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Asus Mars Test

Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review

The Asus Mars is said to be the world's fastest graphics card. PC Games Hardware did the test and checked the performance of the 1000 Euros device.
Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review
 
Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review [Source: view picture gallery]

It is common practice that the partners of AMD and Nvidia stick to the default design when a new graphics card generation is introduced, but usually the first custom layouts follow soon after that. The situation that graphics card manufacturers deliver a completely new creation which doesn't stick to any specifications from Ati or Nvidia is rather rare though. Asus is one of the companies that take the risk from time to time and delivers an extreme custom design. Today Pc Games Hardware takes a look at the latest creation: the Asus Mars.

Asus Mars versus Geforce GTX 295
Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review (19)
 
Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review (19) [Source: view picture gallery]
The Mars is an enhanced offspring of Nvidia's Geforce GTX 295. The latter one, flagship among the Nvidia cards since January 2009, utilizes two SLIed GT200b chips to beat the common single-GPU devices. Each GPU on the GTX 295 has access to 896 MiByte GDDR3 VRAM which is linked with a 448 Bit interface. Since SLI all necessary information has to be available in both memory blocks, one can't really say that the card has effective 1,792 MiByte. The "odd” amount of VRAM is related to the retrenchments of the GPUs: Instead of eight ROP partitions with 64 bit each (=512 Bit) and 128 MiByte there are only seven active. This is where Asus comes in.

On the Asus Mars two full GT200b chips with GTX 285 frequencies are used. This would actually result in 2x 1,024 MiByte VRAM, but Asus also used memory chips with twice the size resulting in impressive 4 GiByte (2 GiByte per GPU). So the Mars could be described as a Geforce GTX 285/2G setup on one single card - with one drawback: The memory is running at 1,152 MHz while the default value for the GTX 285/2G is 1,242 MHz. Both graphics chips are set to 648/1,476 MHz (GPU/ALU).

The table below shows the specifications of the Asus Mars and other relevant graphics cards:
  Nvidia Geforce Ati Radeon  
  GTX 260-216 GTX 275 GTX 285 GTX 295 2.0* Asus Mars* HD 4770 HD 4850 HD 4870 HD 4890 HD 4870 X2*
Chip GT200 GT200b GT200b 2 x GT200b 2 x GT200b RV740 RV770 RV770 RV790 2 x RV770
Architecture (Nanometer) 65 55 55 55 55 40 55 55 55 55
Transistors (Mio.) 1.400 1,400 1,400 2 x 1,400 2 x 1,400 826 965 965 965 2 x 965
Core frequency (MHz) 576 633 648 576 648 750 625 750 850 750
Shader ALU frequency (MHz) 1,242 1,404 1,476 1,242 1,476 750 625 750 850 750
VRAM frequency (MHz) 999 1,134 1,242 1,008 1,152 800 993 900 975 900
Shader version 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1
Shader ALUs 216 240 240 2 x 240 2 x 240 640 800 800 800 2 x 800
Memory size (MiByte) 896 896/1,792 1024/2,048 2 x 896 2 x 2,048 512 512/1,024 512/1,024 1,024 2 x 1,024
Memory bus (Bit) 448 448 512 2 x 448 2 x 512 128 256 256 256 256
type of memory GDDR3 GDDR3 GDDR3 GDDR3 GDDR3 GDDR5 GDDR3 GDDR5 GDDR5 GDDR5
MAD-Leistung (GFLOP/s) 536.5 673.9 708.5 2 x 596.2 2 x 708.5 960 1,000 1,200 1,360 2 x 1,200
MAD+MUL/ADD (GFLOP/s) 804.8** 1010.9** 1062.7** 2 x 894.2 2 x 1062.7** 960 1,000 1,200 1,360 2 x 1,200
Texture fillrate (MTex/s) 41,472 50,640 51,840 2 x 46,080 2 x 51,840 24,000 25,000 30,000 34,000 2 x 30,000
Memory bandwith (MiByte/s) 111,888 127,008 158,976 112,896 147,456 51,200 63,552 115,200 124,800 2 x 115,200
Multi GPU SLI SLI SLI, 3-W.-SLI Quad-SLI Quad-SLI Crossfire X Crossfire X Crossfire X Crossfire X Crossfire X
PCI-E. Con. (6-Pin/8-Pin) 2x/0x 2x/0x 2x/0x 1x/1x 0x/2x 1x/0x 2x/0x 2x/0x 2x/0x od. 1x/1x 1x/1x




