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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

GeForce GTX 780 Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested, which may differ from future versions of the same product. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

My ratings begin with performance, where 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).

In the DirectX 10 game Crysis Warhead the GeForce GTX 780 graphics card easily surpassed AMD's Radeon HD 7970 without much effort, but was nearly matched by the GTX 680 and eventually beaten by the dual-GPU GTX 590 and GTX 690. DirectX 11 test results continued to keep the GeForce GTX 780 consistently ahead of its competition in almost all tests: ultra-demanding DX11 games such as Batman: Arkham Asylum made good use of Kepler's optimized architecture, helping to deliver 118-FPS and trailing performance for GTX 690 (127-FPS). Battlefield 3 gave the GeForce GTX 780 an astonishing 46-FPS lead over the Radeon HD 7970, all while using Ultra quality settings. Lost Planet 2 played well on all graphics cards when set to high quality with 4x AA, allowing GTX 780 to maintain an impressive 93.7 frame rate. In Aliens vs Predator the GeForce GTX 780 surpasses the AMD Radeon HD 7970 by nearly 40 FPS while outperforming GTX 590 by 20 FPS, but trailed slightly behind dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990 performance levels. Metro 2033 is another demanding game that requires high-end graphics to enjoy high quality visual settings, and although this benchmark favors Radeon products the GTX 780 maintained a lead over other cards at 1920x1080 while matching frame rates with Radeon HD 6990.

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. Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark tests used maximum settings that tend to crush most products, yet GTX 780 still produced a dominating performance that was second only to the GTX 690 (and presumably GTX TITAN).

NVIDIA_GeForce_780_PCB-Front.jpg

Overclocking is an area I will cover in more detail with a follow-up article, since time constraints and testing setbacks kept me from having enough data to present it here. While the sample I received could be overclocked to 1200 MHz (Boost), it required maximum cooling and would occasionally crash the driver. Backing it down two steps produced 1176 MHz (Boost), and was completely stable in all tests, but still required upper-end fan speed. More details will be posted in the following days.

Appearance is a much more subjective matter, especially since this particular rating doesn't have any quantitative benchmark scores to fall back on. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX series has traditionally used a recognizable design over the past two years, but beginning with GTX TITAN and seen here again with the GeForce GTX 780, NVIDIA's use of matte silver trim certainly helps the series stand out. Because GeForce GTX 780 operates so efficiently, and allows nearly all of the heated air to exhaust outside of the computer case, the reference design does an excellent job for function. While fashionably good looks might mean a lot to some consumers, keep in mind that this product still outperforms all the competition while generating much less heat and producing very little noise.

Construction is the one area NVIDIA graphics cards continually shine, and thanks in part to extremely quiet operation paired with more efficient cores that consume less energy and emit less heat, it seems clear that GeForce GTX 780 continues to carry on this tradition. Requiring an 8- and 6-pin PCI-E power connections reduce power supply requirements to 600W, which is practically mainstream. Additionally, consumers have a top-end single-GPU solution capable of driving three monitors in 3D Vision Surround with the inclusion of two DL-DVI ports with supplementary HDMI and DisplayPort output.

As of launch day (23 May 2013), the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 video card sells with a starting price of $649.99 (Amazon | Newegg). Please keep in mind that hardware manufacturers and retailers are constantly adjusting prices, so expect it to change a few times between now and one month later. There's still plenty of value beyond basic frame rate performance, and the added NVIDIA Kepler features run it off the charts. Only NVIDIA Kepler video cards can offer automated GPU Boost technology, 3D Vision, Adaptive VSync, PhysX technology, FXAA, and now TXAA.

My conclusion: GeForce GTX 780 is essentially GTX TITAN Jr. NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITAN was already a huge problem for the AMD Radeon series, since there's nothing to complete with it until much later in the year. Now GeForce GTX 780 arrives, and creates an additional layer of trouble for them when their technology finally catches up. Of course, just because GTX 780 gets a free pass doesn't mean it will be an instant winner. Gamers must have a reason to spend $650 on a video card, especially with so many other platform options coming to market soon. But for those who can pay the asking price, their reward is quite sweet indeed. GeForce GTX 780 delivers performance beyond expectations, and challenges game developers to build even more realism into their titles.

Pros:

+ Outperforms AMD Radeon HD 7970 and dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990
+ Outstanding performance with DX11 video games
+ Supports NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 technology, Adaptive VSync, TXAA, 3D Vision and PhysX
+ Triple-display and 3D Vision Surround support
+ Cooling fan operates at very quiet acoustic levels
+ Features DisplayPort connectivity for future monitor technology
+ Very low power consumption at idle and heat output under load
+ Upgradable into dual- and triple SLI card sets

Cons:

- Very expensive enthusiast product!

COMMENT QUESTION: Do you prefer NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics cards?


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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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