EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB ACX Preview - Overclocked GK110
EVGA Brings Custom GTX 780 Ti Early
Reference cards for new graphics card releases are very important for a number of reasons. Most importantly, these are the cards presented to the media and reviewers that judge the value and performance of these cards out of the gate. These various articles are generally used by readers and enthusiasts to make purchasing decisions, and if first impressions are not good, it can spell trouble. Also, reference cards tend to be the first cards sold in the market (see the recent Radeon R9 290/290X launch) and early adopters get the same technology in their hands; again the impressions reference cards leave will live in forums for eternity.
All that being said, retail cards are where partners can differentiate and keep the various GPUs relevant for some time to come. EVGA is probably the most well known NVIDIA partner and is clearly their biggest outlet for sales. The ACX cooler is one we saw popularized with the first GTX 700-series cards and the company has quickly adopted it to the GTX 780 Ti, released by NVIDIA just last week.
I would normally have a full review for you as soon as we could but thanks to a couple of upcoming trips that will keep me away from the GPU test bed, that will take a little while longer. However, I thought a quick preview was in order to show off the specifications and performance of the EVGA GTX 780 Ti ACX.
As expected, the EVGA ACX design of the GTX 780 Ti is overclocked. While the reference card runs at a base clock of 875 MHz and a typical boost clock of 928 MHz, this retail model has a base clock of 1006 MHz and a boost clock of 1072 MHz. This means that all 2,880 CUDA cores are going to run somewhere around 15% faster on the EVGA ACX model than the reference GTX 780 Ti SKUs.
We should note that though the cooler is custom built by EVGA, the PCB design of this GTX 780 Ti card remains the same as the reference models.
I was able to run a couple of benchmarks, starting with an extended loop of the Metro: Last Light benchmark. With all the talk about variable clock speeds I wanted to see where the EVGA card would be running after 10+ minutes of GPU warm up time. The results are what you see above. The EVGA card with its overclocked settings and the ACX cooler is running at frequencies of 1136 MHz and 1124 MHz, well over the typical boost clocked rated from EVGA, and much higher than the reference card that sat closer to 970 MHz.
As a result of those clock rate increases, you can see that Metro: Last Light (running with our typical settings at 2560x1440) gets a performance increase. The average frame rate jumps from 56 FPS to just over 60 FPS on average, which is an increase of 8%. That average FPS increase is actually a bit lower than the increases we see throughout the rest of the FPS percentile graph though. For example, at the 85th percentile the EVGA ACX card is able to pull of a 17% advantage.
A quick test of the sound levels of the GTX 780 Ti with EVGA's ACX cooler reveals that it is quieter than the reference design by a decent margin, though there is still plenty of room to improve for NVIDIA's partners. The R9 290X remains one of the loudest modern GPUs you'll find.
For those of you interested in temperatures, the EVGA GTX 780 Ti ACX was able to keep the GK110 running just fine at 74C, nearly 10C lower than the reference design.
If you were looking for a reason to justify the cost difference between the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti and the AMD Radeon R9 290X cards, the custom-built EVGA ACX card is definitely one option. And while there is still plenty of time for competition to arise, EVGA looks to have the fastest single-GPU graphics card we have ever tested in this particular model.
A quick look around both our Amazon.com store front and Newegg.com shows a couple of EVGA GTX 780 Ti cards in stock, but the ACX model isn't shipping just yet. EVGA assures me it will be here just around the corner (possibly this week).
Please stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information. When I get home from my most recent trip to San Jose, you can be sure we'll have more on the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti ACX card including more benchmarks and overclocking.