NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Review

ccokeman - 2013-11-01 19:15:32 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: November 7, 2013
Price: $699

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Introduction:

Here we go again in the video card wars! AMD just released its best shot across the bow of the best NVIDIA had to offer with the R9 290X. AMD showed their hand with back-to-back launches that hit at the right price points and now we have the retort from NVIDIA in the form of the GTX 780 Ti. Billed as the fastest GPU on the planet, it comes fully equipped to take the best from AMD and move that performance bar a couple notches higher. We saw that the NVIDIA GTX 780 proved that it had the NVIDIA GTX Titan DNA strapped in and functioning perfectly as it delivered performance results very close to that of its faster sibling. Adding in another SMX brings another 192 CUDA cores on line for 2880 single precision cores and 960 double precision cores, a boost by 48 to 240 texture units and we should see some nice increases in FPS over the GTX 780. Another trick up its sleeve is the increase in the memory bandwidth by using memory ICs with a 7000MHz effective data rate similar to what was used on the NVIDIA GTX 770. Boost up the clock to further improve the performance and it sounds like we have a beast of a card right out of the gate.

Pure graphics horsepower is great to have but NVIDIA is bringing more of its ecosystem to light with the addition of Shadowplay, a recording tool that can record up to the last 20 minutes of your gaming session at 1080p while running at 60 FPS. All without the normal FPS hit you see with other solutions thanks to the built in H.264 encoder on the Kepler core. Coupled with GeForce Experience the ecosystem pool of projects keeps adding more and more value to the brand. Priced at $699 the GTX 780 Ti is filling the spot previously occupied by the GTX 780 in the NVIDIA product stack. The question we have is how much better than the R9 290X is it really going to be?

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Closer Look:

Let's start out with a quick look at the Kepler core used to effect on the GTX 780 Ti. Built on a 28nm core sporting 7.1 billion transistors packed into a 533mm2 sized die. The larger die means a less dense core with more surface area to shed the thermal load generated by the core. Specifications on the Kepler revision used on the GTX 780 Ti include five graphics processing clusters, 15 streaming multi processors, 2880 single precision CUDA cores, 960 double precision cores, 240 texture units, and 48 ROPs with 1.5Mb of shared L2 cache. Where we see a difference over the core count of the GTX 780 is in the single precision CUDA cores getting a boost of 576 SP CUDA cores and 48 texture units. Base clock speeds see a boost as well with a stock speed of 875MHz and GPU Boost 2.0 clock of at least 928MHz although this varies depending on the game and power/thermal settings. The memory subsystem is improved as well with the inclusion of 7000MHz data rate GDDR5 still running through the same 384bit bus seen on the GTX 780 and GTX Titan. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visually the GTX 780 Ti would be difficult if not impossible to distinguish from its siblings if not for the designation being engraved in the industrial looking aluminum shroud. As far as looks go the card is still as visually stunning as when we looked at the first images of the GTX 690 and then Titan. The industrial rugged aluminum shell, the clear poly carbonate window that shows off the vapor chamber based cooling solution and the GeForce logo that lights up in NVIDIA green on the top side of the card all scream high end. In reality that's where the card resides and has a heft to it you don't often see. The GTX 780 Ti shares its dimensions with the rest of the cards that use this design and comes in at 10.5 inches in length and takes up the space of a pair of slots in the chassis.

 

 

 

Connectivity options are unchanged from the GTX Titan and GTX 780 and include a pair of Dual-Link DVI 1, a single HDMI, and a single DisplayPort 1.2 port that support up to four monitors in a 3+1 surround configuration. Up to 4K resolutions are supported with instant recognition and setup of 4K tiled monitors with the latest GeForce drivers. The robust cooling solution discharges the thermal load outside the chassis allowing for use in smaller form factor PCs. The back end of the card features an air intake that features a fin array over the VRM circuits on the inbound side of the card that helps in two ways. It allows cooler air to feed the VRM circuit while also providing an improved air flow path for the centrifugal fan when used in an SLI configuration. In essence you can get better card-to-card temperatures without either suffering from reduced airflow intake.

 

 

On top of the PCB we have the power connection points at the back end of the card. A single 6-pin and single 8-pin PCIe power connection coupled with the 75W from the 16x PCIe slot provide up to 300W of power — 50W above the GTX 780 Ti's TDP of 250W so there is some capacity for overvolting and overclocking. With this card NVIDIA introduces a new power management strategy called Power Balancing to ensure no single supply source is overloaded. By load balancing the power source the expectation is a higher maximum overclock — something realized in my testing. A pair of SLI bridge connections are at the front end of the PCB allowing support for up to four cards if your motherboard supports it, although a three-card SLI solution should cover everything currently out on the market. The recommended power supply for use with a GTX 780 Ti is 600 watts based on the 250W TDP.

