Nvidia GTX 780 Ti Review: A Powerful GPU With A Price To Match

The GTX 780 Ti just about pushes Nvidia back to the top of the GPU performance pile, but its price is far from competitive.

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For the vast majority of PC players, 1080p is the benchmark for performance, and by far the most popular resolution in use for gaming (at least according to the latest Steam Hardware Survey). Games look great at 1080p, monitors are cheap and plentiful, and you don't need to spend a fortune on an insanely powerful GPU to drive them. But if you're running multiple monitors, high resolutions like 1600p or 4K, or if you're simply after some bragging rights, then the likes of a GTX 650 Ti or Radeon 7850 just aren't going to cut it.

Enter the GTX 780 Ti, the latest GPU from Nvidia based on the GK110 chip. That's the same full-fat Kepler chip used in the GTX Titan and GTX 780, both of which are already excellent performers at high-resolutions. The trouble is, they aren't the best performers anymore. AMD's latest R9 290X and R9 290 have benchmarked extremely well, not only taking the performance crown from their rival, but also seriously undercutting it in terms of price. Nvidia's latest round of price cuts evens the playing field somewhat, but there's nothing quite like the prestige of having "the world's fastest graphics card".

The 780 Ti, then, has a big job ahead of it. At an RRP of $699 (£559 in the UK), it's still around $100 more expensive than the 290X, so it isn't going to be winning any awards for value. In terms of performance, though, it's very impressive. The 780 Ti is the first GPU to make use of the entire GK110 chip, that is, the full 2880 single precision CUDA cores, 240 texture units, and 48 ROP units. Memory comes in the form of 3GB of extremely fast 7Gbps GDDR5 for 336GB/s of bandwidth, while the base clock speed gets a bump to 845Mhz, and the boost clock speed to 928Mhz. It does lack scientific features like HyperQ and high-end 64 bit performance, but on paper at least, the GTX 780 Ti is the most powerful gaming card Nvidia's released.

GTX 780 Ti GPU SpecsGTX 780 Ti Memory Specs

2880 CUDA Cores
845 Base Clock (MHz)
928 Boost Clock (MHz)
210 GigaTexels/sex Texture Filtering Rate
240 Texture Units
48 ROP units

7.0 Gbps Memory Clock
3072 MB Standard Memory Config
GDDR5 Memory Interface
384-bit GDDR5 Memory Interface Width
336 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
GTX 780 Ti Software SupportGTX 780 Ti Display Support
OpenGL 4.3
PCI Express 3.0
GPU Boost 2.0, 3D Vision, CUDA, DirectX 11, PhysX, TXAA, Adaptive VSync, FXAA, 3D Vision Surround, SLI-ready
Four displays for Multi Monitor
4096x2160 Maximum Digital Resolution
2048x1536 Maximum VGA Resolution
Two Dual Link DVI, One HDMI, One DisplayPort
GTX 780 Ti DimensionsGTX 780 Ti Power Specs
10.5 inches Length
4.3 inches Height
Dual-slot Width
250 W TDP
600 W Recommended Power Supply
One 8-pin and one 6-pin Power Connector

Software

Like all of Nvidia's GPUs, the 780 Ti comes bundled with GeForce Experience (GFE), an application that automatically optimizes the graphics settings of your games based upon your hardware. GFE automatically updates your drivers and scans your games library for supported games, aiming to target settings that achieve 40 to 60 frames per second. Since its release earlier in the year, GFE's performance has improved by leaps and bounds, with many more supported games and optimal settings chosen. Naturally, you'll be able to eke out more performance by diving in and editing things manually, but if you're happy to let GFE do the job for you, the results are impressive.

Also part of the 780 Ti software package is ShadowPlay, a gameplay capture system that leverages the H.264 encoder built into Kepler (600, 700 series) GPUs. It automatically records the last 20 minutes of gameplay at up to 1080p60 at 50Mbps in automatic mode, but you can record as much footage as your hard drive allows in manual mode. ShadowPlay's also due to support direct streaming to Twitch.tv, although that feature isn't in the current beta. The advantage of using ShadowPlay over something like Fraps is CPU and memory usage. In our testing we found it affected the frame rate far less than Fraps did, in many cases with a hit of just a few frames per second. The software is still in beta, though, so we experienced a few capturing hiccups and crashes, but hopefully those issues will be ironed out before its full release.

There's also a great games bundle attached to the 780 Ti, with copies of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins and Splinter Cell: Black List coming with every card. That's a sweet deal considering they're such current games, and hey, if you've already got them there's always the joy of gifting or selling on eBay.

Performance

Our trusty Ivy Bridge PC backed the GTX 780 Ti, although this time we overclocked the CPU to 4.2Ghz for a little extra oomph. A 1080p monitor would have been a waste for such a card, so we went with Asus' PQ321Q 4K monitor to really test its pixel-pushing power. With the exception of Crysis 3, all games were run at maximum settings and where possible we used FXAA for a performance boost. Call Of Duty: Ghosts was run at a lower resolution of 2560x1600, due to a current lack of 4K support.

