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Asus unveils watercooled ROG ARES II graphics card

Asus unveils watercooled ROG ARES II graphics card

The Asus ROG ARES II packs a pair of Radeon HD 7970 GPUs and 6GB of GDDR5 under a custom Asetek sealed-loop water cooling system.

Asus has announced the latest entry in its Republic of Gamers (ROG) ARES graphics card family, the limited edition Asus ROG ARES II - and it's a beast that comes with its own watercooling kit.

The Asus ROG ARES II packs a pair of AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition GPUs alongside 6GB of GDDR5 for a board with a claimed 13 per cent faster performance than Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690. This is helped by a GPU base clock of 1,050MHz which boosts to 1100MHz in selected conditions, along with a 1,650MHz memory clock (6.6GHz effective.) The rear of the card includes a DVI-I alongside a DVI-D video output, four DisplayPort connectors and support for two HDMI outputs through a pair of DVI to HDMI adapters.

It's the cooling system that draws your eye to the Asus ROG ARES II, though. Based on a design by Asetek, the graphics card comes with a sealed-loop watercooling system that works alongside a more traditional fan mounted into a chunky two-slot cooling system. The result, Asus claims, is one of the coolest-running high-performance graphics cards on the market - around 31°C cooler than the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 Asus appears to be positioning the ROG ARES II against.

Asetek has a few more details on the cooling system: based around the same sealed-loop design as its CPU coolers, the liquid cooling system packs a 120mm radiator with two fans in a push-pull configuration. The result drops the board's temperature while also providing a quieter gaming experience, although full specifications for the system - beyond claims of an ability to dissipate 600W of heat without anything glowing red and releasing the magic smoke - have not been released.

'Asetek has a history of being on the leading edge of PC enthusiast hardware,' claimed Andre Eriksen, Asetek’s CEO and founder, at the launch announcement. 'The new Asus ROG ARES II premium graphics card delivers better performance, lower temperatures and acoustics to gamers with the reliability and ease of installation that Asetek liquid cooling is known for. For gamers looking for the ultimate graphics card, this is it.'

Before you get all worked up, however, there are a few caveats of which you should be aware. For starters, you're going to need a hefty power supply: the graphics card draws a claimed 500W from three 8-pin PCI Express power connectors, plus the extra power required by the Asetek pump and fans. More critically, Asus appears to be targeting a very small market of gaming enthusiasts with money to burn: while no pricing has yet been revealed, the company is producing a mere 1,000 units - suggesting the pricing will be aimed at a very niche market.

Asus has yet to announced an official launch date for the board, or anything like a hint as to pricing, but a few more details - and some pretty pictures - are available on the company's official website.

12 Comments

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bigc90210 16th January 2013, 12:47 Quote
dayum. will it play tetris?
sixfootsideburns 16th January 2013, 13:28 Quote
my first impression is "wow thats ugly..."

But upon further review my opinion is "wow thats ugly... but ugly has some serious balls"
ShinyAli 16th January 2013, 13:58 Quote
Considering the work, money etc, to develop and manufacture this you have to wonder how they can make any profit from selling just 1000 units assuming there are 1000 people prepared to pay for them, on the other hand if the w/c parts are transferable or the w/c is added to other cheaper cards as standard they could be on to a winner, it would be great to see a range of w/cooled GPU's and it would be interesting to see what the GPU overclocking companies/sellers could do with them
barny2767 16th January 2013, 14:14 Quote
Someone has to put one in a mini-itx build some how
Anfield 16th January 2013, 14:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShinyAli
Considering the work, money etc, to develop and manufacture this you have to wonder how they can make any profit from selling just 1000 units assuming there are 1000 people prepared to pay for them

I doubt they will make a penny on those, but rather just use it as a marketing device to sell more of the lower end cards.
Snips 16th January 2013, 15:06 Quote
An overclocked watercooled GTX 690 would have been a better comparison but maybe they couldn't match that?
SlowMotionSuicide 17th January 2013, 10:10 Quote
What's with these ultra-high-end cards requiring three 8-pin power connectors? The card can't possibly pull 600W of juice so what's the point? Just to make sure no one is going to try to mate the card with sub-300 EUR power supply?

Even my 850W unit comes with only two 8-pin connectors. I'd imagine it would be plenty enough for even that card.

On the other hand, I'm glad to see more cards with AIO-watercooling solutions appear. Traditionally, high-powered GFX card has been the most loud component in a given rig, and whereas it's plenty easy (and pretty effective) to just strap a couple of pounds of heat pipes, cooling fins and a fan or two to cpu, it's not that simple on GPU. Hopefully these start to trickle down to a more mainstream products, too.
rocknroll237 17th January 2013, 10:20 Quote
Still running the original Asus Ares here, no lies.

Still got good performance, despite being a noisy *******. :D
////\oo/\\\\ 17th January 2013, 11:02 Quote
Gareth Halfacree 17th January 2013, 11:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ////\oo/\\\\
£1200 @ Overclockers UK....
Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa! <wipes tear from eye />

Blimey. I know I predicted it'd be priced at the very top end of the top end, but I didn't think it'd be that bad. Wonder if they'll ever sell the full 1,000 units?
ShinyAli 17th January 2013, 13:18 Quote
How did they arrive at that price

The Asus ROG ARES II packs a pair of AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition GPUs, you can buy a Gigabyte ATI Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Windforce 3X 3072MB GDDR5 which are advertised (true or false?) as "Fastest single GPU graphics card on the planet" at Overclcokers.UK for £359.99 inc VAT so two would cost £719.98, that means that the added w/c costs £480...good luck with that

Have to laugh at the photoshopped picture of two Asus ROG ARES II's in a case, no game on the planet can justify £2400's worth of GPU's
cave_diver 18th January 2013, 11:00 Quote
That's brilliant ... the fact that the manufacturer claims it needs 600W just for the card, two cards means 1.2kW ... we've not even started on the CPU/mobo part of the PC yet ... even a 1.5kW PSU would struggle, daisy chained PSU's anyone? :o
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