Asus "Ares" Dual-5870 Video Card Declares War, Takes No Prisoners

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News Posted: Sun, Apr 11 2010 3:09 PM

Mobo To The Max: Asus Launches Its Rampage III ExtremeAMD's Radeon 5970 dual-GPU video card is the fastest consumer graphics card available, but Asus is cooking up a customized monster that steps things up a notch. Codenamed Ares, this 'true' dual-5870 solution is point to leave everything else on the market in the dust.

AMD's current 5970 GPU carries the same number of stream processors and memory as a standard 5870 but runs its core and memory 15 percent and 20 percent slower. The Ares scoffs at such limitations; Asus has combined two 5870's back-to-back, kept them running at full speed, and slapped the whole shebang into a single PCI-Express slot.


A Pair of Radeon HD 5870 GPUs Full-Bore On One PCB

The resulting card is something of a monstrosity. At 2.5 slots thick, Ares is geared for war (pardon the pun) and easily surpasses the benchmark scores of mere standard 5970s. We were able to run 3DMark Vantage at both its "Performance" and "High" detail settings. Asus' didn't have a high-resolution monitor on the demo machine so we couldn't test the program's "Extreme" mode, but the performance and scaling we saw in the lower modes bodes well for the upper ones.

Asus isn't sure if they'll bring Ares to the US, but the company reps we talked to implied that yields were fairly good (keeping in mind that this is a top-margin part). We brought up the issue of power--the current 5970s are listed with a maximum board power of 294W and this card sports a third auxiliary power connection, which implies it's already leaning pretty heavily on the power supply. According to Asus, AMD's maximum board power supply numbers are a bit conservative; the current set of 5970s coming off the fabs are hitting around 260W at maximum power draw while the Ares is sitting just under the 300W mark.

We'd love to see Ares in the channel, but if it does become available we'd caution against using it in anything but a top-end board with a very good PSU. This is precisely the sort of situation where 'invisible' differences in board construction can come into play and top-end features and/or additional validation can suddenly become important.

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 7:47 PM

Well this is interesting. I'd like to see how it'll compare up to the 5970 though.

 

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Inspector replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 8:05 PM

That image looks confusing :). Where does the card begin and end? it looks fat :P.

 

the 5970 in extreme test is here so maybe you can make a comparison Taylor :) (The graph above is on high only)
http://hothardware.com/Articles/ATI-Radeon-HD-5970-DualGPU-Powerhouse/?page=4

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la_guy_10 replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 8:51 PM

Wish we could see some game benchmarks. I was surprised to learn just how little overclocking a video card makes in FPS. CPU is a another story overclocking does yield a tangible benefit. No doubt this card will be stable again as Asus uses solid components throughout. If there one card that I would bank on this would be the one. When I say tangible benefits I mean 15-20 FPS increase hopefully some results will appear and we see what this brings to the table.

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sp12 replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 9:13 PM

I appreciate the article title :)

3 power connectors.... imagine crossfiring that.

Notice how well it matches the motherboard colour-scheme, very elegant design.

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ceetoot replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 10:54 PM

Wow, most impressive. Do want!

Lou

 

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I wonder if putting two ATI cards together will cause video shuttering like it does on some of the older Geforce models. This is why I always avoided the "GX2's" But this looks really promising based on the results that I'm seeing.

Of course I'd have to wait for a full on test through HH before I can really begin breaking down my opinion of it. It's interesting to see that this card should only be used for high grade machines. While this does single some people out, I suppose it's for the better considering what this card has been designed for.

Aesthetically, the card looks really good. I agree with sp12 in that the card case matches with the mobo. Underneath the case I see some heat pipes, good, I was wondering where they were. It's interesting that the 5970 takes up 2 slots, while this one takes up 2.5, I suppose it's the extra layers of fans, casing, and heatsinks that really add up. I'm sure that one 5970 by Asus does the same thing in terms of space consumption.

Even if this doesn't come to the states, which it probably will eventually, buyers will definitely be making over seas purchases.

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Joel H replied on Sun, Apr 11 2010 11:38 PM

The question of whether a system is CPU or GPU bound as far as *single* GPUs are concerned is a simple question of detail settings. Generally speaking, it's not hard to hit a point where GPU scaling is a limiting factor. If a game runs just fine at 1900x1200, you can crank up AA. If you've got 8xMSAA running you can opt to use a program like nHancer and switch to supersampling, activate high quality texture filtering, force 16x anisotropic filtering, etc, etc.

