With the launch of the new GTX 780 last week, it’s now time to say hello to the little brother, the GTX 770. As with the previous generation, the GTX 770 provides a nice alternative to those who want very high-end performance, but not quite at the wallet destroying price. Perhaps even use two of them in SLI if there is a choice to own two GTX 770s rather than one GTX 780.


A jump to the next generation means that I’m expecting the GTX 770 to outperform the GTX 680, while being not too far from the GTX 780. Let’s take a look at the specs below to see how much disparity we have between the models.

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Well, first thing’s first, the GTX 770 looks to be a slightly updated GTX 680. Based on the same GK104 GPU as the GTX 680, the GTX 770 also has the same number stream processors, texture units and ROPs. We do get a slight bump in clock speeds and, more importantly, the memory bandwidth thanks to the 7Gbps modules being used; 15% more than the GTX 680.


For today’s comparison test we have two entries. The ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II and the MSI GTX 770 Lightning. Each of the three cards come with 2GB of onboard memory with slightly varying clock speeds. The ASUS clocks in at a maximum of 1110MHz Boost clock while the MSI clocks 1206MHz and the Zotac, giving them an overclock of 2% and 10.8% respectively.


Build wise both cards are solid, with massive heatsinks and two fans. Both heatsinks have an open air design where the hot air is ventilated directly into the PC case, unlike the blower design of the reference Nvidia GTX 770. Of the two, the MSI GTX 770 Lightning is definitely the larger card, measuring 11.95-inches at its longest, while the ASUS GTX 770 DCUII goes up to 10.7-inches. Incidentally the ASUS offering requires an 8 + 6-pin connection, while the MSI card requires an 8 + 8-pin power connection.


For testing the ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II and MSI GTX 770 Lightning the below testbed was used:

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And these settings were used for benchmarks:

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Given that both of these cards come with some generous overclocking functionalities, thanks to premium quality components, and the custom cooling solutions, I decided to play around with the clock speeds a bit.

For the ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II the maximum Boost Clock achieved was 1260MHz, 13.5% faster than factory speeds and 16% faster than reference Nvidia speeds. With the already high overclock on the MSI GTX 770 Lightning I wasn’t expecting much headroom, but I did manage to squeeze out a little more Boost speed with 1293MHz on the Core Clock, giving it a 7.6% increase over factory speeds and a massive 19% lead over reference Nvidia speeds.

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Noise & Temperature

Since these were cards with custom cooling solutions I barely heard them during benchmarks, and even under full load while overclocked these cards didn’t make a whisper of a sound!



If we are to just take a look at the ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II, we see that on average it is 8% faster than the GTX 680 and 14% faster than a GTX 670. That said it’s still 16% slower than the GTX 780. Meanwhile the MSI GTX 770 Lightning is 3% faster than the ASUS GTX 770 DirectCU II at factory speeds.

Both cards perform exceptionally well, including remarkable overclocking performance. In SLI we see an average of 40% performance increase across the board.

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Here’s the bottom line, a GTX 770 is 62.5% cheaper than a GTX 780. Two GTX 770s cost $800, 23% more than a single GTX 780, while in SLI they give 28% better performance (ignoring the negative results in 3DMark Fire Strike and Crysis 3 High due to unoptimized drivers).

A single GTX 780 is still pretty expensive, but if you’re willing to stretch your budget a little more, you can get GTX 770s in SLI. On its own, though, the GTX 770 faster than the flagship card of the previous generation (GTX 780) while also being a $100 cheaper. All said and done, the new Nvidia GTX 770 is an impressive feat, with partner cards like ASUS and MSI giving some really nice custom options to choose from.


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