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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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Video Card Review

Manufacturer: NVIDIA Corporation
Product Name: GeForce GTX 780 Graphics Card
Price: Starting at $649.99 (Amazon | Newegg)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by NVIDIA.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX TITAN allowed gamers to challenge any video game they choose with the highest quality settings possible, but in limited supply and high price tag ($1020 Newegg). For many players, their games really only needed half as much power and memory from a video card. Enter NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780: built from GTX TITAN to deliver 3GB of GDDR5 video frame buffer memory, and 2304 CUDA cores from the GK110 GPU that reach 900 MHz using NVIDIA Boost 2.0 technology. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests and compares the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 graphics card using several highly-demanding DX11 video games, such as Metro: Last Light, Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780 is built using the same GK110 GPU found inside GTX TITAN, along with 3072MB of GDDR5 memory running at the same clock speeds. GTX TITAN delivered 2688 cores clocked at 836/876 boost, which NVIDIA revised to 2304 cores at 863/900 for GeForce GTX 780. Both cards share the same supplementary power connector requirements: 8-pin + 6-pin, as well as the identical 250-watt TDP. Coincidentally, GeForce GTX 780 features twice as many CUDA cores and GDDR5 memory. GeForce GTX 780 has been designed with enough GPU speed and power to outperform the GTX 580 by 70% and GTX 680 by almost 38%.

There are three platforms to enjoy video games: portable, console, and PC. While smartphone and tablet devices can play games, graphics rarely go beyond simple 2D. Gaming consoles take detail quality a few steps farther, but pale in comparison to the hyper-realistic gaming experience available to high-end PC graphics cards. While game developers might not consider PC gaming as lucrative as entertainment consoles, companies like NVIDIA use desktop graphics technology to set the benchmark for smaller more compact GPU designs that make it into notebooks, tablets, and smartphone devices.


GeForce GTX 780 Features

Source: NVIDIA

The GeForce GTX 780 features the same GK110 GPU that was used in the record-breaking GeForce GTX TITAN. With 2304 CUDA Cores at its disposal, the GeForce GTX 780 features 50% more CUDA Cores than the GeForce GTX 680, and thanks to its 3GB frame buffer, 50% more memory as well. And to ensure high frame rates at the maximum screen resolution of your monitor, GeForce GTX 780's 384-bit memory interface provides up to 288.4GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth to the GPU. The GeForce GTX 780 offers a tremendous performance upgrade. Gamers upgrading from a GeForce GTX 580 will experience up to a 70% performance improvement, and the GTX 780 is even up to 34% faster than last year's GeForce GTX 680.

GeForce GTX 780 ships with 12 SMX units providing 2304 CUDA Cores. The memory subsystem of GeForce GTX 780 consists of six 64-bit memory controllers (384-bit) with 3GB of GDDR5 memory. The base clock speed of the GeForce GTX 780 is 863MHz. The typical Boost Clock speed is 900MHz. The Boost Clock speed is based on the average GeForce GTX 780 card running a wide variety of games and applications. Note that the actual Boost clock will vary from game-to-game depending on actual system conditions. GeForce GTX 780's memory speed is 6008MHz data rate.

The GeForce GTX 780 reference board measures 10.5" in length. Display outputs include two dual-link DVIs, one HDMI and one DisplayPort connector. One 8-pin PCIe power connector and one 6-pin PCIe power connector are required for operation.

NVIDIA Boost 2.0

NVIDIA GPU Boost technology automatically increases the GPU's clock frequency in order to improve performance. GPU Boost works in the background, dynamically adjusting the GPU's graphics clock speed based on GPU operating conditions.

Originally GPU Boost was designed to reach the highest possible clock speed while remaining within a predefined power target. However, after careful evaluation NVIDIA engineers determined that GPU temperature is often a bigger inhibitor of performance than GPU power. Therefore for Boost 2.0, we've switched from boosting clock speeds based on a GPU power target, to a GPU temperature target. This new temperature target is 80 degrees Celsius.

As a result of this change, the GPU will automatically boost to the highest clock frequency it can achieve as long as the GPU temperature remains at 80C. Boost 2.0 constantly monitors GPU temperature, adjusting the GPU's clock and its voltage on-the-fly to maintain this temperature.

In addition to switching from a power-based boost target to a temperature-based target, with GPU Boost 2.0 we're also providing end users with more advanced controls for tweaking GPU Boost behavior. Using software tools provided by NVIDIA add-in card partners, end users can adjust the GPU temperature target precisely to their liking. If a user wants his GeForce GTX 780 board to boost to higher clocks for example, he can simply adjust the temperature target higher (for example from 80C, to 85C). The GPU will then boost to higher clock speeds until it reaches the new temperature target.

Besides adjusting the temperature target, Boost 2.0 also provides users with more powerful fan control. The GPU's fan curve is completely adjustable, so you can adjust the GPU's fan to operate at different speeds based on your own preferences.

Adaptive Temperature Controller

With GPU Boost 2.0, the GPU will boost to the highest clock speed it can achieve while operating at 80C. Boost 2.0 will dynamically adjust the GPU fan speed up or down as needed to attempt to maintain this temperature. While we've attempted to minimize fan speed variation as much as possible in prior GPUs, fan speeds did occasionally fluctuate.

For GeForce GTX 780, we've developed an all-new fan controller that uses an adaptive temperature filter with an RPM and temperature targeted control algorithm to eliminate the unnecessary fan fluctuations that contribute to fan noise, providing a smoother acoustic experience.

NVIDIA GeForce Experience

GeForce Experience is a new application from NVIDIA that optimizes your PC in two key ways. First, it maximizes your game performance and game compatibility by automatically downloading the latest GeForce Game Ready drivers. Second, GeForce Experience intelligently optimizes graphics settings for all your favorite games based on your hardware configuration.

Shadow Play

Utilizing the H.264 video encoder built-in to every Kepler GPU, ShadowPlay works in the background, seamlessly recording your last 20 minutes of gameplay footage, or if you'd like to record your latest StarCraft match, ShadowPlay can record that too.
Compared to software-based video encoders like FRAPS, ShadowPlay takes less of a performance hit, so you can enjoy your games while you're recording.

Download NVIDIA GeForce Experience here:



# 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 [email protected]%& 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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