Dec 24, 2013 Mohannad Alchalabi
There’s nothing new about a multi-GPU setup these days. Almost every decent performing graphics card on the market today has an SLI or Crossfire connector and motherboards supporting them have gotten cheaper and more common. Even dual GPUs on a single card aren’t as big of a novelty anymore, however those GPUs usually tend to be the higher end ones with extremely high price tags. With the GTX760 MARS, ASUS has decided to pair up two mid-range GTX760 GPUs in a single card, slap a big cooler on them and send them on their way.
The card comes in a big red box with the brand and model clearly displayed on the front. The back contains information about the card and its cooling technology. The 760 MARS uses ASUS own DirectCU cooling platform as mentioned on the back of the box. Opening the flap gets you a look at the card in the box as well as show more information about the card. Inside you get a quick start guide, a driver disc, a DVI to VGA adapter, an ROG magnetic case badge and an 8-pin splitter.
The card is covered in metal from one end to the other with two large fans at each end. The metal casing is black and red- the colours of ASUS Republic Of Gamers (ROG) brand of products and it also covers the back of the card. On the side the card has an SLI connector and two 8-pin connectors which tells you that this card requires quite a bit of power to run. The SLI connector allows you to connect another GTX760 for a triple SLI configuration but adding another 760 MARS may not be possible due to possible restrictions from the Nvidia drivers.
In the middle is an LED lit MARS logo which lights up when the card is actively running a game or benchmark. Underneath the metal casing is a heatsink that covers the two GPUs and copper heatpipes that run over the GPUs to dissipate heat quickly and effectively. The I/O panel has three DVI connectors and a mini-DisplayPort with large vents making up the rest of the panel which will require two slots. The two 760 GPUs run at an overclocked speed of 1006MHz and 1072MHz Boost. The card sports a 2 x 256-bit memory interface with 2GB of GDDR5 per core for a total of 4GB and they run at an overclocked speed of 6008MHz.
For testing we used our core i7 Sandy Bridge testbed with 2 x 4GB of Gskill Ripjaws RAM in an MSI Z77 motherboard hooked up to a Thortech 850W power supply. For comparison we have the ASUS DirectCU II OC GTX760 and an NVIDIA GTX780Ti reference card. The MARS and 780Ti have been tested using NNIDIA’s 331.82 drivers while the DirectCU was tested previously with 331.65.
Using the ASUS GPU Tweak utility with a power target to 105% we managed to overclock the card to 1200MHz core and 6800MHz memory but encountered random glitches and freezing running 3DMark. We eventually turned it all the way down to 1085MHz core, 1150MHz boost and 6552MHz memory but it could probably be pushed up a little bit more. Running 3DMark Extreme we got a score of 5333 so it isn’t too bad for an overclock but given the GTX760 MARS comes factory overclocked itself, you have to wonder whether both cores can handle higher core speeds. Temperatures remained relatively cool at 70C while testing so thermal issues shouldn’t be a problem with this card provided the case is well ventilated.
ASUS should be commended for releasing such a unique product, The GTX760 MARS runs cool, relatively quiet and performs extremely well for a pair of mid-range cards. As we mentioned earlier, the concept of putting two GPUs onto a single card is nothing new but kudos to ASUS for thinking this one up. As seen in our tests it gives the GTX780Ti a run for its money and clearly thrashes the GTX760 with the same overclocked speeds.
However, price wise this card is a bit of a conundrum. With an estimated retail price of $600-650 you have to wonder whether this card has come too late to the game or is ASUS going to slash its price? You can get two GTX760s for under $500 these days, a GTX780 for about $500 as well as a 290X for $550. The 780Ti is just about $50 more at $700. So it’s quite clear that the GTX760 MARS is a hard sell, it performs really well but it needs a price drop to be a great buy.
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