GeForce GTX 285. Having not entered an NDA with AMD, the source was liberal with its performance projections citing AMD's internal testing that include the following, apart from the two graphs below:
  • Radeon HD 5870 is anywhere between 5~155 percent faster than GeForce GTX 285. That's a huge range, and leaves a lot of room for uncertainty.
  • When compared to GeForce GTX 295, its performance ranges between -25 percent (25% slower) to 95 percent (almost 2x faster), another broad range.
  • When two HD 5870 cards are set up in CrossFire, the resulting setup is -5 percent (5% slower) to 90 percent faster than GeForce GTX 295. Strangely, the range maximum is lesser than that on the single card.
  • When three of these cards are setup in 3-way CrossFireX, the resulting setup is 10~160 percent faster than a GeForce GTX 295.
  • The Radeon HD 5850 on the other hand, can be -25 percent (25% slower) to 120 percent faster than GeForce GTX 285.
AMD reportedly used a set of 15 games to run its tests. Vague as they seem, the above numbers raise more questions than provide answers. The graphs below are clear, for a change.

ASUS GTX 285 Matrix Registers 1100/2452/2800 MHz, Tests Stable

During an overclocking competition help by ASUS and Dutch tech website, a participant named Neil Breems managed to achieve some stellar results on the ASUS GeForce GTX 285 Matrix. Cooled using a liquid nitrogen evaporator, the graphics card was able to reach 1100 MHz (core), 2452 MHz (shader) and 2800 MHz (memory), way up from the reference speeds of 648/1476/2484 MHz (core/shader/memory). The overclocked settings were set using a tweaked version of RivaTuner. Breems put the card to test using 3DMark06.

Since the rest of the bench was made of an Intel P55 based motherboard running an unreleased 2.66 GHz Core i5 750, couldn't publish the final score and CPU score, but went ahead with its GPU-related scores that included GT1: 58.863 fps, GT2 57.762 fps, HDR1 112.6 fps, and 73.84 fps for HDR2. The memory to drive the system Corsair Dominator GT DDR3-2000, and the system powered by Corsair HX850W.

EVGA Rolls out 4-way SLI Compatible GeForce GTX 285 Accelerator

ASUS stirred up the enthusiast community recently with its dual-GeForce GTX 285 accelerator that for the first time, lets four fully-loaded G200b GPUs function in quad-SLI. Perhaps responding to it, EVGA rolled out the EVGA GeForce GTX 285 Classified (01G-P3-1190-AR), the first single-GPU GeForce accelerator to support 4-way SLI (or Quad-SLI). With a small but significant number of SLI-compatible motherboards with four PCI-Express x16 slots already out there, EVGA hopes to cash in with its newest product.

The GeForce GTX 285 Classified sticks to reference NVIDIA clock speeds of 648/1242 MHz (core/memory), while leaving it to the user to overclock it, by providing a number of design enhancements. It also sticks to having 1 GB of memory. To begin with, this card features a full 8-phase digital-PWM power design, and makes use of high-grade components such as film capacitors. It draws power from three 6-pin PCI-E power connectors. Voltage measure points for VPLL, DRAM VDDQ, DRAM VDD, and VGPU are nucleated in a convenient location for easy measurements. The card supports EVGA's EVbot device that provides control over the card's parameters in the hands of the user. The EVbot can be directly plugged in to the card. Finally, the card supports 4-way SLI. At this point what its SLI bridge looks like is not known, but hopefully it's provided with the card or the EVGA's newest motherboard. It has been listed on the company store for US $379.99, currently on pre-order.

Radeon HD 5870 Aggressively Priced: Report

According to a fresh report by Donanim Haber, AMD's next performance graphics accelerator, the Radeon HD 5870, codenamed "Cypress" is expected to be aggressively priced, at US $299. At that price, it intends to be highly competitive against GeForce GTX 285 from NVIDIA. The secret-sauce behind the price could be the 40 nm fab process on which the GPU is being built, which allows upping transistor counts while maintaining significantly smaller die-sizes compared to 55 nm.

There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the specifications of the GPU, including what level of performance with existing application could it end up offering. Some sources, such as ChipHell, which are one of the first to leak pictures of components related to various Evergreen family products claim the Cypress GPU to have an almost 100% increase in stream processor counts compared to RV770, while others remain conservative expecting it to be around 50%. With this kind of a pricing, Cypress could trigger market-wide changes in GPU pricing, if it ends up with a good price/performance ratio at $299.

ASUS Dual-GTX 285 MARS Detailed Further, Priced

ASUS' pixel-crunching monstrosity, the dual-GTX 285 MARS 4GB was unveiled earlier this year at Computex. It claims to be the most powerful graphics card ever made, as it packs two fully-loaded GeForce GTX 285 GPUs which are factory overclocked, and equipped with 2 GB each of GDDR3 memory (4 GB total memory). The card further edges GeForce GTX 295, by using 512-bit memory interfaces for each GPU. The card further carries the clock speeds of GeForce GTX 285, at 648/1476/2400 MHz (core/shader/memory).

Fresh information suggests that that this limited-edition graphics card is another week away from shipping. 1000 units are produced in all, and the company doesn't plan on making any more. What's interesting however is that most, if not all, of these 1000 units have been pre-ordered and paid for. Enthusiasts don't seem to have a problem paying US $1250 (1250 EUR) for a piece, its price. Below are some tasty press-shots of this really tall accelerator, fully assembled. Pictures of its PCB and components can be viewed in our older article here.

BFG Tech Announces Limited Edition Self-Contained Liquid Cooled Graphics Cards

BFG Technologies Inc., the leading North American and European supplier of advanced NVIDIA-based 3D graphics cards, power supplies, and the Phobos High-Performance Gaming/Home Theater System, announced today the BFG GeForce GTX 285 H2O+ and GeForce GTX 295 H2OC graphics cards with ThermoIntelligence Advanced Cooling Solutions-saving customers time and money by providing a high performance graphics card plus a fully assembled, self-contained liquid cooling solution right out of the box.

The BFG GeForce GTX 285 H2O+ and GeForce GTX 295 H2OC ThermoIntelligence Advanced Cooling Solutions are maintenance-free, self-contained liquid cooling units attached to enthusiast-grade BFG Tech graphics cards that easily install into most systems right out of the box and never need refilling or additional components. These unique solutions feature a top of the line BFG Tech graphics card plus a high-performance cooling loop designed by CoolIT Systems that pushes coolant across the GPU and exhausts heat directly outside of the system chassis. Three different system speed settings-Auto, Quiet, and Maximum-give total control over acoustics and performance.

Zotac Beefs-Up GeForce GTX 200 with 15 Phase VRM Design

Armed with a creative engineering department, Zotac is in the news for innovating a new graphics card PCB design every now and then. For NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 200 series alone, the firm developed several performance and value oriented PCB designs. It decided to up the ante with a new single-GPU PCB design that is compatible with all GTX 200 series GPUs from NVIDIA, and is out with a GeForce GTX 260-based model out for the Chinese market. The new PCB focuses on strong power circuitry that allow high stability for overclocking. The 12-layered PCB is jam-packed with high-grade power circuitry, which ensures the GeForce GTX 260 GPU runs at 800 MHz out of the box, with even more overclocking headroom to spare.

To begin with, the vGPU portion consists of a lavish 12-phase digital PWM circuit with Renesas LFPAK MOSFETs, BL high-capacity PWM chokes, and Panasonic SP-CAP, flatbed capacitors and a dedicated VRM controller. The vMem portion has a 3-phase power circuit that uses the same kinds of components as the vGPU, and has its own VRM controller. The PCB draws auxiliary power from PCI-E 8 + 6 pin connectors. It holds place for two more memory chips indicating that the same PCB could be used for a GeForce GTX 285 based SKU in the future. On the outputs front, a DVI-D, HDMI, and D-Sub make for the card's connectivity. The new Zotac GeForce GTX 260 model will be cooled by an Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme GTX cooler. It is made exclusive for the Chinese market, with a price of RMB 1399 (US $205). Technical data from its electical-testing can be viewed here.

BFG Intros GeForce GTX 295 H2OC and GeForce GTX 285 OCFU Video Cards

BFG Technologies, the leading North American and European supplier of advanced NVIDIA-based 3D graphics cards, power supplies, and the Phobos High-Performance Gaming/Home Theater System, announced today the launch of two new additions to BFG's GeForce family, the BFG GeForce GTX 295 H2OC with ThermoIntelligence Water Cooling Solution and BFG GeForce GTX 285 OCFU graphics cards that both offer outstanding PC gaming performance.

Thermaltake Announces the ISGC-V320 VGA Cooler

Products of Thermaltake's ISGC series have become representative of silent and good performance coolers. Users have already been expecting the newest ISGC VGA cooler to complete the collection. Now, finally the ISGC-V320 is coming with lots of killer features.

The ISGC-V320 is a true masterpiece of Thermaltake's R&D team. Its foremost feature, as a matter of course, is its surprising silence which it inherited from the original ISGC Fan. The ISGC-V320 is equipped with two 120 mm ISGC fans. Users can adjust the fan speed from 800 to 1300RPM according to their needs. Broad compatibility of the ISGC-V320 greatly enhances its convenience factor. Supported are the last graphics cards such as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 and ATI Radeon HD 4890. 5 heatpipes in combination with a large dissipation surface ensure best performance under high stress. With these powerful parts, ISGC-V320 can easily take loads of up to 320W.

Koolance Launches GeForce GTX 275, 285 Water Block too

In addition to the shiny $160 piece of metal for GeForce GTX 295 single PCB cards, Koolance also launched full-cover solution for NVIDIA's remaining high-performance video cards - GeForce GTX 275 and GeForce GTX 285. The new Koolance VID-NX285N is a combined GPU and memory cooler that fits reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275, 285 1 GB, and 285 2 GB cards in single or multi video configurations. It couples a full nickel-plated solid copper base plate which cools all primary heat-producing regions of the video card (including the voltage regulators) and an acrylic top. The Koolance VID-NX285N weights exactly 1.5 pounds (680g) and ships standard with 1/4-inch nozzles, but versions for 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch tubings are also available. Getting one will cost you $99.99, you can order the VID-NX285N directly from Koolance's web page here. The firm is also offering optional connect nozzles, in case you're using two of the water blocks for multi-card setups and need to link them.

Mushkin Making a Comeback With Video Cards

Popular memory manufacturer Mushkin, which is also known for power supply units and until last year, for video cards, plans to resume being a video card manufacturer, and an add-in card partner for NVIDIA. The company just announced plans on an entire lineup of products based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200 series, called Mushkin UltimateFX. It includes products starting from the GeForce GTX 260 896 MB base model, going all the way up to GeForce GTX 285 2048 MB, with models carved out based on clock speeds and memory sizes.

For the most part, it looks like Mushkin will use non-reference designs which we may be familiar with. One of their products resembles a similar design by Sparkle, while another bears resemblance with the reference NVIDIA design, albeit a green PCB (something PNY has opted for). The cards will be shipped in an a classic wooden jewel case, similar to to the "WoodBox" it shipped with its older products. Here's what the lineup looks like:

ASUS Prepares Custom R.O.G. Mars 285 Monster Video Card

Here's a good example of what can be born in times of recession. ASUSTeK is planning on asking $1700 for its latest ASUS R.O.G. (Republic of Gamers) Mars limited edition graphics card. Well the card is an eye catcher for sure, but it's up to you to decide if it's worth the cash after all. On paper specs look almost too good to be true, the card will carry two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 (G200b) GPUs on a single PCB. Each main graphics proccessor will be complemented by 2 GB DDR3 memory for a total of 4 gigs working at 2484MHz with 512-bit memory bus width. Each of the graphics processors will operate at 648 MHz with 480 stream processors, meaning that R.O.G. Mars will be as fast at two GeForce GTX 285 graphics boards in SLI mode and faster compared to a standard NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 graphics solution. ASUSTeK engineer estimate that the card will offer 23% higher performance compared to the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295. The ASUS R.O.G. Mars limited can also be paired in SLI, for a total of four GeForce GTX 285 graphics cores and whooping 8 GB video memory on a single desktop system. There will be only one thousand of ASUS ROG Mars graphics boards ever built, each will be marked with its own unique number. English is now taking pre-orders of the card for £1030.98, which is approximately $1700 or €1222.

EVGA Releases GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition

EVGA quietly slipped in the GeForce GTX 285 Mac Edition graphics card, which is its fastest offering to Mac users. The card uses a standard PCI-Express interface available with Intel x86 based Mac Pro workstations, and provides all the features of NVIDIA's fastest GPU. It is technically identical to its base-model PC counterpart, using a reference design for the PCB and cooler, reference clock speeds of 648/1476/2484 MHz (core/shader/memory), and 1 GB of GDDR3 memory across a 512-bit interface. It bundles the necessary power dongles, and packs system software for Mac. Two dual-link DVI connectors support two Apple Cinema displays with resolutions of 2560 x 1600 each. The OpenGL 3.0 acceleration backs the advanced drawing features of Adobe CS4 applications. EVGA is pricing this at US $449.99, a notch higher than the GTX 285 2 GB FTW accelerator for PC.

ASUS ROG Goodies for Computex 2009 Unveiled

ASUS' Republic of Gamers (ROG), a brand synonymous with gaming and overclocking, today presented a host of innovations and products designed to provide users with the ultimate experience in high performance gaming and overclocking. These include ROG's exclusive MemOK! one-click memory rescue tool for effortless and worry-free memory upgrades, the limited edition ASUS ROG MARS GTX 295 graphics card that shatters all existing graphics benchmarks, and the world's most intelligent graphics card-the ROG MATRIX GTX 285. Other highlights include a 120 Hz 3D-ready Gaming Monitor that provides users with an immersive gaming experience, and the ASUS W90 notebook-a mobile gaming powerhouse that has recently set a Guinness World Record in overclocking. With such an impressive line-up, ASUS is once again poised to set the gaming and overclocking scene alight.

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).

Sparkle Announces GeForce GTX 285 Plus Accelerator

Sparkle Computer today announced its custom-designed GeForce GTX 285 accelerator, boasting of better cooling efficiency and factory overclocked parameters. Sitting atop a blue custom-designed PCB is an Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme GTX cooler, which also makes use of the company's MX-2 thermal interface material. The fan blades are purple-coloured, a slight hint of customization for the cooler that is fast turning out to be an industry favourite for GeForce GTX 200 series accelerators.

Apart from the cooler, the card features higher clock speeds over the reference NVIDIA speeds: 666/1512/2520 MHz (core/shader/memory). The rest of its specs sheet looks fairly standard for the GTX 285: 240 shader processors, 1 GB of memory across a 512-bit wide GDDR3 memory interface, support for 3-way SLI, CUDA and PhysX.

EVGA GeForce GTX 285 2 GB FTW Edition Video Card Launched

EVGA today launches the latest "tuning kit" for GeForce GTX 285. EVGA GeForce GTX 285 2 GB FTW Edition (part number 02G-P3-1187-AR) is based on the NVIDIA's reference design, from the outside nothing has changed except for the cool front sticker. The same stock dual-cooler is used, but the card's BIOS has been modified to deliver 702 MHz (648 MHz stock) GPU, 1584 MHz (1476 MHz), and 2484 MHz memory clock speeds. The card has 240 Processing Cores, 512-bit memory interface, two 6-pin PCI-E external power connectors, two DVI outputs and support for NVIDIA 3-way SLI technology. The EVGA GeForce GTX 285 2 GB FTW is now listed with a MSRP of $439.99 USD, it should be available very soon.

MSI Unveils N285GTX HydroGen Graphics Card

Along with the shiny new laptops, MSI today took the wraps off their latest N285GTX HydroGen graphics card powered by the 55 nm NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 GPU series. As you have probably figured it out from the pictures, the card is equipped with an all-copper full-cover watercooling solution, specifically designed to fit in a single slot and make possible overclocking the GPU and memory components to 702 MHz (648 MHz stock) and 2600 MHz (2484 MHz stock) respectively. The card is also equipped with 1024 MB of 512-bit GDDR3 memory. No other specific characteristics have been mentioned at the time of this publication. MSI is also mum on the pricing and availability date.

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