GeForce GTX 780 Ti Round Up: EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI

Introduction and GeForce 780 Ti Features

Do you know what gets our juices flowing even more than high-end hardware? It's having the opportunity to wrangle and evaluate multiple versions of a top-tier product. In this case, we've gone out and collected NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics cards from three different enthusiast brands: EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI. Each of the cards in this roundup go above and beyond NVIDIA's reference blueprint -- they're all factory overclocked, custom cooled, and designed to run quiet so you can hear when an enemy tries to sneak up on you.

Before we discuss each individual card, let's take a moment to recap the GeForce 780 Ti. This is one of NVIDIA's fastest single-GPU consumer graphics cards, second in gaming performance only to the GeForce Titan Black. Unlike the original Titan, NVIDIA's Titan Black features slightly faster core and boost clockspeeds compared to the 780 Ti. However, each of the three cards we gathered for this roundup offer even higher clockspeeds than the Titan Black, and without the $300 pricing premium to boot.

GeForce GTX 780 Ti Graphics Cards

At the heart of the 780 Ti is NVIDIA's GK110 GPU built on a 28nm manufacturing process by TSMC. It has 7.1 billion transistors, 2,880 CUDA cores, and 240 texture units. You can read more about the architecture in our evaluation of a reference GeForce GTX 780 Ti, though short and to the point, this is the GK110-based card gamers have been waiting for. Now that it's here, NVIDIA's hardware partners wasted no time in putting their own touches on the card. Let's meet three of them.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Specifications & Features
Cards NVIDIA Reference EVGA Dual Classified w/ ACX Cooler Gigabyte Windforce 3X GHz Edition
MSI Twin Frozr Gaming OC Edition
Graphics Processing Clusters 5 5 5 5
Streaming Multiprocessors 15 15 15 15
CUDA Cores (single precision) 2880 2880 2880 2880
CUDA Cores (double precision) 960 960 960 960
Texture Units 240 240 240 240
ROP Units 48 48 48 48
Base Clock 875 MHz 1020 MHz 1085MHz 1020MHz
Boost Clock 928 MHz 1085 MHz 1150MHz 1085MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate) 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz
L2 Cache Size 1536K 1536K 1536K 1536K
Total Video Memory 3072MB GDDR5 3072 GDDR5 3072 GDDR5 3072 GDDR5
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 336 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear) 210 GT/sec 244.8 GT/sec 276 GT/sec 244.8 GT/sec
Fabrication Process 28 nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
Transistor Count 7.1 Billion 7.1 Billion 7.1 Billion 7.1 Billion

2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort

2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI
1 x DisplayPort
Form Factor Dual Slot Dual Slot Dual Slot Dual Slot
Power Connectors One 8-pin and one 6-pin Two 8-pin Two 8-pin One 8-pin and one 6-pin
Recommended Power Supply 600 Watts 600 Watts 600 Watts 600 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP) 250 Watts 250 Watts 250 Watts 250 Watts
Thermal Threshold 95°C 95°C 95°C 95°C
Price  $699 MSRP
$770 Street $736 Street $690 Street

We've highlighted the difference in clockspeeds and other specs that differ from NVIDIA's reference design so you can see at a glance what each manufacturer brings to the table. All three cards offer identical output options, though it's interesting to note that only MSI sticks to NVIDIA's 8-pin + 6-pin requirement, whereas both EVGA and Gigabyte require dual 8-pin PCI-E connectors. That's something to keep in mind when planning your cable layout, especially if you're using a power supply with modular cables.

GeForce GTX 780 Ti Graphics Cards

Of the three contenders, Gigabyte got the most aggressive with overclocking, ramping the GPU all the way up to 1085MHz base and 1150MHz boost. EVGA and MSI took their respective cards to 1020MHz base and 1085MHz boost, and based on that alone, we would expect Gigabyte's card to perform slightly better. Is there a cost to pushing the GPU so far past it reference specification? We'll answer that question along the way.

One last thing worth noting about clockspeeds is that MSI's card runs in one of three different modes: Silent Mode (876MHz core, 928MHz boost), Gaming Mode (980MHz core, 1046MHz boost), and OC Mode (1020MHz core, 1085MHz boost). The card defaults to Gaming Mode out of the box, though we selected OC Mode for the duration of our benchmarks since it's a pre-configured profile.

In terms of cost, MSI puts the least amount of pain on your wallet with a street tag of around $690. If you're willing to play the mail-in-rebate game, we've seen it go for as little as $660 after rebate. Gigabyte's card streets for around $736, while EVGA is the most expensive at $770. One thing that works in EVGA's favor, however, is the company's step-up program, which allows you to trade up to a new card within 90 days by only paying the difference in price. This affords you some protection against paying a premium for a graphics card that gets pushed down the totem pole weeks later when something faster comes along.

With the specs out of the way, let's take a closer look at each card's custom design.


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