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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.

GeForce GTX 590 Cooler Shroud Design Surfaces

VR-Zone got a hold of the cooler shroud design of NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce GTX 590 graphics card. The drawing reveals something very similar to that of the GeForce GTX 295 rev. 2 (or single-slot), and tells us a bit about the cooler. The cooler will use a large fan (probably 80 mm in diameter) to blow air on to two heatsinks on its either sides. Channels, and the heatsinks themselves will guide air across both ends of the cooler. Hot air from the first GPU (closest to the display connectors) will exhaust from the rear bracket, while that from the second GPU (farthest from the display connectors), will exhaust into the case. There are spaces on either sides of the fan for partner product artwork. There is more space on top. Next to the cutout for the power connectors, is the GeForce logo. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 is a dual-GPU graphics card based on two GF110 cores. It will be released on the 22nd of March.

GeForce GTX 400 Series Performance Expectations Hit the Web

A little earlier this month, NVIDIA tweeted that it would formally unveil the GeForce GTX 400 series graphics cards, NVIDIA's DirectX 11 generation GPUs, at the PAX East gaming event in Boston (MA), United States, on the 26th of March. That's a little under a month's time from now. In its run up, sources that have access to samples of the graphics cards seem to be drawing their "performance expectations" among other details tricking in.

Both the GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470 graphics cards are based on NVIDIA's GF100 silicon, which physically packs 512 CUDA cores, 16 geometry units, 64 TMUs, 48 ROPs, and a 384-bit GDDR5 memory interface. While the GTX 480 is a full-featured part, the GTX 470 is slightly watered-down, with probably 448 or 480 CUDA cores enabled, and a slightly narrower memory interface, probably 320-bit GDDR5. Sources tell DonanimHaber that the GeForce GTX 470 performs somewhere between the ATI Radeon HD 5850 and Radeon HD 5870. This part is said to have a power draw of 300W. The GeForce GTX 480, on the other hand, is expected to perform on-par with the GeForce GTX 295 - at least in existing (present-generation) applications. A recent listing by an online store for a pre-order, put the GTX 480 at US $699.

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.

EVGA Releases SLI Enhancement Patch v20

EVGA finished its twentieth release of the EVGA SLI Enhancement Patch, a software that adds to the GeForce system drivers' SLI profiles specific to applications. These SLI profiles help applications take advantage of multiple GeForce graphics cards in SLI, or dual-GPU GeForce accelerators such as the GeForce 9800 GX2 and GeForce GTX 295. Version 20 (01.15.10) adds SLI profiles to Dark Void, Serious Sam HD, and Avatar (Demo). This patch is based on GeForce drivers 195.81. The latest version of GeForce drivers from NVIDIA bring SLI profiles to the latter two games. Registered EVGA users can download the software from here.

NVIDIA BIOS Editor (NiBiTor) Version 5.3 Released

NVIDIA BIOS Editor (aka NiBiTor) got its update for this month. The popular BIOS manipulation utility has been updated to version 5.3. As with every new release, version 5.3 brings along an expanded supported products list, a number of critical and trivial bug fixes, and an improved ability to work with unsupported hardware in a limited way. Newly supported products include:
  • GeForce GTX 295 (Single PCB)
  • GeForce GTX 260M
  • Quadro FX 3700M
DOWNLOAD: NiBiTor v5.3

NVIDIA Pitches GeForce GTX 300 Series to Clinch Performance Crown

NVIDIA's latest DirectX 11 compliant GPU architecture, codenamed "Fermi," is getting its first consumer graphics (desktop) implementation in the form of the GeForce GTX 300 series. The nomenclature turned from being obvious to clear, with a set of company slides being leaked to the media, carrying the GeForce GTX 300 series names for the two products expected to come out first: GeForce GTX 380, and GeForce GTX 360. The three slides in public domain as of now cover three specific game benchmarks, where the two graphics cards are pitted against AMD's Radeon HD 5870 and Radeon HD 5970, being part of the company's internal tests.

