Compute

Jumping into compute, we’re entering the one area where GTX 780 Ti’s rule won’t be nearly as absolute. Among NVIDIA cards its single precision performance will be unchallenged, but the artificial double precision performance limitation as compared to the compute-focused GTX Titan means that GTX 780 Ti will still lose to GTX Titan whenever double precision comes into play. Alternatively, GTX 780 Ti still has to deal with the fact that AMD’s cards have shown themselves to be far more competitive in our selection of compute benchmarks.

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.

Even though we’re largely CPU bound by this point, GTX 780 Ti manages to get a bit more out of Civilization V’s texture decode routine, pushing it to the top of the charts and ahead of both GTX Titan and 290X.

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.

With LuxMark NVIDIA’s ray tracing performance sees further improvements due to the additional compute resources at hand. But NVIDIA still doesn’t fare well here, with the GTX 780 Ti falling behind all of our AMD cards in this test.

Our 3rd compute benchmark is Sony Vegas Pro 12, an OpenGL and OpenCL video editing and authoring package. Vegas can use GPUs in a few different ways, the primary uses being to accelerate the video effects and compositing process itself, and in the video encoding step. With video encoding being increasingly offloaded to dedicated DSPs these days we’re focusing on the editing and compositing process, rendering to a low CPU overhead format (XDCAM EX). This specific test comes from Sony, and measures how long it takes to render a video.

Like LuxMark, GTX 780 Ti once again improves on its predecessors. But it’s not enough to make up for AMD’s innate performance advantage in this benchmark, leading to GTX 780 Ti trailing all of the AMD cards.

Our 4th 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.

CLBenchmark continues to be the same story. GTX 780 Ti improves on NVIDIA’s performance to become their fastest single precision card, but it still falls short of every AMD card in these tests.

Moving on, our 5th 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.

Finally with Folding@Home we see the GTX 780 Ti once again take the top spot. In the single precision tests the GTX 780 further extends NVIDIA’s lead, beating GTX Titan by anywhere between a few percent to over ten percent depending on which specific test we’re looking at. However even with GTX 780 Ti’s general performance increase, in the double precision test it won’t overcome the innate double precision performance deficit it faces versus GTX Titan. When it comes to double precision compute, Titan remains king.

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.

Last, in our C++ AMP benchmark we see the GTX 780 Ti take the top spot for an NVIDIA card, but like so many of our earlier compute tests it will come up short versus AMD’s best cards. This isn’t quite as lopsided as some of our other tests, however GTX 780 Ti is stuck competing with the 280X while the 290 and 290X easily outperform NVIDIA’s new flagship.

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  • Wreckage - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    The 290X = Bulldozer. Hot, loud, power hungry and unable to compete with an older architecture.

    Kepler is still king even after being out for over a year.
    Reply
  • trolledboat - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    Hey look, it's a comment from a permanently banned user at this website for trolling, done before someone could of even read the first page.

    Back in reality, very nice card, but sorely overpriced for such a meagre gain over 780. It also is slower than the cheaper 290x in some cases.

    Nvidia needs more price cuts right now. 780 and 780ti are both badly overpriced in the face of 290 and 290x
    Reply
  • neils58 - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    I think Nvidia probably have the right strategy, G-Sync is around the corner and it's a game changer that justifies the premium for their brand - AMD's only answer to it at this time is going crossfire to try and ensure >60FPS at all times for V-Sync. Nvidia are basically offering a single card solution that even with the brand premium and G-sync monitors comes out less expensive than crossfire. 780Ti for 1440p gamers, 780 for for 1920p gamers. Reply
  • Kamus - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    I agree that G-Sync is a gamechanger, but just what do you mean AMD's only answer is crossfire? Mantle is right up there with g-sync in terms of importance. And from the looks of it, a good deal of AAA developers will be supporting Mantle.

    As a user, it kind of sucks, because I'd love to take advantage of both.
    That said, we still don't know just how much performance we'll get by using mantle, and it's only limited to games that support it, as opposed to G-Sync, which will work with every game right out of the box.

    But on the flip side, you need a new monitor for G-Sync, and at least at first, we know it will only be implemented on 120hz TN panels. And not everybody is willing to trade their beautiful looking IPS monitor for a TN monitor, specially since they will retail at $400+ for 23" 1080p.
    Reply
  • Wreckage - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    Gsync will work with every game past ad present. So far Mantle is only confirmed in one game. That's a huge difference. Reply
  • Basstrip - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    TLDR: When considering Gsync as a competitive advantage, add the cost of a new monitor. When considering Matnle support, think multiplatform and think next-gen consoles having AMD GPUs. Another plus side for NVidia is shadowplay and SHIELD though (but again, added costs if you consider SHIELD).

    Gsync is not such a game changer as you have yet to see both a monitor with Gsync AND its pricing. The fact that I would have to upgrade my monitor and that that Gsync branding will add another few $$$ on the price tag is something you guys have to consider.

    So to consider Gsync as a competitive advantage when considering a card, add the cost of a monitor to that. Perfect for those that are going to upgrade soon but for those that won't, Gsync is moot.

    Mantle on its plus side will be used on consoles and pc (as both PS4 and Xbox One have AMD processors, developpers of games will most probably be using it). You might not care about consoles but they are part of the gaming ecosystem and sadly, we pc users tend to get the shafted by developpers because of consoles. I remember Frankieonpc mentioning he used to play tons of COD back in the COD4 days and said that development tends to have shifted towards consoles so the tuning was a bit more off for pc (paraphrasing slightly).

    I'm in the market for both a new monitor and maybe a new card so I'm a bit on the fence...
    Reply
  • Wreckage - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    Mantle will not be used on consoles. AMD already confirmed this. Reply
  • althaz - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    Mantle is not used on consoles...because the consoles already have something very similar. Reply
  • Kamus - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    You are right, consoles use their own API for GCN, guess what mantle is used for?
    *spoiler alert* GCN
    Reply
  • EJS1980 - Thursday, November 07, 2013 - link

    Mantle is irrefutably NOT coming to consoles, so do your due diligence before trying to make a point. :) Reply

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