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Written by Olin Coles   
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics Card
First Look: GTX 780
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: 3DMark11
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Batman Arkham City
DX11: Battlefield 3
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 3.0
Temperature and Power Consumption
GeForce GTX 780 Conclusion

First Look: GeForce GTX 780

GeForce GTX 780 is a premium discrete graphics card for desktop computer systems, available for $649.99 online. NVIDIA has built the GeForce GTX 780 for high-performance hardware enthusiasts and hard-core gamers wanting to play PC video games at their maximum graphics quality settings using the highest screen resolution possible. It's a small niche market that few can claim, but also one that every PC gamer dreams of enjoying.

Like the GeForce GTX TITAN it's modeled after, GeForce GTX 780 is a dual-slot video card that measures 10.5" long and 4.4" wide. Sharing a nearly identical appearance, GTX 780 also features the same GK110 GPU used in the top-end GeForce GTX TITAN. Similarly, GTX 780 also supports the following NVIDIA technologies: GPU Boost 2.0, 3D Vision, CUDA, DirectX 11, PhysX, TXAA, Adaptive VSync, FXAA, 3D Vision Surround, and SLI.

In addition to a new and improved NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 technology, GeForce GTX 780 also delivers refinements to the user experience. Smoother FXAA and adaptive vSync technology results in less chop, stutter, and tearing in on-screen motion. Adaptive vSync technology adjusts the monitor's refresh rate whenever the FPS rate becomes too low to properly sustain vertical sync (when enabled), thereby reducing stutter and tearing artifacts. Finally, NVIDIA TXAA offers gamers a film-style anti-aliasing technique with a mix of hardware post-processing, custom CG file style AA resolve, and an optional temporal component for better image quality.

NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780-Front.jpg

Fashioned from technology developed for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN, engineers adapted a slightly tweaked design for GeForce GTX 780. The two cards look virtually identical, save for the model name branded near the header. A single rearward 60mm (2.4") blower motor fan is offset from the cards surface to take advantage of a chamfered depression, helping GTX 780 to draw cool air into the angled fan shroud. This design allows more air to reach the intake whenever two or more video cards are combined in close-proximity SLI configurations. Add-in card partners with engineering resources may incorporate their own cooling solution into GTX 780, although there seems little benefit from eschewing NVIDIA's cool-running reference design.

NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780-3qtr.jpg

GeForce GTX 780 offers two simultaneously functional dual-link DVI (DL-DVI) connections, a full-size HDMI 1.4a output, and a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. Add-in partners may elect to remove or possibly further extend any of these video interfaces, but most will likely retain the original reference board engineering. Only one of these video cards is necessary to drive triple-displays and NVIDIA 3D-Vision Surround functionality, when using both DL-DVI and either the HDMI or DP connection for third output. All of these video interfaces consume exhaust-vent real estate, but this has very little impact on cooling because the 28nm Kepler GPU generates much less heat than past GeForce processors, and also because NVIDIA intentionally distances the heatsink far enough from these vents to equalize exhaust pressure.

NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-650-Ti-BOOST-IO-Bracket.jpg

As with past-generation GeForce GTX series graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 780 is capable of two-card "Quad-SLI" configurations. Because GeForce GTX 780 is PCI-Express 3.0 compliant device, the added bandwidth could potentially come into demand as future games and applications make use of these resources. Most games will be capable of utilizing the highest possible graphics quality settings using only a single GeForce GTX 780 video card, but multi-card SLI/Quad-SLI configurations are perfect for extreme gamers wanting to experience ultra-performance video games played at their highest quality settings with all the bells and whistles enabled across multiple monitors.

Specified at 250W Thermal Design Power output, the Kepler GPY in GeForce GTX 780 is much more efficient than NVIDIA's previous generation GPUs. Since TDP demands have been reduced GTX 780 runs cooler during normal operation, and has move power available for Boost 2.0 requests. NVIDIA has added a "GeForce GTX" logo along the exposed side video card, and the LED backlit letters glow green when the system is powered on. GeForce GTX 780 requires an 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors for operation, allowing NVIDIA to recommend a modest 600W power supply for computer systems equipped with one of these video cards.

NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780-Top.jpg

By tradition, NVIDIA's GeForce GTX series offers enthusiast-level performance with features like multi-card SLI pairing. More recently, the GTX family has included GPU Boost application-driven variable overclocking technology - now into GPU Boost 2.0. The GeForce GTX 780 graphics card keeps with tradition in terms of performance by producing single-GPU frame rates second to only GTX TITAN. Of course, NVIDIA's Kepler GPU architecture adds proprietary features to both versions, such as: 3D Vision, Adaptive Vertical Sync, multi-display Surround, PhysX, and TXAA antialiasing.