Picture gallery  (enlarge to view source)




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Author: Raffael Vötter (Sep 01, 2009)






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Comments (8)

Comments 5 to 8  Read all comments here!
chizow Re: Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review
Senior Member
02.09.2009 22:00
Quote: (Originally Posted by Yapa)
I guess you could use the GTX275 SLI as a comparison. It should be about 5 to 10% max behind the GTX285... and it runs 896MB so it would clearly show a difference if the VRAM made a huge diff.

Just looking at the warhead results at 1680x1050 it doesnt seemt to show much of an improvement, the 2 or 3 fps is most likely due to the faster core,shader,mem on the GTX285 2GB.

Even at the highest resolution the difference is quite small.

Yapa

That wouldn't tell me what the isolated benefit of VRAM is on these parts, I could guesstimate based on other parts too like the GTX 295 but the whole point of these benchmarks is to test actual hardware differences and not have to guess. Besides the difference in VRAM, the GTX 275 and standard 295 also have less bandwidth and fewer ROPs.

Given this benchmark of the GTX 295 MARS is essentially comparing 2GB GTX 285 in SLI, it would've been nice to see standard 1GB GTX 285 in SLI as the MAR's only real advantage over GTX 285 SLI would be the additional VRAM and the ability to run Quad SLI.
Yapa Re: Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review
Senior Member
02.09.2009 03:23
Quote: (Originally Posted by chizow)


A few things I would've like to have seen though. It would've been nice to throw a couple 1GB 285 in SLI in there to get a better idea the advantages of VRAM in SLI. Although the single card results showed almost no difference in the majority of reviews, it would've been nice to see it compared in SLI too.



I guess you could use the GTX275 SLI as a comparison. It should be about 5 to 10% max behind the GTX285... and it runs 896MB so it would clearly show a difference if the VRAM made a huge diff.

Just looking at the warhead results at 1680x1050 it doesnt seemt to show much of an improvement, the 2 or 3 fps is most likely due to the faster core,shader,mem on the GTX285 2GB.

Even at the highest resolution the difference is quite small.

Yapa
chizow Re: Asus Mars GTX 295 benchmark review
Senior Member
01.09.2009 23:14
Amazingly detailed review with a mind-boggling selection of gpus in various configs, games and AA modes used. Most thorough review I've seen in quite some time from PCGH, or anywhere for that matter, very well done.

A few things I would've like to have seen though. It would've been nice to throw a couple 1GB 285 in SLI in there to get a better idea the advantages of VRAM in SLI. Although the single card results showed almost no difference in the majority of reviews, it would've been nice to see it compared in SLI too.

Also, would it be possible to use a changed-based distinction in your graph header descriptions? It just makes it much much easier to read. I shouldn't have to spend 10 minutes trying to get a bearing on the differences between graphs due to information overflow, especially when it seems some of the headers might be incorrectly labeled like the FC2 page.

But as an example, if you simply highlighted the change-based differences in the settings and text, it would make it much easier to tell what the differences are.


int. Benchmark tool Ranch Small etc etc. etc.
[COLOR="Blue"]1680x1050[/COLOR]/[COLOR="Red"]4x-AA[/COLOR]
Day time year etc etc


int. Benchmark tool Ranch Small etc etc. etc.
[COLOR="Blue"]1920x1200[/COLOR]/[COLOR="Red"]16xS-AA[/COLOR]
Day time year etc etc

Its much easier and faster to see what the differences are for the top and bottom graph sets if all else is the same.

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