When the GTX Titan was released a few months back, many though it heralded the next generation of Kepler GPUs, and indeed with the release of the GTX 780 that certainly seems to be the case.
As a standalone product, the GTX Titan was definitely a step above the GTX 680, but not quite the levels of GTX 690. Meanwhile the GTX 780 comes in as a leap above the previous generation, marking the beginning of the GTX 700 series.
Looking at the specs below, we see that the GTX 780 is, in essence, a barely cut down version of the GTX Titan with the same number of transistors. You’re missing out roughly 14% stream processors and 14% Texture Units (192 compared to 224). The memory has dropped down to half (at 3GB) but the bandwidth of 384-bit remains the same. The TDP of 250W, unfortunately, also remains the same. However, given the same blower heatsink, I expect the GTX 780 to remain just as cool and quiet as the GTX Titan.
On a brighter note the clock speeds have been bumped up slightly by 3%. For all these changes, you get a card that costs 35% cheaper than the GTX Titan.
For testing out the GTX 780 we also received an additional card from Zotac. Both cards look absolutely identical, with the only difference being the packaging and that Zotac is giving the upcoming Splinter Cell Blacklist for free, including Double Agent and Conviction. That’s a very nice bundle, and even if you have played the earlier Splinter Cell games, the upcoming Blacklist will be retailing for $60, so your Zotac GTX 780 comes out to about $590.
For testing the new Nvidia GTX 780 the below testbed was used:
And these were the settings used for benchmarking
During the above tests the idle temperature recorded for the GTX 780 was 30°C while the maximum temperature was 80°C. Noise during idle was barely audible, while under full load it was consistently lower than the GTX 680, showing a remarkable improvement in cooling design over the previous generation, despite an increase in TDP by 55W!
The SLI profile for the GTX 780 is clearly not optimized for a select few titles like Battlefield 3 and F1 2012, including the new 3DMark. However, newer titles like Crysis 3 and Bioshock: Infinite see a significant improvement. And with Nvidia’s strong commitment to driver updates, I expect future releases of Catalyst to significantly improve performance.
Going back to single GPU performance, the GTX 780 shows an average performance increase of roughly 21% over the GTX 680, while costing 30% more. The thing is that with the GTX Titan costing $999, and the GTX 680 costing $499, Nvidia needed something in the middle.
There are a lot of enthusiasts who want the GTX Titan, but simply can’t afford it. Since there’s no competition coming from AMD, at least until later this year, the GTX 780 can command a steep price without any competition whatsoever.
In all honesty, the new Nvidia GTX 780 is an excellent card, and packs in a ton of power, despite being a tad bit overpriced. It is borderline overkill for a single 1080p based monitor, with an SLI setup giving you a breezy triple or quad-monitor performance. Setting you up with the next generation of games coming with the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the Nvidia GTX 780 is an excellent choice for enthusiast C gamers.