MotherboardAsus P8Z68-V Motherboard
ProcessorIntel Core i5 3570k @ 4.2Ghz
RAM16GB 1600Mhz DDR3 Corsair Vengeance RAM
Hard DriveCorsair Force GT/Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB
Power SupplyCorsair HX850 PSU
DisplayAsus PQ321Q @ 3840x2160/Dell 3007WFP-HC @ 2560x1600

Battlefield 4 (2x MSAA @ 3840x2160)

Average FPSMinimum FPSMaximum FPS
GTX 780 Ti322444
GTX Titan292140
GTX 780261336

Crysis 3 (High Settings, FXAA @ 3840x2160)

Average FPSMinimum FPSMaximum FPS
GTX 780 Ti302444
GTX Titan272234
GTX 780252037

Call Of Duty: Ghosts (HBAO+, FXAA @ 2560x1600)

Average FPSMinimum FPSMaximum FPS
GTX 780 Ti7528107
GTX Titan7647104
GTX 780543783

Bioshock Infinite (Ultra @ 3840x2160)

Average FPSMinimum FPSMaximum FPS
GTX 780 Ti503467
GTX Titan403361
GTX 780302561

Tomb Raider (Ultra @ 3840x2160)

Average FPSMinimum FPSMaximum FPS
GTX 780 Ti302343
GTX Titan292139
GTX 780281637

Metro: Last Light (Ultra @ 3840x2160)

Average FPSMinimum FPSMaximum FPS
GTX 780 Ti332749
GTX Titan292537
GTX 780252040

A Pricey Performer

As expected with such killer specs, the GTX 780 Ti screams through the likes of Battlefield 4 and Call Of Duty: Ghosts, even at 4K, easily beating the GTX 780 and even the $1000 Titan. It's an impressive showing for a card based on an architecture that's now well over a year and a half old, and represents the peak of Kepler's rendering abilities. While we unfortunately didn't have an AMD R9 290X on hand to make a direct comparison, judging by the benchmarks out there, the 780 Ti is a comparable card and once again places Nvidia within striking distance of, if not back at the top of GPU performance.

Such performance comes at a price, though. At over $100 more than the R9 290X and nearly $300 more than the similarly performing R9 290, the 780 Ti is an expensive choice. It's also $100 more expensive than the GTX 780, a GPU that's hardly a slouch when it comes to high-resolution performance. Yes, the 780 Ti is far more power-efficient than AMD's latest, and yes, it's a very quiet card in operation too, and we experienced none of the power throttling issues that are currently plaguing the R9 290.

Whether that's worth the extra cash, though, is debatable. No doubt about it, the GTX 780 Ti is a brilliant GPU backed by some brilliant software, but you can do a lot with that $100 saving (or even $300 if you plump for the R9 290). AMD's aggressive pricing has taken the shine off the GTX 780 Ti, but if you're all in for team green and have the high-res setup to do it justice, it's the absolute best you can get from Nvidia, and one of the best GPUs (a lot) of money can buy.

Discussion

289 comments
CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

Nice to see something PC instead of all this bloody PS4/Xbox one dullness.

SpLiTMaN
SpLiTMaN

unless your playing on a specialized 30 inch monitor or a giant 90 inch tv resolutions over 1080 is pointless....so ill stay at 1080 with my gtx 660 OC and with everything maxed i lock 60 frame for everything..including the last crap games that came out...id need a crysis 4 just to see if my pc is still fit cuz no game actualy comes close to chalanging it...so thx but...NO!!!!!! maybe next year..

DeanoFantasy
DeanoFantasy

It would be nice to PC game at this level, just this is just why console gaming is more beneficial to just for gaming in general, im happily set up for £350 for the next 5 or 6 years now with the PS4, no essential need to be spending so much unnecessary time and money on something to make it look that bit better than a console version, I used to love PC gaming in the 90's I just don't think It would do me a favor anymore.

simon1812
simon1812

$699? with that much couldn't I just buy a PS4, a year PSN subscription,and BF4 with premium included?

Steven Watkins
Steven Watkins

GTX 760 SC in SLI FTW, who in the hell really needs this.

DIGN
DIGN

All I'm going to say is, if you buy a 780 Ti, Titan, or pretty much any recent high-end Nvidia card over the R9 290X you're an idiot and should hand all of your money to someone who will use it properly. There's being a fanboy and then there's being just plain dumb.

johnners2981
johnners2981

Do gamespot do AMD gpu reviews, why not? It seems a bit biased to only review one companies hardware and not it's competitors.


And Mark, the 780ti is $150 more expensive than AMD's 290x, not $100.

focuspuller
focuspuller

That price will drop. AMD is giving them a serious run for the money.

Matias Mgs
Matias Mgs

I find it funny that you think you need to rationalize having such a monster card like it's a mid range video card.

Faiz Ansar
Faiz Ansar

Just popped in to say that----PC MASTER RACE!!

