ASUS RoG Mars II: Really that limited?

Posted: August 30, 2011 in PC
Tags: , , , , , ,

Republic of Gamers. No, that’s not the name of a new gamer-only country that appeared on the map. It’s the well-known brand from ASUSTeK (aka ASUS) designed for gamers and overclockers alike.

ASUS gaming brand

From cutting-edge motherboards, highly optimized graphics cards and laptops, this has been one of the favorite brands for enthusiast/extreme builders.

A new product has been released from this department. The successor of the original MARS card (dual GTX 285 on a single card), the MARS II.

Yes, it's HUGE

This is (so far) THE fastest single card in the world (NOTE: when it’s referred as “single” card, it means it’s just one card. It doesn’t matter how many GPUs are under the heatsink) featuring 2 FULLY functional GTX 580 GPUs on internal SLI (thanks to an nForce 200 chip installed on it).

Yes. It’s like buying a pair of GTX 580 and putting them on SLI on your rig, true. But, as I said before, it’s a single card solution, similar to the GTX 590, the GTX 460 2win, the HD 6990 (which is similar “in bios terms” to the MARS II since you can just move the BIOS switch and unlock the full potential on both HD 6970 GPUs).

Most of people dreams of a multi-GPU system, but:

  • A) You’re budget limited and your motherboard ends up with a single PCI-E 16x slot, or
  • B) You’re budget limited, but in this case you got that SLI motherboard, but you can’t afford that 2nd card, or
  • C) You buy your first card, and then you give up on the project, since you think that one card is more than enough.

Case scenario A and C are the most common things that happen during a project like this (almost happened to me while I was trying to squeeze my PC project budget). B is a double-sided dilemma, since you could just wait a few months, collect enough money to buy your next card and install it, but while you collect the money, you could decide that “why do I need more horsepower? This is more than enough!”, and that’s where scenario C comes into play.

Single card solutions aren’t THAT bad, since you’re getting 2 cards on the same PCB for a slightly lower price compared to getting two cards. Of course, they will be slightly nerfed compared to a REAL dual card system working at their full potential.

True, there aren’t many multi-GPU cards out there, and even less mid tier multi-GPU single PCB cards, taking aside the GTX 460 2Win, which is in fact, a mid-tier SLI card. Only enthusiast or probably crazy overclockers would go for these cards just to get crazy world record marks.

Back to the topic, as I mentioned early, this is THE fastest card in the world. And since you’re using 2 GTX 580 on the same PCB, you’ll need not 2 8-pin PCI-E connectors, but THREE. Also, the box says that you must use a 1000w+ PSU (obviously it should be 80PLUS Silver or even Gold) to run this card. ASUS also recommends to use this card with their RoG Maximus III/IV motherboards, for current delivery and stability, and reliability on the PCI-E slot bandwith.

So, what’s the catch on this card? Not the price, I can tell you that. Haven’t seen websites selling this card, but it’s supposed to cost ~ $1300. Yeah.

What’s the catch then? Limited edition. Most of these brand cards (MARS or ARES) from ASUS tend to be extremely limited.

In the case of the MARS II, we’re talking about 999 units.

True, just for that price, I’d reconsider getting a pair of those for a powerful 4-way SLI system (yes, you CAN pair a second card for even more horsepower, similar to the HD 6990 or the GTX 590), but then again, the price… Is not that budget friendly…

Also, in real terms, there are less than 999 units on sale, since the ones used on reviews sites are actually part of the limited stock.

If you ask me, it’s a bad move from ASUS. True, review sites have the right to get the retail thing for testing, but being honest, unless they paid for the card, it’s taking one card away from a possible customer.

Anyways, one heck of a card. I’ve only seen a few reviews about it, and results are off the charts, beating the GTX 590 and the HD 6990.

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