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Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars

Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars

We simply couldn't resist! Sorry, Asus, but your super expensive Mars graphics card was just too tempting not to take apart. The seven year old voice of overwhelming inquisitiveness inside our heads was just too strong.

After digging out the right screwdrivers, and a few tense moments in between, we pull apart this thousand pound card to have a nose at what the two GTX 285 GPUs inside look like, and how Asus has engineered this unique product.

Oh, and for a change, we managed to put it all back together again!

To start with...

First of all, the outside shroud was unscrewed. Since it's just a plastic cover entirely for aesthetic value, it comes off with ease. Unlike the Matrix GTX 285, there's no lighty bling to show load on the side of the Mars, so no other wiring needed to be disconnected.

*Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars Inside the £1000 Asus MARS *Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars Inside the £1000 Asus MARS
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Inside the card looks remarkably like the dual-PCB GeForce GTX 295 or GeForce 9800 GX2 card of yesteryear, with a large mass of metal between two black PCBs. There's a single fan at one end of the card, and fins pointing the hot air out at the other.

Getting in further requires two separate Philips-head screwdrivers: a slightly larger one for the silver screws, and a teeny-tiny one for the black ones. The eight screws around the GPU socket do not need to be removed at this point (we mistakenly did at first).

*Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars Inside the £1000 Asus MARS *Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars Inside the £1000 Asus MARS
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In addition to all these, the two PCBs are held on at the end by the PCI bracket. These two screws required some inventive removal methods from an angled head, because our thinnest screwdrivers was too short to be poked through the factory-designed route.

*Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars Inside the £1000 Asus MARS *Inside the £1,000 Asus Mars Inside the £1000 Asus MARS
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Removing the PCBs from the heatsink was the hardest part or the un-build, because it was also the most stressful. The PCB is easily removed at the fan end, but because of the vacuum seal between the GPU and heatsink, it required us to poke a flat head screwdriver inside to lever one from another with ever increasing very gentle pressure.