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ASUS MARS II 3GB Dual GTX 580 Video Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Aug 18, 2011 3:56 pm
TweakTown Rating: 99%Manufacturer: ASUS

The Card




This card is HOT! Pictures just don't do it justice and to be honest, there's so much more to the look of the card than just the front here. The triple slot size and extra height combined with the heavy weight and the massive 120mm fans that are present; it just looks and feels fantastic. In fact, it's scary just how good it looks.




It's not just the look of the card, though, it's the quality as well. It feels like it's built just so well and you can see how it's bolted together. Honestly, you feel so mesmerized by it when it's in your hands. It's probably the best looking video card I've ever seen.




Moving away from the overall look of the card and just taking the time to have a closer look around the card, you can see at the back we've got a total of three 8-Pin PCIe power connectors. That's a lot of power connectors and gives us the indication that the card will draw quite the power. I'd like to think if you're spending this kind of money, though, you've bought yourself something like a Corsair AX1200.


Along with the power connectors, you can see we've got a little red switch. We first saw this in the GTX 580 MATRIX. At the press of a button you can increase the fan speed up to 100%. It's a cool little feature for people who are overclocking, especially if you're using an open case or maybe a testbed.




Closer to the front of the card we've got just a single SLI connector. No surprise there as we're only able to get a maximum of four GPUs up and running for SLI. Considering the card has two GTX 580 cores on board, the single SLI connector is exactly what we'd expect.




In the I/O side of things we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a DisplayPort and HDMI connector. Being a dual GPU card means that we're able to run three monitors off the single card and make use of Surround Vision, which is also one of the more appealing options of the GTX 590 compared to its single GPU counterparts. Here, though, we also get a really good view of just how big the card is.





The big "thing" about the MARS II is of course the fact it's a dual GPU card, but not an "official" NVIDIA one like the GTX 590. The MARS II uses two GTX 580 cores that run at GTX 580 speeds. Well, they actually run slightly above GTX 580 speeds with the core clock on each core coming in at 782MHz. This is actually 10MHz up on the standard GTX 580. This also means that the Shader is slightly up at 1564MHz.




As for the memory, we're dealing with essentially a "3GB" card, but it's of course two lots of 1536MB because of the way it works. As for clocks, though, it comes in at 4008MHz QDR which is the same speed we see on the GTX 580. From the looks of it, this is what everyone thought the GTX 590 would be. While we don't have that card on hand anymore, let's just cover a comparison of them on the specifications front.


Between the GTX 590 and the MARS II, there are a lot of similarities. Both cards offer 512 x2 CUDA cores, 384-bit x2 Memory Bus and 3GB of GDDR5. What lets the GTX 590 down, though, was the fact the core clock on both cores was only 607MHz and the memory came in at 3414MHz QDR. Both numbers are significantly lower than what the MARS II offers us. While you could throw the "overclocking" argument in to the mix, the GTX 590 simply wasn't a good overclocker and that's what separates the GTX 590 and the MARS II.

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