Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Review: Titan’s Baby Brother Is Born

GeForce GTX 780: Another GK110-Based Card For Wealthy Gamers

GeForce GTX Titan is a lot like Intel’s Core i7-3970X—a ridiculously fast piece of hardware sitting atop of a stack of alternatives that make a lot more sense. The GeForce GTX 780 is akin to Core i7-3930K. It’s the option we’d recommend to more savvy power users. Almost every bit as fast, it costs a lot less and sacrifices very little of the flagship’s feature set (FP64 performance the biggest loss).

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the more value-oriented offering able to satisfy a majority of enthusiasts: Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition at $450. If you average the performance of our eight benchmarks and then calculate what you pay for every frame per second, AMD’s single-GPU flagship runs $8.38/FPS. The GeForce GTX 780 lands at $10.73/FPS. The Tahiti-based board also maintains a massive advantage in compute-oriented workloads. And it still includes Tomb Raider, BioShock, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, and Crysis 3. That’s a killer bundle. When performance per dollar is your only consideration in a high-end graphics card, AMD comes away looking pretty good.

Conversely, the GeForce GTX 780 is faster in absolute terms, even though you pay more for every drop of extra speed. It’s quieter than 7970, it uses less power, it includes a number of tuner-friendly tools, and Nvidia has a really cool feature in ShadowPlay (too bad it isn’t available to test yet). The 780 is a much better-looking board, too. But an asking price of $650 is only a relief to someone who was about a pay a grand for Titan. By all other accounts, that’s still a big flippin’ number.

This isn’t the generational jump you see when a company updates its architecture on a smaller process node and hits you with more speed at a familiar price point. GeForce GTX 780 is a derivative of existing technology that drops its shoulder and charges its way into a new segment. Is it worth more than GeForce GTX 680 or Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition? Absolutely. But I would have rather seen the 780 at $550 or $600.

When it comes to multi-card configurations, there’s a lot more to laud. For the price of two GeForce GTX Titans, you could have three 780s. For $300 more than one Titan, you can get two 780s. If you’re gaming at 2560x1440 or 5760x1080, a couple of GK104- or GK110-based boards will help maintain playable frame rates using the most demanding detail settings. A couple of Radeon HD 7970s or a Radeon HD 7990 might turn out decent benchmark results, but their frame pacing issues are noticeable enough to earn a panel of gamers' disdain in A/B testing next to a GeForce GTX 690. Two GeForce GTX 780s are a winning combination, if you have the means.

The GeForce GTX 780 is a sexy piece of graphics hardware built on top of an impossibly-complex 7.1 billion-transistor GPU. It’s very fast, very quiet, and includes several other attractive features. But, I’m going to wait a week before deciding what I’d spend my money on in the high-end graphics market. You’d be wise to do the same…

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    Top Comments
  • CrisisCauser
    A good alternative to the Titan. $650 was the original GTX 280 price before AMD came knocking with the Radeon 4870. I wonder if AMD has another surprise in store.
    31
  • EzioAs
    In my opinion, this card and the Titan is actually a clever product release by Nvidia. Much like the GTX 680 and GTX 670, the Titan was released at higher price (like the GTX 680) while the slightly slower GTX 780 (the GTX670 for the GTX600 series case) is at a significantly lower price but performing quite close to it's higher-end brother. We all remember when the GTX 670 launched it makes the GTX680 looks bad because the GTX 670 was 80% of the price while maintaining around 90-95% of the performance.

    Of course, one could argue that as we get closer to higher-end products, the performance increase is always minimal and price to performance ratio starts to increase, however, for the past 3-4 years (or so I guess), never has it been that the 2nd highest-end GPU having such low performance difference with the highest-end GPU. It's usually significant enough that the highest end GPU (GTX x80) still has it's place.

    Tl;dr,

    The GTX Titan was released to make the GTX 780 look incredibly good, and people (especially on the internet), will spread the news fast enough claiming the $650 release price for the GTX 780 is good and reasonable, and people who didn't even bother reading reviews and benchmarks, will take their word and pay the premium for GTX 780.

