NVIDIA GTX 780 Review: GK110 on a Diet

Conclusion

Who should buy the GTX 780?

Assuming you have the cash, the GTX 780 is worth serious consideration for anyone still using one single-GPU GTX 500 series card or older, or anyone using a single-GPU AMD Radeon 6000 series card or older. If you bought your last video card in late 2010-early 2011, the next generation is here, and it’s time to upgrade.

Who should skip the GTX 780?

  • If you have a dual-GPU card like the GTX 590, GTX 690, or Radeon 7990.
  • If you have an SLI or Crossfire setup that’s been assembled with cards released in the last 12-14 months.

Any dual-GPU card, be it the GTX 590 or something released afterwards, is going to match or exceed the GTX 780. The same can be said for any SLI setup using GTX 600 series cards, high-end Radeon 6000 cards in Crossfire, and 7000 series cards in Crossfire. If you’re using one of the aforementioned solutions, the GX 780 simply isn’t worth the upgrade.

Is the GTX 780 worth $649.99?

The GTX 780 is a fantastic piece of hardware. When playing at 1920×1080, which is the go-to resolution for desktop gaming PCs, the 780 will play virtually any game on High settings at 60 fps or better. Brand new titles like Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite – both of which are gorgeous games – can be completely maxed out, and the 780 will keep the numbers above 60 fps. Crysis 3 is the only title to truly give the 780 pause, and that’s to be expected from the latest in the Crysis franchise.

All that aside, spending $650 on any card is extremely hard to justify. For starters, the GTX 780 release is going to push down the price on 600 series cards, so finding a very capable GTX 680 for under $400 won’t be terribly difficult. Furthermore, if you’re already using some sort of 500/600 series or 6000/7000 series card in your gaming PC, picking up a second of the same model would likely give you the same performance found the in GTX 780, but for far less money.

As is normal with flagship card releases, the GTX 780 is for enthusiasts with money to burn. If you have an extra $650 to spend on PC hardware right now, you won’t be disappointed by the GTX 780. But with current card prices presumably dropping, and more, less expensive cards in the GTX 700 family probably on the way, exercising restraint for a few weeks might be the best course of action.
Pros

  • Play virtually any title on High/Ultra settings at 1080p and 60+ frames per second.
  • Very quiet for a high-end video card
  • GeForce Experience, ShadowPlay, and GPU Boost 2.0 are all great (and free) value adds

Cons

  • Price
  • Anyone with a dual-GPU 590, 690, 6990 or 7990 should skip it.

Anyone with an SLI or Crossfire setup from 2011-2012 won’t see much, if any, performance gains.

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9 Comments on NVIDIA GTX 780 Review: GK110 on a Diet

Luther

On May 23, 2013 at 10:45 am

I have a 560ti sli setup so i should probably wait i take it?

Jay

On May 23, 2013 at 11:52 am

“On paper, the GTX 780 sits right between the GTX Titan and the GTX 680, borrowing heavily from the former while approaching the price of the latter.”

That last part is backwards. $400 less (after taxes) for literally 90-105% of the Titan’s performance, a $1,000 card. The only substantial difference is the 6GB’s of RAM, which few people will use.

This card is a slap in the face to everyone who bought a Titan (myself included) just three months ago. What was marketed as a cutting-edge flagship card turned out to be a clever way to price-gouge the early adopters. Only this time all that money went straight into Nvidia’s pockets instead of a 3rd party.

Devin Connors

On May 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

@Luther

I would wait for now, yes. The GTX 780 would give you better numbers than your current setup, but if you’re happy with where your framerates are right now, $650 is a lot to spend for a small to modest bump.

@Jay
I was speaking purely to the price with that last bit ($650 is closer to $400 than $1,000), but performance-wise you’re absolutely right. The 780 is closer to the Titan than anything else in Nvidia’s lineup, at least in the single GPU category.

-Devin

Jay

On May 23, 2013 at 1:48 pm

@Devin Connors

Apparently I don’t know how to read, you were right the first time, I somehow mixed them up when reading the article. It’s been a long day, been at work since 3am PST. Sorry about that.

Canukk

On May 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I am an owner of 2 gtx580′s and did decie to go with a single GTX780 . I bought the EVGA superclocked http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=8181477&CatId=7387 . My reasons ..My 2 GTX 580′s are HOT!! cards. Not hot as in stolen but hot as in hard to cool. In the warm summer its a struggle to keep the top card at 80c maximum. I have had them go to almost 90c.. That’s with an Antec 1200 case, 7 fans and good cable management AND the gpu fans set to 75% in msi afterburner.

+ 2 GTX 580s when heavy gaming draw a lot of power. My system draws 700+w total when gaming heavily and i am comfortable saying the 2 gtx580′s are responsible for at least 500 of them. the 780 will top out max at 250w if i even get there + it will run much cooler then the 580s since it has a better cooling system , smarter software and being a single card.

I know the benchmarks show the GTX 580 sli trumping the GTX 780 in frame rates in some games..but any frame rate with sli below 60 (refresh rate of monitor) is begging for micro stutter ..50 fps on a single card is still glass smooth..

IMO even with 2 GTX 580′s in sli the saving in heat production, savings in power consumption (which i feel is quite significant) and the losing that annoying below 60 fps micro stutter that plagues dual card setups , the benefit of smooth game play even at lower fps and not really sacrificing much over all in the way of performance is convincing enough for me to have made the purchase.

But no worries. The gtx 580′s are going to be split and re purposed into 2 other computers. My living room pc and my office pc are going to get the 580′s and i will be looking to sell the GTx 460′s i currently have in those systems.

sticksterZs

On May 24, 2013 at 8:06 am

i bought NVID gtx 465 sli 3d ready and 3d theat.surr.sound enable SLIfull supportedw/ thr 1 gb mem. VID THATS pRETTY MUCH THE SAME AS WHAT YOUR SAYING ABOUT THE GTX 780 BUT IONLY I PAID a whooping $750.00 + tax and shipping four mine. heres the specs Nvivdia says to be true about my card.And get this! mine wont power up with out two 6-pin power connectors plug in…. Go figg. ;0 SpecificationsNote: The below specifications represent this GPU as incorporated into NVIDIA’s reference graphics card design. Graphics card specifications may vary by Add-in-card manufacturer. Please refer to the Add-in-card manufacturers’ website for actual shipping specifications.

GPU Engine Specs:Graphics card version GTX 460
1GB GDDR5 GTX 460 v2
1GB GDDR5 GTX 460
768MB GDDR5 GTX 460 SE
CUDA Cores 336 336 336 288
Graphics Clock (MHz) 675 778 675 650
Processor Clock (MHz) 1350 1556 1350 1300
Texture Fill Rate (billion/sec) 37.8 49.8 37.8 31.2
Memory Specs:Graphics card version GTX 460
1GB GDDR5 GTX 460 v2
1GB GDDR5 GTX 460
768MB GDDR5 GTX 460 SE
Memory Clock (MHz) 1800 2004 1800 1700
Standard Memory Config 1GB GDDR5 1GB GDDR5 768MB GDDR5 1GB GDDR5
Memory Interface Width 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 115.2 96.2 86.4 108.8
Feature Support:4.1OpenGLPCI-E 2.0 x16Bus SupportYesCertified for Windows 73D Vision, 3D Vision Surround, CUDA, DirectX 11, PhysX, SLISupported Technologies12-waySLI Options2Display Support:YesMulti Monitor2560x1600Maximum Digital Resolution2048x1536Maximum VGA ResolutionYesHDCPYesHDMITwo Dual Link DVI, Mini HDMIStandard Display ConnectorsInternalAudio Input for HDMIStandard Graphics Card Dimensions:8.25 inches(210 mm)Length4.376 inches(111 mm)HeightDual-slotWidthThermal and Power Specs:104 CMaximum GPU Tempurature (in C)160 WMaximum Graphics Card Power (W)450 WMinimum System Power Requirement (W)6-pin & 6-pinSupplementary Power Connectors1 – NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround requires two or more graphics cards in NVIDIA SLI configuration, 3D Vision glasses and three matching 3D Vision-Ready displays. See http://www.nvidia.com/surround for more information.

2 – A GeForce GTX 460 GPU must be paired with another GeForce GTX 460 GPU (graphics card manufacturer can be different). SLI requires sufficient system cooling and a compatible power supply. Visit SLI-Certified components for more information. so im guessing they rally put the screw to me on that one hu?. AND im not entirely happy with this card, It wont wont run farcry3 hardly choopy …and wont run about 12 other games that i bought this card exspressly for.these games holler for a 9800 ser,and above. so i have no clue what i really need . lamself… i still have a lot to learn … Though i did BIULD my system myself
and costom ordered every thing the mboard cpu case and put it it all togartherme little self…

sticksterZs@yahoo.com if any one canspeak in layman terms for me please feel free…..

Samir

On May 30, 2013 at 1:08 am

Thanks for this article, I was wondering how 580 SLI stacks up against 780. To me it would not be worth to upgrade since I bought 2 580s last fall for $500 with Heatkiller blocks already installed on them. I am happy with my current performance. I guess I will have to waith for Maxwell cards to get my money worth.

maxrob

On June 2, 2013 at 7:52 am

@stickers LOL ur card wont run farcry 3 and it cost 750$ ? what a rip off lol my friend had a geforce 250 and he could run bf3… an my 470 run it maxed out.. and the card costed 250$ a long time ago, seriously how the did u pay 750$ for a geforce 460 ? it was not worth more then 250$ when it came out…

Hackson

On June 8, 2013 at 7:11 am

Why does my browser highlight in pink here?