NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Launch Preview



Company: nVIDIA
Author: James Prior
Editor: Sean Ridgeley
Date: May 23rd, 2013

Meet ze monsta

This morning heralds the launch of the NVIDIA Geforce desktop 700 series, beginning with as big a bang as possible: the GeForce GTX 780. This card features the big kepler chip, GK110, first seen in desktop form as the GeForce GTX Titan. The GTX 780 doesn't replace Titan, but instead complements it at a lower, slightly less ultra-enthusiast market position ($649USD MSRP).

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The full specifications of the GeForce GTX 780 are as follows:

  • GK110 Kepler architecture
  • 28nm TSMC process / 7.1Bn transistors
  • 2304 CUDA cores / 12 SMX
  • 48 ROPS
  • 192 Texture/Memory Units
  • 863MHz engine clock (900MHz Boost)
  • 3GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 1500Mhz memory speed / 6Gbps QDR
  • 384-bit memory bus / 288GB/s bandwidth
  • 250W TDP with GPU Boost 2.0 and Power Control
  • Dual DL-DVI + HDMI 1.4 & DisplayPort 1.2 outputs
  • NVIDIA 3DVision 2
  • NVIDIA Surround
  • Quad Display capable
  • SLI & Tri-SLI Compatible
  • 8pin + 6-pin PCI-Express Power Input
  • PCI-Express 3.0
  • DirectX 11.0 / OpenGL 4.3 / OpenCL 1.2
  • 4TFLOP Single Precision
  • $649MSRP USD

No revisions to the Kepler architecture have been made for GTX 780, but like Titan, it features the new and improved GPU Boost 2.0. To differentiate the two, the GTX 780 runs a reduced core count, in contrast to the Titan, but it's not the same as the Tesla K20 configuration either.

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Concurrently with the GeForce GTX 780 launch is the first production release of GeForce Experience, the auto-tweaker application from NVIDIA that gives you, well, the best GeForce Experience. The premise is simple: NVIDIA's gaming experience department develop what they feel are in-game settings for the best experience -- smooth, high fidelity visuals at great frame rates -- for popular and new games.

These settings are delivered to you via GeForce Experience's auto updater, and then pushed out to the game through a simple button click in the app. Most games can even be optimized before first run, if installed correctly, although some need to be run once to create the engine and user .ini files that GeForce Experience manipulates.

GeForce Experience optimal settings requires a Windows PC running Vista/7/8 with DX 11, and needs Fermi and Kepler based products, meaning GeForce 400, 500, 600, 700 series (both desktop and mobility). You can download the client now from the NVIDIA GeForce Experience website.

NVIDIA's claims the GeForce GTX 780 is a significant and worthy replacement for the GeForce GTX 580, and a large performance increase over the highest competitive card (AMD's Radeon HD 7970 Ghz Edition). By large I mean 25-50% depending on title and settings, although I haven't had time to validate these claims for myself yet, only having received hardware yesterday.

GTX 580 to 780 uplift
GTX 780 vs HD 7970GE

As TSMC's 28nm process is now mature and well known, NVIDIA expect to meet the majority of the demand of GeForce GTX 780 easily, with reference designs shipping first and customized partner designs to follow shortly. One design parameter that won't change is the installed VRAM: that's locked at 3GB.

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Like Titan, the GTX 780 features adaptive temperature controls as part of GPU Boost 2.0. This minimizes fan speed fluctuations (one of the irritants of cooling fan noise is changes in speed and intensity). The 250W board TDP allows higher clocks than Titan, although it has fewer cores: 2304 on the GTX 780. This product is aimed at high resolution, high fidelity gaming and so may demonstrate better performance increases at resolutions above 1920x1080 (e.g. 2560x1440 or triple display Surround setups).

As a 1080P gaming card, NVIDIA consider this more of a long term investment product, capable of being used for several years at high settings with the newest games to come. I look forward to bringing Rage3D's performance and feature evaluation in full, soon.