A slightly smaller MARS

ASUS has another custom dual-GPU card with the ROG MARS 760,that, you guessed it, combines two GTX 760 GPUs.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 was released in June of 2013.  Based on the same GK104 GPU as the GTX 680, GTX 670 and GTX 770, the GTX 760 disabled a couple more of the clusters of processor cores to offer up impressive performance levels for a lower cost than we had seen previously.  My review of the GTX 760 was very positive as NVIDIA had priced it aggressively against the competing products from AMD. 

As for ASUS, they have a storied history with the MARS brand.  Typically an over-built custom PCB with two of the highest end NVIDIA GPUs stapled together, the ASUS MARS cards have been limited edition products with a lot of cache around them.  The first MARS card was a dual GTX 285 product that was the first card to offer 4GB of memory (though 2GB per GPU of course).  The MARS II took a pair of GTX 580 GPUs and pasted them on a HUGE card and sold just 1000 of them worldwide.  It was heavy, expensive and fast; blazing fast.  But at a price of $1200+ it wasn't on the radar of most PC gamers.

Interestingly, the MARS iteration for the GTX 680 never occurred and why that is the case is still a matter of debate.  Some point the finger at poor sales and ASUS while others think that NVIDIA restricted ASUS' engineers from being as creative as they needed to be.

Today's release of the ASUS ROG MARS 760 is a bit different – this is still a high end graphics card but it doesn't utilize the fastest single-GPU option on the market.  Instead ASUS has gone with a more reasonable design that combines a pair of GTX 760 GK104 GPUs on a single PCB with a PCI Express bridge chip between them.  The MARS 760 is significantly smaller and less power hungry than previous MARS cards but it is still able to pack a punch in the performance department as you'll soon see.

The ASUS ROG MARS 760 Graphics Card

The first thing you'll notice on the ASUS ROG MARS 760 card is its slick design that continues with the red and black theme of the ASUS Republic of Gamers brand.  The black is a soft-touch rubberized paint that is comfortable hold though obviously you won't be handling it very often.

  ASUS MARS 760 GeForce GTX 760 GeForce GTX 780 GeForce GTX 780 Ti
GPU Cores 2304 (2 x 1152) 1152 2304 2880
Base Clock 1006 MHz 980 MHz 863 MHz 875 MHz
Boost Clock 1172 MHz 1033 MHz 900 MHz 928 MHz
Texture Units 192 (2 x 96) 96 192 240
ROP Units 64 (2 x 32) 32 48 48
Memory 4GB (2 x 2GB) 2GB 3GB 3GB
Memory Clock 6008 MHz 6008 MHz 6008 MHz 7000 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 384-bit 384-bit
TDP ?? 170 watts 250 watts 250 watts
Peak Compute 4,516 GFLOPS 2,258 GFLOPS 3,977 GFLOPS 5,040 GFLOPS
Price $630 Amazon - $259 Amazon - $499 Amazon - $699

Specification wise, the new ASUS ROG MARS 760 is a pretty impressive with 2,304 total CUDA cores and a base clock speed of 1006 MHz.  Of course, this all comes with the caveat of SLI - getting the maximum performance capability out of a dual-GPU configuration, whether it's on a single card or a pair of cards, is always much harder than with a faster, single GPU.  We'll talk more about that as we go through our benchmarks, but be sure you keep that in mind. 

The MARS 760 is a dual slot design which means it should have no problems fitting in just about every case and system out there.  The DirectCU II cooler combines a pair of fans along with a pair of separate heatsinks to independently cool each GTX 760 GPU.  Each cooler users four heat pipes to distribute the thermals from the pad to the fins.

On the back of the MARS 760 you'll find 16 super-low noise POSCAPs that are made to enhance stability and power delivery for stock use as well as overclocking.  The plate on the PCB is both functional and aesthetic.  It looks good while supporting the cards length and weight when installed. 

ASUS' custom PCB uses a 10+2 phase DIGI+ digital VRM solution - 5 phases for each GPU and 1 for each pool of 2GB of memory. 

The output configuration is unique on the MARS 760 with a set of three dual-link DVI outputs and a mini-DisplayPort as well.  This will definitely be advantageous for most buyers as DVI monitors are still the most common connectivity type.  The mini-DP connection means you'll also be able to support 4K panels if you want to as well.

The power requires a pair of 8-pin connections which isn't outside the boundaries of other high end, custom graphics cards. 

Even better news is that ASUS and NVIDIA are allowing for quad-GTX 760 support if you want to pair the ASUS ROG MARS 760 with yet another ASUS ROG MARS 760. 

This explosion shot provided by ASUS shows the different layers of the design in the MARS 760 including the power delivery, the PCI Express 3.0 PLX bridge chip and the heatsinks. 

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