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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Review

ccokeman    -   May 23, 2013
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Conclusion:

Seeing what the GK110-equipped GTX 780 is capable of just shows that, to coin a phrase again, the apple does not fall too far from the GTX Titan tree. Trimming 2 SMX (384 CUDA cores), 26 texture units, and 3GB of frame buffer have the desired effect of creating a card that is almost as fast as the GTX Titan at a resolution of 1920x1080 for about two-thirds the cost of a GTX Titan to the consumer. At $649 the GTX 780 is still not in the inexpensive bucket to say the least but when compared to a similarly priced (at launch) custom HD 7970 with 6GB of memory, you have some added value there for the hardcore gamer.

Just like with GTX Titan and GTX 690, it is a halo level card that delivers excellent performance metrics. It's got enough under the hood to allow the gamer to fully realize the entire NVIDIA spectrum from PhysX to 3DVision and Surround. New additions with the GTX 780 include a new adaptive temperature controller using an adaptive temperature filter to improve the fan algorithms used to keep it from cycling up and down needlessly. The end result is that you have a noise signature that is consistent. The new GPU Boost 2.0 uses this feature and adds in a temperature target that allows the boost clocks to increase the maximum clock speed potential to a level greater than the default 80 °C level.

NVIDIA has found that more cards are damaged from poor cooling than from overvolting, so it gave us back some additional control over the GPU. Of course this allows for some spirited overclocking. This sample was able to reach 1202MHz on the Kepler core and just over 1600MHz on the GDDR5 memory. In this configuration tested with Futuremark's 3DMark synthetic benchmark suite, the GTX 780 was able to ramp up and improve on the numbers generated by a stock GTX Titan. Some serious firepower indeed.

If you need more graphics firepower you can always step up to a second or third GTX 780 in SLI that should give you a bit more performance headroom than a pair of GTX Titans for roughly the same cash outlay, as long as your motherboard supports this feature. At that point maximum settings at 5760x1080 should be no problem.

Cooling a beast such as the GTX Titan or now Titan Jr., er, oops, the GTX 780 can prove problematic if you don't have an adequate solution. Using the same vapor chamber-equipped cooling solution as the GTX Titan, the GTX 780 performs almost identically at stock speeds. The lower CUDA core count on the GTX 780 pays off here when you run the fan speed up with a 6 °C improvement in cooling performance over that of the GTX Titan. Again an impressive feat but same cooler plus lower core count equals lower temperatures. At maximum speed the fan on the GTX 780 has the same noise signature as the GTX Titan. It is audible but not offensively so. At stock speeds with the new fan algorithms the GTX 780 was inaudible. Again a big win!

NVIDIA's GeForce Experience has been in beta for a while but gets a full launch with the introduction today of the GTX 780. This tool is now part of the download package when you pull in the latest drivers. GeForce Experience is about just that, the experience of playing your games rather than fussing with settings or drivers that do not work. NVIDIA actually has in-house teams that work out the best game settings for each of the video cards and build that into the experience so you can have, from day one, a driver that works and a comprehensive package of settings that provide the best visual quality for your hardware. Sometimes it even enables settings you did not know about or were afraid to try.

While not the cheapest GPU on the block, NVIDIA brings a player to the market that takes the strengths of the GK110 Kepler core DNA and packages them in a more affordable package.

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Cooling
  • Quiet
  • New fan algorithims
  • It's Titan Jr.
  • GeForce Experience
  • SLI

 

Cons:

  • None
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