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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  • beck2448 - Tuesday, November 12, 2013 - link

    They live in a dream world. Pros buy Nvidia 80% plus. That says everything about quality and reliability.
  • Mondozai - Friday, December 13, 2013 - link

    EJS, the buttboy for Nvidia, most sane people are non-fanboys.
    This means most people, including myself, skipped AMD the last few generations because they did a shitty job. We bought Nvidia hardware instead. Now, the roles will be changed with aftermarket coolers.

    Also, please don't talk about mouthbreathers when you're literally chewing cowshit in your mouth everytime you're trying to say something. It stinks.
  • xdesire - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    You really don't know what you are talking about. Obviously, R9 290 holds great price/performance value but GTX 780 Ti has great OC potential out of the box. I'm afraid AMD shot themselves on their own foot with this reference cooler
  • Grugtuck - Friday, November 8, 2013 - link

    Any reason why the 900000000 pound gorilla in the room isnt mentioned here? 290x spanks the living **** out of the 780i in CF vs SLI. It makes me think that driver issues are still not fully sorted out.

    Ryan you sound like an absolute idiot when you say that no one is going to need SLI or CF any more. I also think its interesting how these days suddenly 60FPS is the standard to live by when it comes to FPS. I started playing PC games competitively back around 2002 and 80FPS has always been what people shot for, not 60. 60 is the bar min for acceptable smooth play, its not the optimal for competitive or serious FPShooter gaming.
  • lostsanityreturned - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    Hmmm I figured I would run a quick bench... my OCed 780 gigabyte with stock cooling gets the same average fps as their OCed 780ti in metro... 67fps 1440p high preset.

    I imagine it would be even higher if I uninstall comodo (which seems to drop my average fps by 5-14 frames just by being installed even if everything is disabled and profiles are set up correctly to ignore games, goes right back up if uninstalled though)

    I hit 77degrees after my third run and it dropped back down to 75 soon after when the fans ramped up again, keeping in mind this is Western Australia I am in currently at 34 degrees (that is 94.2 Fahrenheit), all the windows open and no air-conditioning with an aircooled case.
    It isn't even a demanding overclock +161 to core and +189 to memory... which considering I usually run it at +181 and +201 with ease and stability (I turned it down to see what the results were for an easy overclock as they didn't push their 780ti much)

    I was feeling like crap about them releasing a new card just 4=5months after I got the 780... now... not so
  • sf101 - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    I think obviously people are just irate with Nvidia thinking they can charge premiums on everything and not just small premiums but they seem really set on this +750$ area pricing refusing to cut their customer base a break on the overpricing.

    So they drop down the 780 GTX to 500$ and everyone cheers "ignorantly" !!! Really its just a smoke screen because they knew the 290 and 290x were out performing their card while running on poor performing cooling units and yet it still has a $100 premium over the 290 which also out runs it pretty much everywhere.

    Now down come's the 780TI pooping all over early adopters of the 780 and more so the titan buyers who thought they were getting a flagship card and foolishly paid $1000+ for them.

    But its not all bad because heck man performance is performance and the 780ti is obviously needed to keep Nvidia in this race so we all look past its release but can't look past its premium pricing which is just another rip off of the customers @ 150$ over the competitor's pricing which closely competes at lower resolutions and fails to out perform @ 4k and in SLI/crossfire configurations.

    Now all that would be just business as usual if Reviewer's were Educating about AMD's crossfire and high resolution performance wins over even the new and improved 780TI.

    Instead they are quiet as a mouse to All AMD's Wins aside from pricing because well that's obvious and hard to ignore right. and rip AMD a new one over the downsides aka heat and noise which is totally justified and expected.

    While for the nvidia side of things its all Christmas and Win's on the review reading in such a way that the 780ti wins in every category. failing to mention the Wattage use is getting up there as well as heat and fan noise, perhaps not up to 290x height's but much further than the GTX780.

    All of these things have been pointed out on other review sites the good and the bad.
  • FuriousPop - Sunday, November 10, 2013 - link

    lol, at the end of the day its all about target marketing.... excluding the fanboys of course. Fanboys = omg its better, faster, cooler oh oh i gotta have it. where as most normal people will analyse the cost of the GPU in relation to its performance to which if applicable to them would do other little upgrades to it/their case if need be, if it all still fits into the equation of how much to spend. etc etc

    do your research, read lots of reviews, ask questions(if any) then purchase and don't look back. pretty simple.....

    most of you all come here to rage and fire shots to either side (great entertainment btw) reminds me of that Halo Red Vs Blue. more like "fanboys - Red Vs Green" oh hey hey - why Red first eh eh!?
  • SymphonyX7 - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    Why exactly would I buy a GTX 780 Ti, when for a $100 more I can get TWO Radeon R9 290s in SLI and get twice the performance? The heat issue is there, but it ain't nothing an aftermarket cooler can't handle like the Accelero Xtreme 3.

    AMD wouldn't have flinched from the GTX 780 Ti's launch had it not been for their utterly terrible reference coolers.
  • SymphonyX7 - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    I meant Crossfire, not SLI. But you get the point. Have you seen those CF 290x vs SLI 780 Ti numbers? That's a ridiculous beatdown.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Saturday, November 9, 2013 - link

    you know, what i see from this, is that the 290x in uber mode is just as fast as the 780ti in most senarios, and is often a little faster. which should mean that the third party coolers that get slapped on these things should allow the 290x to soundly beat the 780ti. lets get the windforce 3x version of both these cards when they come out, and bench those for a more equal review.

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