 

 

NVIDIA uses a very robust vapor chamber cooling solution that effectively deals with the heat generated by the large core. This design uses a large vapor chamber and aluminum fin array on the core and VRM circuit. Both of these are interconnected with a large aluminum plate that serves to both guard the PCB with added structural rigidity along with cooling for the memory IC's. Taken as a whole it is an effective solution to the problem of keeping the core card cool. While both AMD and NVIDIA both use a centrifugal fan design NVIDIA has continued development of new and improved fan management algorithms that provide the airflow needed for the card while not pounding on the eardrums.

 

Launched with the GTX 780 was a new tool that NVIDIA had been working on to allow gamers to take advantage of the hard work NVIDIA does on the back end to provide the best possible gaming experience, hence the name of the tool called GeForce Experience. Now fully live, this tool is multifaceted as it helps keep your drivers up to date so you have the latest releases for the newest games, provides system information, and most importantly it provides a resource to tweak the settings for each game based on the GeForce hardware you own. Say you get tired of testing and tweaking the visual quality settings trying to find that good balance between FPS performance and visual quality. No problem. Open up GeForce Experience, choose your game from a list, and you see the optimized settings. You can choose to change them on your own or just hit the optimize button and then sit back and enjoy the highest FPS performance/visual quality settings your hardware can use. New for the GTX 780 Ti launch is the introduction of ShadowPlay a game recording solution that takes advantage of the H.264 encoder built into the Kepler architecture so that when compared to a software-only solution you get very little performance hit. You can record up to the last 20 minutes of your game play time to show off your skills or greatest fails.

 

All the extras are nice but the question of the day is: does the GTX 780 Ti have the horsepower to hand the best AMD has to offer in a head-to-head contest? Let's find out.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Specifications:

Graphics Processing Clusters  
5
Streaming Multiprocessors
15
CUDA Cores (single precision)
2880
CUDA Cores (double precision)
960
Texture Units
240
ROP Units
48
Base Clock
875MHz
Boost Clock
928MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate)
7000 MHz
L2 Cache Size
1536K
Total Video Memory
3072MB GDDR5
Memory Interface
384-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth
336 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)
210 GigaTexels/sec
Fabrication Process
28 nm
Transistor Count
7.1 Billion
Connectors
2 x Dual-Link DVI 1 x HDMI 1 x DisplayPort
Form Factor
Dual Slot
Power Connectors
One 8-pin and one 6-pin
Recommended Power Supply
600 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP)
250 Watts
Thermal Threshold
95° C

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Features:


 

All information courtesy of NVIDIA

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Testing of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 330.58 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 13.11 beta  drivers with the R9 290X running 13.11.Beta 8. The GTX 780 Ti will use the launch driver 331.70. The results generated in my testing were reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards. We have tested the R9 290X in Uber mode to eliminate the clock speed inconsistencies we found while running the card in "Quiet" mode to show the best case scenario for this architecture. A comparison of the quiet mode and GTX 780 Ti in extended game play scenarios is something we look at on page 14 .

 

Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

Boosting the clock speeds on the GTX 780 Ti is accomplished in much the same way it is on every other Keplar-based GPU in NVIDIA's product stack. Set your power and thermal limits to the max, increase the fan speed to 85-100% and start raising the clock speeds up and doing the stability testing tango. With this sample I was able to use the newest version of EVGA's Precision utility to manage the core and memory clock speeds, the fan speed, and voltage controls. Rather than pussyfoot around with 5 and 10MHz jumps I pushed the core clock speed up on the core to a +250MHz offset and then started testing. I could pass stability testing at up to a +305MHz but the card would randomly crash in benchmarks. Dropping down to a +285MHz offset or up to 1304MHz proved fully stable. Using the same methodology, I pushed the memory clock speed up to a +350MHz offset with a final speed of +380MHz or 1940.5MHz proving fully stable. Keeping these speeds stable requires pushing the fan speed up to the maximum to ensure the best possible cooling for long term stability. I have to say I was impressed with what this card could do with NVIDIA's vapor chamber heat sink. If every card could run numbers like this, the performance has a new name and its called the GTX 780 Ti.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were rerun until they passed a full hour of testing.

 

 

  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Splinter Cell Blacklist
  3. Bioshock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 3
  7. Batman: Arkham City
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  9. 3DMark

 

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro: Last Light is the followup to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1920x1080 the R9 290X OC is easily beaten by the GTX 780 Ti by almost 12 FPS. At 5760x1080 the margin is only 2 FPS but on a percentage basis that is close to an 8 percent increase in performance.

