Compute

Jumping into compute, we should see a mix of results here, with some tests favoring the GK110 based GTX 780’s more compute capable design, while other tests will punish it for not being a fast FP64 card like GTX Titan.

As always we'll start with our DirectCompute game example, Civilization V, which uses DirectCompute to decompress textures on the fly. Civ V includes a sub-benchmark that exclusively tests the speed of their texture decompression algorithm by repeatedly decompressing the textures required for one of the game’s leader scenes.  While DirectCompute is used in many games, this is one of the only games with a benchmark that can isolate the use of DirectCompute and its resulting performance.

Civilization V’s DirectCompute performance is looking increasingly maxed out at the high end. At 402fps the GTX 780 may as well be tied with GTX Titan. On the other hand it’s a reminder that while we don’t always see NVIDIA do well in our more pure compute tests, it can deliver where it matters for games with DirectCompute.

Our next benchmark is LuxMark2.0, the official benchmark of SmallLuxGPU 2.0. SmallLuxGPU is an OpenCL accelerated ray tracer that is part of the larger LuxRender suite. Ray tracing has become a stronghold for GPUs in recent years as ray tracing maps well to GPU pipelines, allowing artists to render scenes much more quickly than with CPUs alone.

NVIDIA has never done well at LuxMark, and GTX 780 won’t change that. It’s greatly faster than GTX 680 and that’s about it. Kepler parts, including GK110, continue to have trouble with our OpenCL benchmarks, as evidenced by the fact that GTX 780 doesn’t beat GTX 580 by nearly as much as the generational improvements should lead to. GK110 is a strong compute GPU, but not in ways that LuxMark is going to benefit.

Our 3rd benchmark set comes from CLBenchmark 1.1. CLBenchmark contains a number of subtests; we’re focusing on the most practical of them, the computer vision test and the fluid simulation test. The former being a useful proxy for computer imaging tasks where systems are required to parse images and identify features (e.g. humans), while fluid simulations are common in professional graphics work and games alike.

GTX 780 still struggles some at compute with CLBenchmark, but less so than with LuxMark. 7970GE is the clear winner here in both tests, while GTX 780 stays remarkably close to GTX Titan in performance. The fluid simulation in particular makes GTX 780 look good on a generational basis, more than doubling GTX 580’s performance.

Moving on, our 4th compute benchmark is FAHBench, the official Folding @ Home benchmark. Folding @ Home is the popular Stanford-backed research and distributed computing initiative that has work distributed to millions of volunteer computers over the internet, each of which is responsible for a tiny slice of a protein folding simulation. FAHBench can test both single precision and double precision floating point performance, with single precision being the most useful metric for most consumer cards due to their low double precision performance. Each precision has two modes, explicit and implicit, the difference being whether water atoms are included in the simulation, which adds quite a bit of work and overhead. This is another OpenCL test, as Folding @ Home has moved exclusively to OpenCL this year with FAHCore 17.

The Folding@Home group recently pushed out a major core update(FAHBench 1.2.0), which we’ve rerun on a number of cards and is reflected in our results. Unfortunately this version also broke single precision implicit on AMD GPUs and AMD’s latest drivers, so we only have NVIDIA GPUs for that section.

In any case, despite the fact that this is an OpenCL benchmark this is one of the cases where NVIDIA GPUs do well enough for themselves in single precision mode, with GTX 780 surpassing 7970GE, and falling behind only GTX Titan and the 7990. GTX 780 doesn’t necessarily benefit from GK110’s extra compute functionality, but it does see a performance improvement over GTX 680 that’s close to the theoretical difference in shader performance. Meanwhile in double precision mode, the lack of an uncapped double precision mode for GTX 780 means that it brings up the bottom of the charts compared to Titan and its 1/3 FP64 rate. Compute customers looking for a bargain NVIDIA card (relatively speaking) will need to stick with Titan.

Wrapping things up, our final compute benchmark is an in-house project developed by our very own Dr. Ian Cutress. SystemCompute is our first C++ AMP benchmark, utilizing Microsoft’s simple C++ extensions to allow the easy use of GPU computing in C++ programs. SystemCompute in turn is a collection of benchmarks for several different fundamental compute algorithms, as described in this previous article, with the final score represented in points. DirectCompute is the compute backend for C++ AMP on Windows, so this forms our other DirectCompute test.

SystemCompute shows very clear gains over both the GTX 680 and GTX 580, while trailing the GTX Titan as expected. However like Titan, both trail the 7970GE.

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  • Finally - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    The GTX770 is a GTX680 with a different BIOS. Reply
  • Degong330 - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Amused to see blind fanboy comments= Reply
  • PaulRod - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Well it is... slightly tweaked core, new bios, slightly improved performance... only worth buying if you're still on a 500/6000 series card or older. Reply
  • YukaKun - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Actually, it is true... At least, for the curent PCB GTX680's

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • Ninjawithagun - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    No, Finally is correct - the GTX 770 really is a GTX680 with a different BIOS! Unfortunately, there is no way to flash an existing GTX680 to a GTX770, in spite of early reports that such a capability existed. It was found out that in fact, the BIOS that was used to flash a GTX680 to a GTX770 was in fact a fake. The BIOS was a modified GTX680 BIOS made to look as if it were a GTX770 BIOS. Confused yet? lol The bottom line is that the only difference between a GTX680 and GTX770 is the clock speeds. The GTX770 comes in at around 11-12% faster clock speeds and as such is about that much faster in frame rate rendering in games. So if you already own one or more GTX680s, it is definitely NOT worth upgrading to a GTX770! Reply
  • An00bis - Friday, May 31, 2013 - link

    this reminds me of the 7870, differences of under 10%, about 5% clock to clock compared to a 7850 that can OC the same, and people still buy it even though it's like $50 or more expensive than a 7850, just because it comes with a 1ghz OC, compared to a 7850 that only comes at about 800mhz stock. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    The 770 is using a revised version of the chip. While we're unlikely to see a large improvement it should run slightly faster for the same TDP. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    500 Reply
  • Machelios - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Better value than Titan, but still very niche...
    I'd like to see what Nvidia and AMD can bring at $250 in their next gen cards 
    Reply
  • AssBall - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    Agreed. A good video card should cost about as much as a good CPU, or a good MB. Reply

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