Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

A slightly smaller MARS

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 was released in June of 2013.  Based on the same GK104 GPU as the GTX 680, GTX 670 and GTX 770, the GTX 760 disabled a couple more of the clusters of processor cores to offer up impressive performance levels for a lower cost than we had seen previously.  My review of the GTX 760 was very positive as NVIDIA had priced it aggressively against the competing products from AMD. 

As for ASUS, they have a storied history with the MARS brand.  Typically an over-built custom PCB with two of the highest end NVIDIA GPUs stapled together, the ASUS MARS cards have been limited edition products with a lot of cache around them.  The first MARS card was a dual GTX 285 product that was the first card to offer 4GB of memory (though 2GB per GPU of course).  The MARS II took a pair of GTX 580 GPUs and pasted them on a HUGE card and sold just 1000 of them worldwide.  It was heavy, expensive and fast; blazing fast.  But at a price of $1200+ it wasn't on the radar of most PC gamers.

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Interestingly, the MARS iteration for the GTX 680 never occurred and why that is the case is still a matter of debate.  Some point the finger at poor sales and ASUS while others think that NVIDIA restricted ASUS' engineers from being as creative as they needed to be.

Today's release of the ASUS ROG MARS 760 is a bit different - this is still a high end graphics card but it doesn't utilize the fastest single-GPU option on the market.  Instead ASUS has gone with a more reasonable design that combines a pair of GTX 760 GK104 GPUs on a single PCB with a PCI Express bridge chip between them.  The MARS 760 is significantly smaller and less power hungry than previous MARS cards but it is still able to pack a punch in the performance department as you'll soon see.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS ROG MARS 760 Dual GPU Graphics Card!!

Podcast #278 - PS4 Teardown and Storage Benchmarks, ASUS MARS 760, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2013 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: video, teardown, sshd, ps4 ssd, ps4, podcast, mars 760, mars, asus

PC Perspective Podcast #278 - 11/21/2013

Join us this week as we discuss our PS4 Teardown and Storage Benchmarks, ASUS MARS 760, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

 
Program length: 1:16:24
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  3. Closing/outro

 

ASUS Announces the Republic of Gamers Mars 760 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 20, 2013 - 10:52 AM |
Tagged: mars, asus, ROG MARS 760, gtx 760, dual gpu

Fremont, CA (November 19, 2013) - ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the MARS 760 graphics card featuring two GeForce GTX 760 graphics-processing units (GPUs) capable of delivering incredible gaming performance and ensuring ultra-smooth high-resolution gameplay. The MARS 760 even outpaces the GeForce GTX TITAN — with game performance that’s up to 39% faster overall. The MARS 760 is a two-slot card packed with exclusive ASUS technologies including DirectCU II for 20%-cooler and vastly quieter operation, DIGI+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) for ultra-stable power delivery and GPU Tweak, an easy-to-use utility that lets users safely overclock the two GTX 760 GPUs.

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Exclusive ASUS features provide cool, quiet, durable and stable performance ASUS exclusive DirectCU II technology puts 8 highly-conductive cooling copper heatpipes in direct contact with both GPUs. These heatpipes provide extremely efficient cooling, allowing the MARS 760 to run 20% cooler and vastly quieter than reference GeForce GTX 690 cards. Dual 90mm dust-proof fans help to provide six times (6X) greater airflow than reference design. And with 4GB of GDDR5 video memory, the ASUS ROG MARS 760 is capable of delivering visuals with incredibly high frame rates and no stutter, ensuring extremely smooth gameplay — even at WQHD resolutions. An attention-grabbing LED even illuminates as the MARS 760 is operating under load.

The MARS 760 is equipped with ROG’s acclaimed DIGI+ voltage-regulation module (VRM), featuring a 12-phase power design that reduces power noise by 30% and enhances efficiency by 15%. Custom sourced black metallic capacitors offer 20%-better temperature endurance for a lifespan that’s up to five times (5X) longer. The new card is built with extremely hardwearing polymerized organic-semiconductor capacitors (POSCAPs) and has an aluminum back-plate, further lowering power noise while increasing both durability and stability to unlock overclocking potential.

