222a Updated: ASUS Working on Dual HD 7870 based Republic of Gamers ARES

ASUS is reportedly working on its second Republic of Gamers (ROG) dual-GPU graphics card of the season, after the ROG MARS 3. Branded under the ARES name, the card will be a CrossFire-on-a-stick solution with two Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition "Pitcairn XT" GPUs. ASUS probably avoided a pair of "Tahiti XT2" chips to prevent competition with the MARS 3, or even capitalize on a price-point vacuum. 

ASUS is reportedly working on its second Republic of Gamers (ROG) dual-GPU graphics card of the season, after the ROG MARS 3 we spotted at Computex. Branded under the ARES name, the card will be a CrossFire-on-a-stick solution with two Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition "Pitcairn XT" GPUs. ASUS is probably avoiding using a pair of Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition "Tahiti XT2" chips, to prevent competition with the MARS 3, or even capture a price-point vacuum. This is ASUS' second ARES-branded graphics card. The first-generation ROG ARES was driven by a pair of Radeon HD 5870 GPUs. It is pictured below.

223a Updated: ASUS Working on Dual HD 7870 based Republic of Gamers ARES

To us, the second idea sounds more plausible. With the HD 7970 GHz Edition and GTX 680 firmly priced around the $500-$600 mark, with dual-HD 7970 cards being aplenty, priced around the $1000 mark, and of course NVIDIA's $1000 poetry on silicon (the GTX 690), there seems to be a vacuum created in the $650-$800 range, in which a graphics card that outperforms top single-GPU graphics cards, including highly-overclocked HD 7970 and GTX 680, could find room. The easiest option in front of ASUS is using a pair of 28 nm "Pitcairn XT" GPUs, which go into making the $350 Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition graphics card. 

According to the source, the new ARES will pack two fully-unlocked "Pitcairn" GPUs (with complete stream processor count and memory bus width). ASUS has not finalized the clock speeds the two will ship with, but that the two will feature 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, each. The card will draw power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and will have a TDP estimated to be around 300W. It's also quite likely that ASUS uses a triple-slot cooling solution, much like the first-generation ARES. Interestingly, the dual-GTX 680 MARS 3 uses a dual-slot cooler. Its tentative launch date is still being finalized.

Source: Chinese VR-Zone

Update (26/06/2012): We've been told by ASUS that the project has been axed, and that the card will not make it to the market. Less than expected price/performance could be behind the axe, and it makes sense. Given that the average HD 7870 GHz Edition card sells for US $350, a pair of these (GPUs, memory, VRM), along with a roughly-$50 PCIe bridge chip, and premium cooling, not to mention the design R&D, would have pushed the end retail price to $800, if not more, which gives it a bad price/performance ratio compared to existing dual-GPU options.