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Review: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti vs. AMD Radeon R9 290X at 4K

by Parm Mann on 8 November 2013, 14:00

Tags: NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qab4yf

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Introduction

The 'next-generation' consoles are just about catching up to 1080p, but in the world of PC gaming, things have moved up a further few notches through the emergence of 4K panels touting a lush 3,840x2,160 resolution.

Lovely as they are - and it's true, games have never looked so crisp - pushing this number of pixels requires some serious horsepower on the part of the accompanying GPU. And from what we've seen thus far, a single Radeon R9 290X or GeForce GTX Titan doesn't quite provide the talent that's needed to drive some of the latest games at such extreme resolutions.

But how about the new king of the realm, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti? With 3GB of fast GDDR5 memory and a full compliment of SMX units, encompassing 2,880 processors and 240 texture units, is this the card that's best geared toward 4K gaming? Yours for a cool $699 (£560), we're here to see if Nvidia's latest has the resources to take on ultra-high-res games by comparing it directly against AMD's crown jewel, the Radeon R9 290X.

Test Methodology

Comparison GPUs

GPU
Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti
AMD Radeon R9 290X
Driver
331.70
13.11 beta 8
Process
28nm
28nm
Transistors
7.1bn
6.2bn
Approx Die Size
551mm²
438mm²
Processors
2,880
2,816
Texture Units
240
176
ROP Units
48
64
GPU Clock/Boost (MHz)
up to 928
up to 1,000
Shader Clock/Boost (MHz)
up to 928
up to 1,000
GFLOPS
up to 5,345
up to 5,632
Memory Size
3,072MB GDDR5
4,096MB GDDR5
Memory Clock (MHz)
7,000
5,000
Memory Bus (bits)
384
512
Max bandwidth (GB/s)
336.5
320
Power Connectors
8+6
8+6
TDP (watts)
250
250
GFLOPS per watt
21.38
22.52
MSRP
$699
$549


HEXUS 4K Graphics Test Bench

Processor Intel Core i7-4770K (3.50GHz, 8MB cache, quad-core)
CPU Cooler Intel reference E97378-001
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H
Memory 16GB G.Skill RipJaws (2x8GB) DDR3 @ 1,600MHz
Power Supply Corsair AX760i
Storage Device Crucial M500 240GB SSD
Chassis Corsair Graphite Series 600T
Monitor Asus PQ321Q (3,840x2,160)
Operating system Windows 8 64-bit


HEXUS 4K Benchmark Suite

GPU Benchmarks Mode and Resolution Quality Settings
Crysis 3 DX11 at 3,840x2,160 4xMSAA, High Preset
Far Cry 3 DX11 at 3,840x2,160 2xMSAA, Ultra Preset
GRID 2 DX11 at 3,840x2,160 4xMSAA, Ultra Preset
Just Cause 2 DX10 at 3,840x2,160 8xMSAA, High Preset
Total War: Rome II DX11 at 3,840x2,160 4xMSAA, High Preset

Notes

Just as before, we've run the best two cards from each team - GeForce GTX 780 Ti in the green corner and Radeon R9 290X in the red corner at 4K on an Asus PQ321Q monitor. In-game image-quality settings range from high to ultra-high. Note that we're continuing to use lots of GPU-bustin' antialiasing, to really put the hurt on the cards. The results will prove whether it's possible to game on a 4K-resolution screen, with top-notch settings, using the very best single-GPU graphics cards that money can buy.