ASUS Ares II Crossfire X review: the most extreme graphics card times two

Two overclocked Radeon HD 7970s on a single card

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Ares II card

It's certainly a big graphics card when you hold it in your hands. ASUS seems to have realized that it would be very difficult to air cool two overclocked Radeon HD 7970s, so they equipped the Ares II with an Asetek water cooling system. Each GPU has a water block connected to a 120mm radiator. The card itself has an 80mm fan for cooling the memory chips and other components. The cooler is constructed in aluminium and looks really great.

ASUS ARES2-6GD5

ASUS ARES2-6GD5

When you take apart the card you'll see that it contains two Tahiti GPUs, the same one used in the Radeon HD 7970 and 7950. The GPUs have been overclocked to 1050 MHz with a Turbo of 1100 MHz. Both GPUs have 3 GB GDDR5 of video memory for a total of 6 GB. The memory has been sped up to 1650 MHz. 

ASUS ARES2-6GD5

ASUS ARES2-6GD5

In the middle of the card there's a PLX PCI-Express 3.0 switch chip that enables both GPUs to communicate via the single PCI-Express x16 connection.

ASUS ARES2-6GD5

A single Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition has a TDP of 250 watts. ASUS hasn't released an official TDP for the Ares II, but since it's overclocked it has to be more than 500 watts. To power it there are three 8-pin PEG connectors, and you can see that the PCB is designed with room for a fourth one. A 20-phase power supply powers the GPUs and the memory chips, and ASUS claims the highest quality capacitors and spools were used. You obviously need a power supply with some capacity to power this beast called Ares II.

ASUS ARES2-6GD5

The ARES II card has two DVI and four DisplayPort connectors, enabling six monitors to be connected. The card is definitely powerful enough to handle that many screens. On the top there's a Crossfire connector, for combining two Ares II cards, and that is exactly what we did.


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