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

Single-Card Results: Battlefield 3

I explained a lot of the methodology we’re using in AMD Radeon HD 7990: Eight Games And A Beastly Card For $1,000. But again, our GeForce GTX 780 review is going to have a lot of data to comb over.

As we might expect, the GeForce GTX 780 falls in just behind Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan. In that context, the $650 card offers quite a bit more value at its price point than the flagship. However, AMD’s $450 Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition board isn’t far behind either, outpacing the more expensive GeForce GTX 680.

What’s going on with the Radeon HD 7990? Well, if we were to believe our hardware-based numbers, AMD’s dual-GPU beast would be the winner in this benchmark. But after we remove dropped and runt frames from the analysis, one of the card’s GPUs appears to be doing very little useful work, yielding a frame rate you can actually see just above a single Radeon HD 7970.

Here’s what that average frame rate chart looks like plotted over time. Although we illustrated hardware and practical performance last time, we’re cleaning the data up as much as possible, giving you just the numbers that matter: practical frame rate.  

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 780, in red, trails the Titan ever so slightly, just ahead of the Radeon HD 7970, but far more consistent than the Radeon HD 7990.

Our attempts to simplify result in a less complex frame time variance chart, too. As a reminder, this is a reflection of the latency between consecutive frames, not the absolute time it takes to render a frame. Rather than average, 75th, and 95th percentile numbers, we have the average and 99th (worst-case) results.

On average, none of those cards are terrible in Battlefield 3. Based on the real-world experiential stuff I’ve done with gamers, it seems like 5 ms of difference is the point where folks start consistently picking the card with lower variance over the other. Conversely, we see that the Radeon HD 7990 can get pretty bad when we look at the entire run, minus the worst 1%. We already know this, though—until AMD can work out its multi-GPU pacing issues, examples like this should give gamers a moment of pause about spending $1,000 on a Radeon HD 7990.

  • 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.
    Reply
  • gigantor21
    GG Titan.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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!!
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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).
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 016ive
    You will have to be an idiot to buy a Titan now that the 780 is here...Me, I could afford neither :)
    Reply