Here you are: The GeForce GTX 780 Ti, NVIDIA's gag-reflex to AMD's Radeon R9 290X. It took the $549 R9 290X and the humble $399 R9 290, launched over the past fortnight, to kick NVIDIA in its rear behind hard enough for price slashes anywhere between 17 and 23 percent to its then $650 GeForce GTX 780 and $399 GeForce GTX 770. Interestingly, NVIDIA left the GTX TITAN untouched in its $999 ivory tower despite it losing its gaming-performance edge to the R9 290X; NVIDIA probably wants to milk its full double-precision floating-point credentials other GK110-based GeForce SKUs lack. It's on this back-drop that the GeForce GTX 780 Ti is coming to town, a $699 graphics card that almost maxes out the GK110 silicon.
Almost, you ask? Sure, the GTX 780 Ti features all of the 2,880 CUDA cores physically present on the GK110 silicon, the 240 TMUs, and the 48 ROPs; and sure, it's clocked higher than the GTX TITAN, at 875 MHz core, 928 MHz maximum GPU Boost, and 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory, which belts out a staggering 336 GB/s of memory bandwidth; but there's a catch. The chip only offers 1/3rd the GTX Titan's double-precision floating-point compute performance (493 GFLOP/s vs. 1.48 TFLOP/s). Single-precision performance scales up untouched (5.04 TFLOP/s vs. 4.70 TFLOP/s). Thankfully for us PC gamers and readers of this review at large, double-precision floating point performance is completely irrelevant. Just outside the GPU silicon, the other big difference between the GTX 780 Ti reviewed today and the GTX TITAN is memory amount. At 3 GB, NVIDIA gave the GTX 780 Ti half the memory amount of the GTX TITAN, but the memory itself is faster.
The GeForce GTX 780 Ti is designed to be a gamer's card throughout. It has all the muscle any game could possibly need, and has another thing going its way: better thermals. Despite the "GK110" featuring more transistors than "Hawaii" (7.08 billion vs. 6.20 billion) and, hence, a bigger die (561 mm² vs. 438 mm²), GK110-based products are inherently cooler because of higher "Kepler" micro-architecture performance-per-watt figures than AMD's "Graphics CoreNext," which translates into lower thermal density. These should in turn translate into lower temperatures and, hence, lower noise levels. Energy-efficiency and fan-noise are really the only tethers NVIDIA's high-end pricing is holding on to.
Given its chops and so-claimed higher energy efficiency, NVIDIA decided to price the GTX 780 Ti at $699, which is still $150 and a league above the R9 290X. The only way NVIDIA can justify the pricing is by offering significantly higher performance than the GTX 780, the R9 290X itself, and given its specifications, even the GTX TITAN (at least for gaming and consumer graphics). In our GTX 780 Ti review, we put a reference design card through its paces against the other options available in the vast >$300 expanse. The card looks practically identical to the GTX TITAN and features the same sexy-looking cooling solution that looks great in a windowed case.