Never a company to shy away from graphical excess, tech conglomerate Asus has just shown us the successor to its Mars graphics card, which features two GeForce GTX 480 chips on a single PCB.
This means you effectively get 960 stream processors at your disposal, along with a whopping 3,072MB of GDDR5 memory. As with most dual-GPU cards, the Mars II effectively treats the two GPUs as two separate cards, so each GPU gets 1,536MB of memory all to itself via a 386-bit memory interface, as well as its own independent voltage regulator modules (VRMs).
The two GPUs are then joined in matrimony via an Nvidia NF200 bridge chip, and in theory there's no reason why the card can't be hooked up with another to make a Quad SLI configuration.
Unsurprisingly, however, you'll need a big power supply this monster. You'll find three eight-pin PCI-E power connectors on the top edge of the board, making this one power-hungry beastie.
There's no information about the specific power draw yet, or even clock speeds, as this card is a very early sample. An Asus spokesperson told THINQ: "This is about as early as anyone will ever see anything," pointing out that the guy designing it hasn't even sorted out what kind of cooling system it will need yet. We're guessing it will need a pretty serious cooling block to remove the heat from two GTX 480s, though.
As a point of comparison, Asus' first Mars card featured a pair of GeForce GTX 285 GPUs on separate PCBs, and ended up costing over a grand. Even this card, however, only required two eight-pin power connectors, rather than the three on its potential successor.
The spokesperson explained that this card is just a first-round sample, and it apparently hasn't even been tested yet.
As such, there's no information on pricing, or whether this card will even see the light of day as a finished product. Nevertheless, Asus is clearly working on getting a dual GeForce GTX 480 card working in the labs, and if it succeeds, it may well hit the shops in limited quantities.