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The exclusive GPU Tweak tuning tool allows quick, simple and safe control over clock speeds, voltages, cooling-fan speeds and power-consumption thresholds; GPU Tweak lets users push the two GTX 760 GPUs even further. The ROG edition of GPU Tweak included with the MARS 760 also enables detailed GPU load-line calibration and VRM-frequency tuning, allowing for the most extensive control and tweaking parameters in order to maximize overclocking potential — all adjusted via an attractive and easy-to-use graphical interface.

The GPU Tweak Streaming feature, the newest addition to the GPU Tweak tool, lets users share on-screen action over the internet in real time so others can watch live as games are played. It’s even possible to add a title to the streaming window along with scrolling text, pictures and webcam images.

SPECIFICATIONS:

MARS760-4GD5

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 SLI
  • PCI Express 3.0
  • 4096MB GDDR5 memory (2GB per GPU)
  • 1008MHz (1072MHz boosted) core speed
  • 6004 MHz (1501 MHz GDDR5) memory clock
  • 512-bit memory interface
  • 2560 x 1600 maximum DVI resolution
  • 2 x dual-link DVI-I output
  • 1 x dual-link DVI-D output
  • 1 x Mini DisplayPort output
  • HDMI output (via dongle)

Source: ASUS

Mars Curiosity Rover Celebrating One Year On Mars Next Week

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2013 - 02:54 AM |
Tagged: space, mars rover, mars, exploration, curiosity

NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on Mars nearly a year ago, and will be celebrating its anniversary on August 6th, 2013. The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be celebrating the event with a television broadcast next week where the team will be sharing memories of the dramatic sky crane landing.

During its year on Mars, the Curiosity rover has traveled 1.6 kilometers and send back more than 190 Gigabits (approximately 24 Gigabytes) of data. Included in the data sent back from Mars is analysis of two rocks, 36,700 full-resolution images and 35,000 thumbnail-sized images. The laser used for analyzing the Martian environment has been fired almost 75,000 times, in fact.

NASA JPL Mars Curiosity Rover.jpg

Curiosity has traveled 1.6 kilometers across the surface of Mars.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated in a recent press release:

"Successes of our Curiosity -- that dramatic touchdown a year ago and the science findings since then -- advance us toward further exploration, including sending humans to an asteroid and Mars. Wheel tracks now, will lead to boot prints later." (emphasis mine).

Two live events will be held on August 6th to celebrate Curiosity’s anniversary. The first will be broadcast on NASA TV as well as the NASA website from NASA JPL in California. This event will run from 10:45am to 12:00pm EDT. The second event will be held at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC and will run from 12:00pm to 1:30pm EDT. At this event, NASA officials will be discussing the possibilities of human missions to Mars in the future.

Presently, Curiosity is on its way to the base of Mount Sharp where it will analyze the lower rock layers of a three mile high mountain rising from the floor of the crater.

Those interested in the celebratory broadcasts can find more information over at nasa.gov/ntv. I’m excited by the findings and potential of the Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) rover mission.

Read more about the Mars Curiosity Rover.

Source: NASA

AMD wants to set the record straight on its future GPU strategy

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2013 - 10:50 AM |
Tagged: southern islands, Solar System, Sea Islands, radeon, oland, mars, holycrapiamtotallyconfused, amd

Remember that story we posted last week and then discussed on the podcast about AMD not releasing any new GPUs in 2013?  Today we had a call with AMD that attempted to answer some questions, clear up some confusion and give us some insight to the company's direction.  I say 'attempted' because after a 53 minute discussion, we have some answers, but we also have some interesting questions that remain.

First, some definitions.  If you have heard about code names like "Solar System" and "Sea Islands" you might not know what they refer to.  Sea Islands is a new line that will fall into the 8000-series of products and will be a refresh, slightly different architecture based heavily on the Southern Islands parts you've come to love in the Radeon HD 7000 parts.  Solar System is the name AMD has given to the sub-category of Sea Islands directly related to mobile products, the 8000M. 

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The slide that started this confusion - and our questions.

