The graphics card market has seen some amazing turns lately, despite the fact that AMD and Nvidia didn't make any serious architectural changes in 2013. The latest GPUs have been redesigned, while a handful are just extensions of the previous generation's technology, including the flagships from both camps. The Hawaii XT core on the R9 290X increased the performance of the Tahiti XT core on the HD 7970 by 38% with a 33% wider memory bus, while the GTX Titan is powered by a version of the GTX 680's GPU, except that it is 90% is bigger!
After trading performance blows, both companies are tightening their prices with the $ 400 R9 slashing the GTX 780 from $ 650 to $ 500, further invalidating the GTX Titan, according to the announcement GTX 780 Ti, which we will test, is practically history today.
The latest offering from Nvidia offers 7% more CUDA cores and 17% more bandwidth for $ 700 – 30% less than the Titan, which is still $ 1,000 new, in case you want one for your museum. It might just be a tuned GTX 780, but we expect Nvidia's new Ti card to be the fastest single GPU offering.
As if it weren't fast enough, Gigabyte has equipped its GTX 780 Ti with a massive air cooler that can process 450 W of heat, so that the company can deliver its variant of the Nvidia newcomer with 17% overclocking.
The company has also worked on other overclocked GTX 780s, including a "GHz Edition" (unofficial Nvidia nomenclature) that contains the same 450W cooler and has a core clock of 1.02 GHz, or 18% higher than the standard version of the card enables. We're here, of course, to see how these fit into today's crowded, yet interesting and heated, enthusiastic cast.
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti and 780 GHz Edition in detail
The GTX 780 GHz Edition and GTX 780 Ti OC are so similar that we decided to cover them together. The GTX 780 reference board is 26.7 cm long, while the Gigabyte cards with an improved cooler are slightly longer at 29 cm (the boards are still 26.7 cm long). The display outputs remain standard, including two dual-link DVIs, an HDMI and a DisplayPort connector.
With 2304 CUDA cores, the GTX 780 was launched with 50% more cores and 50% more memory than the GTX 680. Six 64-bit memory controllers form a 384-bit wide bus, and Nvidia's specification combines the GPU with GDDR5 memory clocked at 6008 MHz, providing a peak bandwidth of up to 288.4 GB / s.
The 2304 CUDA cores in the 12 SMX units are clocked at 863 MHz as standard. With Boost 2.0, however, they can be clocked up to 902 MHz in certain scenarios. The second generation GPU Boost technology from Nvidia works in the background and dynamically adjusts the GPU's clock rate to the operating conditions.
This is where Gigabyte made the biggest changes and increased the base clock of the GTX 780 GHz Edition to 1019 MHz, while the boost clock exceeds 1 GHz at 1071 MHz. That 18% overclock should be enough to get Titan-like performance, while Gigabyte's GTX 780 Ti and OC model go even further.
The reference GTX 780 Ti has 2880 CUDA cores, 25% more than the GTX 780, increasing the number of SMX units to 15 at 875 MHz each (928 MHz via boost). Nvidia has upgraded the Ti with the 7 GHz GDDR5 memory of the GTX 770, which enables a bandwidth of 336.4 GB / s via the 384-bit bus.
Gigabyte has significantly increased the clock speed of its GTX 780 Ti OC card and reached a base of 1020 MHz with a 1085 MHz boost clock. The company doesn't seem to have touched the memory frequency, but that makes sense since it's already running at 7 GHz. However, a massive triple fan cooler was added.
The GTX 780 GHz Edition and GTX 780 Ti OC maintain their overclocked frequencies via the WindForce 3X trio with 75mm fans as well as Gigabyte's exclusive "Triangle Cool" technology, which includes a series of slats and triangular clip modules used to better direct the airflow over the heat sink.
Two 8 mm and four 6 mm copper heat pipes cool the memory chips and the power phase. The heat sink is wrapped in an aluminum case that looks nicer than the old plastic case, as well as an aluminum back plate for added protection. Overall, Gigabyte says its design cools 20% better than Nvidia's reference.
The external power configuration of the GHz Edition has also been updated from the standard GTX 780 with two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, while the GTX 780 Ti OC has the standard 6-pin / 8-pin configuration. Both have a TDP of 250W, 28% more than the GTX 680, so Nvidia recommends a 600W power supply.