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Asus MARS Quad SLI - Extreme Gaming


by Stuart Davidson - 26th August 2009
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Introduction

Back in January of this year Nvidia launched the latest high specification graphics cards, the single GPU GTX285 and the dual GPU GTX295. The 285 gave us a die shrink on the GT200 core with increased speeds over the 280 it was replacing, the 295 used the same 55nm core but with less memory and fewer ROPs. Essentially the 295 in single GPU mode sat somewhere between the GTX 275 and 285 in performance. Since then we have seen the release of 2 GB GTX 285’s but otherwise Nvidia’s high end release calendar has been quiet as we wait for their DirectX 11 products.

Due to this lull in activity for some time now there have been rumours that we might see the release of a dual GPU card using full 285 cores however Nvidia were often reported to say that this was not possible with any sort of reasonable cooling solution.

With Nvidia not going ahead with an enhanced GTX295 ASUS have decided to do so themselves and the result of this venture is their MARS card. In addition to cores which are higher specification than the standard GTX295 Asus have also pushed the cards as far as they can go in terms of memory support with each GPU having access to 2 GB of GDDR3... that’s 4 GB per MARS card, more than enough to make enthusiasts and benchmark junkies drool with excitement.

So today we see how much of an improvement the MARS card is over a standard GTX 295 but we won’t stop there... we will also pair two of these cards in SLI to create a configuration which is essentially the same as GTX 285 Quad SLI. Asus have basically rewritten the Nvidia rulebook – so today we find out if this incredible engineering creates a card that is significantly better than anything else currently available.

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