Tests include Resident Evil 5 (HQ settings, 1920x1200, 8x AA, DX10), STALKER Clear Sky (Extreme quality, No AA, 1920 x 1200, DX10), and Far Cry 2 (Ultra High Quality, 1920x1200, 8x AA, DX10). Other GPUs include GeForce GTX 295 and GTX 285 for reference, just so you know how NVIDIA is pitting the two against the Radeon HD 5000 GPUs, given that the figures are already out. With all the three tests, GTX 380 emerged on top, with GTX 360 performing close to the HD 5970. A point to note, however, is that the tests were run at 1920 x 1200, and tests have shown that the higher-end HD 5000 series GPUs, particularly the HD 5970, is made for resolutions higher than 1920 x 1200. AA was also disabled in STALKER Clear Sky. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 300 will be out in Q1 2010.

Update (12/15): NVIDIA's Director of Public Relations EMEAI told us that these slides are fake, but also "when it's ready it's going to be awesome".

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.

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 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.

EVGA Expands GTX 295 CO-OP Lineup with Superclocked and FTW Variants

EVGA expanded its GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP (single PCB) lineup with two factory-overclocked models, the GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP Superclocked (model: 017-P3-1296-AR) and GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP FTW (017-P3-1298-AR). Both accelerators have identical packaging and design (the reference NVIDIA design), and feature two GT200 GPUs with 240 shader processors each, and memory sub-systems of 896 MB, 448-bit GDDR3.

The Superclocked model traditionally has a mild level of factory-overclocked speeds: 602/1296/2052 MHz (core/shader/memory), as against the reference speeds of 576/1246/2016 MHz. The FTW ("for the win", in gamer jargon), sports the top level of factory-overclocked speeds, at 684/1476/2160 MHz (core/shader/memory). Both are listed on EVGA online store. The GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP Superclocked is priced at US $519.99, while the GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP FTW asks for $559.99.

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.

Inno3D Readies GeForce GTX 295 iChill Black Series, Ready for Water-Cooling

Inno3D has its latest offering to the high-end consumer market ready, with the water-block pre-installed GeForce GTX 295 iChill Black Series. This single PCB GeForce GTX 295 accelerator comes with a full coverage single slot water-block that is factory installed. This accelerator packs 1792 MB of GDDR3 memory, 480 shader processors, and is Quad-SLI capable with any other GeForce GTX 295 card. It is believed that the card comes with factory-overclocked settings. What isn't known however, is the pricing and availability.

Mushkin Adds UltimateFX GeForce GTX 295 to its Portfolio

Having recently announced a comeback into the consumer graphics card market, Mushkin added a new accelerator to its lineup. The UltimateFX GTX 295 is a reference-design single PCB accelerator, which comes with all the Mushkin paraphernalia such as the WoodBox packing. Mushkin stuck to the reference clock speed profile for this card 576/1008/1242 MHz (core/memory/shader). It packs a total of 1792 MB GDDR3 memory across two 448-bit interfaces. The two GPUs pack 240 shader processors each. Mushkin indicated that it will release more variants in this series based on factory-overclocked settings.

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.

DangerDen Ready with GTX 295 V2 Water Block

Danger Den is ready with its offering for those seeking a water block for the single-PCB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 accelerator. The Danger Den GTX295 V2 (DD-GTX295V2) is another entry into the company's portfolio of full-coverage water blocks. It provides cooling to all heat-generating components of the card. Standard copper is the primary material of this block. Inside its chamber, heat-dissipation channels are built on top of the portions directly over the GPUs, the chamber is topped off with hard Lucite. Fittings' options include High Flow G 1/4 - 1/2", 3/8" and 1/4". At US $135.95, the Danger Den GTX295 V2 water block is priced lower than its counterpart from Koolance. It will be available soon at the Danger Den store, and popular component retailers.

