ASUS Ares II Overkill3D Review

Conclusion

ASUS Ares II Overkill 3D Review

Conclusion

Sometimes you get a product that comes with some expectations, and the Ares II certainly arrived with a lot of expectations riding upon its shoulders. For a start it's a sequel to a pretty spectacular card, or the fourth in the premium ASUS range if we include the Mars. Secondly we know how good the HD7970s are and how brilliant the PowerColor Devil13 was, so we knew that unless ASUS really messed up this would have power to burn. Finally it's a £1200 item. No matter what you think of that cost, and we'll explain our thoughts in a moment, something that's the equivalent of Porsche 911 in a Ford Focus world means we demand the very highest in every area.

Performance is brilliant but not without caveats. Let there be no doubt that in terms of plugging in a single card to your system and having it happily eat its way through everything you throw at it, the Ares II is unmatched. That isn't to say it's not unrivalled though. The Devil13 runs it extremely close in every test. It's usually a hair behind, but we're talking a handful of frames from results normally in the hundreds. We ran a pair in Crossfire and the results were, at best, variable. It worked in maybe 50% of our titles, and of those even fewer saw any benefit at all. Of course if you're a benchmark whore and going for world records then there is nothing, nothing at all, that remotely gets close to the scores available from the Ares II Crossfire arrangement. Gaming though is very hit and miss and we'd recommend you stick to a single card, if only because it's guaranteed to work.

The cooler works very well being pretty quiet, certainly quieter than an air solution, and keeping the card cool even when overclocked. The decision to use this particular type of cooler is a strange one though and we believe it makes a product, that already has a tiny potential audience, desirable to even fewer people than just those who can afford it. When you decide to put your hardware out at £1200 it's only the extreme enthusiasts that are the target audience. But those people are the kind who are very likely to have a water-cooling loop already. So the built-in water loop on the Ares II is actually detrimental to them. The radiator is so beefy that a good-sized air cooler wont fit if you place the radiator where you'd expect (the case exhaust). So it wont plumb into your waterloop and isn't compatible with an enthusiast air cooler. So it's only really viable to those who have a Corsair H100 style cooler, and then you'd need a case that supported putting the GPU radiator on the floor intake, or was tall enough to put the H100 in the roof above the Ares cooler if it was mounted in the back (exhaust).

What it really needs is an air cooler for the 'average' user, and water-block in that suitcase for those who have a waterloop. The current solution suits nobody. Speaking of things in the suitcase that the Ares II comes in, we've seen better accessories included in £150 cards. If the Devil13 was £800, and it is, then the extra £500 of the Ares II should buy T-shirts, stickers, screwdrivers and all the innumerable things we'd expect in such an elite product. Instead you get the standard molex and display converters you get with every other card on earth. Nothing else. No games. No t-shirts. No nothing (if you'll excuse the expression).





So it's brutally powerful. We knew that it would be. It's over-priced, we expected it to be. But it totally lacks anything to justify that price beyond the performance, which isn't much better than the HD7990 Devil13 we've already seen. Even more so the cooling choice is a curious one. It breaks world records, but we can't help coming away from it feeling disappointed. If you're spending the thick end of £1200 on a graphics card you want more than a few adaptors and a suitcase for your money. It's all about e-peen and the Ares II, performance aside, is somewhat lacking. With our sensible hat on you could buy a Devil13, a waterblock and an ASUS PB278Q monitor for the same price as the Ares II, and the Ares II doesn't offer enough to make us take our sensible hat off. Worthy of our Performance Award of course but ASUS, we expect more theatre from the next in the Mars/Ares line if you want that award to be golden.

   

Thanks to ASUS for providing the Ares II's for today's review. Discuss our findings in our OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

30-01-2013, 15:30:10

tinytomlogan
The latest premium graphics card from ASUS is here, the Ares II, and as always we're going to the next level as we're doing Crossfire too. Read on.

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...125234280l.jpg


Continue Reading

30-01-2013, 15:41:37

Recon-UK
Watched the Vids mate, nicely done with the entire review, and great cards!

