Meet The GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Alright, so, Nvidia frankly didn’t need to do much to make its 780 Ti a sharp-looking piece of gear. I traced the history of this industrial design in The Story Of How GeForce GTX 690 And Titan Came To Be, and remain impressed with the work that Nvidia’s engineers did to make its latest high-end card aesthetically pleasing and mechanically effective.
The GeForce GTX 780 Ti is changed minimally from the design we already know. The card’s model name, etched into the fan shroud, is now painted black—a more noticeable contrast against the silver body than before. Also, the heat sink sitting under that big polycarbonate window is black as well, standing out more ominously than Titan’s aluminum fins. Because the 780 Ti is limited to 3 GB of GDDR5, the final difference is a lack of memory packages on the back of its PCB.
Otherwise—yeah, it’s a very similar-looking product that measures 10.5” long, employs the same centrifugal fan, and offers a similar display connectivity suite. You get two dual-link DVI ports, HDMI, and a full-size DisplayPort connector.
Under the hood, of course, there’s a fully-functional GK110 GPU running at higher clocks than Titan. But Nvidia cites the same 250 W TDP as Titan (indeed, that’s the number it uses for GeForce GTX 780, too). The company says that this is correct—careful binning lets it turn on more of the processor and operate at higher clocks without exceeding the 250 W board power figure.
As a result, GeForce GTX 780 Ti employs the same eight- and six-pin power connectors as 780 and Titan.
Although Nvidia sometimes limits the number of cards that can be used together, it supports four-way SLI configurations with GeForce GTX 780 Ti. Of course, you'll need a compatible platform; it isn't enough to simply use a Z87-based motherboard with its 16 lanes of third-gen PCIe divided up, for example. A properly-equipped X79 board will work, as will a mainstream system with the right PLX switch.
Nvidia also makes a big deal about software adding value to GeForce GTX 780 Ti. To begin, there’s a three-game bundle that includes Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Splinter Cell Blacklist. I rarely get very excited about game bundles, and this one is no exception. Assassin’s Creed is a console port designed for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Batman hasn’t been getting the warmest reception. And I’m personally not a devotee of the Splinter Cell franchise. Nevertheless, that’s still $170 of free games for folks interested in the trio of titles.
More compelling to me is the beta introduction of ShadowPlay (finally). Not everyone is going to get as much of a kick out of this—mostly because not everyone wants to record and play back moments from their digital conquests. However, as a former WoW raider, I have a directory of boss kill videos from back in the day that simply slammed my PC as I tried to capture them with Fraps. Offloading the encode would have been simply brilliant, and I know there are plenty of folks looking for the same functionality today. For more on ShadowPlay and its impact on gaming performance, check out Nvidia's Shield Revisited: Console Mode, Streaming, And More.