NVIDIA_GeForce_780_PCB-Front.jpg

GeForce GTX 780's GK110 graphics processor ships with 12 SMX units: good for 2304 CUDA cores clocked to 863 MHz that boost to 902 MHz. The Boost Clock speed is based on the average GeForce GTX 780 card running a wide variety of games and applications. The memory subsystem of GeForce GTX 780 consists of six 64-bit memory controllers combined to create a 384-bit lane, which produce 288.4 GB/s bandwidth from 3GB of GDDR5 memory operating at 6008MHz data rate. GTX 780's fill rate reaches 165.7 GigaTexels per second across the backwards-compatible PCI-Express 3.0 compliant graphics interface.

NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_780-Back.jpg

GTX 780's exposed printed circuit board reveals an otherwise sparse PCB backside with few exciting features. Many of NVIDIA's latest products have used less and less PCB real estate, with GTX models occasionally needing nothing more than space for the fan. Because of the optimized Kepler GPU, GeForce GTX 780 does not benefit from any surface heatsink or cooling plates.

In the next section, we detail our test methodology and give specifications for all of the benchmarks and equipment used in our testing process...



 

Comments 

 
# Caring1John 2013-05-23 12:18
Pity the bias shown towards Nvidia resulted in the exclusion of the newly released AMD 7990, which I believe would be a true competitor being in the same price bracket.
Try the tests again when you include that card and we'll see how smug Nvidia is then.
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# RE: Caring1Austin Downing 2013-05-23 12:28
You guys really find a way to say we are biased every time. If we don't have one NVIDIA card in a test then obviously we love AMD, and if we don't have one AMD card obviously we are biased towards NVIDIA.

He is a idea, perhaps we don't have a 7990 because AMD never saw fit to send us one. I am sure if you would like to send Olin a card he would gladly test it.
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# RE: RE: Caring1Caring1 2013-05-23 19:00
I hardly think the bias shown towards Nvidia in this revue has anything to do with the exclusion of any particular card.
I really don't care one way or another which brand is the better, so i'm definitely not a "fan boy" of either camp.
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# RE: RE: RE: Caring1Olin Coles 2013-05-23 22:19
Um, so why do you think there is any bias then? You do realize it's just benchmark results and FPS numbers, right? Kind of hard to bias that.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Caring1Caring1 2013-05-24 04:38
Yes, the stats don't lie.
I was talking about your conclusion which doesn't even admit the existence of the 7990.
and ranks the GTX 780 against the lesser 7970, which is apples and oranges.
If you were unable to test the 7990, then why not admit it like you did with the Titan which you state was not tested.
For example:
"GeForce GTX 780 lacks direct competition from another graphics card. The closest available competing solution comes in the form of AMD's Radeon HD 7970, which as you might have seen from the benchmark results, hardly compares. In fact, the only real competition that can stand up to GTX 780 is the GeForce GTX TITAN (not tested), and the dual-GPU GTX 690. There were rare occasions when the dual-GPU AMD Radeon HD 6990, such as in Metro 2033 and Aliens vs Predator, but otherwise AMD has nothing to compare against GTX 780 (as well as GTX TITAN, and GTX 690).
Synthetic benchmark tools offer an unbiased read on graphics products, allowing video card manufacturers to display their performance without special game optimizations or driver influence. Futuremark's 3DMark11 benchmark suite strained our high-end graphics cards with only mid-level settings displayed at 720p, yet GeForce GTX 780 produced higher FPS results than every graphics card AMD produces".
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Caring1Austin Downing 2013-05-24 06:24
So, he left out one sentence and therefore he must be biased? Seems like a pretty strawman argument.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Caring1Olin Coles 2013-05-24 07:30
You honestly think the Radeon HD 7990, a dual-GPU $1050 video card, is the direct competition for a $650 single-GPU GeForce GTX 780? Seriously? I can hear AMD calling you back to the first to sing Kumbaya with the rest of the boys.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Caring1Olin Coles 2013-05-24 07:33
PS: GeForce GTX TITAN has one single GPU, so of course I'm going to mention it as competition for the #2 best-performing single GPU video card (GTX 780). Methinks you lack an understanding of these products, and what makes apples and oranges different.
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# RE: Caring1Olin Coles 2013-05-23 12:32
If you have one to loan for testing, I'll gladly pay for shipping and include it. Otherwise, we have no intention of purchasing a product that we've been intentionally excluded from receiving from manufacturers. AMD wouldn't even give us a media briefing on the product details, which is telling.
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# RE: RE: Caring1Caring1 2013-05-23 18:57
Tom's Hardware has a review of the 7990 which compares it a to number of cards, including Nvidia.
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# RE: Caring1Pigbristle 2013-05-23 12:34
While I do agree with some bias towards nvidia by this reviewer, I have to disagree with your 'same price bracket quote' The 7990 seems to be around 250 more expensive. Therefore not a true competitor.
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# no Titan either. whats your point?sean 2013-05-24 04:47
they didnt include the Titan, either. There is no point in comparing this card to the flagships, from either company.
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# Idiot.Alex 2013-07-04 08:15
Or, since you are clearly an AMD fanboy, you should maybe go look at some 7990 articles, seeing how they are biased aswell. It is just the way it works man. Not only that, but who the # cares. If you like AMD, go buy AMD, if you like Nvidia guess what? GO BUY NVIDIA. The truth is, both manufacturers have ups and downs. AMD can't Crossfire for # right now, so for anybody who is interested in bridging, AMD is 100% useless. Nvidia has horrible game packages right now, so for anybody who is poor and can't afford games, Nvidia is 100% useless to you. There is going to be company bias anywhere you go, this community is full of fanboys and illogical morons. Do yourself a favor and find yourself a AMD review if that is what you are looking for.
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# Really ? at 1920nyein 2013-05-24 00:11
benching those GTX780 high end card on 1920x1080 is ridiculous.
the person who buy GTX780 will not be playing on Full HD.
They want on 2560 or surround.
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# RE: Really ? at 1920Luay 2013-05-27 01:45
Unless it's a 120hz++ display.
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# Really ?Alex 2013-07-04 08:23
I own a 780, and quite often I disable Nvidia surround and play 1920x1080. I enjoy multitasking sometimes, and to be quite honest Nvidia surround is not that special. Unless you like dealing with stretch marks and fish-eye effect. From what I have seen it is a massive pain in the arsenal for me to have to adjust resolution of games. Even with Widescreen Fixer, the games look horrible and are still stretched beyond my enjoyment. Maybe me buying the 780 was a mistake. Or maybe when Next-Gen games come out. I might actually be able to play them at 1920x1080. Because truth be told, your 560ti or whatever you think is fine for 1920x1080, Is going to be garbage for games like BF4 or higher.
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics CardChris 2013-05-24 06:40
It seems that we're looking at 20% faster (or thereabouts) than a 680 GTX depending on which game you look at.

