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 1920×1080 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).
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.
+ 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
– Very expensive enthusiast product!
COMMENT QUESTION: Do you prefer NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon graphics cards?