Graphics Cards Guide
Temperature, Power Consumption & Overclocking
As we now know that the GTX 780 Ti features the fully unlocked GK110 core, we expected the card to run at a higher temperature than the GTX 780 and GTX Titan cards. However, during our tests, the GTX 780 Ti managed to operate at a lower temperature than the GTX Titan, even though the difference was marginal. All three cards have the same TDP of 250W. The other thing you should be aware is that all the new NVIDIA cards supporting GPU Boost 2.0 (which is all the compared cards) have a default GPU threshold of 80 degrees Celsius that they try to maximize to eek out as much performance as possible. This is the main reason all three NVIDIA cards registered similar GPU temperatures. Despite that, the performance results on the earlier pages show how they perform given a similar temperature threshold.
Over to the red camp, it's not looking too great. The Radoen R9 290X has a TDP of 290W with a default maximum temperature threshold set at 95 degrees Celsius! It's not wonder it registered the highest operating temperature of 87 degrees Celsius in our test. Even with greater leeway over the green camp, its actual game performance couldn't keep up with the new GeForce GTX 780 Ti.
The three NVIDIA GeForce cards shared almost identical idle power draws at 148W or so. At load, they ranged between 430 to 440W bracket - the power draw of the GTX 780 Ti was just 5W higher than the GTX 780, and 10W lower than the Titan. The Radeon R9 290X card had a power draw at load that was similar to the GTX 780 card. This is partly due to each cards' performance-enhancing feature of PowerTune 2.0 and GeForce Boost 2.0 respectively, as both attempt to maximize the available power budget.
For our overclocking efforts, we had high expectations for the new GTX 780 Ti card. To reiterate, the new card features a power balancing feature. This will attempt to prevent maximum power draw on any one of the three power rails that power the card during overclocking. This new power balancing feature is touted to automatically increase power draw on the lesser used power rails so that all three rails end up drawing similar power levels - thus preventing a scenario when the card throttles down when only one of the rails has maxed out. As such, the GTX 780 Ti will be able to achieve higher overclock speeds than the older GTX 780 and 770 GPUs.
In our tests, we managed to overclock the GTX 780 Ti to the highest clock speed of 1176MHz, an increment of 34% over its base clock of 876MHz! For its video memory, we reached an overclock speed of 7500MHz that is an increase of 7% over the default value of 7000MHz. In terms of resultant performance, this overclock had an average gain of approximately 20%!
The AMD R9 290X also showed promising overclocking capabilities as it managed to outclass the overclocked reference GTX 780 card. During our overclocking exercise, we ran the fans at 100%; the AMD R9 290X cooling system registered a 69dB (decibel) noise level; while the GTX 780 Ti's cooling system was much quieter, at just 60dB. As a note to our readers, during normal operations, the AMD system had a noise level of 60dB; while the GTX 780's noise level measured 55dB. So we could see, or hear, how noisy the cooling system of the AMD R9 290X was, in comparison to the GTX 780 Ti.