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 2560x1600 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.
There are setups out there which provide better price to performance ratio’s but the ARES isn’t about being the best in that area. It is about providing a unique consumer experience, a high quality collector’s item which sets itself apart from the competition and in these areas it succeeds; whilst still providing a great level of performance and usability.
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