From a performance standpoint, it's a modest upgrade over the 680/7970 and well, in terms of price to performance, not really an upgrade at all. You can get a 7970 these days for under $400 US/CAD, so a card that performs 20% faster is a pretty hard sell. Of course, as you get into the higher end, the law of diminishing returns comes into play.

It's basically a cut down Titan, brought to an "affordable" price point for the general public.

What this card needs is something like an MSI GTX 780 Lightning, namely something with better cooling and a better PCB. On that note, Olin is there any word that something like that will happen?
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics CardOlin Coles 2013-05-24 07:36
MSI hinted on a production product arriving in June. No word on pricing, however.
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# RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics CardChris 2013-05-24 09:08
I'm expecting a ~$100 premium over the reference, which hopefully will be cheaper. Let's face it though, for those that wanted price:performance, this card is not going to be it.

But the real reason why I like the MSI series of cards Lightning/Hawk/PE, is due to the cooler and better PCB. They usually do tend to overclock better as well, although OC is always no assurance.

It seems right now, for $350 less than the Titan, you lose ~10% of core performance, 3gb of VRAM (no big deal unless you're playing a super high resolutions), and that's about it. But the Titan was always a hard sell to the general public.

This card, to be honest, is not a great value either. 20% faster, but for about 60% more than the 7970 - it's diminishing returns for sure. I guess I'm a bit disappointed that it's been about 18 months since the 7970 has come out and there haven't been the performance gains at a competitive price point that I would have liked to see.
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# RE: RE: RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics CardAlex 2013-07-04 08:27
You are saying the gtx 780 is bad for price to performance? How about comparing it to the titan. With a MILD overclock, the 780 beats a stock titan. So for $300 less, you basically get same performace as a titan, same look, same cooling. It is good value for money if you were previously in the market for a Titan (which if anybody still buys a titan, they are completely stupid.)
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# Is the GTX 780 Waterproof ???...Tangldweb 2013-05-24 08:23
I ask because I figure this would be the BEST Overall card for these AMD people whom Cry everytime their poor cards get the C@%& kicked out of them as with the 650ti Boost. I mean my 650ti boost couldnt take this kind of Humidity on a Good Day so I'm figuring the AMD cards MUST be waterproof. So I must agree that not using the AMD'S obviously waterproof cards such as the 7990 in this reveiw is Highly Biased,.. even though I Rarely use my Desktop in the Pool !!! There's always one in the Crowd. Hehe. And I'd link other reveiws that back up these numbers but needless to say,.. Good Technical Reveiw as always. Cheers
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# RE: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics CardTrajan Long 2013-05-25 05:44
I can't believe that AMD fanbois are whining about the 7990, a Crossfire solution which doesn't get almost half its fps numbers to the screen due to runt frames, resulting in herky jerky stuttering. Many sites have exposed this and currently refuse to recommend Crossfire until this is fixed, including Hardocp, Tech Report, Hardware Canucks, PC Perspective.
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