ASUS MARS II Review: GTX 580 SLI On One PCB

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Introduction and Specifications

Asus has never been a company to shy away from offering over-the-top, custom products that command a price premium. Here's proof. Perhaps it’s because the company is large enough, and thus, has the resources to cater to virtually all market segments, big or small. Or perhaps the top brass at Asus just likes inducing slack-jawed stares from PC enthusiasts. Whatever the reason, we hope they keep it up because testing this kind of stuff and showing it to you all is freakin’ fun.

A case-in-point is the Asus MARS II graphics card, which packs a full GeForce GTX 580, dual-GPU SLI configuration onto a single PCB. A quick glance at this monolith should reveal to even the most casual PC users that the MARS II is no ordinary graphics card. Heck, there isn’t a single thing about the Asus MARS II, from its specs, to its sheer size, and its huge price tag, that can be considered mainstream. The MARS II is as over-the-top and as custom as they get and it’s also going to be a limited edition, with only 999 cards slated for production.

Luckily, one of those 999 cards (number 545 to be exact) found its way into the HH labs and we’re able to give you the full scoop on this beast. Specifications and a few pics are below; the full Monty is laid out on the pages ahead.


Yeah, that's a pair of 120mm fans and a triple-slot case bracket.

ASUS MARS II Single-Card GeForce GTX 580 SLI
Specifications & Features
Model MARS II/2DIS/3GD5
Graphics Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 x2
Bus Standard PCI Express 2.0
Video Memory 3GB GDDR5 
Engine Clock 782MHz
Memory Clock 4008MHz (1002MHz GDDR5)
Memory Interface 384-bit x2
D-sub Max. Resolution 2048 x 1536 
DVI Max. Resolution 2560 x 1600 
D-sub Output Yes x 1 (via DVI-to-D-sub adaptor) 
DVI Output Yes x 2 (Native dual link DVI x2) 
HDCP compliant Yes
HDMI Output Yes x 1 (Native HDMI 1.4)
Display Port Yes x 1 (Regular DisplayPort)
Adaptor/Cable Bundled 1x Limited Edition aluminum ID plate
2x 8-pin to 6-pin Power Cable
1x DVI-to-D-sub adaptor
1x Exclusive 12cm SLI bridge
Software Bundled ASUS utilities and drivers; GPU Tweak
Dimension 13 inch x 6.2 inch x2.5 inch(3slot)
Note To have the best cooling performance ASUS ROG MARS II extends the Fan sink to 3 slot, please check your motherboard slot space and Chassis Dimension before Purchasing

ASUS ROG Rampage III Extreme or Rampage III Extreme Black Edition Mainboard is recommended for best Synergy


    
Asus MARS II box and accessory bundle

Before we dive in, dissect the Asus MARS II and evaluate its performance, here’s a look at its packaging and accessory bundle. For the most part, it’s pretty standard fair.  Included with the card are a couple of 8-pin PCI Express power adapters, a DVI-to-VGA adapter (for the insane user who uses a $1500 graphics card with an analog display), a driver and utility CD (with Asus' excellent GPU Tweak tool), a RoG case badge, a speed-setup guide, and an extended length SLI bridge.

In addition to the aforementioned items though, Asus also throws in a couple of noteworthy goodies. First is an aluminum plate that’s individually laser-engraved and sequentially numbered to certify the card’s limited edition status. Second, there are a couple of spacers that Asus calls “PCIe Sustainers”. These spacers adhere to the bottom of the card and rest upon adjacent expansion slots to ensure the MARS II sits perfectly straight and upright in its slot. Why would you need spacers to help keep the card sitting upright? Because the thing weighs over 5lbs. Gigity.

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