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

Getting A Bead On Mobile Graphics Performance

Sometimes it's hard to know how a mobile graphics processor will perform based on its name alone. Both AMD and Nvidia refer to their mobile solutions using branding very similar to their desktop parts. To help us nail down expectations of its fastest laptop GPUs, Nvidia sent over ten grand worth of Origin PC notebooks armed with GeForce GTX 780M, GeForce GTX 770M, and GeForce 765M cards. 

I also wanted a bit of relativity, though. So I called up the folks at Eurocom for something comparable based on AMD's top-end graphics processor.

Origin PC recently unveiled its Genesis and Millennium cases, which were custom-designed for the company's gaming-oriented desktop PCs. Fortunately for us, though, Origin's Eon17-S uses Clevo’s P177SM chassis, which meant that Eurocom could send over a comparable system with a Radeon HD 8970M-based module with the same cooling system. An identical thermal solution is one more way we can give you benchmark results that are truly apples-to-apples.

Comparing Mobile GPUs

GPU-Z reports lower clock rates for Nvidia’s mobile GeForce modules than the manufacturer specifies, though that's likely a result of running at lower idle frequencies. Similarly, we had to load down the Radeon module with a 3D task to get its clock settings to show up at all.

A quick look at the GeForce GTX 780M’s specifications shows that it's derived from the same GK104 GPU used for several of Nvidia's desktop-oriented cards. Naturally, the company uses lower core and memory clock rates to bring wattage down to levels that are manageable in the confines of a notebook chassis. 

In case you're not familiar with the name of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 760 Ti in the chart below, it's an OEM-rebrand of the GeForce GTX 670.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 700-Series Specs
Row 0 - Cell 0 GeForce GTX 780GeForce GTX 780MGeForce GTX 770MGeForce GTX 765MGeForce GTX 760 Ti (670)
Texture Units1921288064112
Full Color ROPs4832241632
Graphics Clock MHz (Boost)863823811850915
Texture Fillrate166 Gtex/s105.3 Gtex/s64.9 Gtex/s54.4 Gtex/s102.5 Gtex/s
Memory Clock1502 MHz1250 MHz1000 MHz1000 MHz1502 MHz
Memory Bus384-bit256-bit192-bit128-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth288 GB/s160 GB/s96 GB/s64 GB/s192 GB/s
Die Size561 mm²294 mm²221 mm²221 mm²294 mm²
Transistors (Billion)7.13.542.542.543.54
Process Technology28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm

AMD’s Radeon HD 8970M is also the product of recycled naming, though more severely. Once upon a time, this exact configuration was called the Radeon HD 7970M, though it was based on the desktop Radeon HD 7870. AMD makes big cuts in power consumption by underclocking the Pitcairn GPU sitting on its flagship notebook module.

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AMD Radeon HD 8000-Series Specs
Row 0 - Cell 0 Radeon HD 8970/7970 [280X]Radeon HD 8970MRadeon HD 7970MRadeon HD 7870
Texture Units128808080
Full Color ROPs32323232
Graphics Clock MHz (Boost)1000 (1050) [850/1000]850 (900)8501000
Texture Fillrate128 Gtex/s [109]68 Gtex/s68 Gtex/s80 Gtex/s
Memory Clock1500 MHz1200 MHz1200 MHz1200 MHz
Memory Bus384-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth288 GB/s154 GB/s154 GB/s154 GB/s
Die Size352 mm²212 mm²212 mm²212 mm²
Transistors (Billion)
Process Technology28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm
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.