Legit Video Card Reviews
ASUS ARES 4GB Limited Edition Video Card Review
|Date:||Wed, Jul 07, 2010 - 11:00 AM|
|Written By:||Nathan Kirsch -|
The ASUS Smart Doctor Utility
ASUS SmartDoctor is a group of special tools to help users make the most of their ASUS graphics cards. It monitors the Fan RPM, Battery Power Level (if on a laptop), GPU and RAM temperature, and has a slide bar for easy manual overclocking. Furthermore, the embedded HyperDrive and SmartCooling technology can dynamically overclock and change the fan speed for better performance and convenience. With its comprehensive hardware monitoring functions it provides you with the best graphics card investment protection and best performance when overclocking.
The version of SmartDoctor that came on the driver disc was version 5.55, but we were sent version 5.61 to try out on the ASUS GeForce ARES graphics card. Once you have the utility installed it should look like the screen shot above.
SmartDoctor v5.61 enables users to raise GPU voltages from the
default voltage of 0.95V all the way up to 1.5V. You can also use
the sliders to increase the core clock frequency within a range of 500
MHz to 1200 MHz. On the 4GB of GDDR5 memory can be adjusted from 4000
MHz to 5600 MHz, respectively. The image above shows the highest
possible setting for each item that can be adjusted.
Clicking the fan image in the utility brings up a fan RPM monitoring. This offers an extra safety feature to ensure you that the fan on the graphics chip is functioning well and at the proper speed.
If you want more settings you can enter the advanced setup menu and
you will find more advanced settings that power users should really
like. The first tab in the advanced setup menu deals with monitor
polling time intervals. This means you can determine how often the
SmartDoctor utility detects the monitor's values by selecting the time
interval from the drop down list of options. You can also enable
overheat protection in this tab, which will allow the software to
automatically decrease the GPU clock whenever an abnormal event is
detected to prevent further GPU temperature increases. You can also
disable warnings when running 3D games so your game play won't be
interrupted and choose when to minimize the utility.
The Monitor tab will allow you to adjust voltage alarm settings,
temperature alarm settings, and fan alarm settings. As you can see above
the Voltage Alarm Settings were unable to be activated on the ASUS ARES for some reason.
Under the fan control tab you have several options for fan speed
control. You are likely familiar with auto and manual fan speed control,
so let's talk a little more about ASUS SmartCooling. SmartCooling is an
ASUS exclusive technology that effectively reduces the fan noise under
normal use, and dissipates the heat when the GPU loading is high.
SmartCooling only works on specially designed ASUS graphics cards with a
monitor chip that can detect and adjust the board temperature and fan
speed. When activated, SmartCooling allows you to set five GPU
temperature thresholds and the fan speed dynamically changes according
to this temperature threshold. When the GPU temperature is below the
lowest threshold, SmartCooling automatically reduces the fan speed to
the lowest fan speed level to reduce noise and save energy. Moreover,
when the GPU temperature passes over the threshold, SmartCooling
automatically increases the fan speed for better heat dissipation. After
using the ARES for some time we found ourselves enabling and using
SmartCooling as it would keep the GPU silent when not in use and nice
and cool while gaming.
ASUS SmartDoctor also features HyperDrive technology; that allows you
to easily and dynamically change the speed of the GPU and memory to
gain more power from your graphics card. HyperDrive is the first in the
industry to provide three modes of overclocking:
- 3D Game Mode: Recommended for game enthusiasts. In 3D Game mode,
HyperDrive detects whether there are 3D applications running on the
system and automatically increases the GPU core clock to provide
smoother motions and better performance.
- CPU Usage Mode: This mode adjusts the GPU speed according to the
working load of the CPU. If HyperDrive finds the CPU loading high, it
automatically increases the GPU speed to share the load, hence providing
better system performance.
- Temperature Mode: In this mode, HyperDrive monitors and adjusts the working speed of the GPU according to the GPU temperature. To cool down the system, HyperDrive decreases the GPU speed if the temperature gets too high.
As you can see the ASUS ARES SmartDoctor utility is a very powerful application that is nice to have for those that want as much control over their video card as possible.
Next Page - ASUS ARES Test Settings
Page 1 - The ASUS ARES Limited Edition GPU
Page 2 - A Closer Look at ARES
Page 3 - The History Behind ASUS ARES
Page 4 - ARES Retail Box and Bundle
Page 5 - The ASUS Smart Doctor Utility
Page 6 - ASUS ARES Test Settings
Page 7 - Batman: Arkham Asylum
Page 8 - Resident Evil 5
Page 9 - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.
Page 10 - 3DMark Vantage
Page 11 - Unigine 'Heaven' DX11
Page 12 - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Page 13 - Aliens vs. Predator
Page 14 - FurMark 1.8.2
Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 16 - Temperature Testing
Page 17 - ASUS ARES Overclocking
Page 18 - Final Thoughts and Conclusions