GeForce GTX 780 Ti brought the users ideally balanced video card which also represents an excellent answer to the competitor’s model. We’ve got a full-blooded GK110 chip which even Titan didn’t have and at a significantly cheaper price. On the other hand, NVIDIA came to its senses and cut in half the unnecessary 6 GB of video memory, which actually had the most impact in the final price. In combination with the best reference cooler that was ever made, the result is a truly exquisite card. It’s interesting that ASUS clearly thought they could do it better, and the result is the model we have before us.
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DirectCU II for every occasion

We’re usually delighted to see DirectCU II cooler when we know that reference solution isn’t very good, because that means we get a complete product at a somewhat higher price. This way, we were curious about what will ASUS do in order to make their version even better. The card comes in a standard package whose content is very modest and contains only the bare necessities. Except for two things. We’re talking about the characteristic metal details on DirectCU II coolers which are usually dyed red. Still, ASUS decided to give their users the option of a different color scheme due to a large number of motherboards with black and gold color scheme. You guessed it; the card is supplied without any colors, because the chassis is completely black. It’s up to you which color scheme will be used. Whether it will be the standard combination of black and red or black and gold. We preferred the traditional color scheme, but we tried the alternate version also, for fun. We didn’t like the result, but we applaud the creativity and we hope that in the future, ASUS will include more options.

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The card

The redesigned DirectCU II cooler dominates the scene and will be the first thing you notice. Aside from the metal chassis there are two large, 100-mm fans. The first one is CoolTech, characterized by good airflow and with a very interesting fin design. Next to it, there’s the usual fan which doesn’t stand out in any way. Below it, there’s the massive cooling profile with five nickel heatpipes of which one has a 9 mm diameter. The massive cooler shows great promise and we really expected a lot. As always, the basis is made out of the above-mentioned heatpipes, pressed close together, so they make one surface which connects to the GPU. After we’ve removed the cooler, we found the 10-phase power unit with SAP components. They used Digi+ VRM which we see often in ASUS’s models, and it’s basically the renamed IR ASP1212 voltage regulator. At the central section of the printed circuit board there’s a GK110 chip which has a maximum number of 15 SMX. That means that the chip has 2880 Stream processor at its disposal. In accordance with that, the number of texture units has been raised to 240, while number of ROP remained the same – 48. Around GK110 there are 12 memory chips, made by Hynix. GDDR5 chips are set to effective 7000 MHz, which provides the excellent bandwidth of 336 GB/s. We should also mention that there are two DVI ports, one DisplayPort and one full-sized HDMI 1.4a. Powering it requires two 8-pin molexes, which means that theoretic maximum TDP is 375 W.

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As for the frequency, nominal value is 954 MHz. That’s 80 MHz more than the reference value (almost 10%) and we have to commend ASUS for this move. Since the second generation GPU Boost technology has been implemented, in practice, the clock speed changes depending on the various factors. They are: temperature, consumption, voltage, etc., and GPU Boost 2.0 mechanism takes all into accounting. On average, clock speed will be drastically higher in case you have a chassis with good airflow, while in bad conditions it can drop below the nominal value. In an open system, frequency slightly oscillated around 1060 MHz, so we expect that users with quality computers will have a similar experience. The memory remained at the reference value, which we’ve mentioned before. In any case, in this version, ASUS’s GTX 780 Ti is about 5% faster than the reference value which can, unfortunately, be called insignificant, in practice.

  Asus GeForce GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC ASUS Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II OC Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X
GPU GK110 Hawaii 
Manufacturing process 28 nm  
GPU frequency 1020 MHz 1100 MHz 1040 MHz
Number of stream processors 2880 2816 
ROP / text. units 48 / 240 64 / 176 
Memory GDDR5 / 3GB / 384 GDDR5 / 4GB / 512 
Memory frequency / effective [MHz] 1750 / 7000 1350 / 5400 1300 / 5200
Price [€] 710 580 560

In use…

ASUS did a good job, but truth be told, not particularly better than what NVIDIA gave us a few months ago with its reference version. The temperature is only few degrees lower, and by that we mean 2 to 3 degrees Celsius. Also, the overclock potential is practically identical to the reference version. After a long testing period we finally determined that GPU hit a limit at 1160 MHz, while memory hit the limit at 1900 MHz. Just 10 MHz more than the previous model’s GPU really isn’t something to brag about.

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1920x1080 / 2560x1440 4xAA I 16xAF ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC ASUS Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II OC Sapphire Radeon R9 290X Tri-X
Futuremark 3DMark (Fire Strike) GPU Score 8192 / 5311 8492 / 5374 8346 / 5219
Futuremark 3DMark 11 (Extreme preset) GPU Score 4989 / 3412 4214 / 2689 4332 / 2763
3DMark Vantage (Extreme preset) GPU Score 31653 / 19946 29314 / 19492 28522 / 18741
Unigine Valley 1.0 (DX11, Ultra, tesselation off) [fps] 85.4 / 55.1 66.1 / 44.7 64.8 / 41.9
Unigine Heaven 4.0 (DX11, Ultra, extreme tesselation) [fps] 63.7 / 45.8 63.6 / 38.9 59.7 / 36.3
Crysis Warhead (DX10, Enthusiast) [fps] 81.2 / 54.9 84.6 / 58.1 81.2 / 56.2
Crysis 2 (DX11, Ultra, HD Textures) [fps] 105.1 / 68.7 102.3 / 71.2 99.6 / 68.1
Metro 2033 (DX11, very high, tesselation) [fps] 72.1 / 47.8 74.6 / 54.5 72.3 / 51.7
Metro Last Light (DX11, very high, tesselation) [fps] 73.8 / 51.9 75.3 / 49.9 71.8 / 48.5
AvP DX11 (DX11, max) [fps] 103.4 / 62.9 102.9 / 64.3 99.1 / 62.5
Hitman Absolution (DX11, Ultra) [fps] 62.4 / 48.6 75.7 / 56.4 72.9 / 53.1
Bioshock Infinite (DX11, Ultra) [fps] 143.4 / 93.8 139.4 / 94.2 136.2 / 91.7
Bioshock Infinite (DX11, Ultra + DDOF) [fps] 115.9 / 74.2 99.8 / 65.7 98.1 / 63.5
Dirt Showdown (DX11, Ultra) [fps] 105.9 / 83.4 98.8 / 79.9 96.2 / 77.1
Sniper Elite V2 (DX11, Ultra) [fps] 54.9 / 33.4 44.4 / 27.4 43.1 / 26.2
Sniper Elite V2 (DX11, High) [fps] 88.2 / 55.3 72.8/ 45.2 70.2 / 43.8
Sleeping Dogs (DX11, Ultra) [fps] 75.8 / 45.6 69.8 / 44.6 68.5 / 43.3
Test configuration: Core i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz, ASUS P8Z77-V, 2x4GB AMD Multimedia Edition DDR3 1600MHz, Seagate Barracuda 1TB, Windows 7 64bit, ForceWare 331.82, Catalyst 13.11 Beta V8, ForceWare 13.12

Barely better, but also more expensive

GeForce GTX 780 Ti is the best video card with one GPU on the market, regardless of who made it. With a price of around 710 euros, ASUS’s version is about 30-50 euros more expensive than the models based on the reference design. We have to admit that even 680 euros is a lot, so we believe that only a few will decide to pay even more for just a few percent more. Especially when we know that Radeon R9 290X in Sapphire’s “toxic” version is a drastically cheaper choice.