Asus unveils watercooled ROG ARES II graphics card

January 16, 2013 | 11:01

Tags: #gpu #radeon-hd-7970 #republic-of-gamers #rog #sealed-loop #sealed-unit

Companies: #asetek #asus

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.
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