When deciding on a high end GPU there are two obvious options in the market at the moment, the GTX 770 and Radeon 7970 GHz Edition. Both offer a level of performance which will suit a decent budget but there is always that bit of doubt around what that bit of extra cash might get us. Today we look to answer that as we take an overclocked GTX 770 and 7970 GHz for a spin and compare them to an overclocked GTX 780 "Super JetStream" from Palit. Does that step up give us enough reason to stretch the budget and what will the GTX 780 give us in some of the latest games like Crysis 3, Grid 2 and Bioshock Infinite?
Palit GeForce GTX 780 Super JetStream (overclocked)
Palit continues the use of their minimalist gold and black design on the packaging for this 780 with basic product information on the front. The surface flips open to reveal more in-depth information on the card and bundled inside we find a CD, manual, power cable, HDMI to DVI convertor and DVI to VGA dongle along with a sticker. It is also worth noting that in many regions NVIDIA are offering a free copy of Splinter Cell: Blacklist with purchases.
Given the product branding it is no surprise that the appearance of the Super JetStream is very similar to the rest of the range. This is a 2.5 slot width card and that easily allows Palit to house two 8cm fans and a 9cm model each with TurboFan blade design which is based on jet engine concepts for improved air stream and pressure. In addition to this the two side fans rotate in the opposite direction to the centre unit to reduce airflow conflicts and enhance performance. The centre fan is also an LED model, lighting up blue when the system is powered on.
Underneath the cooler cover and fans we have two large blocks of aluminium fins and running through them are four copper heatpipes which attach to the copper GPU block. Palit also apply a large metal heatsink to the PCB, cooling the major parts including memory and the 8 phase PWM components. This 8phase design combines with the DrMOS technology to offer higher current, lower noise circuits, minimised heat generation, more stable voltages and enhanced overclocking.
Turning round to the back of the card we can see that Palit use different PCB design to the GTX 770 although they retain the same dark colour and stick with two SLI connectors which lets us know we can connect multiple cards together for enhanced performance. In terms of power requirements we have a card which uses an 8-pin socket in addition to 6-pin.
Around at the card outputs there are no surprised as we have four present on this GTX 780 with two Dual-Link DVIs starting us off, followed by a HDMI 1.4 and then a full size DisplayPort connector. (That said Palit have moved the HDMI and DisplayPort round to the opposite locations from the reference card). The GTX 780 is capable of running four screens at one time with three available for surround gaming at resolutions such as 5760×1080 and the fourth running off a separate controller for desktop applications such as messaging.
The reference specifications for the 28nm GeForce GTX 780 are 863MHz core (base clock) with a boost clock of 900MHz and the 3GB of GDDR5 memory is set to 1502MHz. Palit bump this up on the Super JetStream to 980MHz Core, 1033MHz boost and 1550MHz on the memory. There are 192 Texture units within the core along with 48 ROPS, 5 graphics processing clusters and 12 streaming multiprocessors. For the CUDA Cores Palit and NVIDIA have gone for a 2304 "core" design and our memory bus is 384-bit. PCIe 3.0, DirectX 11.1 and DirectCompute are all supported on this card as is acceleration of high definition content and the card can output 7.1 audio over HDMI as well as support PhysX, 4K displays, adaptive V-Sync and 3D Vision.