Final Thoughts

NVIDIA is primarily pitching the GeForce GTX 780 as the next step in their high-end x80 line of video cards, a role it fits into well. At the same time however I can’t help but to keep going back to GTX Titan comparisons due to the fact that the GTX 780 is by every metric a cut-down GTX Titan card. Whether this is a good thing or not is open to debate, but with NVIDIA’s emergence into the prosumer market with GTX Titan and the fact that there’s now a single-GPU video card above the traditionally top-tier x80 card, this complicates things as compared to past x80 card launches.

Anyhow, we’ll start with the obvious: the GeForce GTX 780 is a filler card whose most prominent role will be filling the game between sub-$500 cards and this odd prosumer/luxury/ultra-enthusiast market that has taken root above $500. If there’s to be a $1000 single-GPU card in NVIDIA’s product stack then it’s simply good business to have something between that and the sub-$500 market, and that something is the GTX 780.

For the small number of customers that can afford a card in this price segment, the GTX 780 is an extremely strong contender. In fact it’s really the only contender – at least as far as single-GPU cards go – as AMD won’t directly be competing with GK110. The end result is that with the GTX 780 delivering an average of 90% of Titan’s gaming performance for 65% of the price, this is by all rights the Titan Mini, the cheaper video card Titan customers have been asking for. From that perspective the GTX 780 is nothing short of an amazing deal for the level of performance offered, especially since it maintains the high build quality and impressive acoustics that helped to define Titan.

On the other hand, as an x80 card the GTX 780 is pretty much a tossup. The full generational performance improvement is absolutely there, as the GTX 780 beats the last-generation GTX 580 by an average of 80%. NVIDIA knows their market well, and for most buyers in a 2-3 year upgrade cycle this is the level of performance necessary to spur on an upgrade.

The catch comes down to pricing. $650 for the GTX 780 makes all the sense in the world from NVIDIA’s perspective – GTX Titan sales have exceeded NVIDIA’s expectations – so between that and Tesla K20 sales the GK110 GPU is in high demand right now. At the same time the performance of the GTX 780 is high enough that AMD can’t directly compete with the card, leaving NVIDIA without competition and free to set prices as they would like, and this is exactly what they have done.

This doesn’t make GTX 780 a bad card, and on the contrary it’s probably a better card than any x80 card before it, particularly when it comes to build quality. But it’s $650 for a product tier that for the last 5 years was a $500 product tier. To that end no one likes a price increase, ourselves included. Ultimately some fraction of the traditional x80 market will make the jump to $650, and for the rest there will be the remainder of the GeForce 700 family or holding out for the eventual GeForce 800 family.

Moving on, it’s interesting to note that with the launch of Titan and now the GTX 780, the high-end single-GPU market looks almost exactly like it did back in 2011. The prices have changed, but otherwise we’ve returned to unchallenged NVIDIA domination of the high end, with AMD fighting the good fight at lower price points. The 22% performance advantage that the GTX 780 enjoys over the Radeon HD 7970GHz Edition cements NVIDIA’s performance lead, while the price difference between the cards means that the 7970GE is still a very strong contender in its current $400 market and a clear budget-saving spoiler like the 6970 before it.

Finally, to bring things to a close we turn our gaze towards the future of the rest of the GeForce 700 family.  The GTX 780 is the first of the GeForce 700 family but it clearly won’t be the last. A cut-down GK110 card as GTX 780 was the logical progression for NVIDIA, but what to use to replace GTX 670 is a far murkier question as NVIDIA has a number of good choices at their disposal. Mull that over for a bit, and hopefully we’ll be picking up the subject soon.

Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • lukarak - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    1/3rd FP32 and 1/24th FP32 is nowhere near 10-15% apart. Gaming is not everything. Reply
  • chizow - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    Yes fine cut gaming performance on 780 and Titan down to 1/24th and see how many of these you sell at $650 and $1000. Reply
  • Hrel - Friday, May 24, 2013 - link

    THANK YOU!!!! WHY this kind of thing isn't IN the review is beyond me. As much good work as Nvidia is doing they're pricing schemes, naming schemes and general abuse of customers has turned me off of them forever. Which convenient because AMD is really getting their shit together quickly. Reply
  • chizow - Saturday, May 25, 2013 - link

    Ryan has danced around this topic in the past, he's a pretty straight shooter overall but it goes without saying why he isn't harping on this in his review. He has to protect his (and AT's) relationship with Nvidia to keep the gravy train flowing. They have gotten in trouble with Nvidia in the past (sometime around the "not covering PhysX enough" fiasco, along with HardOCP) and as a result, their review allocation suffered.

    In the end, while it may be the truth, no one with a vested interest in these products and their future success contributing to their livelihoods wants to hear about it, I guess. It's just us, the consumers that suffer for it, so I do feel it's important to voice my opinion on the matter.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Sunday, May 26, 2013 - link

    While you are welcome to your opinion and I doubt I'll be able to change it, I would note that I take a dim view towards such unfounded nonsense.

    We have a very clear stance with NVIDIA: we write what we believe. If we like a product we praise it, if we don't like a product we'll say so, and if we see an issue we'll bring it up. We are the press and our role is clear; we are not any company's friend or foe, but a 3rd party who stakes our name and reputation (and livelihood!) on providing unbiased and fair analysis of technologies and products. NVIDIA certainly doesn't get a say in any of this, and the only thing our relationship is built upon is their trusting our methods and conclusions. We certainly don't require NVIDIA's blessing to do what we do, and publishing the truth has and always will come first, vendor relationships be damned. So if I do or do not mention something in an article, it's not about "protecting the gravy train", but about what I, the reviewer, find important and worth mentioning.

    On a side note, I would note that in the 4 years I have had this post, we have never had an issue with review allocation (and I've said some pretty harsh things about NVIDIA products at times). So I'm not sure where you're hearing otherwise.
    Reply
  • chizow - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Hi Ryan I respect your take on it and as I've said already, you generally comment on and understand more about the impact of pricing and economy more than most other reviews, which is a big part of the reason I appreciate AT reviews over others.

    That being said, much of this type of commentary about pricing/economics can be viewed as editorializing, so while I'm not in any way saying companies influence your actual review results and conclusions, the choice NOT to speak about topics that may be considered out of bounds for a review does not fall under the scope of your reputation or independence as a reviewer.

    If we're being honest here, we're all human and business is conducted between humans with varying degrees of interpersonal relationships. While you may consider yourself truthful and forthcoming always, the tendency to bite your tongue when friendships are at stake is only natural and human. Certainly, a "How's your family?" greeting is much warmer than a "Hey what's with all that crap you wrote about our GTX Titan pricing?" when you meet up at the latest trade show or press event. Similarly, it should be no surprise when Anand refers to various moves/hires at these companies as good/close friends, that he is going to protect those friendships where and when he can.

    In any case, the bit I wrote about allocation was about the same time ExtremeTech got in trouble with Nvidia and felt they were blacklisted for not writing enough about PhysX. HardOCP got in similar trouble for blowing off entire portions of Nvidia's press stack and you similarly glossed over a bunch of the stuff Nvidia wanted you to cover. Subsequently, I do recall you did not have product on launch day and maybe later it was clarified there was some shipping mistake. Was a minor release, maybe one of the later Fermi parts. I may be mistaken, but pretty sure that was the case.
    Reply
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, May 27, 2013 - link

    Sounds like you've got an axe to grind, and a tin-foil hat for armor. ;) Reply
  • ambientblue - Thursday, August 08, 2013 - link

    Well, you failed to note how the GTX 780 is essentially kepler's version of a GTX 570. It's priced twice as high though. The Titan should have been a GTX 680 last year... its only a prosumer card because of the price LOL. that's like saying the GTX 480 is a prosumer card!!! Reply
  • cityuser - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    whatever Nvidia do, it never improve their 2D quality, I mean , look at what nVidia will give you at BluRay playing, the color still dead , dull, not really enjoyable.
    It's terrible to use nVidia to HD home cinema, whatever setting you try.
    Why nVidia can ignore this? because it's spoiled.
    Reply
  • Dribble - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - link

    What are you going on about?

    Bluray is digital, hdmi is digital - that means the signal is decoded and basically sent straight to the TV - there is no fiddling with colours, or sharpening or anything else required.
    Reply

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