Once we start talking multiple GPUs we're also discussing factors like Crossfire/SLI performance optimization and the ability of the game to scale well across multiple GPUs to begin with. Given the influx of new features like DX11, most games have a fair likelihood of being GPU-bound--you have to give a modern high-end CPU a *lot* of GPU horsepower before overclocking starts to make a major difference.

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 2:05 AM

I read about this a while back and I love what Asus is doing. They also mentioned that they wanted to go with their own design for the regular 5870 cards. When they release, it should replace their current 5870s and it will cost the same price. The PCB layout should be better as well as cooling.

 

I see that this is on the Asus Rampage III Extreme. Can't wait until both these products come out so I can read some reviews and see some benchmarks.

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I agree with RyuGTX,

I have been thinking about the Rampage III.

Last readen I owned was the HD4850. That thing suited any gaming need pretty well and it did HD video with little hiccups.

These cards are great, I just wonder if they will double the price.

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realneil replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 11:33 AM

The latest BEAST is here. Long live the BEAST!

I should be able to afford one in about two and a half years,.....

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 6:57 PM

@ animatortom

I don't think they will be anywhere near double the price. I would guess that this version will be no more than $100 over the current stock 5970 cards. If it was then I would just buy a 5970 and slap on a water block that would cost roughly the same (not considering the rest of the water loop) and give me better temperatures.

 

@realneil

It will be hard to find in about 2 and a half years. Wink As of right now, I don't see too many 4870 X2 cards.

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sp12 replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 7:20 PM

Not necessarily, this has additional voltage regulators, additional Vram, and is likely a cherry picked cypress core to be able to handle the clocks while keeping the voltage in check.

Not only that, but 5970s basically run with dual 5850s, this has dual 5870s.

 

I'm willing to bet it starts at at least 150+ over a 5970.

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Cheezit replied on Mon, Apr 12 2010 9:57 PM

I was looking at the picture at work on my blackberry but now that I see it on my pc I dont know if I want the 5970 or this monster. Looking forward to reviews vs 5970.

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barmmer replied on Tue, Apr 13 2010 1:04 AM

The 5870 is good and a dual option is even better but a 5970 is the official BEAST. Now, the real name of the game is video game compatability otherwise known as performance. What good is a card no one is developing for or a card that supports Dx 9/10/11 but can't crank the necessary framerates? It's all about timing. Before you jump into bed with these promising prospects factor in what games you'll actually be able to play using them.

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RyuGTX replied on Tue, Apr 13 2010 3:53 AM

sp12:

Not necessarily, this has additional voltage regulators, additional Vram, and is likely a cherry picked cypress core to be able to handle the clocks while keeping the voltage in check.

Not only that, but 5970s basically run with dual 5850s, this has dual 5870s.

 

I'm willing to bet it starts at at least 150+ over a 5970.

 

Well besides that, they got the same number of stream processors. I think the main reason the 5970 runs with two 5850s is the lowered clocks on the 5970. The 5870 and 5850 are pretty close as I have seen some overclocks of the 5850 almost matching the 5870.

They probably will price it that high just because this is a premium part but I think it is kind of stupid because that much memory will only start helping on stuff like the Eyefinity 6. If this isn't an Eyefinity 6 edition, I might as well just get two of Asus's new and updated 5870. This card is not stock by any means and it doesn't cost that much more than the vanilla stuff.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121374&cm_re=asus_5870-_-14-121-374-_-Product

Taken from another forum:

ASUS HD 5870 1GB "V2"

While the Matrix may be something only attainable by people with deep pockets, ASUS has something up their sleeves for the rest of us too. What they will do is essentially phase out ATI’s reference design and replaces it with one of their own…at the same price point. So within the next few months, ASUS will have a standard HD 5870 card that distinguishes itself from those offered by the competition while not asking for a price premium. The pictures are below and it looks pretty good to us.