 

FCAT Results:

At 1920x1080 and 5760x1080 the percentile charts show a fairly flat area under the curve with some outliers that drop FPS at the 95+% range. There seem to be more outliers at 1920x1080 than at 5760x1080 but we see a swing of about 15ms in this game on the GTX 780 Ti.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist is the sixth installment in this franchise. Released in mid August 2013 in the US, it is published and distributed by Ubisoft. This game is built around the Unreal 2.5 game engine and uses Havok Physics. A new feature in this third person perspective game is a new game mechanic called Killing in Motion.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In both resolutions NVIDIA's GTX 780 Ti is shaping up to claim the fastest GPU on the planet with a wide margin over the R9 290X.

 

FCAT Results:

In the percentile charts, the results show that the GTX 780 Ti offers smoother game play in both resolutions with really tight frame times. At 1920x1080 the amount of fluctuation drives the overall FPS delivered by the R9 290X down.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Bioshock Infinite, much like the first two installments of the franchise, is a first-person shooter known for its strong story and atmosphere. This third installment of the franchise no longer takes place in the underwater world of Rapture, but in the could city of Columbia. Utilizing many of the gameplay characteristics of the original games, Bioshock Infinite has garnered critical acclaim. Taking the player through a maze of outdoor and indoor scenarios, the action is not constrained by territory. Developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games, this iteration uses the Unreal 3 game engine.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Bioshock Infinite we see a sizable performance advantage for the R9 290X over the GTX 780 Ti.

 

FCAT Results:

When you look at the percentile charts and the frame time charts you can see the smooth game action going on even with the outliers .

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

This third installment of the Crysis franchise, developed by Crytek and distributed by Electronic Arts, uses the CryEngine 3 game engine and requires a DirectX 11 ready video card and operating system due to its demanding graphics engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1920x1080 the GTX 780 Ti delivers a small margin of performance over the R9 290X while the tables are turned at 5760x1080.

 

FCAT Results:

Again we see smooth game play from the GTX 780 Ti showing that even in demanding games it has the tools to excel.

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Far Cry 3 is the latest iteration in the Far Cry series. Released in the US in early December 2012, it uses the Dunia 2 game engine and is published and developed by Ubisoft. This action-adventure, first-person shooter offers both single player and multi-player modes.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we see the GTX 780 Ti still proving the card can handle whatever is thrown at it.

 

FCAT Results:

Regardless of the card we see fairly smooth game play from the GTX 780 Ti and R9 290X when you look at it. However, the GTX 780 Ti gives the best gaming performance scores in this game.

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield 3 uses the Frostbite 2 game engine and is the direct successor to Battlefield 2. Released in North America on October 25, 2011, the game supports DirectX 10 and 11.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In BF3, The GTX 780 Ti steps up to the plate and delivers improved FPS over GTX Titan and the R9 290X.

 

FCAT Results:

What we see with the FCAT results is that the R9 290X is going to give you smooth gameplay with a single screen or even with a three panel Eyefinity configuration. Frame times do not vary significantly, improving the animation.

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

 

1920x1080     5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum released in 2009. This action-adventure game based on DC Comics' Batman super hero was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal 3 engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Batman: Arkham City, we see the GTX 780 Ti deliver excellent FPS results with large margins over the R9 290X.

 

FCAT Results:

Looking at the percentile and frame time charts, the bottom line is that you get a great gaming experience in this game with just about every card in the comparison stack. Small frame time variances equate to better overall animation.

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes – Moderate, Normal, and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11, and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance wise the R9 290X OC falls behind the GTX 780 Ti in each resolution. At 5760x1080 the small margins over the R9 290X are still fairly decent on a percentage basis.

 

FCAT Results:

In this test there is nothing that stands out as abnormal with the cards showing frame times on par with the FPS delivered.

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

 

1920x1080 5760x1080

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

3DMark: The just-released version of Futuremark's popular 3DMark suite is designed to let a wider range of the user base make a comparative analysis of the gaming prowess of their systems from entry level PCs to notebooks and extreme gaming PCs.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cloud Gate tests show the GTX 780 Ti has a distinct advantage that the R9 209X does not enjoy. The Fire Strike tests show the AMD Card just barely running better than the GTX 780 Ti. Once overclocked the GTX 780 Ti reigns supreme.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

As GPUs become more capable of pushing higher pixel densities, the use of panels supporting ever higher resolutions are hitting the market with prices dropping as better technology hits the market. Monitors supporting resolutions up to 4K are available, but can be pricey depending on the screen size you are looking for. If you look at some of the non-name branded parts you can find some tremendous bargains at the 2560x1440 resolution and even find some deals on Ultra HD televisions that can be had as low as $700. I will be running six games through the UHD testing to see just what each card will do with high settings and reduced Anti-Aliasing levels. The test setup is the same as the one used for the balance of the GPU Testing with the exception of the switch to an ASUS PQ321Q 4K capable panel. The settings used for each game can be seen in OCC's 4K testing article.

