It wouldn’t be a trade show without a little bit of extreme thinking, to grab some headlines and show the punters how creative their engineers are.  As part of our Computex coverage, we’ve seen all manner of graphics cards – at the high end of the spectrum, we’re seeing custom AMD and NVIDIA cards that supposedly push 600 watts!

From ASUS, building on the ‘halo’ of the ROG Mars, the Republic of Gamers branded Mars II is being shown – a dual GPU featuring two 580s on one PCB in a triple slot format.  There’s no mention of clock speeds, but we’ve been told that it’s due in July with a limited run of 1000 units. (ed: this is the same quantity as the Matrix 5870X2)

Featuring a DirectCool heatsink arrangement, ASUS are claiming a 25% speed increase over a GTX 590.  As you can imagine, this product will run loud and hot, and there is an air of ‘why?’ hanging in the air – the only vaguely reasonable answer I can give you is for overclocking records.  The 600W maximum power consumption figure comes from the three 8-pin PCIe connectors each potentially pulling 150W, along with the PCIe supplying 150W.  If you end up getting one, just make sure your PSU can handle it.

From Powercolor, we’re seeing a technological showcase with what they call the 6970X2, bringing the X2 name back into the scene (unofficially).  This PCB uses a Lucid Hydra chip (rather than a PLX) for routing to combine two full-speed 6970 chips powered by the three 8-pin PCIe to give that magical 600W number.  

They had a pair of these cards in Crossfire into a system for us to look at, even though with CPU and everything else, there was only a 1200W Gold PSU powering it all, possibly suggesting that the power consumption is below 600W, and performance is only a few percentage points higher performance than the 6990, if any.

We were told that Powercolor don’t have intentions to bring this product to market unless they see a demand for it – they were more inclined to show off a 6950X2 which should enter into the market between the 6970 and 6990 in terms of performance.  No word on pricing or release, though.

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  • nyran125 - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    its just a big waste of electricity money. Reply
  • campdude - Sunday, June 19, 2011 - link

    Its all about future proofing your system.....
    Its all about running the highest anti-aliasing setting (forced in control panel) on all the games.
    Its about running the high resolutions. (now 1080 p is pretty much the norm for new monitors)

    Personally, i bought a 4870 for a pretty penny right when it came out and released.
    But it has lasted me 3 years so far and still going on strong.

    I cant justify the upgrade to a 6970 based on the fact its not fast enough.

    Don't get me wrong... It (6970) is a supreme video card compared to mine... BUT its just not fast enough to make me feel good about the upgrade.

    In a little while I'll be upgrading from a dual core to an octa core... i need that type of upgrade performance gap for my video card as well.

    So far the only contender is the 6990 or the Nvidia equivalent.

    However If my current video card exploded... I would purchase a 6850 x2 or 6950 x2 if it was reasonabley cheaper than the 6990. But that is an unlikely scenario... There will probably be a single GPU in the HD 7000 series that runs as fast as the 6850 x2... so i can wait.
    Reply
  • tzhu07 - Saturday, July 02, 2011 - link

    Maybe it's because I'm just an occasional gamer, but I'd rather upgrade my video card going from mid-range to mid-range, rather than high to high.

    You save a ton of money on both the initial purchase price and electric bills, and you just have to sacrifice some fps or some IQ.

    Not to mention that for people who are sensitive to sound, the mid range cards are quieter, with often some company making a passive version of one of the mid-range cards.
    Reply

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