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EVGA GTX 780 ACX Double BIOS Review: A Big Step Away from Reference

Author: Josh Walrath
Manufacturer: EVGA

Conclusion

It had been far too long since I last laid hands on an EVGA card for review.  Back in the day EVGA stuck to reference designs and offered products at a reasonable price.  They did not have the following they do today, but back then they really started to push the community aspect.  Now some eight years later they are designing non-reference cards and have reaped the benefits of community outreach.

The GTX 780 ACX turned out to be a fantastic card.  Yes, it pulls more power than the other cards in this roundup, but obviously none of them were able to match the performance.  The card retails for $519, which is right around MSRP from NVIDIA these days.  The extra money is due to the superior cooling that it exhibits, as well as the utility of the dual BIOS setup.  The card was not overclocked out of the box, but it still could scale up in speed through boost well above the rated MHz.

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No flimsy cardboard to protect this card!  Sometimes it is a bit of a chore to get the card out of the clamshell the first time.  I always fear that I will break something off... but I never have so far!

The add-in pack is second to none.  The poster is pretty funny, and I am sure that quite a few users will pass on actually hanging it up in their computer room.  It is a bit cheesy, but fun nonetheless.  As of this writing, there are three free games included with the card (Deadfall Adventures, Painkiller, and Rise of the Triad).  This may change over time, but expect some kind of pack in as both AMD and NVIDIA will utilize free games to move cards.  The box design protects the card very well during shipping.  We do not see as many plastic clamshells of this nature anymore, so it is a plus from EVGA.

Gameplay on the card is fantastic.  It can handle high resolutions in most titles without a problem.  NVIDIA Surround support is very good and a single GTX 780 can play games at those resolutions without sacrificing image quality to any great degree.  Two of these cards together will make any gaming experience seamless.  With the run on AMD R9 series of cards for cryptocurrency reasons, the GTX 780 is probably the best overall high-end gaming card deal out there.  Not everyone can afford a $500 card, but for a user who can and will game at high resolutions and quality settings, it really hits the sweet spot for price/performance.

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Remember that poster I mentioned?  Game of Pwns?  I threatened my wife that I would hang it in our living room.  She was less than amused.

EVGA makes a good product.  The cooling on it is fantastic.  It is not overpriced as compared to the rest of the offerings around the market, and it is decidedly cheaper than the R9 290 cards that are in short supply at MSRP.  The overclocking performance and ability are above average.  I honestly cannot find anything really wrong this product, even after much poking and prodding.  It is just a good, solid card that hits its price point very effectively.  I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fast card that can handle multi-monitor resolutions with high quality settings.  Oh, and SLI and Surround work without a problem with pretty much every modern DX9 and DX11 title out there.

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March 7, 2014 | 10:20 AM - Posted by SKLDRBLDS (not verified)

You state power limit increases for bios #2.
But what are they?
But don't state in your overclocking page which you used.

While I presume you are using #2 bios, you said the power target is different, could you tell me the actual power target limits?

More curious than anything..

March 7, 2014 | 10:33 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Getting exact numbers for you on power target.  Can tell you that fan speed for normal is 30% to 85%, but with the 2nd BIOS the range is increased from 20% to 100%.

March 8, 2014 | 07:36 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

The  power target goes up to 302W (up from 295W).

March 7, 2014 | 10:40 AM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

But the most important question is: Does this have the Double Floats wanted by the Miners? Will this card's price be shot through the roof for no particular reason?

March 7, 2014 | 10:41 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Nope, you need a Titan to get those kinds of numbers.

March 7, 2014 | 10:46 AM - Posted by TinkerToyTech

oh, and Josh, Ryan, you'll need to know that I found out about this article from your (Josh) twitter mention of it.

March 7, 2014 | 10:50 AM - Posted by robert3892

Remember everyone that this is a review of the EVGA GTX 780 and not the EVGA GTX 780ti so the price is lower than that of the EVGA GTX 780ti.

The EVGA website price for the EVGA GTX 780GTX with ACX is 499 US dollars.

The EVGA website price for the EVGA GTX 780GTXti with ACX is 709 US dollars.

I don't foresee the price of this model being reviewed increasing anytime soon unless EVGA decides to do so.

The dual BIOs allows you to overclock one BIOs and if something bad happens you can switch to the 2nd BIOs.

(a.k.a rjohnson11, EVGA volunteer forum moderator)

March 7, 2014 | 02:50 PM - Posted by tom rogers (not verified)

I have just installed this card, and the part about running faster than the stock speeds is true for mine as well. It runs consistently at 993mhz, which just happens to be the 780SC stock speed, so I'm pretty happy with the results. Like a small upgrade for free.

The fact that I've had two 680ftw cards that ended up being duds, running hotter every week until they blew up, I'm surprised I bought yet another EVGA product, but the author is right; no one else coddles the purchaser like EVGA. No questions asked, and in fact, they saw what I'd done by looking at my comments/actions via the Forum, and didn't have me dance through hoops for an RMA. I also like their upgraded RMA system, where you just get a number and give them your CC# to hold, and they send you a new card that day. Once you get the new card, you just put the old one in the package, tape it with the RMA sticker, and you're gaming in a couple days instead of weeks.

March 9, 2014 | 02:53 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is reference PCB design just has bios switch and does not offer any addition extra power phases

There is no difference between this and standard 780 other than having 2 BIOS out of the box 2nd BIOS offers no advantages over the other.

The 2nd bios so in case you have issues you have another bios to fall back on

March 10, 2014 | 07:22 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Direct from EVGA... 2nd BIOS offers increased fan speed control and a 8 watt increase in power.  Compare pics of the back of the card from original GTX 780 reference design.  Some significant differences there.

March 10, 2014 | 01:41 PM - Posted by Chris.A (not verified)

He/She is correct it uses the same reference PCB it just has added bios switch.

The FTW and Classfied use non reference PCB

March 11, 2014 | 12:25 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Direct from EVGA, this would not be considered a reference design. *shrug* take it as you will.

March 10, 2014 | 01:53 PM - Posted by Chris.A (not verified)

also 2nd BIOS didn't do much at all to help OC

I end up flashing custom BIOS that disabled speedboost and higher power target and unlocked voltage to 1.212

March 12, 2014 | 11:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

EVGA is the BEST COMPANY IN THE BUSINESS. PERIOD. Kingpins team in also the best in the business which is no coincidence.

EVGA FTW or GTFO.

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