Not my cup of tea with the whole AIO WC though..... i like modding, but to buy it like that, seems odd

30-01-2013, 16:25:14

Gamepro105
Love the video with bench marking. there great cards. now how do i afford them

30-01-2013, 17:29:55

Ron5382
Great Reviews Tom,

The card looks great and benches even better..That is a lot of CASH

I do miss the Crysis benchmark where you blow the hell out of the chopper



Ron

30-01-2013, 20:17:32

murphy7801
Way to much cash but people want to pay for it but sure someone bought it and is happy.

01-02-2013, 15:36:27

kejser11
That does it! Ill stick to Devil 13, where You do get the accessories at a much lower price and virtually the same power. I will NOT pay 500 - 600 for a metal suitcase worth around 50! Come again, Asus. You know better!!!

01-02-2013, 16:53:37

DifferentClone
Quote:
Originally Posted by kejser11 View Post
That does it! Ill stick to Devil 13, where You do get the accessories at a much lower price and virtually the same power. I will NOT pay 500 - 600 for a metal suitcase worth around 50! Come again, Asus. You know better!!!
It's alright saying that, and normally I would agree wholeheartedly with you. The price is not justified at all, and can be considered rather insulting to those who realise where the extra money is going. The Devil13 is certainly the better buy.

However after googling furiously for ~ 2 minutes I could not find a place that actually sold the Devil13, save for a few "new" ones on eBay, and of course you can see the flaw in siding with a product that is not readily available at this moment, and is labelled as 'discontinued' on Newegg.

That is a real shame, considering that the card was only revealed around the end of September last year....

Hopefully this AIO monstrosity does not stick, as it is clearly a huge hindrance to anyone who buys it and a disastrous design choice.

01-02-2013, 22:37:09

Deadtroopers
What's the power draw of a 1X card set up and 2X card set up please?
"You can't take it with you can you" as Ofan said, and not for any E-Peen thing, but for the hell of it...

01-02-2013, 22:45:03

Deadtroopers
Tom, shouldn't you be one shot, one kill on that bit of Metro by now?

02-02-2013, 05:58:48

kejser11
Quote:
Originally Posted by DifferentClone View Post
It's alright saying that, and normally I would agree wholeheartedly with you. The price is not justified at all, and can be considered rather insulting to those who realise where the extra money is going. The Devil13 is certainly the better buy.

However after googling furiously for ~ 2 minutes I could not find a place that actually sold the Devil13, save for a few "new" ones on eBay, and of course you can see the flaw in siding with a product that is not readily available at this moment, and is labelled as 'discontinued' on Newegg.

That is a real shame, considering that the card was only revealed around the end of September last year....

Hopefully this AIO monstrosity does not stick, as it is clearly a huge hindrance to anyone who buys it and a disastrous design choice.
Sorry You cant find it in UK. As I am Danish, I of course Look for it in Denmark. It is stille available in 4 different outlets, the cheapest of which is: http://www.sikkenemt.dk/index.php/ha...13-hd7990.html . The price is 8121,- dkr. which is similar to 945. Hope this is usefull to You.
P.S: That price is about 40% of an ARES II, so I will defenitely not go there...

02-02-2013, 09:21:34

hoxlund
maybe i missed it in the video but how did Farcry 3 do with the dual ares setup?

02-02-2013, 14:26:10

Deadtroopers
You missed it, youa also missed it in the write up, it has a page of its own so you don't have an excuse. 60fps but with so much microstutter it looked like 20fps. So the performance graph is actially misleading. The game doesn't know what to do with 4 cores, and it is the game, not the cards, not the drivers. If it was either of those Metro would fall over too but the game loves 4 cores. Kudos to the guys that coded Metro, if they can do it there is no excuse for any other big games studio to muck it up.

06-02-2013, 01:49:35

o0bananaman0o
tom mentioned that this would benifit from a 240rad and a cpu block. Absolutely love that idea, even for lower end gpu cards. an 80mmx120mm all-in-one watercooled gtx670 with a cpu block would make for an nice, clean sg05 build

16-02-2013, 18:36:42

DeViLzzz
Without mature drivers this review is all over the place in terms of performance. With AMD's history in putting out good drivers how long you looking at before it is really worth testing this card and seeing what it can do ?
Reply
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