ASUS ROG MARS 2 3GB Video Card Review w/ NVIDIA SurroundThu, Sep 01, 2011 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
The ASUS MARS 2 is a wonderfully designed video card that offers impressive single card graphics performance. The fact that ASUS got two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 GPUs running on the same PCB at the same clock speeds as a single GTX 580 cards is mighty impressive. NVIDIA wasn’t even able to do that with the NVIDA GeForce GTX 590, so you can see how big of a feat this was. If you want to own the ultimate NVIDIA graphics card then the ASUS MARS 2 is it, period. The card is rather expensive though at $1499.99 plus $10.60 shipping with a 3-year warranty. At $1510.99 delivered this card is priced higher than what most peoples entire PC costs. This card is a limited edition product as just 999 are being made. Sure, you can get three NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards and run them in triple-SLI for even better performance than this by spending less money, but that isn’t the point right? By buying an ASUS MARS 2 graphics card you are buying into an elite club that is guaranteed to have less than 1000 people in it. The ASUS MARS 2 is a wonderful card for the person that doesn’t worry about a budget, wants a nice conversation piece and wants the best performance possible from a single card solution.
The ASUS MARS 2 features a solid design and build quality that is next to none. The only design feature that we had issues with was more visual than anything, and it was the black sticker used along the top edge of the fan shroud frame. It arrived in the box looking bubbly and deformed. When forking over $1500+ for a video card, it better be perfect and shouldn’t have a flaw like this. It’s like the engineers spent a month designing the fan shroud and then designed that black accent piece at 4:59pm on Friday before clocking out for the weekend at 5:00pm. We expect perfection from you ASUS and when you come out with exotic products like that with price tags that rival super cars then you better make sure everything is perfect!
When we tested and benchmarked the ASUS MARS 2 video card we used three 20-inch Dell LCD monitors that had a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and we found it incredibly easy to setup a triple monitor display. All of the games that we benchmarked and some that we just played all did so flawlessly with this setup and that was impressive. We ran into some game conflicts with the AMD Radeon HD 6990 though, so a big thumbs up to NVIDIA for having a solid gaming experience with three monitors off the one card. All wasn’t roses for the ASUS MARS ran into an issue with the ASUS MARS 2 was when the system went to sleep. This PC was setup on an OCZ Agility 3 240GB SSD with a brand new Windows 7 installation with SP1 and all available updates, so it was disappointing to see a BSOD from the NVIDIA display drivers more often than not when then system was resuming from a sleep state. We haven’t run NVIDIA Surround multi-display technology before, so we aren’t 100% certain if it is that or a conflict with this specific card. We’ll keep looking into it and update this article if we find anything out.
Power consumption on the ASUS MARS 2 was fairly decent at idle as it was just shy of 50W more than the AMD Radeon HD 6990, but at load the gap showed a bit wider. Under full load the ASUS MARS 2 took the test system up to 800W, which was 173W more than the AMD competition. The CPU wasn’t under full load at this point either, so if you plan on buying this card for your PC gaming system you’ll want to invest in a beefy name brand power supply. We’ll be switching power supplies and overclocking this beast in a future article to see what this cards full potential is!
Legit Bottom Line: The ASUS MARS 2 is a very nice video card for the elite few that are willing to invest in one. The pros of this card far out-weigh the negatives and we hope that ASUS continues to bring products like this to market to satisfy the needs of die hard enthusiasts around the world.