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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 - A Watered-Down Titan?
By Wong Chung Wee - 23 May 2013



The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 card is one that grew on us as our initial impression of it being a trimmed down version of the more powerful GTX Titan changed somewhat for the better during our testing experience. It is true that the card has less graphic compute power due to its reduction in the number of CUDA cores in comparison with the GTX Titan; however, during our performance testing, it showed its mettle against NVIDIA's top dog by trailing behind by just a hair's breadth. In its overclocked state, it performed like a GTX Titan, hence for its 'tenacity', it's hard for us to dismiss the new GTX 780 as a watered-down version of the GTX Titan.

Also as important is the performance improvement of the GeForce GTX 780 against last year's top single GPU part (the GeForce GTX 680) and against AMD's fastest single GPU part (the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition). For this, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 on average manages a near 50% improvement against both cards! That's a massive improvement and you can easily see why we were more than content with the GeForce GTX 780. Unfortunately, it doesn't retail for the same price point that the GeForce GTX 680 originally launched, so you might have to re-evaluate your expectations and ability to own one. More on price-performance matters after the photo break.

Priced at around 30% cheaper than the GTX Titan, the GeForce GTX 780 is an ideal way to enjoy a Titan-like gaming experience at a slightly better price point for most enthusiasts. Meanwhile, the GTX Titan remains an item for those looking to seal their bragging rights or have a need for its extra compute power and frame buffer for a personal workstation that doubles up great for gaming too.

With its new adaptive temperature controller, the GeForce GTX 780 ran quietly and according to NVIDIA, it produces about three decibels less noise than a reference GTX 680 card. From our experience, it is as quiet as the GTX Titan, which is commendable for such a powerful card. We understand the importance of user experience with IT products and services, and NVIDIA has also launched their GeForce Experience software that promises to take the hassle of determining game settings for a supported NVIDIA-based gaming system. As the software has just crossed over its beta version, there are naturally still kinks to be ironed out for it.

In terms of local availability, the add-on card partners have already launched their cards and they are priced at slightly above S$1,000 or so. This makes the GeForce GTX 780 about 25 to 30% more expensive than a GeForce GTX 680 graphics card that has an average price close to S$800 (though there are exceptions like Palit that retail for as low as S$650 for the reference model). Given the performance improvements of the GeForce GTX 780 in percentage, that's about how much more expensive it is over the GeForce GTX 680. Looking at its cost from another perspective, it's about 25 to 30% more affordable than the GeForce GTX Titan, but only has  10% or less performance differential. Hence, the GeForce GTX 780 can be seen as an ideal filler between the GTX 680 and the GTX Titan.

All things considered, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 card isn't revolutionary or even evolutionary, but its performance level and price point makes it an ideal choice for gaming enthusiasts and performance seekers who are looking to upgrade from the GTX 680, but without bearing the hefty S$1.5K for a full-fat GTX Titan or going all out for a GTX 690. And without a suitable challenger from the AMD camp, it might seem as if NVIDIA can price their offerings as they see wish.

On a side note, there is an interesting option if you're willing to spend more. At little over S$1.2K for a pair of AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards, you can get performance levels that rival or surpass the GTX Titan and the GTX 690. You do have to spend more than the GeForce GTX 780, but this configuration does give more bang for your buck as well. Unfortunately, there are other downsides to contend with like the high power consumption and much more noisier operation in addition to more physical space required for such a setup and more cable management. If you recall, the GeForce GTX Titan was already heralded as an enabler for high gaming performance in a slim chassis and it only gets better with the GeForce GTX 780 being a much more 'reasonably priced' variant of it.

So at the end of these comparisons, there's no equivalent to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 and you're only paying for a proportionate increase in performance over the previous generation GeForce GTX 680.

  • Performance 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 8
The Good
Massive improvement over GTX 680
Excellent all-round performance
Easy to overclock
Relatively quiet even at high fan speed
The Bad
Expensive compared to previous generation GTX 680 at launch
Seen as playing second fiddle to the GTX Titan
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