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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Video Card Review

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GeForce GTX 780 Ti Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, be advised that every author perceives these factors differently. 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 revisions that occur after publication which could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on this conclusion, as it represents our rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

My ratings begin with performance, where the $699 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti is matched up against the competition’s $599 flagship: AMD Radeon R9 290X. There is a $100 price difference between these two products, but there’s more than money separating them. In DirectX 11 tests the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti outperformed the original GTX 780, while easily surpassing the AMD Radeon R9 290X in our benchmark FPS tests.

Synthetic benchmark tools offer an unbiased rating for 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, which forced GTX 780 Ti to either pull ahead or trail behind R9 290X depending on the test. Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark tests used maximum settings that tend to crush most products, yet the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti trampled AMD’s Radeon R9 290X by more than 11 FPS at 1680×1050 and 9 FPS at 1920×1080.

In Aliens vs Predator, performance was competitive between the R9 290X and GTX 780, but GTX 780 Ti crushed them both with a 13 FPS lead. Ultra-demanding DX11 games such as Batman: Arkham City produced 125 FPS from the reference-clocked GeForce GTX 780 Ti, compared to 115 FPS for the Radeon R9 290X that failed to compete with 118 FPS produced by the original GTX 780. Battlefield 3 generated 108 FPS on the GTX 780 Ti with ultra quality settings, while the R9 290X trailed behind with 103.7 FPS. Lost Planet 2 played well on all graphics cards when set to high quality with 4x AA, but was a test anomaly that forced the Radeon R9 290X to trail 18 FPS behind GTX 780 Ti and also nearly 12 FPS behind GTX 780. Metro 2033 is another demanding game that requires tremendous graphics power to enjoy high quality visual settings, allowing the Radeon R9 290X to trail GTX 780 Ti at 1680×1050 before keeping pace at 1920×1080. The Frostbite 3 game engine in Battlefield 4 is very demanding, and forces the Radeon R9 290X to suffer a 13 FPS difference in favor of GeForce GTX 780 Ti at 1920×1080 and 9 FPS at 2560×1600.

NVIDIA_GeForce_780_PCB-Front.jpg

Beyond the raw frame rate performance results, there’s a incredibly alarming difference between the architecture of these two products. On paper it might appear that both products feature similar power management technology, which limits clock speeds and the amount of boost overclock based on application needs and/or temperature. Typically you won’t see obvious differences between how this is accomplished on mainstream graphics cards, but at the top-end they become impossible to ignore. It’s true that NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 780 Ti is built in the image of GTX TITAN and GTX 780 combined, which is to say that the card operates within a certain power envelope to ensure TDP (and hence heat output) are kept under control of the card’s thermal management system. In the event fan power increases, whether automatically or forced manually, the blower motor is optimized for low noise output. The same cannot be said for AMD’s Radeon R9 290X, which sounds and feels like a blow-dryer set to high under moderate load. GTX 780 Ti might have a 10% performance lead, but it outperforms R9 290X by 100% when it comes to noise and heat levels.

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 again with GeForce GTX 780. Keeping with an ‘industrial’ look, GeForce GTX 780 Ti uses matte silver trim to help the series stand out. Because GeForce GTX 780 Ti 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 cooling the GPU. While fashionably good looks might lead to more consumers, keep in mind that this product still outperforms all the competition while generating far 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 processor cores that consume less energy and emit less heat, it seems clear that GeForce GTX 780 Ti 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 for most enthusiast systems. 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 (07 November 2013), the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti video card is expected to sell with a starting price of $699.99 (Newegg | Amazon), which is only $50 more than the original GTX 780 debuted at. Please keep in mind that hardware manufacturers and retailers are constantly adjusting prices, so expect prices to change a few times between now and one month later. There’s still plenty of value delivered beyond frame rate performance, and the added NVIDIA Kepler features run off the charts. Only NVIDIA Kepler video cards can offer automated GPU Boost 2.0 technology, 3D Vision, Adaptive VSync, PhysX technology, FXAA, TXAA, ShadowPlay, and now G-SYNC.

In conclusion, GeForce GTX 780 Ti is the gamer’s version of GTX TITAN with a powerful lead ahead of Radeon R9 290X. Even if it were possible for the competition to overclock and reach similar frame rate performance, temperatures and noise would still heavily favor the GTX 780 Ti design. I was shocked at how loud AMD’s R9 290X would roar once it began to heat up midway through a benchmark test, creating a bit of sadness for gamers trying to play with open speakers instead of an insulated headset. There is a modest price difference between them, but quite frankly, the competition doesn’t belong in the same class. GeForce GTX 780 Ti delivers performance beyond expectations, offers a myriad of proprietary technologies that enhance the user experience, and challenges game developers to build even more realism into their titles.

Pros:

Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Surpasses AMD Radeon R9 290X performance
+ Outstanding performance with DX11 video games
+ Supports NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, G-SYNC, ShadowPlay, TXAA, and 3D Vision
+ 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!

