GeForce GTX 780M, 770M, And 765M: Scaling Vs. Radeon HD 8970M

Can The Fastest Mobile GPU Also Help Maximize Value?

Today's tests show that Nvidia has the fastest single-GPU notebook solution in its GeForce GTX 780M. The catch is that getting it into your mobile platform adds about $750 to its price (as much as an actual GeForce GTX 780 Ti, the fastest desktop graphics card you can buy). That’s pretty steep, even by high-end-gaming standards, particularly when you compare it to AMD's second-place Radeon HD 8970M at around $500.

Then again, when you factor in the cost of an entire, expensive gaming-oriented notebook, Nvidia's GPU improves gaming performance by 13% compared to the competition's best effort, so it could even walk away with a value win.

If you start with a $2180 notebook (sans graphics module), the expensive GeForce GTX 780M appears to offer the best gaming value, in spite of its price tag. But how does it look on its own?

If we consider only the price of adding the GPU to a theoretically free notebook, value is inversely proportional to price. Comparing the two charts above, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 770M and 765M could present the best value in a lower-end notebook, but not the behemoth benchmarked today.

Mobile gamers who prefer high resolutions and demanding quality settings in the latest titles need a top-model GeForce or Radeon GPU to hit the minimum frame rate levels for a playable experience. Running a few more calculations, the value parity between Nvidia's GeForce GTX 780M and AMD's Radeon HD 8970M happens when you drop them both into a roughly $1450 platform. That'd be equivalent to downgrading these test machines from Intel's Core i7-4930MX to the Core i7-4800MQ.

Add in the price of the graphics module, and those same calculations show that a fan of AMD's hardware can justify going with the Radeon HD 8970M’s second-place finish if they're looking at a system priced below $1950. The GeForce GTX 780M’s higher price secures a value win when the total system cost is over $2200. If you're in between, don't feel obligated to go either way. The decision narrows to whichever company's value-adds (like GeForce Experience, PhysX support, or Mantle support) are most important to you.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • outlw6669
    Nice review.
    I can honestly that I was not expecting Pitcairn to perform so well against GK104 while also maintaining lower power consumption!
  • guvnaguy
    Are Optimus or Switchable Graphics available in these systems?With those solutions around, I wish we could start seeing reasonable (>4-5 hr) battery life out of these laptops when not under load.
  • damric
    In about a year or so when there is a catalog of Mantle games, laptops could make a comeback as a viable gaming platform under $1500.
  • blackmagnum
    When will they make mainstream external boxes for these gaming cards? Give it a cheap and fast link to a notebook and price it competitively to the gaming laptops; awesome upgrades like the desktop crowd.
  • tchahin
    I own a 780M.I would like to see 780M versus 8970M using Mantle in BF4.
  • San Pedro
    I really like my 8970M. It's awesome having that much power in a notebook. I just hope it doesn't die like my 6990M did.
  • cats_Paw
    A great place to check GPUs in laptops and laptops in general is notebookcheck.netIts especially important because heat can be a problem in laptops very, very fast.Sure those did not seem to have that problem but ambient temps, as well as dust acumulation are two factors rearly taken into consideration when talking about overheating.
  • daglesj
    I have seen people buy the kind of laptops that these cards exist in. The main issue with them is that they are often so compromised in one way or another they spend more time getting sent back for repairs and fixes than they do on the owners desk.Like TVR cars, they did more miles strapped on the back of low loaders going to and from Blackpool than actually on its own wheels.
  • gxpbecker
    the wife has a MSI i7QM 3630 i believe and a 670mx. It has been over a year and still runs strong. Alpha testing EQNLandmark with her laptop and it runs like a champ on a mix of ultra and high settings. we have not had one issue with it and runs pretty dang cool and quiet for a gaming laptop. not sure what machine the people you have seen Daglesj, but we are very happy with ours.
  • manitoublack
    Wish you included the GT750m SLi available on the Lenovo Y510P. I own said laptop and $ for $ couldn't ask for more, but have no real goal post against the other chips in the Nvidia range.Great to finally see some mobile GRFX chop reviews and look forward to more in the future.