The ASUS Ares will be tested on our high-end X58 system which has following specifications:
- Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
- Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
- 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 OCZ memory in triple channel mode
- Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
- Windows 7 Ultimate
Our testbed is powered by a 850W Corsair PSU that is certified 80 Plus Silver. This PSU has served us well thus far, and has even powered a 3-way Radeon HD 5870 CrossFireX setup in the past. Hence, it should be more than sufficient for the Ares. But in this case, the card refused to work properly with the PSU, causing our system to freeze up on a number of occasions. Incidentally, ASUS recommends a PSU rated for at least 750W so the Corsair should suffice. In any case, we decided to swap the 850W Corsair PSU for a 1000W Antec Quattro and all was well.
Due to the extremely limited numbers of the ASUS Ares, we only had the Ares for a short time and didn’t have time to update results of its closest competitors. Nevertheless, pitting the Ares against two Radeon HD 5870 in CrossFireX and the Radeon HD 5970, albeit running on older drivers, would still give us a good idea of its performance. We expect the Ares to be on a par with twin Radeon HD 5870 in CrossFireX configuration, but it’ll be interesting to see how it performs on the temperature and power consumption front.
We’ve also included results of the GeForce GTX 480 and also the GTX 470 in SLI configuration to see how it stacks up against NVIDIA’s finest.
Here are the complete list of cards and driver versions tested:
- ASUS Ares (Catalyst 10.7a)
- ATI Radeon HD 5870 (2-way CrossFireX) (Catalyst 10.2)
- ATI Radeon HD 5970 (Catalyst 10.2)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 (ForceWare 197.41)
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 (2-way SLI) (ForceWare 197.75)
The list of benchmarks used:
- Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
- Crysis Warhead
- Far Cry 2
- Warhammer: Dawn of War 2
- Battlefield Bad Company 2
- "Heaven" from Unigine v1.0
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat