When NVIDIA launched their first consumer GK110 card back in February with the GeForce GTX Titan, one of the interesting (if frustrating) aspects of the launch was that we knew we wouldn’t be getting a “complete” GK110 card right away. GTX Titan was already chart-topping fast, easily clinching the crown for NVIDIA, but at the same time it was achieving those high marks with only 14 of GK110’s 15 SMXes active. The 15th SMX, though representing just 7% of GK110’s compute/geometry hardware, offered the promise of just a bit more performance out of GK110, and a promise that would have to wait to be fulfilled another day. For a number of reasons, NVIDIA would keep a little more performance in the tank in reserve for use in the future.

Jumping forward 8 months to the past few weeks, and things have significantly changed in the high-end video card market. With the launch of AMD’s new flagship video card, Radeon R9 290X, AMD has unveiled the means to once again compete with NVIDIA at the high end. And at the same time they have shown that they have the wherewithal to get into a fantastic, bloody price war for control of the high-end market. Right out of the gate 290X was fast enough to defeat GTX 780 and battle GTX Titan to a standstill, at a price hundreds of dollars cheaper than NVIDIA’s flagship card. The outcome of this has been price drops all around, with GTX 780 shedding $150, GTX Titan being all but relegated to the professional side of “prosumer,” and an unexpectedly powerful Radeon R9 290 practically starting the same process all over again just 2 weeks later.

With that in mind, NVIDIA has long become accustomed to controlling the high-end market and the single-GPU performance crown. AMD and NVIDIA may go back and forth at times, but at the end of the day it’s usually NVIDIA who comes out on top. So with AMD knocking at their door and eyeing what has been their crown, the time has come for NVIDIA to tap their reserve tank and to once again cement their hold. The time has come for GTX 780 Ti.

  GTX 780 Ti GTX Titan GTX 780 GTX 770
Stream Processors 2880 2688 2304 1536
Texture Units 240 224 192 128
ROPs 48 48 48 32
Core Clock 875MHz 837MHz 863MHz 1046MHz
Boost Clock 928Mhz 876Mhz 900Mhz 1085MHz
Memory Clock 7GHz GDDR5 6GHz GDDR5 6GHz GDDR5 7GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit
FP64 1/24 FP32 1/3 FP32 1/24 FP32 1/24 FP32
TDP 250W 250W 250W 230W
Transistor Count 7.1B 7.1B 7.1B 3.5B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Launch Date 11/07/13 02/21/13 05/23/13 05/30/13
Launch Price $699 $999 $649 $399

Getting right down to business, GeForce GTX 780 Ti unabashedly a response to AMD’s Radeon R9 290X while also serving as NVIDIA’s capstone product for the GeForce 700 series. With NVIDIA finally ready and willing to release fully enabled GK110 based cards – a process that started with Quadro K6000 – GTX 780 Ti is the obligatory and eventual GeForce part to bring that fully enabled GK110 GPU to the consumer market. By tapping the 15th and final SMX for a bit more performance and coupling it with a very slight clockspeed bump, NVIDIA has the means to fend off AMD’s recent advance while offering a refresh of their product line just in time for a busy holiday season and counter to the impending next-generation console launch.

Looking at the specifications for GTX 780 Ti in detail, at the hardware level GTX 780 Ti is the fully enabled GK110 GeForce part we’ve long been waiting for. Featuring all 15 SMXes up and running, GTX 780 Ti features 25% more compute/geometry/texturing hardware than the GTX 780 it essentially replaces, or around 7% more hardware than the increasingly orphaned GTX Titan. To that end the only place that GTX 780 Ti doesn’t improve on GTX Titan/780 is in the ROP department, as both of those cards already featured all 48 ROPs active, alongside the associated memory controllers and L2 cache.

Coupled with the fully enabled GK110 GPU, NVIDIA has given GTX 780 Ti a minor GPU clockspeed bump to make it not only the fastest GK110 card overall, but also the highest clocked card. The 875MHz core clock and 928MHz boost clock is only 15MHz and 28MHz faster than GTX 780 in their respective areas, but with GTX 780 already being clocked higher than GTX Titan, GTX 780 Ti doesn’t need much more in the way of GPU clockspeed to keep ahead of the competition and its older siblings. As a result if we’re comparing GTX 780 Ti to GTX 780, then GTX 780 relies largely on its SMX advantage to improve performance, combining a 1% clockspeed bump and a 25% increase in shader harder to offer 27% better shading/texturing/geometry performance and just 1% better ROP throughput than GTX 780. Or to compare things to Titan, then GTX 780 Ti relies on its more significant 5% clockspeed advantage coupled with its 7% functional unit increase to offer a 12% increase in shading/texturing/geometry performance, alongside a 5% increase in ROP throughput.

With specs and numbers in mind, there is one other trick up GTX 780 Ti’s sleeve to help push it past everything else, and that is a higher 7GHz memory clock. NVIDIA has given GK110 the 7GHz GDDR5 treatment with the GTX 780 Ti (making it the second card after GTX 770 to get this treatment), giving GTX 780 Ti 336GB/sec of memory bandwidth. This is 17% more than either GTX Titan or GTX 780, and even edging out the recently released Radeon R9 290X’s 320GB/sec. The additional memory bandwidth, though probably not absolutely necessary from what we’ve seen with GTX Titan, will help NVIDIA get as much out of GK110 as they can and further separate the card from other NVIDIA and AMD cards alike.

The only unfortunate news here when it comes to memory will be that unlike Titan, NVIDIA is sticking with 3GB for the default RAM amount on GTX 780 Ti. Though the performance ramifications of this will be minimal (at least at this time), will put the card in an odd spot of having less RAM than the cheaper Radeon R9 290 series.

Taken altogether then, GTX 780 Ti stands to be anywhere between 1% and 27% faster than GTX 780 depending on whether we’re looking at a ROP-bound or shader-bound scenario. Otherwise it stands to be between 5% and 17% faster than GTX Titan depending on whether we’re ROP-bound or memory bandwidth-bound.

Meanwhile let’s quickly talk about power consumption. As GTX 780 Ti is essentially just a spec bump of the GK110 hardware we’ve seen for the last 8 months, power consumption won’t officially be changing. NVIDIA designed GTX Titan and GTX 780 with the same power delivery system and the same TDP limit, with GTX 780 Ti further implementing the same system and the same limits. So officially GTX 780 Ti’s TDP stands at 250W just like the other GK110 cards. Though in practice power consumption for GTX 780 Ti will be higher than either of those other cards, as the additional performance it affords will mean that GTX 780 Ti will be on average closer to that 250W limit than either of those cards.

Finally, let’s talk about pricing, availability, and competitive positioning. On a pure performance basis NVIDIA expects GTX 780 Ti to be the fastest single-GPU video card on the market, and our numbers back them up on this. Consequently NVIDIA is going to be pricing and positioning GTX 780 Ti a lot like GTX Titan/780 before it, which is to say that it’s going to be priced as a flagship card rather than a competitive card. Realistically AMD can’t significantly threaten GTX 780 Ti, and although it’s not going to be quite the lead that NVIDIA enjoyed over AMD earlier this year, it’s enough of a lead that NVIDIA can pretty much price GTX 780 Ti based solely on the fact that it’s the fastest thing out there. And that’s exactly what NVIDIA has done.

To that end GTX 780 Ti will be launching at $699, $300 less than GTX Titan but $50 higher than the original GTX 780’s launch price. By current prices this will put it $150 over the R9 290X or $200 over the reprised GTX 780, a significant step over each. GTX 780 Ti will have the performance to justify its positioning, but just as the previous GK110 cards it’s going to be an expensive product. Meanwhile GTX Titan will be remaining at $999, despite the fact that it’s now officially dethroned as the fastest GeForce card (GTX 780 having already made it largely redundant). At this point it will live on as NVIDIA’s entry level professional compute card, keeping its unique FP64 performance advantage over the other GeForce cards.

Elsewhere on a competitive basis, until such a time where factory overclocked 290X cards hit the market, the only real single-card competition for GTX 780 Ti will be the Radeon HD 7990, AMD’s Tahiti based dual-GPU card, which these days retails for close to $800. Otherwise the closest competition will be dual card setups, such as the GTX 770 SLI, R9 280X CF, and R9 290 CF. All of those should present formidable challenges on a pure performance basis, though it will bring with it the usual drawbacks of multi-GPU rendering.

Meanwhile, as an added perk NVIDIA will be extending their recently announced “The Way It’s Meant to Be Played Holiday Bundle with SHIELD” promotion to the GTX 780 Ti, which consists of Assassins’ Creed IV, Batman: Arkham Origins, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and a $100 SHIELD discount. NVIDIA has been inconsistent about this in the past, so it’s a nice change to see it included with their top card. As always, the value of bundles are ultimately up to the buyer, but for those who do place value in the bundle it should offset some of the sting of the $699 price tag.

Finally, for launch availability this will be a hard launch. Reference cards should be available by the time this article goes live, or shortly thereafter. It is a reference launch, and while custom cards are in the works NVIDIA is telling us they likely won’t hit the shelves until December.

Fall 2013 GPU Pricing Comparison
  $700 GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Radeon R9 290X $550  
  $500 GeForce GTX 780
Radeon R9 290 $400  
  $330 GeForce GTX 770
Radeon R9 280X $300  
  $250 GeForce GTX 760
Radeon R9 270X $200  
  $180 GeForce GTX 660
  $150 GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
Radeon R7 260X $140  


Meet The GeForce GTX 780 Ti
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  • r13j13r13 - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    a los fans de NVIDIA no se preocupen pronto sacaran la version de 1000 dolares con un 5% mas de rendimiento
  • twtech - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    An interesting comparison would be a 780 Ti vs. crossfired 290s. In the previous generation of cards, I wouldn't have considered that fair, as any type of SLI/crossfire setup was definitely inferior to any single-card setup in a variety of ways. But that's changed in this latest generation.

    I bought two 290X on launch day (I knew they would go out of stock by day 3, and not come back into general availability for something like 2 months), but the experience compared to the last time I'd tried CF a few years back was completely different. There are no bridges to worry about - you just plug in the two cards and go. CF doesn't have any sync polarity issues, and the driver support for CF & multi-monitor is actually pretty fleshed out. I didn't notice any stuttering or texture corruption as I had the previous time I'd given CF a try.

    In fact the only reason I tried it now is because I have 3 2560x1600 monitors, and driving that is too much to ask out of a single card. The two 290X handle it easily though.
  • FuriousPop - Sunday, November 10, 2013 - link

    what frames are you getting?
    i currently have 2x7970's in CF and was looking to upgrade to handle my same setup.
  • DMCalloway - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    Wow !!! There sure are a lot of used 780's on Eb*y......meanwhile in a very luxurious board room in Santa Clara California ..... ' but sir.... do you really think they'll sell at that price point? '.....( while laughing ) ' of course they'll sell at that price point; our consumer research polls show that our customer base simply can't help themselves.'..... and throughout the world the rustling of wallets and swishing of credit cards could be heard as green team loyalist geared up to purchase their second almost $700 gtx 780 for 2013...... : )
  • polaco - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    This is what we are talking about:
    when 290's get theirs non reference coolers NVidia 780 Ti will have to take it's bargains and go home definitley. AMD's 290 ans 290X series are full of hopes to hit even better performance numbers, however NVidia's 780Ti are at it's max.
  • EJS1980 - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    " AMD's 290 ans 290X series are full of hopes to hit even better performance numbers, however NVidia's 780Ti are at it's max..."

    OC'ing the 780ti will give you around 15-20% more performance, or higher, so what the hell are you talking about? I realize you're in love with all things AMD, but if you can take your goggles off for a second, you'd realize the 780ti is actually a really great card (much like the 290(x), obviously).
    I had NO IDEA how many AMD fanboys could be found mouth-breathing on the internet, at any given time. Which begs the question: if AMD has so many fanboys, why the f*ck are they doing so poorly in the discrete GPU market?
  • polaco - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    Yes I do prefer AMD due to it's fair price. However what I'm talking about is that with non reference cooler 290-290X will be able to run pretty cool and have decent overclocking potential too, as shown in tomshardware chart. Since they cost several bucks less than NVidia cards and at that point should be a pretty closed gap in performance (in fact they already are) then AMD cards will be at an extremely nice price/performance point. What do you mean by poorly in discrete GPU? Many APUs has been sold, APUs are replacing discrete GPUs, all PS4 and XBox One are like discrete GPUs. And I do have preference by AMD but mainly coz this reasons: they have always been trying to innovate, they have to compete with a giant as Intel and they bring price balance to the GPU / CPU market. That doen't mean I will buy them whatever they take to the market, I evaluate all options and buy what fits my needs better. In fact 780ti is a great card nobody says the opposite, just quite expensive from my point of view and I don't want to get into the "how much NVidia has been abusing buyers wallet during this months". I wonder if any NVidia fan that has acquired and 780 or Titan previouly to 290 entry to the market could recognize that...
  • Owls - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    OCing a Ti is not guaranteed. Why do people parrot this info around like every card is going to peform the way you describe?
  • EJS1980 - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    Again, what the hell are you people talking about???

    Even though results can very from card to card, EVERY 780ti can be overclocked to boost performance by a significant margin. These chips are the cream of the Kepler crop, and Nvidia is confident enough with their yields that a substantial OC is all but guaranteed with each card, as EVERY review so far has illustrated.
    I personally feel this card is about a $100 overpriced, and as such, I will NOT be upgrading at this time. I also believe that even with the significant problems inherent to the new Hawaii chips, they are powerful cards at an EXCELLENT price point.
    However, I'm not going to pretend that the 290(x) are faster than the 780ti, just because their priced better. So many of you guys keep pointing out that once after market solutions arrive, the 290(x) will take back the crown, and that simply isn't true. Performance will obviously improve, but only to levels comparable to a STOCK 780ti, and maybe not even that. That's where OC'ing comes in to play, for if we're going to compare the 290(x) OC'd with a better cooling solution, then the same must be applied to the 780ti too. I expect the 780ti to maintain its 5-15% performance advantage over the 290(x) after they've BOTH released their aftermarket solutions, so the question ultimately returns to whether or not the consumer finds that performance advantage to be worthy of the price differential. Just because you don't, or I don't, does NOT mean that anyone else won't too, or that there isn't even a advantage to begin with, which there undoubtedly will be...
  • Mondozai - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    EJS1980, the mouth-breathing Nvidia fanboy, you're talking about a card(GTX 780 Ti) which with an aftermarket cooler could have an advantage as low as 5% for 200-250 dollars more in price. Only a Nvidia buttboy would think that's a good deal, you've been raped by them through their pricing for so long, you've come to even enjoy it.

    Most sane, non-buttboys will opt for the best price/performance ratio. Including for high-end cards. A 290 in CF with aftermarket coolers will crush everything. Even a 290X on an aftermarket cooler is going to do a lot better, especially as we transition to 4K within the next 1-2 years.

    Stop being a buttboy for Nvidia.

    (P.S. I'm currently using an Nvidia card, but I always get embarrassed when I see buttboys for a specific company like yourself).

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