This one is coming in hot and fast, folks! An age old battle of behemoths has hit a new fever pitch. Nvidia and AMD, the two video card Viziers of our time have once again placed consumers smack-dap in the middle of a highly entertaining pissing match.
For a brief but impressive moment, Nvidia’s GTX 780 card was the pound-for-pound performance leader, further cementing Team Green’s claim of being the “Fastest Single GPU” supplier in the industry. AMD countered with their R9 290x , video card whose stock clocks allow it to pull ahead of a single GTX 780 in both synthetic and real-world in-game performance. Sweetening the pot, AMD undercut Nvidia’s GTX 780 by 50 bucks with an MSRP of $550 vs. $600 for the GTX 780. Santa Clara responded in kind with a double whammy. Nvidia lowered the cost of their entire 700 series lineup, with the flagship GTX 780 now ringing in for only $500. But those were mere crumbs from a very rich table. Meanwhile AMD hit back with the R9 290 card. On paper and in the field this card seems more than alluring. At a mere $400 the card performs better than a stock clocked GTX 780 for only $100 more. Yet for any hardcore gamer, raw framerates and high clock speeds is no “Carpe Diem”. That and efficiency in power consumption, temperature and noise are what will seize the day.
But news of Nvidia’s price drop also foretold the GTX 780 Ti video card would drop on November 7th to drown out the roar of “Victory” from AMD fanboys the world over. Here I want to illustrate 7 reasons I feel the GTX 780 Ti is a better buy than the R9 290.
The GTX 780 Ti is indeed the fastest GPU on the market, returning the crown to Team Green, with performance gains clocking in at 10-18% in some games and applications. For example the 780 Ti cool kids are reporting frames as high as 58fps vs. 52fps of the 290 and 290x when the 780 Ti is overclocked (Crysis 3). At stock the 780 Ti is still faster but not by as much.
More impressively, the new Nvidia GTX 780 Ti is also far more efficient. I’m not going to bore you with the exhaustive numbers. That’s for the official review and comparisons. But it runs cooler, gobbles up less power and is noticeably quieter.
3. Overclock Ability
The efficiency in thermal and power consumption allow for a staggeringly high ceiling for overclocking leading to expansive and rewarding performance gains, as much as 23% and as little as 16% over stock performance. That’s simply amazing. The heating issues on the R9 290 and 290x result in a relatively low OC ceiling by comparison. The 290x and 290 run too hot to get much more muscle out of these competing cards.
4. Design & Quality
The GTX 780 and 780 Ti use a similar design as the GTX Titan, which has been revered as the most impressively constructed video card to date, for good reason. The thing is simply gorgeous. But more than that, injection magnesium alloy is used for the double wide fan housing which helps tremendously in reducing fan noise. The cooler itself is made from aluminum with a protective layer of Trivalent chromium, which adds to the slick drool-worthy looks and surprising durability. These areas are where the 290 and 290x are catching the most flak from press. The power is there, but the elegance is absent.
Shadowplay is free video capture tool embedded in the drivers needed for Nvidia 600 and 700 GPUs. It used the H.264 encoder embedded on all GTX 650 cards or higher for 1080p video capture quality at 60fps with an unnoticeable hit to your framerate and system performance. The quality and performance come quite close to that found on a aftermarket capture card like the renowned AVerMedia C985 Live Gamer HD 1080p Capture Card. That’s $180 right there. See here for more details.
6. Geforce Experience
Geforce Experience is also part of the Nvidia drive suite. It’s a smart little tool that analyzes your PC hardware then scales and sets in-game video settings accordingly so you get the best possible performance for your favorite games.
An investment in a Geforce GTX 780 Ti is just that, an “investment.” Yet there is so much on offer beyond just the initial video card product. Investing in green also offers Game Streaming via an Nvidia Shield mobile Android device. While connected to your network router, you can stream games from your PC to a Shield device with any GTX 600 series video card or above. The 780 Ti meets this requirement and with ample muscle to spare. Additionally, GRID, Nvidia’s potent new cloud gaming platform, can pull games down from the cloud straight to your Shield. Plug Shield into your HDMI-ready TV and enjoy a console-like experience with a few other essentials. Get it working right and you have the most innovative cost-effective console on the market.
Look I know this is coming off as massively fanboy-ish. Honestly the new boards from AMD are the most cost-effective ways to game at some of the highest levels possible. Yet hardcore gamers require more. For myself, a gamer who loves to tinker, with his hardware for supreme efficacy, the boons of the more expensive Nvidia Geforce offering are worth the extra dollars–without even going into AMD’s murky history with poor drivers support and iffy Crossfire support.
Shawn loves gadgets, literature, history and games. For 10yrs+ he's straddled both the comic book & video game industries, as a writer, editor, marketing officer & producer. Shawn got his start in tech & games as an editor & Hardware Director for GameRevolution.com. More notable accomplishments include Executive Producer on mobile games Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved & The Shroud.