Even though we don’t have all of the details just yet, we can tell you this “new” card will feature a custom PCB and cooling design but its clock speeds and memory allotment will remain the same as standard HD 5870 cards. The backplate is also changed to offer additional airflow. For your information, here is what the SKU change will look like:

Old: EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5

New: EAH5870/2DIS/1GD5/V2

 

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sp12 replied on Tue, Apr 13 2010 5:10 PM

Not necessarily, Metro and Crysis show slight improvements from the additional Vram, and newer games can only go up, also, as a single slot card, this should have lower overall power consumption and heat output than two 5870s.

And the 5970 runs with the lowered clocks so as to keep voltage in check. The 5850 loses clock for clock compared to the 5870, so you have to clock it higher than a stock 5870 to beat it.

Though really I can't justify however much they're spending on it as a mainstream card 2/3 years from now will match its performance using half the power. I'd rather buy a 5850 or so now, and have the money to upgrade again in a few years.

 

 

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Inspector replied on Tue, Apr 13 2010 5:30 PM

I would do as sp12 says :D. Cause each and every year (Even months) there are new hardware coming out with more advance specs, you can't expect to afford all of them to use so its good to go with a just right one for you needs and don't go overboard and in a few years change it and keep doing that so you will always be able to upgrade.

Cheezit , I wonder if HH will be able to get it first. Wink But they have their ways and connections Wink lol

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Inspector replied on Tue, Apr 13 2010 5:30 PM

I would do as sp12 says :D. Cause each and every year (Even months) there are new hardware coming out with more advance specs, you can't expect to afford all of them to use so its good to go with a just right one for you needs and don't go overboard and in a few years change it and keep doing that so you will always be able to upgrade.

Cheezit , I wonder if HH will be able to get it first. Wink But they have their ways and connections Wink lol

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This card I am sure will be more than enough for any game that comes down the pike for the next to years. It is open enough that it seems with enough case cooling, heat should not be much of an issue.
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RyuGTX replied on Wed, Apr 14 2010 12:52 AM

sp12:

Not necessarily, Metro and Crysis show slight improvements from the additional Vram, and newer games can only go up, also, as a single slot cad, this should have lower overall power consumption and heat output than two 5870s.

And the 5970 runs with the lowered clocks so as to keep voltage in check. The 5850 loses clock for clock compared to the 5870, so you have to clock it higher than a stock 5870 to beat it.

Though really I can't justify however much they're spending on it as a mainstream card 2/3 years from now will match its performance using half the power. I'd rather by a 5850 or so now, then have the money to upgrade again in a few years.

 

 

 

When you say additional Vram, what are we talking about here? Going from 1GB to 2GB? Would it scale linearly when going to something as large as 4GB on a single card?

 

I yes, that is what I was thinking of. Overclocking something like the Sapphire 5850 Toxic edition to perform as close to a 5870 as possible. I didn't look elsewhere, but I saw one review from Anandtech where they overclocked the card and it matched the 5870 in Crysis Warhead and barely squeked past in Battlefore and Dawn of War 2. Not sure how it did in the the hands of other reviewers.

 

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sp12 replied on Wed, Apr 14 2010 9:27 PM

Additional vram is just that, more memory, in this case, going from 1 to 2 GB.


And although this card comes with 4GB total, each cypress core only gets 2GB, so it *should* scale as well, but the advantage is only ~1% except in a few select games or at eyefinity resolutions.


Another issue is that you can overclock a 5850 to get close to a 5870, but the 5870s will overclock higher anyhow, so it's sort of a moot point. Not that overclocking by itself isn't an excellent way to increase the value in a purchase.

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RyuGTX replied on Thu, Apr 15 2010 3:50 PM

sp12:

Additional vram is just that, more memory, in this case, going from 1 to 2 GB.


And although this card comes with 4GB total, each cypress core only gets 2GB, so it *should* scale as well, but the advantage is only ~1% except in a few select games or at eyefinity resolutions.


Another issue is that you can overclock a 5850 to get close to a 5870, but the 5870s will overclock higher anyhow, so it's sort of a moot point. Not that overclocking by itself isn't an excellent way to increase the value in a purchase.

 

That is what I was planning on doing. Overclock the 5850 to increase its value. But after seeing how much the 5850s with aftermarket heatsinks/fans costs (like the Sapphire ones), it doesn't seem worth it anymore. Just a little bit more and you get a 5870.

 

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