Asus Ares $1,200 graphics card: It better be the fastest ever

Summary:The Asus Ares graphics monstrosity costs about as much as a decently equipped midrange desktop -- $1,200 -- so it better perform like a monster. For that price, you get two ATI Radeon HD 5870 cards yoked together, along with 4GB of DDR5 graphics memory, in a unit that weighs 5 pounds all by itself.

The Asus Ares graphics monstrosity costs about as much as a decently equipped midrange desktop -- $1,200 -- so it better perform like a monster. For that price, you get two ATI Radeon HD 5870 cards yoked together, along with 4GB of DDR5 graphics memory, in a unit that weighs 5 pounds all by itself. Yes, a  5-pound graphics card that comes in its own briefcase.

So maybe you're waiting to find out a little more about its performance before you drop more on it than you did on your HDTV. Several enthusiast sites have put eval copies through their paces, and the results are predictable: It blazes through 3DMark Vantage, but its gaming performance (i.e., the reason you'd probably buy it) isn't always as overwhelming compared to cheaper (relatively speaking) offerings like the Radeon HD 5970 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 480.

That doesn't mean it's not impressive. Overclock3D finds that it scores much higher than the 5970, though a pair of 5870s in CrossFireX almost keep up. Guru3D finds that the GTX 480s in SLI configuration actually top it in Crysis Warhead with DX10 enabled, though PC Perspective discovers that the Ares crushes Nvidia's latest and greatest in DX11 title Dirt 2. Of course everyone overclocks the Ares for their reviews, which Asus makes easier through its SmartDoctor software.

Not surprisingly Asus isn't going to have a big roll-out of Ares when it arrives at online retailers in the next couple of weeks, limiting the production run to just 1,000 units. Will you be one of those thousand buyers? Let us know in the Comments section.

[Via Engadget]

Topics: Hardware

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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