Tech Reviews

Nvidia GTX 780 Ti Review (Reference Design)

 
The GTX 780 Ti. It has finally come to this, the pinnacle of this generation’s Nvidia graphics cards. If you have a computer that can take advantage of the GTX 780 Ti’s graphical prowess, then you will be experiencing better visuals than anything “next-gen” can offer. It is simply an awesome time to be a PC gamer.
 
I’ve been working with Nvidia pretty closely for the past year and I’ve been privileged to bring you guys reviews of the latest GTX graphics cards. Starting with the GTX 660, we been looking at the way this generation of GPUs has impacted gaming. Everything from the 650 Ti to the 780 Ti all have something in common: efficiency. They bring tremendous performance gains while requiring minimal system resources. It wasn’t that long ago where something like a 500 series GPU would eat up a large chunk of your power supply, and running something like Crysis would cause your cooling fan to go nuts. Now you can have something like the 780 Ti which gives you performance even faster than the GTX Titan, while using up less power than a GTX 590.
 
What a wonderful time.
 
NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780Ti_Stylized_4147
 
The GTX 780 Ti is in an interesting position. There already is a GTX 780 and the GTX Titan, yet Nvidia felt they needed to squeeze one more GPU right in there. I’m glad they did, since the 780 Ti offers a nice gain in performance not only over the 780, but over the original GK110 flagship, the GTX Titan, as well. In fact, when we start looking at what the 780 Ti offers, it becomes more and more obvious that the $1000 Titan now really doesn’t have a place amongst elite gaming cards (it still finds life as a compute card, however).
 
For $700, is the GTX 780 Ti worth the premium price tag? I mean, we’re talking something that considerably more pricey than any of the new consoles, and something that would only work as intended if you have all the other necessary (and expensive) components for building a gaming PC, but as any PC gaming aficionado will attest to, take one look at Crysis 3 being run at 2560×1440 or spanned across three monitors using Nvidia Surround, and the price suddenly becomes worth it.
 
Before we continue with this review, I want to mention something that I always mention with my GPU reviews. Throughout this review, you will see benchmark results and data taken from AnandTech’s GTX 780 Ti review. Just like before, my “test bed” is simply my daily use PC, so I am not able to do the type of extensive testing and comparisons between a number of different GPUs. That and also the fact that I simply do not have 20 GPUs sitting around to swap out.
 
You’ll notice that there are a lot of comparisons between the GTX 780 Ti and the Radeon 290X/GTX Titan/GTX 780. I won’t be making any comparisons here since again, I do not have a 290X or Titan in my possession; however, I will provide some data from AnandTech’s review. Just because I am personally unable to conduct these comparisons does not mean that I want to pretend that they don’t exist, so rather than short you wonderful readers on hard data, I feel it’s better to use another site’s data. And since I trust AnandTech’s reviews implicitly, what better place to borrow from?
 
NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780Ti_Stylized_4338_2
 
What I can do is provide some info for those of you who aren’t the best of the best when it comes PC tech. There are those of you out there that have enough know how to handle your own if you ever need to take your PC apart, but wouldn’t consider yourself experts. Maybe you just want to upgrade a part or two without getting too deep into the nitty gritty tech-speak. That’s what I’m here for, because I am in the same boat as you. I can handle my own around a computer; after all, I built my current one, but I am by no means an expert like the guys at Maximum PC or Tom’s Hardware. I’m just a guy who likes to game on my PC and wants the best possible performance for my dough.
 
This is my daily driver PC:
 
– Intel Core i7 920 @2.67 GHz (overclocked to 3.21 GHz)
– Asus Rampage III Gene Motherboard
– Dell 875W Power Supply
– 18 GB Corasir XMS3 DDR3 RAM
– GTX 780 Ti
– GTX 760 (for additional monitors and dedicated to PhysX)
– Windows 8
 
It’s a decent enough system to do what I need it to do, and it can run nearly every game I own on max settings, though to get a high enough framerate I might knock down a setting or two. But the point is, everything is playable and looks better than anything I can get on the PS4 or Xbox One, and definitely better than anything last-gen. As it is with anything out there, you get what you pay for and besides, if you’re going to be dropping $700 on a GPU, isn’t that why you’re doing it? To get something you can’t get anywhere else?
 