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.75
  • Appearance: 9.50
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.75
  • Value: 6.50

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Which would you buy: GTX 780 Ti or Radeon R9 290X?

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7 comments

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  1. CrazyElf

    It’s competitive from a price performance standpoint (a first I suppose for high end GPUs).

    Hmm … it looks like:
    – It beats the Titan handily (unless the 3gb of VRAM runs out)
    – At lower resolutions, and more important at 2560×1440 it beats the 290X

    I wonder though how it will do against the 290X Crossfired at 4K if the 780Ti is in SLI?

  2. Caring1

    I’ve only read the first page and already it reads like a spiel from the Nvidia marketing division.
    I would have expected a more professional, independent approach to the review, but it seems their is a bias towards Nvidia products here.

    “delivers a host of additional features not seen or available from the competition. Ultra HD 4K resolution displays are supported, and so is the cutting-edge G-SYNC technology”

    So where is this host of features? Ultra HD is supported on the new AMD card, G-Sync is a Nvidia product not applicable to AMD cards. That makes one feature so far…
    Can we please try to be professional when reviewing?

    This type of B.S. isn’t needed or necessarily true: “NVIDIA tends to dominate the field when it comes to graphics processing power, leaving AMD scrambling to remain competitive by reducing prices on their products to add value for an aging technology.”
    The clincher there is you left of “pre” from the second word in that sentence.

    1. Olin Coles

      Did I offend an AMD fanboy with the truth? Only someone like that would go off on a rant without reading anything more than the first few paragraphs, and then selectively ignore the content. Since you didn’t make it past page one, here are the features you missed:
      NVIDIA G-SYNC (noted)
      NVIDIA ShadowPlay (mentioned in the same paragraph you quoted)
      NVIDIA Boost 2.0 (listed next)
      FXAA and TXAA post-processing
      NVIDIA 3D Vision
      Adaptive VSync
      PhysX technology

      Furthermore, please feel free to compare the months that NVIDIA and AMD have each been the leader in discreet graphics technology. You’ll see that NVIDIA offers the ‘most powerful’ video card 11 months for every 1 month (rounded up) that AMD has managed to do so. Facts… they’re so pesky.

      1. Caring1

        More like I offended an Nvidia fanboy.
        The features you mention are proprietary, AMD also has a large list of proprietary features, something you neglect to mention in your fervour and slathering to your favourite company.
        Funny how you always seem to include negative remarks about AMD, even when they hold no relevance to the comparison.

        1. Olin Coles

          I said “delivers a host of additional features not seen or available from the competition”, which you’ve just confirmed to be completely true by pointing out their proprietary nature. Also, and in much the same way as you ignorantly posted a rant without reading the article, you’ve also failed to notice how many AMD articles I’ve written… namely the recent R9 270X by MSI and Sapphire… both of which received my praise and awards.

          As I’ve mentioned several times before: I don’t care who makes the product. All I care about is who offers the best product, the best features, or the best value. It’s easy to post a ridiculous comment that cries foul when you ignore facts like benchmarks, temperatures, fan noise, features, etc. Obviously you’re blinded by your commitment to the AMD brand, as evidenced by your comment in defense of Radeon R9 290X against GeForce GTX 780 Ti. Regardless of how you want to twist things: AMD is still #2 in GPU performance just like they usually are.

  3. cobra32

    I read your article and it is bias no ultra hd 4k numbers and lower resolution for some games higher for others. The 290X is a god send it made Nvidia have to adjust there prices and that is more important then anything. If it was not for Amd you would be paying 1200 for that 780GTX TI. Amd gives us 780 GTX performance for 399.00 with R290 while Nvidia gave it to us for 649.00 with the GTX 780. The 290x is the future with some tweaking it will be the card of the future. With Ultra HD 4k on the horizon the extra memory will come into play and again Nvidia keeps sticking it to its customers by giving us 3 gb instead of 4gb or 6 gb like the titan which is what this card will need in 4k game play. That G-sync is a joke since none of the top Monitors provide it. I bet you ran the 290x in quiet mode. You did not even use the new drivers from AMD betas 9.2 also. Amd’s mantle will also improve the gaming experience and with all the game manufactures programing for the AMD chips since all the game systems use them now it will leave NVidia out in the cold. I’m not a Fan boy of either but will give credit will credit is due Nvidia Has given game players the shaft for a while with over priced video cards and we can thank AMD for giving NVidia a reality check. Thank you AMD for not fucking us like Nvidia has for along time with over priced video cards. I also own a over price EVGA classified 780 GTX card. You got once NVidia never again waiting for 290x Asus matrix that will be a hot video card.

    1. Steven Iglesias-Hearst

      The AMD R9 290X is not 780 GTX performance for 399.00.

      For starters the R9 290X has no overclocking headroom, but the GTX 780 has. NVidia had the GTX 780Ti months ago but didn’t need to release it till now since AMD are only just able to muster up some competition. You seem to forget that AMD recent releases were just more re-brands.

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