NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Video Card Review

NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 780 video card has finally been unveiled. We review the GTX 780 with real world gaming with the most intense 3D games, including Metro: Last Light. If the GTX TITAN had you excited but was a bit out of your price range, the GTX 780 should hold your excitement while being a lot less expensive.

Introduction

NVIDIA is today launching a brand new video card called the GeForce GTX 780. We have spent the last year with the GeForce GTX 600 series of GPUS, and you might think the 780 card implies a new generation of GPU. However, the GeForce GTX 780 is not a new generation, nor is it a new architecture. The GeForce GTX TITAN, and the GTX 780 share a whole lot of DNA.

The GeForce GTX TITAN TITAN is based on the GK110 GPU and is Kepler architecture. The GTX TITAN has and MSRP of $999, but its current street price runs $1079 and higher, if you can find it in stock.

Why are we talking about the GTX TITAN if the GTX 780 is the new kid on the block? Simply because the GeForce GTX 780 is a very slightly "scaled down" version of the GeForce GTX TITAN. The new GeForce GTX 780 should perform better than a GeForce GTX 680, but not be quite as fast as the GeForce GTX TITAN. It is priced somewhat in-between the GTX 680 and TITAN, with a $649 MSRP price point. The question is, where does the performance place the GTX 780 in terms of NVIDIA’s product stack?


GeForce GTX 780

The GeForce GTX 780 is based on the same GK110 Kepler architecture as the GeForce GTX TITAN. What you will find is scaled down CUDA cores, and memory, to meet the new price point. The GeForce GTX 780 will have an MSRP of $649. That is currently ~$450 less expensive than a GeForce GTX TITAN. The GTX 680 currently can be found in the sub-$450 range. The questions left are, "Where does the GTX 780 stand in terms of performance? Is it closer to GTX 680, or is it bumping up against GTX TITAN?" Our real world game testing has revealed some exciting information that answers those questions.

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The GeForce GTX 780 consists of 2,304 CUDA Cores. This compares to 1,536 on the GTX 680 and 2,688 on the GTX TITAN. Already you can see it leans more toward the TITAN, than the GTX 680 in terms of CUDA Cores. The GTX 780 has a Base Clock of 863MHz with a Boost Clock of 900MHz. There are 3GB of GDDR5 on the GTX 780; this is an upgrade from the 2GB on the GTX 680, and exactly half of the TITAN’s capacity. The GTX 780 has a 384-bit memory bus with 6GHz clocked memory. The TDP is 250W.

Also on board is support for NVIDIA's new GPU Boost 2.0 which is also found on the TITAN. This improves upon the original GPU Boost utility's ability to provide higher real-world frequencies in-game, and also supports temperature capping just like the TITAN. There is also new fan technology which minimizes fan speed fluctuations for smoother fan operation, and less noise. NVIDIA is using the same cooling method used on the TITAN, with a similar look. These improvements meant a more quiet operation while gaming.

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The GeForce GTX 780 requires a 6-pin and 8-pin power connector, same as the GTX TITAN. The video card measures the same length as the GTX TITAN at 10.5 inches. There is an HDMI port, DisplayPort and two dual-link DVI ports on the video card. The GeForce GTX 780 supports 2-way and 3-way SLI. We will be testing SLI in a future review very soon.

NVIDIA "Reference" Cards

The card you are seeing reviewed here today is what is commonly referred to in the enthusiast hardware community as a "reference card." These GTX 780 units are produced by NVIDIA for today’s launch and to support initial retail sales of the GTX 780. While in the past it has been common for reference cards to be found for sale under many different Add-In-Card partners' names, the program is changing up a bit this time. NVIDIA is producing a limited amount of "reference" cards, and after that it is up to its AIC partners to pick up the ball and run with it. Expect to see many of NVIDIA’s AIC partners with its own GTX 780 products in the market very soon, and do not expect to find an abundance of "reference" cards built by NVIDIA on the stores shelves for very long at all. So if you want a "GTX 780 in TITAN clothing," you would be served best by buying one very soon.