What might make things even more confusing is that there are some 8000-series parts that are already shipping in OEM desktops and notebooks that use verbatim HD 7000 GPU specs.  So what you have is a combination series with Radeon HD 8000 that is made up of some rebrands and at least a couple of "new" chips thus far.  Those two new GPUs, Mars and Oland (Radeon HD 8650 and HD 8670) depending on the mobile or desktop target, are already out and you can find them if you look hard.  They are NOT available in the channel or for DIY PC users. 

Our readers might be disappointed to learn that Sea Islands is heavily focused on the notebook and mobile markets though AMD did indicate that there some good things coming for the channel users in the future in 2013. 

We also learned that the HD 7900-series will remain the company's high end parts through the end of 2013 but AMD said that there are new SKUs set to be released in this series sometime this year as well.  Will that be the elusive HD 7990 dual-GPU product or maybe just something in the mainstream 7800 segments?  They wouldn't tell us but we are definitely hoping for higher performance parts.  You might also expect to see these new 7000-series parts to use Sea Islands silicon...

7970.jpg

The Radeon HD 7970 looks like it will stay a focus for AMD throughout 2013.

Many readers might be wondering why AMD is breaking its standard cadence of near-yearly GPU releases.  The answer came from AMD's Roy Taylor, VP of Channel Sales, who said that "7000 series parts are continuing to ramp UP, sales are increasing" so it is premature for AMD, as a company intending to make money, to introduce a new series or architecture. 

In fact Roy was very emphatic about relieving us of potential ambiguity. 

We have products, we have a road map.  We are not announcing them now because we want to reposition the ones we have now.  We are not sitting still, we do not lack resources, we do not lack imagination.

So what can you expect for the future?  Sea Islands chips will continue to be released and eventually in the desktop, channel market and some of them will be branded as 7000-series parts and some of them will be branded as 8000-series parts.  They wouldn't give us information on whether or not you'll see BIGGER chips (which we would assume would be faster) than the current HD 7900 cards or if they would all be in the mainstream segment. 

crysis1.jpg

AMD thinks its partnerships with key games like Crysis 3 will help keep momentum in 2013.

The residual message from this call was that AMD wants everyone to know that they have the best products on the market today and to maintain that momentum, AMD will enhance drivers, establish big partnerships with gaming companies and developers and release SOME new GPUs. 

AMD was cagey again when asked about the possibility of a new architecture by the end of 2013 but based on the reactions of AMD reps I tend to believe we will see it, though probably very very close to the end of that time.  (Update: AMD did in fact say that an entire new product stack would be releaed by the end of 2013.)

That all clear now?

Curiosity Has Landed: First Photos from Mars

Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2012 - 10:47 PM |
Tagged: space, rover, photos, nasa, mars rover, mars, curiosity

NASA’s latest rover, named Curiosity has successfully landed on Mars a few minutes ago. The NASA team members were understandably ecstatic and gleeful as their hard work paid off. The first fruits of their labor arrived in the form of images from Mars.

Mars Curiosity Rover.jpg

An artist's depiction of the Curiosity rover on Mars

Using a rocket-powered skycrane, the one-ton rover was lowered onto the Martian surface to begin its two year mission collecting data for research into everything from water on Mars to the planets past life forms.

stream_screenshot_1.jpg

The NASA employees in the control room celebrate a successful landing.

Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program for NASA’s Washington Headquarters stated in a recent press release:

 “Curiosity is a bold step forward in learning about our neighboring planet, but this mission does not stand alone. It is part of a sustained, coordinated program of Mars exploration. This mission transitions the program's science emphasis from the planet's water history to its potential for past or present life."

It is an exciting time for NASA, and I’m interested to see what comes out of the Curiosity-aided research! The first images from Mars started arriving soon after the Curiosity rover landed, and more should be coming soon. You can find a collection of images from the Curiosity landing on the NASA website.

Photos From Mars.png

One of the first images from Mars

PS While the Xbox 360 gamers got a Mars rover landing game for Kinect, PC users can now play around with their own skycrane-delivered rovers in Kerbal Space Program.

UPDATE: Several low resolution images have been posted to the NASA site and can be seen below. Higher resolution images should become available later.

