When creating the ARES ASUS set out to build something unique using the Radeon 5000 series architecture, different to the offering from other manufacturers. Creating a card of this type is not a cheap project and to many companies it would not be worthwhile but the resources available to ASUS allow them to act a little different to most of their competitor’s and the result is a product which is, if nothing else, a whole lot of fun.
When looking at the ARES we need to put a number of issues to the side. First it is expensive, incredibly expensive actually. Then there are the limitations of the current Radeon range such as the lack of a decent stereoscopic 3D solution or the inability to use PhysX though those are not specific to the ARES. Providing consumers are willing to accept these, the ARES is a very impressive product.
Looking first at the build quality we have a card which feels tank like with its huge weight and sturdy construction. If it was dropped the chances are it would do more damage to the floor it landed on than the floor could do to it. The design is also impressive, offering a cooler which is quieter than the reference model, even when providing better thermal performance.
Gaming framerates are also very good, always in excess of the Radeon 5970 by a significant amount and on occasion competing with two GTX 480s which draw more power, run hotter and create more noise. The ARES can essentially play all recent games at 2560×1600 with maximum detail levels. The card is also flexible, offering good media playback functionality and the ability to assist with tasks such as converting video from one format to another.
ASUS also add some piece of mind to the overall bundle by covering the card with a 3-Year Warranty and there is some “value” added with the inclusion of a briefcase which could be reused and a good quality mouse.