Asus R.O.G Mars limited-edition graphics card
The mother of all graphics cards? It just might be...
- 1024-bit memory bandwidth, 4GB of GDDR3 memory, huge bragging rights
- Prohibitively expensive, significant overheating issues
The limited-edition Asus R.O.G MARS is essentially porn for hardcore PC enthusiasts. With the possible exception of AMD's ATI Radeon HD 5890, it's the fastest graphics card money can buy. If you can afford it -- and are wily enough to track one down -- the MARS will not disappoint.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
The Asus R.O.G MARS is a limited-edition graphics card for PC gamers with more money than sense (i.e. nearly all of them). But since when has PC gaming been about "sense"? Water cooling, LED lights, Perspex windows, hydraulic panels — all this stuff is overpriced and completely mental. Which is exactly how we like it. Even so, the Asus GTX 295 MARS is in an entirely new class of nuts. It’s blisteringly fast, ridiculously expensive and big. (Did we say big? We meant BIG!)
Billed as the world’s fastest graphics card, the Asus R.O.G MARS is a custom-designed, ultra-enthusiast board based loosely on the Nvidia GTX 295 chipset. However, it boasts completely different specifications to its forebear — including a 1024-bit memory bandwidth and a whopping four gigabytes of GDDR3 memory (spread across two GPUs). The board comprises two full GT200b chips with GTX 285 frequencies on a pair of mirrored Printed Circuit Boards that are linked via SLI. In other words, it’s like having two GTX 285s on steroids.
The cores are clocked at 648Mhz — a modest boost of 72MHz over the GTX 295. More pertinent improvements include a faster shader clock (1.476GHz vs. 1.242GHz) and a boost in memory clock speed — 1.242GHz (2.484GHz effective), compared to 999MHz (1.998GHz effective) on the GTX 295.
Asus claims that the R.O.G MARS is 23 per cent faster than a generic GTX295, and we see little reason to doubt it. One thing’s for sure: this thing will eat almost anything AMD can dish out for breakfast. Its only serious rival is the AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970, which also boasts DirectX 11 support.
Here’s a look at those Asus R.O.G MARS’ specifications in full:
Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 x2
Transistors: 2 x 1,400
Shader ALUs: 2 x 240
Bus Standard: PCI Express 2.0
Video Memory: DDR3 4G
Engine Clock: 648 MHz
Shader Clock: 1476 MHz
Memory Clock: 2200 MHz ( 1100 MHz DDR3 )
Texture fillrate: 2 x 51,840MTex/s
Memory bandwith: 147,456MB
CRT Max Resolution: 2048 x 1536
DVI Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600
Texture fillrate: 2 x 51,840MTex/s
Memory bandwidth: 147,456MB
The first thing that stands out about the Asus R.O.G MARS is the sheer size of the bloody thing. It makes former heavyweight cards, such as the ASUS EAH4870X2, look like Fischer Price toys in comparison. Measuring a faintly ridiculous 275x115x48mm and requiring two eight-pin connectors to run, the Asus R.O.G MARS will be a tight fit for most PCs. This may make Quad-SLI setups next to impossible. Indeed, we couldn’t even fit one of these monsters inside our Antec Skeleton enclosure, let alone two. We consequently had to slide the motherboard out of its enclosure during testing. (As we said earlier, this card is nuts!)
The Asus R.O.G MARS has a suitably monolithic design to match its looming size. With its metallic grey colour scheme and assortment of fins and grills, it looks like a futuristic gun or sprawling sci-fi space ark. Needless to say, if you have a transparent PC chassis, this is the card to own!
Now, you’d think over-heating would be an issue for such a power-hungry card — and you’d be absolutely right. When under load, the MARS’ twin GPUs reached temperatures that came perilously close to triple digits (98 degrees Celsius, to be precise). By contrast, the AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970 peaked at 72 degrees. Needless to say, you’re going to need an additional cooling solution for this baby if you plan on extensive overclocking.
On to testing. We ran our benchmarks on a Vista 64-bit machine running an Intel Core i7 965, 6GB of DDR3 RAM and a Western Digital VelociRaptor (WD3000GLFS) hard drive, installed in an Antec Skeleton case. We then compared the results to other graphics cards we’ve reviewed in the same testbed. Unless otherwise stated, we have used the DirectX 10 version of games with maximum settings enabled. Here are the results:
|Model||Chipset||Memory||3DMark 06||3DMark Vantage||Crysis Warhead (fps)
||Far Cry 2 (fps)
||Lost Planet (fps)
||Call of Juarez (fps)
||Half Life 2:
Episode Two (DX9)
|ASUS R.O.G MARS||Nvidia GTX 285 x2||4GB||9076||P13988||32.17||60.56||34||43.1||128.54|
|AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970||ATI Radeon HD 5970||2GB||9968||P13988||41.37||92.70||83||96.8||138.71|
|Manli GTX295||NVIDIA GTX295||1GB||9688||P16245||38.9||74.25||N/A||74.3||129.87|
|ASUS ENGTX285||NVIDIA GTX285||1GB||9708||P13532||35.3||60.17||50.1||52.4||131.32|
|Manli Radeon HD 4890||ATI Radeon HD 4890||1GB||9896||P9379||34.72||49.38||46||57.4||140.11|
|ASUS EAH4870X2||ATI Radeon HD 4870X2||2GB||10360||P10486||32.64||N/A||27.8||66.8||137.27|
As you can see, the Asus R.O.G MARS is a pretty tough card to beat, with solid benchmark results across the board. The AMD ATI Radeon HD 5970 did manage to gain a slight edge in the majority of our tests, but if you’re in the Nvidia camp like a lot of gamers, this is the best card that money can buy.
The first batch of MARS graphics cards is limited to a run of 1000, each with its own serial number. Frankly, we think owning a MARS is enough reason to brag already!
Join the PC World newsletter!
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 5 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
- Intel's 8th-gen 'Coffee Lake' chips reuse 14nm process as other Core CPUs ease into new tech
- Intel researches tech to prepare for a future beyond today's PCs
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- TPLead Change Manager - ERPVIC
- FTIT Project Coordinator - Mascot/AlexandriaNSW
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Manufacturing and Trade & Logistics Modules)VIC
- TPIT Project Officer - TMRQLD
- FTHRIS ConsultantQLD
- FTDevops EngineerVIC
- CCIT Procurement OfficerNSW
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- FTSecurity Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- TPProject Support OfficerQLD
- TPSenior IT Business AnalystNSW
- TPTechnical Support Resource-Skype for BusinessVIC
- CCData ArchitectNSW
- CCIntegration DeveloperNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- TPEnvironment Specialist(DevOps)QLD
- CCIT Support TechnicianNSW
- FTData AnalystQLD
- TPBI & Report Developer (SQL Developer)QLD
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- CCProject / Portfolio SchedulerNSW
- FTERP ConsultantQLD
- FTFront-End DevOps Developer/Consultant - IT Services - SydneyNSW