MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G Video Card Review

Today on our test bench we have the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G which is factory overclocked from MSI sporting its Twin Frozr IV cooling solution. We will compare it to the ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC at both stock and overclocked speeds to determine which of these cards will provide the best performance out there.


Microstar International (MSI) is a Taiwan-based computer hardware manufacturer founded in 1986. Primarily a designer and manufacturer of PC motherboards, MSI has expanded its business into barebones PCs, servers and workstations, communications devices, consumer electronics, Notebooks, Netbooks, graphics cards, and other various electronic products. Its company motto, "Quality Products Create Faithful Customer," believes its underlying corporate strategy of designing and manufacturing quality devices for various markets and letting its high-quality reputation earn it the trust and respect of electronics consumers worldwide.

On our test bench today is the, the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G video card.

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GeForce GTX 780

The GeForce GTX 780 Ti is based on the GK110 GPU, but all grown up. This is the GK110 at its full potential with all 15 SMX units. We get to see what NVIDIA had planned with the Kepler architecture and full GK110 performance finally. The GPU consists of 7.1B transistors on the 28nm manufacturing process. For comparison, the R9 290X is 6.2B transistors. There are a total of 2,880 CUDA Cores enabled, which is 25% more than the GeForce GTX 780, and even more than the TITAN’s 2,688.

There is 7GHz GDDR5 memory modules in use on the 384-bit memory bus. This allows the card to have a memory bandwidth of 336GB/sec. This exceeds the AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU’s memory bandwidth of 320GB/sec. It is obvious NVIDIA wanted to get this card to exceed the memory bandwidth on R9 290X, since that is a major selling point of the R9 290 series GPU’s 512-bit memory bus. The GTX 780 Ti memory is run at 7GHz to net 336GB/sec, while the 320GB/sec on the R9 290X is achieved with 5GHz RAM.

There are 240 texture units and 48 ROPs in the GTX 780 Ti. For comparison, the R9 290X has 176 texture units, and 64 ROPs. These numbers translate into 176/GTs texture fillrate on the R9 290X and 210/GTs texture fillrate on the GTX 780 Ti. There is 64/GPs pixel fillrate on the R9 290X and 42/GPs pixel fillrate on the GTX 780 Ti. Interestingly, just to point out architectural differences, the L2 cache size on GTX 780 Ti is higher at 1.5MB, while it is 1MB on R9 290X. The TDP of the GTX 780 Ti is 250W, using one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCIe power connector.

MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G

The MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G comes equipped with a factory base clock of 1020MHz, a 145MHz increase over stock and a boost clock of 1085MHz, a 157MHz increase over the stock boost clock and features MSI’s Twin Frozr IV cooling system. It is configured with 3GB GDR5 memory running at a 7.0GHz effective rate. The cooling system is comprised of four heat pipes that carry heat away from the GPU to an array of aluminum fins that are cooled by a pair of fans. The cooling system is quite tall in comparison to the PCB but gives a very solid hand feel. It is sporting one DVI-I, one DVI-D, one HDMI v1.4a and one DisplayPort connector.

MSI advertises the video card as having three different modes: "OC Mode," "Gaming Mode," and "Silent Mode." These modes are controlled via software that is installed with the video card and not by a hardwired switch a la the reference Radeon R9 290X cards. If you do not install the software, then the card will default to "OC Mode" (with the frequencies described above.) In "Gaming Mode," the core clock drops to 980MHz with the boost clock at 1046MHz and in "Silent Mode," the core clock drops to 876MHz and the boost clock to 928MHz (the same as the reference card.) Since the card is configured for maximum performance out-of-box, there is really no need for the other modes to be available to the end user, thus, all of our performance data and comparisons were done in "OC Mode."

The MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G comes with a 3 year factory warranty and is currently available in etail for $709.99. Assassin’s Creed 4 is also included with the card. Hopefully it will fall again to that price.

MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G Images

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The MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G is packaged in a black box that features the a silver dragon that appears to be in flight. The front of the box highlights the GeForce GTX 780 Ti GPU, the 3GB of GDDR5 memory installed and the OC edition labeling. The back of the box indicates that the card is "Ready for 3DMARK" and describes the advanced thermal design as well as the expected life of the power regulation components. MSI is projecting up to 72 years of useful life out of the power regulation components. Due to the publishing schedule for this evaluation, we were not able to test that assertion in our time with the card.

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The front of the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Ti GAMING 3G features a black metallic fan shroud that serves to house the fan and direct airflow away from the GPU. The cooling solution utilizes four heat pipes to pull heat way from the GPU to where it can be cooled by the dual fans. The cooling assembly extends above the top of the PCB by about a half inch, so if you are planning on using this in your next small form factor build, it would be advisable to measure carefully first.

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On the I/O panel there are four ports. These include one DP port, one DVI-D port, one DVI-I connector, and one HDMI connector. The power connector is on top of the video card and requires a 8-pin and a 6-pin PCI-e power connection. The video card’s measurements are 10.5 inches in Length, 1.5 inches Wide, and 5 inches in height.

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