NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M Mobility Performance Testing
Power Consumption and Closing Thoughts
Power testing mobile GPUs, especially those on different platforms, can prove to be a painful effort. The results are going to have some inherent variance as they use different motherboards, processors, memory configurations and displays. Still, I thought it would be useful to present the data I gather from “at the wall” testing – using a Watts-Up meter for total system power draw.
First, let’s kind of toss out the idle power results as anything to really be concerned about. Yes, the GTX 780M, MSI GT60 is showing much lower power consumption than the Alienware M17x, but it uses a smaller screen and uses the latest generation Haswell processor. The Alienware rig is a bit older and uses a larger 17-in screen. Even if you can’t compare it anything, the 27.2 watt result for the MSI GT60 is pretty nice to see.
Under a full load, where I think results are going to be more accurately comparable, the GTX 780M uses 7 watts less power than the HD 7970M while at the same time performing much faster in our gaming tests. This different could be attributed to platform differences; we have to leave that option open until we can get identical systems to do true side by sides.
The new GeForce GTX 780M from NVIDIA is easily the fastest currently available mobile GPU and it beats the AMD Radeon HD 7970M by 13-32% in average frame rate depending on the game we tested. The biggest advantages were found in Metro Last Light and Skyrim. Skyrim is an interesting case study in that the GTX 780M also showed significantly more consistent frame times than the HD 7970M resulting in a smoother experience as well. The GTX 780M did encounter more hitches in Bioshock Infinite though.
I will wait for AMD to send over the new HD 8970M to see if it can potentially overthrow the GTX 780M in terms of the performance crown but all of the specifications I have seen thus far lead me to believe it will close the gap, but not completely.
This was the first mobile PC gaming I have done in a while and I must admit I was impressed by how far mobile GPU performance has come recently. Being able to play top titles like Metro Last Light, Bioshock Infinite and Sleeping Dogs at these quality settings and at 1920x1080 resolution was impressive. I see very little drawback to using a system like the GT60 as your primary computer and simply connecting it to an external display, keyboard and mouse for gaming at home.
Mobile GPU pricing is an interesting beast – we rarely see the actual prices of the GPU as they are built into the total system price and deals with certain vendors can vary as well. As it stands the MSI GT60 with the GTX 780M will sell for $1999.99 – a pretty reasonable price for a Haswell-based gaming notebook with the fastest mobile GPU you can buy. If the design of the MSI system isn’t up your alley, you can expect to find other options with the GTX 780M from Alienware, Maingear, iBuyPower and others.
I will be very curious to see if any Haswell systems ship with the HD 8970M or if NVIDIA claims of dominating the Haswell landscape hold up. I know MSI is shipping a single HD 8970M machine, but with an AMD CPU, and we are going to be benchmarking it soon.
Enthusiasts looking to take their PC gaming addition on the move will likely find the MSI GT60 and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M a perfect fit. Just don’t expect a thin and light design or long battery life – those just aren’t in the cards for these high-performance designs quite yet. We will be following up with a full system review of the MSI GT60 soon, so keep an eye on PC Perspective for that. Until then though, if you are in the market for a new gaming laptop, the GTX 780M is the current king of mobile GPUs.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M