Well it’s official. The GeForce GTX 780 video card is a real thing. As of today it officially kickstarts the 700 series of graphic crunching video card solutions. So before our review I wanted to strut some handsome pics around, offer some initial impressions and talk up some of the less obvious perks ushered in by this new behemoth.
True to form, Nvidia strikes first with what will be the flagship offering in the series. What we have here is another reference card straight from Nvidia. It looks identical and features the same specs as the vanilla retail version from folks like EVGA, Gigabyte and Asus. Each company will offer various models of the GeForce GTX 780 for customers to mull over. Several of these will features custom cooling solutions and enhanced clock times. EVGA for instance, has crafted a pretty slick dual fan cooling unit dubbed the ACX (Active Cooling Xtreme), It uses larger custom-made fins for the fans, a dual ball bearing system to enhance longevity and a dual cooling subsystem to minimize air turbulence between fans, for more even airflow.
The GeForce GTX video card itself is powered by the Kepler GK110. This is a slightly neutered version of the same die used in the insanely powerful Nvidia made GeForce GTX Titan video card. While that card is still the single most powerful card on the market, the GTX 780 is a damn close runner according to both Nvidia and our initial testing. Without out short-changing our ultimate review, I can say we’re seen numbers like mid 60 frames per second in Battlefield 3 at 2560 x 1600. You 1080p players will drool over what this thing can do at your native resolution. Even Crysis concedes coveted frames per second in heaps with a solid 50fps at High Quality with FXAA enabled. If you’re happy with 1080p gaming then really you can stop ready start shopping for your new GTX 780. But those with more probing curiosity should stay tuned for the final review.
The GTX 780 brings many similar features sets to the table that it’s older 600 series brethren enjoyed. yet now these have been refined and buffed. There is a new Nvidia’s SMX Engine for faster mutliprocessor streaming and speedier geometry. Nvidia’s cool GPU Boost grows up to 2.0. The 780 is supposed to boost to 900Mhz but our is hitting 993Mhz. Oh yeah! FXAA, Nvidia decidedly more impressive anti-aliasing returns, as does TXAA. At 2x, TXAA looks like 8x MSAA minus the performance hit. Adaptive V-sync is back and so is Framerate target. Both are good for maintaining stable consistent speeds without overtaxing your card.
But the coolest feature this new 700 series will bring is on-card video recording using Kepler’s built-in H.264 and Nvidia’s upcoming Shadow Play application. Nvidia tells us Shadow Play can work just like Fraps or your other video capture du jour. Set a hotkey and turn it on when you want capture something and turn it off when you’re done. Or you can set it to auto-record up to your last 20mins of gameplay. using Kepler’s built-in H.264 encoder means gamers will only see a 2% or less hit to your performance. That’s better than PlayClaw and Dxtory for those keeping count. What even better… Shadow Play will work with any Kepler based video card. So 600 series owners can get in on the action too. Shadow Play will be available sometime in June.
The GeForce GTX 780 video cards are available today May 23rd for $649 MSRP!