In May this year, NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 780 that sports the same GK110 GPU as the top-of-the-line GeForce GTX Titan. The GTX 780 is targeted at gaming enthusiasts and performance seekers who are looking to upgrade from the GTX 680. In terms of pricing, the add-on partners' GTX 780s are priced at roughly S$980, making them approximately 35 percent cheaper than the GTX Titan. From our experience with a custom GTX 780 card, such as the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Windforce 3X OC, the GTX Titan only offers slim winning margins in terms of benchmark performance.
This time round, we've decided to take things up a notch to see if their standing change if we test them in a 2-way SLI configuration. And to double the fun, we called in two different pairs of custom GeForce GTX 780 graphics cards to see if there's any difference to be expected. The first contender is the ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II 3GB GDDR5 and the other is the MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Twin Frozr Gaming 3GB GDDR5. At the same time, we will also find out how the two custom cards stack up against each other.
Before we start off with the performance checks, we share a little more about each contender. The ASUS GTX 780 card is slightly overclocked at 889MHz, which is an increment of 26MHz over the base clock of 863MHz of the reference GTX 780. The card sports the DirectCU II cooler with a CoolTech fan that was first seen when we reviewed the ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU Mini OC graphics card. For its power regulation system, the card features a 10-phase Digi+ system to ensure overall stability.
From the bottom view, we can see four 10mm thick copper heatpipes that snake out from the DirectCU II cooler. The pipes have direct contact with the GK110 GPU for better cooling. There is another one that is only visible from the top view of the card.
This GeForce GTX 780 card from MSI features the unique color scheme from its Gaming series. The card also boasts of higher clock speeds than the ASUS one; with its GPU core clocked at a base of 902MHz, which is 13MHz, or about 1.5 percent higher than that of the ASUS GTX 780. The MSI card also boasts of an improved Twin Frozr IV cooler with an enhanced heatsink that features larger surface area for better heat dissipation.
What's special with the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Gaming is that it includes MSI's Gaming App tuning utility which enables gamers to toggle between high-performance OC, Gaming, and Silent modes which boost the clock speeds up/down appropriately. The differences are listed in the specs comparison on the following page. The default out of the box performance uses the Gaming mode which clocks the GPU at the reported 902MHz, which is what we'll be testing the card as to determine how it handles from a baseline perspective without tweaking.
The rear of the MSI GTX card doesn't feature any back plate; hence, we have a clear view of the brown PCB and the memory chips.
The rear video ports are the same as the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 card; a pair of DVI ports, one HDMI port and one DisplayPort output.
From the bottom of the card, we can see four nickel-plated copper heatpipes that draw heat from the GPU to the heatsink. There is another heatpipe that is visible from the top view.