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RLA_397502188EDR_T0010000AUT_04096M_.JPG
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Images courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: NASA

Podcast #168 - ASUS MARS II, Coolermaster CM Storm Headphones, News of the Week, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2011 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, mars ii, mars, GTX580, coolermaster, CM Storm, asus, 580

PC Perspective Podcast #168 - 9/01/2011

This week we talk about the ASUS MARS II, Coolermaster CM Storm Headphones, News of the Week, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano and Scott Michaud

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:08:21

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:38 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:34 CM Storm Sirus Headphones Review
  6. 0:10:32 ASUS MARS II Dual GTX 580 3GB Graphics Card Review
  7. 0:19:35 UPDATE: Where Have All the 6970s Gone?
  8. 0:22:22 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:24:20 Windows 8 Will Support Mounting ISO and VHD Files Natively
  10. 0:27:10 GLOBALFOUNDRIES 20nm tape out
  11. 0:32:22 New Firmware Offers Performance Boost To Crucial M4 SSDs
  12. 0:46:35 Cedar Trail preview, can it keep Intel's netbook lineup alive?
  13. 0:52:35 Mod a dial that goes to 11 onto your AMD graphics card
  14. 0:55:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Don't buy the Samsung Verizon 4G LTE portable router!
    2. Jeremy: Gigabyte's new pranking tool
    3. Josh: Far Cry and Far Cry 2 on Steam... CHEAP
    4. Allyn: OpenDNS
    5. Scott: 2nd production run of HP Touchpads
  15. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  16. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  17. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  18. 1:06:50 Closing

Source:
Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Is a GTX 590 just not enough for you?

A Legacy of Unique Engineering

ASUS has often been one of only a handful of companies that really pushes the limits of technology on their custom designed products including graphics cards, sound cards, notebooks, motherboards and more.  Just a little over a year ago I wrote a review of the ASUS ARES Dual Radeon HD 5870 graphics card - the first of its kind and it was labeled the "Ultimate Graphics Card" at the time.  Life on the top of mountain doesn't last that long in the world of the GPU though and time (and the GTX 590 and HD 6990) left the Greek god of war in the rearview mirror.

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This time around we have a successor to the MARS - the NVIDIA version that combines two top-level GPUs on a single PCB.  The new ASUS MARS II we are reviewing today is a pair of binned GTX 580 GPUs paired together for full-time SLI and built with a limited edition run of 999 units.  In many ways the MARS II and the ARES share a lot of traits: custom designed cooling and PCB, a unique aesthetic design, limited edition status and significant physical weight as well.  Of course, the price tag is also pretty high and if you aren't comfortable reading about a $1300 graphics card you might as well turn around now...  For those that dare though, you can be sure that the MARS II will have you dreaming about PC gaming power for years to come!

Continue reading our review of the ASUS MARS II Dual GTX 50 3GB!!!

New GTX 580 Graphics Options Add to ASUS ROG Lineup

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2011 - 11:41 PM |
Tagged: computex, asus, GTX 580, mars, matrix, ROG

While also announcing a set of new motherboard at Computex 2011, ASUS was also showcasing two new graphics cards in the Republic of Gamers line based on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580 GPU. The MATRIX GTX580 and MARS II cards will offer a unique take on performance and engineering that haven’t been seen in the enthusiast graphics markets before.

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The MATRIX GTX580 will offer support for TweakIt, ProbeIt and SafeMode overclocking capabilities at the hardware level while the GPU Tweak software will allow the user to adjust setting and monitor the card in the OS. The card is built with a 19-phase construction (!!) which should offer very impressive power efficiency as well as stability during overclocking. The cooler on the MATRIX card also promises to be 20% improved on the NVIDIA reference design.

The MARS II goes a step further by including a PAIR of GTX 580 GPUs on a single PCB offering what will likely be the fastest graphics card on the planet. The same hardware features like TweakIt and ProbeIt as well as the GPU Tweak software and the 19-phase power construction.

matrixcard.jpg

It looks like if you want the fastest graphics solutions available ASUS will have you covered with either the MATRIX GTX580 or the MARS II, depending on your wallet capacity.
 

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: ASUS