Back in April, we first gave you a glimpse of the extreme Asus ARES dual-Radeon HD 5870 GPU powered graphics card, complete with some preliminary benchmarks. At the time, the specifications weren't quite finalized and there was little word about availability in the U.S., but the card's impressive configuration immediately piqued our interest. The ARES was, after all, a "true dual-Radeon HD 5870" CrossFire setup on a single PCB. The Radeon HD 5970 was / is the fastest single graphics card on the market, and the Asus ARES would clearly offer more performance due to its increased number of stream processor cores and potentially higher clocks.
Over the long holiday weekend, we received word that Asus had decided to introduce the ARES in the U.S. market. And much to our satisfaction one of the cards was en route to the HotHardware labs. We have only had a short time with the card, but it is exactly the type of product we know the hardest of the hardcore among you are dying to check out. So, we immediately ripped the box open and plugged it into one of our test rigs to see just what it could do. Here's a hint--this baby is freakin' Fast, with a capital F.
Above are the final specifications for the Asus ARES. As you can see, not only does the card employ dual, fully functional Radeon HD 5870 GPUs with the full complement of 1600 stream processors running at 850MHz, but each of the GPUs is paired to 2GB of GDDR5 memory, clocked at 1200MHz (4800MHz effective), for a grand total of 4GB. This card is obviously geared to the ultra enthusiast, with a high-res monitor (think 30" LCD) or a multi-monitor Eyefinity setup.
(click for larger view)
To further enhance the extreme image of the ARES, Asus ships the card is an absolutely gigantic box, that's more than triple the size of their typical graphics card packaging. And inside the box is a locking, metal briefcase that protects the actual card and all of its included accessories. Wait until you see this thing...