    Nvidia is taking a different route to compete with AMD or one could say that they're not even trying to compete with AMD in terms of price/performance (at least for the high-end products).
    23
  • iknowhowtofixit
    This review has done a great job proving how well the HD7970 GHz edition performs as a single GPU solution. It beat the 680 in almost every benchmark on older silicon. I'm excited to see what AMD has in store with the HD9000 series.
    23
  • Other Comments
  • CrisisCauser
    A good alternative to the Titan. $650 was the original GTX 280 price before AMD came knocking with the Radeon 4870. I wonder if AMD has another surprise in store.
    31
  • gigantor21
    GG Titan.
    3
  • Anonymous
    It's definitely a more reasonable priced alternative to the titan, but it's still lacking in compute. Which might disappoint some but I don't think it'll bother most people. Definitely not bad bang for buck at that price range considering how performance scales with higher priced products, but it could've been better, $550-$600 seems like a more reasonable price for this.
    5
  • hero1
    This is what I have been waiting for. Nice review and I like the multi gpu tests. Thanks. Time to search the stores. Woohoo!!
    4
  • natoco
    To much wasted silicon (just a failed high spec chip made last year, even the titan) and rebadged with all the failed sections turned off. I wanted to upgrade my gtx480 for a 780 but for the die size, the performance is to low unfortunately. It has certainly not hit the trifecta like the 680 did. Would you buy a V8 with 2 cylinders turned off even if it were cheaper? No, because it would not be as smooth as it was engineered to be, so using that analogy, No deal. customer lost till next year when they release a chip to the public that's all switched on, will never go down the turned off parts in chip route again.
    -17
  • EzioAs
    In my opinion, this card and the Titan is actually a clever product release by Nvidia. Much like the GTX 680 and GTX 670, the Titan was released at higher price (like the GTX 680) while the slightly slower GTX 780 (the GTX670 for the GTX600 series case) is at a significantly lower price but performing quite close to it's higher-end brother. We all remember when the GTX 670 launched it makes the GTX680 looks bad because the GTX 670 was 80% of the price while maintaining around 90-95% of the performance.

    Of course, one could argue that as we get closer to higher-end products, the performance increase is always minimal and price to performance ratio starts to increase, however, for the past 3-4 years (or so I guess), never has it been that the 2nd highest-end GPU having such low performance difference with the highest-end GPU. It's usually significant enough that the highest end GPU (GTX x80) still has it's place.

    Tl;dr,

    The GTX Titan was released to make the GTX 780 look incredibly good, and people (especially on the internet), will spread the news fast enough claiming the $650 release price for the GTX 780 is good and reasonable, and people who didn't even bother reading reviews and benchmarks, will take their word and pay the premium for GTX 780.

    Nvidia is taking a different route to compete with AMD or one could say that they're not even trying to compete with AMD in terms of price/performance (at least for the high-end products).
    23
  • mouse24
    natocoTo much wasted silicon (just a failed high spec chip made last year, even the titan) and rebadged with all the failed sections turned off. I wanted to upgrade my gtx480 for a 780 but for the die size, the performance is to low unfortunately. It has certainly not hit the trifecta like the 680 did. Would you buy a V8 with 2 cylinders turned off even if it were cheaper? No, because it would not be as smooth as it was engineered to be, so using that analogy, No deal. customer lost till next year when they release a chip to the public that's all switched on, will never go down the turned off parts in chip route again.


