NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Video Card Review
By Olin Coles
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
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.
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: geforce.com/drivers/geforce-experience/download