Asus Ares - The Card That Costs a Lakh!

Let’s get this straight right off the bat: The Asus Ares costs Rs 1, 00,000. That’s one lakh rupees for a graphics card. Now that that’s crystal clear, we can get on with our evaluation.

Asus claims that the Ares is the fastest graphics card on the planet, by virtue of its custom design and dual ATI Radeon 5870 graphics processors. Many manufacturers have released limited-edition graphics cards and motherboards at ever-higher price points over the years, primarily to grab media attention, when in reality no one would really ever be able to buy and use them. These products make a select few overclockers and enthusiasts happy, and also help the companies secure titles such as “world’s fastest” which they can brag about. This card is no exception—it isn’t officially a limited edition but it’s highly unlikely that anyone will keep huge stocks of these on hand anticipating a flood of buyers. Quite understandably then, we start out with a little bit of prejudice—the knowledge that this graphics card, which alone costs nearly three times the amount a decent laptop would, will almost certainly be overthrown from its claimed top spot in less than six months.

Like all high-end graphics cards, you pay a certain premium for exclusivity. Once that wears of, you still have a superb card to play games with; it just isn’t the “best”, “fastest”, or “most extreme” anymore. If you can make peace with the fact that there will most likely be something just as powerful at a much lower price, which consumes less power and makes less noise, consider yourself a candidate to buy this card. Oh, and don’t even think about it if you’re running a 30-inch monitor or a couple of 24-inchers. You’ll just waste its potential with anything less.

The premium
So what exactly is it that sets this card apart? First of all, it arrives in an imposing black metal-rimmed briefcase, somewhat reminiscent of the kind government agents in movies are seen with. It’s an impressive touch, but opening it reveals tacky foam stuffing with needlessly colourful cardboard stuck on in the upper half, and cut-outs for the card and its accessories in the lower half. Along with the usual dongles and manuals, you also get an Asus ROG GX8000 gaming mouse which features a 3200 dpi resolution and 7 programmable keys. Surprisingly, there are no bundled games. This is a pretty big missed opportunity to tempt buyers and show off the card’s potential.

The card itself is astounding. It’s unabashedly huge and heavy, with a sharp, aggressive red and black plastic cowl covering the heatsink assembly. A single, enormous fan sits in the middle, flanked by two solid copper blocks and eight heatpipes. The card is both longer and wider than usual, rising a good inch above its metal backplate. It’s also wide enough to block off three slots’ worth of space when installed in a cabinet. On the back, there are only single DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort sockets, which is somewhat disappointing. The rear has no fewer than three PCIe power connectors:
you’ll need two 8-pin and one 6-pin connectors to power this behemoth.

Needless to say, you’ll need to spend a healthy amount of money on a suitable cabinet and power supply in addition to what this card costs. As far as tech specs go, the two GPUs have access to 2GB


Published Date: Oct 05, 2010 12:33 pm | Updated Date: Oct 05, 2010 12:33 pm