Back when GeForce GTX 780 sold for $650, slinging a bunch of 760s together looked like a great deal. Now that the 780's down to $500, is there still value in going three-way SLI with GK104, or are you better served by a couple of GK110-based 780 cards?
Is it ever possible to get more performance and save money at the same time? Not long ago, we could easily buy three GeForce GTX 760 graphics cards for less money than a pair of 780s. And so we did. Though financial considerations were a large part of our decision, Nvidia's ability to minimize micro-stuttering through effective pacing was what gave me my original impetus. At some of the resolutions we test and in some of our game benchmarks, AMD still doesn't facilitate frame pacing in its driver.
More recently, though, AMD threw a wrench into the value aspect of our story. Pricing pressure from the Radeon R9 290X and 290 forced Nvidia to cut the GeForce GTX 780 down $150. Enthusiasts consequently watched competition tighten up as the GeForce GTX 770 dropped and a new flagship GeForce GTX 780 Ti was announced. Unfortunately for us, the company's 4 GB GeForce GTX 760 remains a $300 card.
At one time we were looking for more performance-per-dollar from three GeForce GTX 760s in SLI. Today, we’re only hoping that they're faster overall.
Performance becomes even more critical when we consider what we’re giving up. Those stock GeForce GTX 780s feature Nvidia's big aluminum cooler that generates less noise under load than a GeForce GTX 760 with its plastic shroud. Whether we compare two 760s to one 780 or three 760s to a pair of 780s, we’re always looking at one more moderately noisy GeForce GTX 760 to beat the performance of two GK110 GPUs.
Though a GeForce GTX 780 price drop appears to be Nvidia’s first response to AMD’s Radeon R9 290X, the firm wasn't standing still waiting for its competition to trump it. A quick look at the price of its newer GeForce GTX 780 Ti shows why the previous top gaming card is still a great basis for today’s comparison.
|Nvidia GeForce 700-Series Specs|
GTX 780 Ti
|Full Color ROPs||48||48||32|
|Graphics Clock MHz|
|875 (928)||863 (900)||980 (1033)|
|Texture Fillrate||210 Gtex/s||166 Gtex/s||94.1 Gtex/s|
|Memory Clock||1750 MHz||1502 MHz||1502 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||336 GB/s||288 GB/s||192 GB/s|
|Graphics RAM||3 GB GDDR5||3 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5|
|Die Size||551 mm²||551 mm²||294 mm²|
|Process Technology||28 nm||28 nm||28 nm|
|Power Connectors||6-pin+8-pin||6-pin+8-pin||2 x 6-pin|
|Maximum Power||250 W||250 W||170 W|
If we stepped up to a pair of GeForce GTX 780 Ti cards, we also would have needed to use 760s in four-way SLI instead. Typically, that fourth card doesn't scale very well in games. Then again, estimates based on historic trends aren’t infallible, and any card maker confident that they can break the pattern is welcome to send hardware for a rematch. We do have the 780 Tis in the lab, ready to go.
- GeForce GTX 780 And 760: Two Of One, Three Of The Other
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Results: 3DMark And Far Cry 3
- Results: Battlefield 3
- Results: Metro: Last Light, Medium Details
- Results: Metro: Last Light, High Details
- Results: Tomb Raider And F1 2012
- Power And Efficiency
- Can Three GeForce GTX 760s Take Two 780s?