    Thats apretty bad analogy. A gpu is still smooth even with some of the cores/vram/etc turned off, it doesn't increase latency/frametimes/etc.
    12
  • godfather666
    "But, I’m going to wait a week before deciding what I’d spend my money on in the high-end graphics market. "

    I must've missed something. Why wait a week?
    5
  • JamesSneed
    Natoco, your comment was so clueless. It is likely every single CPU or GPU you have ever purchased has fused off parts. Even the $1000 extreme Intel cpu has a little bit fused off since its a 6 core CPU but using a 8 core Zeon as its starting point. Your comparison to a car is idiotic.
    14
  • 016ive
    You will have to be an idiot to buy a Titan now that the 780 is here...Me, I could afford neither :)
    16
  • iknowhowtofixit
    This review has done a great job proving how well the HD7970 GHz edition performs as a single GPU solution. It beat the 680 in almost every benchmark on older silicon. I'm excited to see what AMD has in store with the HD9000 series.
    23
  • Sakkura
    godfather666"But, I’m going to wait a week before deciding what I’d spend my money on in the high-end graphics market. "I must've missed something. Why wait a week?

    Probably to get the GTX 770 launch into the picture, and maybe price cuts from AMD.
    4
  • EzioAs
    Anonymous said:
    This review has done a great job proving how well the HD7970 GHz edition performs is as a single GPU solution. Beat the 680 in almost every benchmark on older silicon. I'm excited to see what AMD has in store with the HD9000 series.


    That was my opinion after I read Anandtech's review. :)
    -2
  • rmpumper
    Techpowerup has the Gigabyte 780 OC review and it kicks Titan in the butt - the higher the res, the better 780 is than Titan.
    1
  • sarinaide
    Its about a year ago Kepler was introduced in a blaze of glory, less than a year and its been cast aside for a new generation well before its intended release date, around 8 months sooner than its expected release that toms mentioned was march, conversely Tahiti and Cape Verde was released in Nov 2011 and while Cape Verde is EOL and replaced by a faster and lightly powered Bonaire, Tahiti is still going strong. I am awaiting Toms benches on the new catalyst 13.5 drivers once out as I think we will see more gains from what is now archiac of an arch.

    Not all is right at nvidia and this is just desperate times for desperate measures stuff, we now await AMD's response and if they play it right and make the node jump it could end up being very ugly.
    -4
  • sephirothmk
    Can shadowplay record more than 20 minutes?
    0
  • kammak743
    What would be really awesome is if the GTX 790 was either a GK110 with nothing disabled or 2 GK110's with something disabled (although it would be amazing 2 full power GK110's)
    but i don't know why people are complaining about the price because nvidia had no good competition for it at the moment and when they do they will have to reduce it
    0
  • sarinaide
    Anonymous said:
    sarinaideIts about a year ago Kepler was introduced in a blaze of glory, less than a year and its been cast aside for a new generation well before its intended release date, around 8 months sooner than its expected release that toms mentioned was march, conversely Tahiti and Cape Verde was released in Nov 2011 and while Cape Verde is EOL and replaced by a faster and lightly powered Bonaire, Tahiti is still going strong. I am awaiting Toms benches on the new catalyst 13.5 drivers once out as I think we will see more gains from what is now archiac of an arch.Not all is right at nvidia and this is just desperate times for desperate measures stuff, we now await AMD's response and if they play it right and make the node jump it could end up being very ugly.


    GK110 isn't a new anything. It's been around as long as the GTX 680 aka GK104 and is still part of the Kepler family. I think the new cards you're thinking of that are due sometime next year (maybe?) are the Maxwell family of cards.

    I still maintain that this is what the 680 should have been a year ago, but I've beaten that horse to death too many times so I'll shut up...


    No, if I meant Maxwell I would have said Maxwell. GTX 700 is GK110 but in the long and short Nvidia talked this up to be an almighty part yet we are only talking about 20% faster than the aging 7970. So now we wait for AMD's response which may still be some time yet.
    -5
  • cknobman
    At $650 I am just not seeing it. In fact I dont even see this card putting any pressure on AMD to do something.

    I'd rather save $200+ and get a 7970GE. If Nvidia really wants to be aggressive they need to sell this for ~$550.
    8
  • TheMadFapper
    Exactly what happened between the 670 and 680, and exactly why I bought two 670s instead of spending another $120 on a 2-5% increase in performance.

    Granted, the price difference between this and Titan is ridiculously, making it a no-brainer purchase. Not for me though. Not upgrading from two 670s yet, hehe.
    4