Setting up the FCAT tools to be able to measure the output signal to the display creates some challenges in measuring the raw data just due to the screen size and is more along the lines of measuring the results when running a 5760x1080 resolution. You can take a look back at our introduction to FCAT or Frame Capture Analysis Tools for a more in depth look at the technology and hardware required to pull these results. While FRAPS is a valid measurement for what it does, it does not give an accurate picture of what is actually hitting the screen. For that reason we chose to stay with FCAT as our method for capturing FPS and illustrating anomalies in performance from one manufacturer to the other. To capture the data stream going to the PQ321Q, the setup is a bit different than capturing the data at lower resolutions. Since we basically have a two-monitor setup with the UHD panel, we can hook up the hardware-based capture solution as indicated below to keep the data stream at a manageable level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaming Tests:

 

Splinter Cell Blacklist:

 

 

Crysis 3:

 

 

Far Cry 3:

 

 

DiRT 3:

 

 

Battlefield 3:

 

 

Batman: Arkham City:

 

 

In the 4K testing we see that both solutions can delver frame rates but the end results are split 50/50 as far as performance goes.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

While it's important to test the GTX 780 Ti and judge it objectively, it's also important to compare it to its competitors — especially its main competitor, the AMD R9 290X. If you read our review on the AMD R9 290X, then you'd know that it has an "Uber" fan mode and a "Quiet" fan mode. While in this Quiet mode, the fan will only reach a maximum of 40% in order to be as quiet as possible, regardless of the amount of heat produced. Utilizing a 28nm core with over six billion transistors, the R9 290X core is huge and needs to be cooled. As we saw in our temperature testing, the R9 290X reaches 94 °C, just under the 95 °C thermal limit of the card. At this point something has to give if there is no way to keep the card cool with a higher fan speed. What gives are the clock speeds. Once the heat builds up sufficiently that the airflow of the fan is not enough to keep the core from overheating, it dynamically reduces the core clock speeds down as low as an observed 669MHz to maintain the thermal threshold. As the thermals improve, so do the core clock speeds.

Knowing that the latest architecture from AMD is going to dynamically reduce clock speeds when run in Quiet mode, we have implemented an extended gaming test that heats up each card so any throttling of clock speeds will have an impact on performance. We saw the R9 290X drop as low as 669MHz, so we'll run the same test here on the GTX 780 Ti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing how the clock speed drops dynamically in Quiet mode, we had to revisit our testing and verify Uber mode was enabled to show the expected performance characteristics in the main testing. But we decided to show here how the R9 290X performs when run in Quiet mode and how that option compares to Uber mode, while comparing this directly with the GTX 780 and now GTX 780 Ti. To do so we heated up all the cards while in a game for five minutes before a benchmark scenario was run. Resolutions tested are 1920x1080 and 5760x1080. We are using a sampling of our normal benchmark suite, but have included Batman: Arkham Origins as a replacement for Batman: Arkham City. The settings used mirror those in our benchmark suite tests for a direct comparison.

 

Batman: Arkham Origins:

 

 

Far Cry 3:

 

 

Bioshock Infinite:

 

 

Crysis 3:

 

 

Metro: Last Light:

 

 

At 1920x1080, the GTX 780 Ti beats out the R9 290X in every game while it's in Quiet mode and all but one while in Uber mode. At 5760x1080, the R9 290X still has an advantage in some games.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine's Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1080 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a 20-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At stock speeds the temperature delta between the GTX 780 Ti and R9 290X is 14 °C in favor of the GTX 780 Ti. Overclocked with the fan running at 100% the delta shrinks to 2 °C, again in favor of the GTX 780 Ti. What stands out most here is the noise penalty you pay when running the cooling fan at 100% on the R9 290X. On one hand you have a howling beast that is ridiculously loud; loud enough to wake the dead it would seem. Imagine a vacuum cleaner stuffed in your case and cranked up, then block the inlet airflow so it takes that pitch a little higher. You know what I'm talking about since all of us at one time or another were fascinated with the sounds at one point in our lives. Up to around 50% fan speed the noise was not bad at all on the R9 290X. When you listen to the sound emanating from the GTX 780 Ti at 100% fan speed you fail to reach the level of the R9 290X at 50% fan speed. In short NVIDIA has done their homework and delivered cool and quiet, even at maximum fan speed.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and load states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine's Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A 15-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest power usage recorded as the final result. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system with the lowest recorded power usage as the final result.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When comparing the GTX 780 Ti to the R9 290X, the GTX 780 Ti shows some strong idle power consumption results. By that they are lower than I would expect for this much hardware on board. Under load you have to feed the beast and at stock speeds it uses slightly less power than the R9 290X. When overclocked and overvolted the power consumption jumps up some but it's still close to the rest of the upper end cards.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Conclusion:

What we get with the GTX 780 Ti is the best of both worlds in what seems to be the melding of the GTX 780's raw graphics firepower coupled with the incredible memory speeds of the GTX 770. When you put these two together, you end up with great performance at stock speeds that only gets better with the massive overclocked speeds the card is capable of right out of the box. As far as overclocking goes, the GTX 780 Ti has delivered the highest core clock speed at 1291MHz and the second highest memory clock speed at 1920MHz that I have been able to reach while air cooled on a Kepler-based GPU. This added clock speed will provide the gamer that wants to tweak the clock speeds added head room on top of the guaranteed minimum frequencies we see with NVIDIA's GPU Boost 2.0 technology. A new power balancing feature is used to manage the current draw from the three inputs so as to not draw too much current from any of the three power connection points.

In my testing, a boost clock speed of 1291MHz was reached with a memory speed of 1940MHz for a stunning improvement in 3DMark scoring. The baseline clock speeds for the GTX 780 Ti are 875MHz on the core with a typical GPU Boost 2.0 frequency of around 928MHz over a wide array of games. During my testing, I never saw speeds drop below the 928MHz threshold. A much different strategy than what we recently saw with the R9 290X, which when run in Quiet Mode would shed clock speed as fast as donuts disappearing at the morning roll call at your local police department. No such troubles here. Both manufacturers use dynamic clock speeds, but it's how well it's implemented that makes the difference once the cards heat up during gaming. This is where we see another point of difference. The vapor chamber cooling solution used by NVIDIA for its GTX 700 Series Kepler cores has been rock solid in terms of cooling efficiency and the low noise profile it uses thanks to the improved fan algorithms implemented over successive launches. Part of the reason is the larger core, which provides more area to shed the heat load due to a lower thermal density of the silicon; the rest is all in the heat sink design. Cool and quiet running is where NVIDIA is headed.

When you look at the cooling comparison, the GTX 780 Ti is a cooler, quieter running card thanks to the more power efficient design. You really do not have a noise penalty when cranking up the fan speeds on the GTX 780 Ti – it's a noise that is more like a gust of wind than a squirrel screaming for mercy on a treadmill. You get the point, I'm sure.

The performance metrics show that running head to head against the R9 290X, the GTX 780 Ti comes out on top in most of the tests run. When run hot, the margin gets even larger. Sure the R9 290X wins some, but the vast majority see the latest from the green team coming out on top. We could see the writing on the wall with the launch of the GTX 780 – seeing how well it performed in relation to NVIDIA's GTX Titan and being truly stunned at what it had to offer. I have that same feeling now after testing the GTX 780 Ti, fully proving that the addition of the additional CUDA cores and high speed memory makes this the pinnacle of NVIDIA single-GPU gaming. If you need more gaming power for a 4K display, you have the option of adding in another card (or cards) in an SLI configuration to get to that next FPS plateau.

GeForce Experience was launched with the GTX 780 as a way to take all the performance settings data that NVIDIA has put together to deliver the best possible gaming experience by optimizing the in- game settings for your GPU. We all struggle at one time or another to reach that perfect combination of settings. Using GeForce Experience, it's now done for you if you choose to use the tool. Another part of GeForce Experience is ShadowPlay, which launched with the GTX 780 Ti and is a way to record 1080p gameplay at 60 FPS without a significant performance hit thanks to the H.264 video encoder built into the Kepler architecture.

There's no doubt the GTX 780 Ti is fast and delivers smooth-as-silk gameplay. At $699, it is taking over the price point of the GTX 780 and is still $300 less than the GTX Titan. To make this price point more attractive, NVIDIA is sweetening the pot from October 28 through December 31 if you buy a GTX 780 Ti. A trio of AAA game will be included from e-tailers, including Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist; all topped off with a voucher for $100 off an NVIDIA SHIELD. If you are looking for the next best thing, it's here and it's called the GTX 780 Ti.

Stay tuned we will be doing SLI vs CF coming here in the next two weeks or so.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: