nVidia GTX780 Ti Review
The King is dead, long live the King.
We don't quite know where to begin. The GTX Titan appeared and redefined what we thought we could expect from a single-GPU. Then the GTX780 appeared and showed that the Titan was too expensive for what you got, as even reducing the CUDA Core count and amount of GDDR5 didn't really limit the performance. Finally AMD returned triumphantly with the R9 290X which, despite the excellent performance, lacked any ability to overclock which we felt left the pure speed title with the GTX780, even if the R9 290X was a great buy.
Now with the GTX780Ti the R9 290X is still a good buy but the main thing it had to offer, namely some quality games, has been stolen by nVidia's decision to include the latest Splinter Cell and Batman games alongside the game second only to Battlefield 4 on the lips of gamers everywhere, Assassins Creed IV. But games are just the icing on the cake, and what a cake the GTX780Ti is. We didn't think that there was much else to be squeezed from the GK110 GPU by the time the partner vendors had overclocked it within an inch of its life, but nVidia have bumped up the amount of CUDA Cores and Texture Units, tweaked the delivery of power between the PCI Express slot and the 8+6 pin power connectors, and produced a truly mind-blowing card.
We know we've made much of the overclocked performance of the GTX780Ti when compared to a stock R9 290X, but it's not as unfair a comparison as you might think, so before you leap upon our forums in a rage froth; AMD decided to give the R9 290X the poor cooler it has, and push the thermal limit to 95°C. This leads to zero headroom for overclocking. nVidia have put the excellent Titan cooler on the GTX780Ti and thus it overclocks like a bat out of hell. This is free performance. It's not related to having a Tri-Frozr or DCUII cooler. It's how the manufacturer supply it. AMD supplied it in a manner that didn't overclock, nVidia did. So because you're not reliant upon a third-party option and price premium to obtain that overclock, it would be pointless to not utilise it just because AMD didn't cough up for a good cooler.
The move to better split the power delivery between the PCI Express slot and the power connectors really allows the GTX780Ti to overclock to new heights. We got 225MHz extra out of the Kepler GPU, and even squeezed another 600MHz out of the memory. It's hardly slow out of the box, but 225MHz is an enormous overclock and one of the biggest we've ever achieved.
We have to look for faults and there are a couple of little niggles. Firstly if you've already got a stonking GTX780 (the MSI Gaming for example) then there isn't enough extra performance to justify the cost. Secondly at a street price around £550 the GTX780Ti is hardly cheap. On the flip side of that though it makes the GTX Titan seem wheezy in comparison, and that was a hugely expensive card when it was released.
We really can't fault it. It's blisteringly quick whether you're at stock or overclocked, 1920x1080 or 2560x1440, benchmarking or free-form playing. Everything you throw at it is eaten up and spat out with all the ease of Pacman on a power pill. It's near silent and so of course it gets a Gold, and you should all go and buy one.