With the GTX 780 Ti, you get these specs:
 
CUDA Cores – 2880
Base Clock (MHz) – 875
Boost Clock (MHz) – 928
Texture Fill Rate (GigaTexels/sec) – 210
Memory Clock – 7.0 Gbps
Standard Memory Config – 3072 MB
Memory Interface – GDDR5
Memory Interface Width – 384-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) – 336
Multi-Monitor – 4 displays
Maximum Digital Resolution – 4096×2160
Maximum VGA Resolution – 2048×1536
HDCP – Yes
HDMI – Yes
Standard Display Connectors – One Dual Link DVI-I, One Dual Link DVI-D, One HDMI, One DisplayPort
Length – 10.5 in
Height – 4.376 in
Width – Dual-slot
Max GPU Temperature (in C) – 95 C
Graphics Card Power (W) – 250 W
Minimum System Power Requirement (W) – 600 W
Supplementary Power Connectors – One 8-pin and one 6-pin
 
NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780Ti_Stylized_4276
 
The GTX 780 Ti is the fastest GK110 card out there, and pretty much the fastest video card overall out there. Compared to the GTX 780, depending on if you’re looking at a ROP or shader-bound scenario, you will see anywhere between a 1% and 27% increase in speed, and when compared to the GTX Titan (looking at the same parameters), you will see anywhere between a 5% and 17% increase in speed.
 
As with any of the this “generations” Kepler cards, you’re getting the full gamut of Nvidia technologies in the GTX 780 Ti, up to an including Nvidia GPU Boost 2.0, GeForce Experience, FXAA and TXAA, up to quad-SLI, PhysX and APEX, Nvidia Surround for up to four monitors, adaptive vsync and Gsync, and 3D Vision.
 
Yes, that’s all fine and good but tech-speak aside, how does this translate to games performance? As with any of our GPU reviews, I’ll be providing both a number of benchmarks conducted off my own PC, and also some benchmarks by AnandTech at 2560×1440 resolution (mine will be at 1920×1080). Here are mine first:
 
HEAVEN BENCHMARK
 
SCORE 1410
56.0 FPS
MIN 20.0
MAX 109.1
 
VALLEY BENCHMARK
 
Score 2649
63.3 FPS
MIN 25.6
MAX 117.8
 
SANCTUARY DEMO
 
SCORE 5670
133.7 FPS
MIN 104.4
MAX 163.5
 
TOMB RAIDER
 
60.8 FPS
MIN 44
MAX 83.7
 
GRID 2
 
98.2 FPS
MIN 57.9
MAX 137.5
 
F1 2013
 
91 FPS
MIN 72
 
BIOSHOCK INFINITE
 
133 FPS
MIN 25
MAX 256
 
BATMAN ARKHAM CITY
 
78 FPS
MIN 33
MAX 131
 
And here are some of AnandTech’s benchmarks (you can check out their test bed info on their site):
 
59656 copy
 
59659 copy
 
59666 copy
 
59670 copy
 
59674 copy
 
59677 copy
 
59683 copy
 
59687 copy
 
I was provided with a reference design of the GTX 780 Ti, so the Titan chassis was a nice bit of familiarity. Basically if you have seen the Titan, 770, or 780, then you should be familiar with what the 780 Ti looks like. It uses the same shroud as the Titan, so expect to see the same aluminum housing and baseplate, nickel tipped heatsink, and the vapor chamber providing heat transfer between the GPU and heatsink. On the bottom you’ll see the cooling fan, “GTX 780 Ti” in black letters along the bottom edge, and “GeForce GTX” along the side in illuminated green letters. All in all, like the GTX 770 I reviewed a while back, it’s a very attractive and sturdy piece of equipment.
 
Just make sure you have a large enough case. At 10.5 inches long, this isn’t exactly a small piece of equipment. It seems that the reference design is what most partner boards are going to resemble, so just keep the size in mind. Glancing quickly at Newegg right now, the only one I can see that’s drastically different in design is Gigabyte’s 780 Ti. Everyone else from Asus to EVGA is using the reference design.
 
NV_GeForce_GTX_780Ti_KV_FINAL_HR
 
It seems that the game of one-upmanship between AMD and Nvidia is giving us quite a bit of options when it comes to choosing a graphics card for your computer. Anytime one releases something, the other goes “Oh yeah?” and a bigger and better card drops in our laps. This time around, Nvidia decided to go for broke and give us a GK110 card that’s completely maxed out. No more playing games. You want power, speed, performance? GTX 780 Ti.
 
If you’re looking for a single GPU solution to power all your PC gaming needs, then it’s hard to find a better choice than the 780 Ti, even with the premium price tag. At $700, it IS quite a hefty bit of dough, and it IS only for a single component. But, if you simply must have the best of the best, then it’s hard to pass the 780 Ti up.