Koolance Ready with GeForce GTX 295 Single PCB Water Block

Renowned water-cooling components specialist Koolance is one of the first to be ready with a water block for the new single-PCB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 video card. The Koolance VID-NX295S provides full-coverage cooling for the accelerator. The package bundles a full-coverage cooling plate for even the rear-side of the card, where 14 out of 28 of the card's memory chips are located. The water block uses nickel-plated copper as its primary material, topped with an acrylic jacket. Its dimensions are 24.2 cm x 12.3 cm x 1.8 cm, and it weighs in at around 1 kg. It uses a standard G 1/4" nozzle threading. The VID-NX295S priced at US $159.99, and is available from the Koolance store.

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.

Gainward Announces Single-PCB Version of GeForce GTX 295

Gainward just became the next major company from NVIDIA's list of partners, to offer single PCB version of the well known dual-GPU GeForce GTX 295 graphics monster. Gainward has decided to use the NVIDIA reference design for this card, and only decorate the stock cooling with its own stickers. Clock speeds are also set to the reccomended minimum of 576 MHz for the core, 1242 for the shaders and 2016 MHz for the 1792 MB of on-board GDDR3 memory. The card is PhysX and CUDA ready, and can be paired with another one to work in Quad SLI mode. Gainward will ask around 450 Euro when the card becomes available later this month.

Inno3D Announces GeForce GTX 295 Platinum Edition

Inno3D are excited to launch the Inno3D GeForce GTX 295 Platinum Edition with extreme cooling performance for better gaming speeds. The unbeatable Inno3D GeForce GTX 295 is built with the 2nd Generation NVIDIA Unified Architecture with 480 stream processors. The Inno3D GeForce GTX 295 runs at 576/1242/2000MHz and is the fastest card in the market. The advanced Platinum cooler allows airflow to circulate through the front and back of the case chassis which decreases heat more effectively.

BFG Disputes EVGA's Claim to be The ''Undisputed Leader for Water Cooling Solutions''

Earlier this month, EVGA announced its GTX 295 HydroCopper water-block which it plans to sell separately, and not pre-installed with the GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP Edition. In the company's press release, EVGA called itself the " the undisputed leader for water cooling solutions". Apparently this statement hasn't gone down well with its market competitor BFG, which circulated an email across its press-contact list officially challenging the statement, just so the claim doesn't remain "undisputed".

The reasons BFG claims, revolve basically around the longer history the company had with selling factory-fitted water-cooling ready graphics cards, the fact that all its offerings are factory-fitted solutions unlike EVGA's, which relies on user installation, puts the installation risk entirely on the customer, amongst other regular claims of having superior customer support and lifetime warranty.

EVGA Launches GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP Edition and Proper Cooling for It

Also announced this weekend was EVGA's GeForce GTX 295 CO-OP Edition (PN: 017-P3-1295-AR) which represents NVIDIA's first single PCB dual-GPU video card with EVGA descent. Again, this card combines two 55 nm GT200 GPUs onto a single PCB, comes with 1792 MB of onboard DDR3 memory and even more it's QUAD SLI ready. For the CO-OP Edition EVGA has imprinted 576 MHz GPU clock speeds and 2016 MHz effective clock speed for the memory. Outputs are standard and only two in the form of DVI-I connectors. The card is still on hold and not in stores, but the price one should pay for it is $529 USD.

Without further delay EVGA also issued a full-cover waterblock only for the single-PCB GTX 295 CO-OP card. The EVGA GTX 295 CO-OP Hydro Copper waterblock (PN: 200-CU-HC95-B1) is constructed from a massive copper baseplate and sealed from an all black top. This block cools everything that needs cooling on the PCB and will cost you $129.99 USD. Again like in most cases, the Hydro Copper block for GTX 295 CO-OP ships with both 3/8-inch & 1/2-inch fittings for different watercooling loops.

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).

Single-PCB GeForce GTX 295 Pictured has managed to take some pictures of the upcoming single-PCB GeForce GTX 295. Expected to arrive within a month, the single-PCB GTX 295 features the same specs as the dual-PCB model - 2x448bit memory interface, 480 Processing Cores and 1792MB of GDDR3 memory, and GPU/shader/memory clocks of 576/1242/1998 MHz respectively.
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