Sina Madani
Sina Madani

Just buy a mid-range card and get your money 's worth. 1000fps is no better than 60 imo

Christopher B. Velez
Christopher B. Velez

it's all about the FPS, my GTX 680 still looks great, it may not turn over those huge FPS numbers, but it still works. There are people who work on cars, people who work on home decor, well...we work on PC's. It's not always feasible, but we always find a way.

John Connor
John Connor

because i said that to get your pc panties in a bunch \m/ >

Paul Bastin
Paul Bastin

More people own performance PC's than performance cars, that doesn't mean people with Skoda's don't look on in envy...

Mark Butler
Mark Butler

I think i stick to my overclock gtx 670, so far the shadow play recording has been good to me, no slow downs and good picture to. The R9 290X looks like a nice card but the power it used is way to much and the temp of the card gets a bit to hot

Ben Colvin
Ben Colvin

One day I want a computer tower the size of a pen but the video card attached to it will still be larger than a dvd case.

Mark Butler
Mark Butler

so is that why ps4 can't even play most games at 1080p at 60fps ?

Camilo Parada
Camilo Parada

For that price youd think nvidia would fix their gtx drivers by now, its been a year

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

There is no point in testing these cards at 4K if they can't even touch 60fps in most of the games you test. Also it would have been useful to see an R9 290 in the mix for comparison.

What I have learnt: anyone who thinks they can game at 4K with a single GPU is dreaming.

Chris Jarnberg
Chris Jarnberg

then We stilll ingore your opinions about Nivida SO WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! nividia FOREVER LOSER... HA HA HA

Chris Jarnberg
Chris Jarnberg

So what ! i dont care people i am ingore i LOVE ATI is TOP period LIFETIME ..

James Odin Hames
James Odin Hames

Yeah, seems like it's so expensive just because they know people will buy it at that price

James Odin Hames
James Odin Hames

Doesn't need to be available to everybody in order for us to be a Master Race lol... Not sure why you would think so. We wouldn't be so masterful if any scrub could get there hands on one! (Enough joking aside, for the price of a console you can build a PC that will outlast the console and perform a lot better. If you can't do it, you suck aha.) The only reason I own a console is for the exclusives, which are often pretty rubbish. -> halo

Lol-a Grd
Lol-a Grd

just have to wait two years to have a more powerful GPU...PC is not expensive

Zack Temple
Zack Temple

Wonder why a ferarri cost more than buick?? Faster, better build, much better quality lol

Ahmad Omar
Ahmad Omar

A PC in terms of performance and price has always been far better than Consoles... As for when PS3 first came out, a PC similar to PS3 stats. was 2/3 of the PS3 price... I mostly think that consoles exist just because of the "unique" games that you can play on them, such as God of War or FF or Gears of War... SO that's not true Shawn Boudreau...

Keith Jarrell
Keith Jarrell

Its nice but damn thats expensive. I'll stick with my 650Ti boost for now.

gufberg
gufberg

@RubMyDucky For the best price/performance you should be looking at the R9 280X (preferably the Asus TOP edition) It performs better than its GTX 770 competitor and is much cheaper. Also there'll be some never settle bundle stuff attached to it retroactively at some point (or so has AMD indicated)

Another option, if you feel like you can hold out, is to wait for the next generation a 1-1,5 years down the line. A 280x is essentially just a reskinned 7970 afterall and in the next generation we'll see AMD put their new architecture used in the 290x to use on more sensibly priced GPUs. 

so yeah tl;dr: If you need an upgrade now go r9 280X (Asus edition preferably)

additionally, if you want to look at some easily digestible performance comparisons AnandTech has a great benchmark comparison tools so you can see how different cards stacks up against each other. I dont think they've added the 280x but its essentially a 7970 so you can use that for reference if you're looking for  benchmarks. 

faddish
faddish

@RubMyDucky I just got a 7950 for $189 before a $30 rebate. Overclocked it a bit runs a heavily modded Skyrim @ a consistent 60fps 1080p. If they're are any priced like that go for it. GTX 760  are priced well as well.

StellOverdrive
StellOverdrive

Maybe if you're only going to play current-gen games at 1080p 60Hz for the next 5 yearsbut then you're not who this card is targeted at. Some people game on multi-monitor setups or at 1440p+ and will want to get 120 fps if they have a 120Hz capable monitor (which DOES look noticeably smoother than 60 fps) and may buy this card to keep taking full advantage of their hardware for the next few years of game releases. If you think it's only about increasing frame rates at the same hardware and settings, then you completely miss the point.

Evildantheman
Evildantheman

S @Mark Butler £180 quid dearer than a ps4 and from the table above its only running bf4 at 44 FPS. I'll stick to consoles i think. there worth the money you pay compared to pcs.

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

@Evildantheman you can build a PC that is at the same price range as the next-gen consoles and still out perform those consoles, of course you will need to research the parts if you're going to stay on budget. this card is made specifically for 4k, hi-res and multiple monitors.

I've currently played all the games listed a @1920x1080 using a 580GTX. The single card is still doing its job at full settings