The Asus Republic of Gamers MARS II Limited Edition doesn't include any new graphics tech – it's simply an exploration of the limits of Nvidia's current most powerful technology.
With that in mind, there are limits to how far this card can outperform the current high-end competition, and because it's so similar to a physical dual-GTX 580 SLI setup, the performances of the two are actually quite close.
It does assert itself fairly confidently as the most powerful dual-GPU card, though. Particularly at higher resolutions. And for that accolade the price tag will look reasonable to some enthusiasts.
Then again, it costs £1,137. Any notion of value for money goes out of the window just by reading that price.
Here's the thing; £1,137 buys your way into an elite club of 999 members who have the absolute best of one component.
Free market capitalism rarely looks out for the little guy, and a company can charge just about anything for the best – people would buy this card if it cost £2,000. From that perspective, you can almost support the current pricing.
Asus has done a great job in other areas of the MARS II beyond the benchmarks, too.
Load temperatures are especially impressive – the designers and engineers who brought this card to life are, we're sure, extremely proud. Far from just a tech demo, it's built to last, under extreme overclocking if the user feels in that particular mood.
Extreme high-end cards are usually plagued by temperature worries and appear destined to burn out long before they fade away as new tech supersedes them. We have no such reservations with the Asus RoG MARS II.
Included with the MARS II is a set of rubber covers that stick onto the PCI slots underneath the MARS II's huge frame. They're designed to keep the MARS II straight in its PCIe slot, and prevent any warping under its own weight over time.
That was a problem with the original MARS from Asus, and it's good that it's created a solution to that problem. It just worries us that Asus' solution is a 3mm rubber block.
The power requirements are also worrisome.
A minimum 1000W power supply is required, with a minimum 42A 12V rail.
A beefy PSU is to be expected, given that the MARS II is ostensibly an SLI setup, but the latter specification is quite thin on the ground – your current PSU might not have such a 12V rail, even if it's 1000W or 1200W.
The counter-argument to any problems with the MARS II will always be "for this money, you can afford a new PSU too", and there's some weight to that, but these issues are still worth noting.
Asus has well and truly achieved its mission objective with the Republic of Gamers MARS II – it's created the most powerful graphics card in existence.
In certain benchmarks, the MARS II is 20% quicker than any other card, although at times two GTX 580s in SLI come close.
It's not just the performance that impresses us, it's the temperature management and build quality. With a three-figure price tag it was never gong to be a consumer's champion, there's a lot on offer here for overclockers and modders beyond simply raw performance.
Other than the price, our reservations are minor – hefty PSU requirements and a pretty flimsy solution to long-term weight warping.
These won't deter the type of enthusiast who'll buy this card – they've got their eyes firmly on the overclocking and modding potential.
The world's most powerful graphics card, and more.
The Asus Republic of Gamers MARS II is well constructed, well designed, but a pipe dream for the vast majority.