NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Video Card Review
By Olin Coles
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by NVIDIA.
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. Recently the AMD Radeon R9 290X was revealed as the brand’s flagship graphics card, virtually occupying future shelf space for around $599 and expected to compete against NVIDIA’s less-expensive GeForce GTX 780 that has been available since May (2013). Not one to allow competition into their high-end territory, NVIDIA pushes back with the introduction of GeForce GTX 780 Ti. Capable of producing the fastest and most efficient graphics power ever available, GeForce GTX 780 Ti offers 25% more processing cores than GTX 780 while leaving room to deliver record-level 336 GB/sec GDDR5 memory bandwidth so to leave no doubt who controls the top-end of discreet graphics.
In many ways, GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card is similar to the GTX TITAN that visual professionals enjoy. NVIDIA replaces TITAN’s double-precision with a massive number of CUDA cores in GTX 780 Ti to generate maximum frame rates from video game graphics. But GeForce GTX 780 Ti goes beyond high FPS performance, and 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 that eliminates screen tearing and display-generated stutter. FXAA and TXAA post-processing effects smooth rough edges and soften their graphical appearance. GeForce GTX 780 Ti also yields some of the most efficient processing power produced by any video card in history, even with always-on NVIDIA ShadowPlay capturing real-time gaming action in 1080p.
While offering gamers more than GTX TITAN, the new GeForce GTX 780 Ti goes far beyond being a faster GTX 780. Clocked from 875 MHz up to 928 MHz with NVIDIA Boost 2.0 technology, there are 2880 single precision CUDA cores on GeForce GTX 780 Ti (with 960 double precision cores), compared to 2304 CUDA cores from the GK110 GPU on GTX 780. Like GTX TITAN and GTX 780, GeForce GTX 780 Ti also delivers a 3GB video frame buffer. However, unlike GTX 780 and TITAN, the 7000 MHz GDDR5 memory on GTX 780 Ti delivers an impressive 336 GB/s of bandwidth. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests and compares the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 graphics card using several highly-demanding DX11 video games, such as Battlefield 4, Metro: Last Light and Batman: Arkham City.
There are three platforms available to 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 and display up to 1080p resolution, but pale in comparison to the hyper-realistic gaming experience available to high-end PC graphics cards attached to high-resolution monitors and Ultra HD 4K displays. 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 Ti is designed for gamers who want to enjoy their games at the maximum graphics settings and screen resolutions, with high levels of AA enabled. GeForce GTX 780 Ti ships with 2880 CUDA Cores and 15 SMX units. The memory subsystem of GeForce GTX 780 Ti consists of six 64-bit memory controllers (384-bit) with 3GB of GDDR5 memory. The base clock speed of the GeForce GTX 780 Ti is 875MHz. The typical Boost Clock speed is 928MHz.
The Boost Clock speed is based on the average GeForce GTX 780 Ti 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 Ti’s memory speed is 7000MHz data rate.
The GeForce GTX 780 Ti 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