NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti in 2019: Benchmarks vs. RTX 2060, 2080, Vega, & More

By Published February 24, 2019 at 8:48 pm
  •  

We recently revisited the AMD R9 290X from October of 2013, and now it’s time to look back at the GTX 780 Ti from November of 2013. The 780 Ti shipped for $700 MSRP and landed as NVIDIA’s flagship against AMD’s freshly-launched flagship. It was a different era: Memory capacity was limited to 3GB on the 780 Ti, memory frequency was a blazing 7Gbps, and core clock was 875MHz stock or 928MHz boost, using the old Boost 2.0 algorithm that kept a fixed clock in gaming. Overclocking was also more extensible, giving us a bigger upward punch than modern NVIDIA overclocking might permit. Our overclocks on the 780 Ti reference (with fan set to 93%) allowed it to exceed expected performance of the average partner model board, so we have a fairly full range of performance on the 780 Ti.

NVIDIA’s architecture has undergone significant changes since Kepler and the 780 Ti, one of which has been a change in CUDA core efficiency. When NVIDIA moved from Kepler to Maxwell, there was nearly a 40% efficiency gain when CUDA cores are processing input. A 1:1 Maxwell versus Kepler comparison, were such a thing possible, would position Maxwell as superior in efficiency and performance-per-watt, if not just outright performance. It is no surprise then that the 780 Ti’s 2880 CUDA cores, although high even by today’s standards (an RTX 2060 has 1920, but outperforms the 780 Ti), will underperform when compared to modern architectures. This is amplified by significant memory changes, capacity being the most notable, where the GTX 780 Ti’s standard configuration was limited to 3GB and ~7Gbps GDDR5.

 

Test Methodology

Testing methodology has completely changed from our last GPU reviews, which were probably for the GTX 1070 Ti series cards. Most notably, we have overhauled the host test bench and had updated with new games. Our games selection is a careful one: Time is finite, and having analyzed our previous testing methodologies, we identified shortcomings where we were ultimately wasting time by testing too many games that didn’t provide meaningfully different data from our other tested titles. In order to better optimize our time available and test “smarter” (rather than “more,” which was one of our previous goals), we have selected games based upon the following criteria:

  • Game Engine: Most games run on the same group of popular engines. By choosing one game from each major engine (e.g. Unreal Engine), we can ensure that we are representing a wide sweep of games that just use the built-in engine-level optimizations
  • API: We have chosen a select group of DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 API integrations, as these are the most prevalent at this time. We will include more Vulkan API testing as more games ship with Vulkan
  • Popularity: Is it something people actually play?
  • Longevity: Regardless of popularity, how long can we reasonably expect that a game will go without updates? Updating games can hurt comparative data from past tests, which impacts our ability to cross-compare new data and old, as old data may no longer be comparable post-patch

Game graphics settings are defined in their respective charts.

We are also testing most games at all three popular resolutions – at least, we are for the high-end. This includes 4K, 1440p, and 1080p, which allows us to determine GPU scalability across multiple monitor types. More importantly, this allows us to start pinpointing the reason for performance uplift, rather than just saying there is performance uplift. If we know that performance boosts harder at 4K than 1080p, we might be able to call this indicative of a ROPs advantage, for instance. Understanding why performance behaves the way it does is critical for future expansion of our own knowledge, and thus prepares our content for smarter analysis in the future.

For the test bench proper, we are now using the following components:

GPU Test Bench (Sponsored by Corsair)

 

Component

Courtesy of

CPU

Intel i7-8086K 5.0GHz

GamersNexus

GPU

This is what we’re testing!

Often the company that makes the card, but sometimes us (see article)

Motherboard

ASUS ROG Maximus X Hero

ASUS

RAM

Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB 3200MHz

Corsair

PSU

Corsair AX1600i

Corsair

Cooler

NZXT Kraken X62

NZXT

SSD

Plextor 256-M7VC
Crucial MX300 1TB

GamersNexus

 

GTX 780 Ti Benchmark in 2019: GTA V

Rather than our usual starting point of Sniper Elite 4 or Apex Legends, we’ll instead start with GTA V. This is a 2015 launch, so it’s closer to the 780 Ti’s 2013 launch than our other test titles. At 1080p and with Very High and Ultra settings with 2xMSAA, the 780 Ti still pulls its weight at 68FPS AVG, with lows surprisingly well-spaced at 50FPS and 41FPS 1% and 0.1%. The 780 Ti therefore ends up just behind the 290X, with both of these being reference cards with stock settings. The modern GTX 1060 6GB Gaming X runs at 83FPS AVG, outpacing the former flagship 780 Ti by an impressive 22%. The 980 Ti – remember, there was no 800 series – ended up 47% ahead of the 780 Ti and was its direct successor. Generationally, the 1080 Ti also ends up about 126% ahead, or over 2x higher in performance. It’s sort of silly to use percentages, at this point, so the take-away is that 153FPS AVG on the 1080 Ti allows graduation to significantly higher graphics settings and resolutions.

gta v 1080p 780 ti benchmark 2019

Overclocking is completely insane on the 780 Ti. It’s fun, honestly, and that makes us miss the older NVIDIA designs that were less locked-down. With a 220MHz core offset and 400MHz memory offset, we ended up at 83FPS AVG, which is a massive 22% improvement over the stock 68FPS AVG performance. This would be higher than the factory overclocked partner model 780 Tis, so you get a full representation of the range. Overclocking gives us more direct voltage control and clock control than modern generations, resulting in performance that matches the GTX 1060 6GB nearly identically. The R9 290X overclocked to about 73FPS AVG, allowing the 780 Ti to take a lead once pushed. Of course, a partner model 290X would theoretically be able to push a bit further, but then so would a partner 780 Ti.

gta v frametimes 1080p all

For frametime consistency comparisons, the R9 290X ends up around 14-16ms frame-to-frame interval on average, with minimal deviation from one frame to the next. Frametimes need to be consistent and should ideally not exhibit variance greater than 8ms to 12ms from one frame to the next. The 290X succeeds here and is acceptable in frametime consistency.

The GTX 780 Ti also does well, ending up functionally tied with the 290X. It almost completely obscures the 290X line, overall, and has mostly equal performance for the actual player. There is one spike up to 33ms and then a corrective spike down, but beyond this instance, the rest is about the same between the two cards.

gta v 1440p 780 ti benchmark 2019

At 1440p, the 780 Ti falls to 49FPS AVG, a decline of 27% from its 1080p results. This also puts it as about on-par with an R9 290X 4GB card or RX 580 card. For reference, the 980 Ti maintains a rough 47% lead here, so the relative scaling is about the same as at 1080p. A used GTX 1070 might be an affordable upgrade, although even a modern RTX 2060 at $350 offers a 63% performance uplift under these settings. Overclocked, the GTX 780 Tiends up at a firm 60FPS AVG, giving us a reasonable framerate for actual gameplay, despite lows struggling a bit. The overclocked FPS puts it at 1060 OC levels, with the 290X OC stuck closer to 51FPS AVG.

gta v 4k 780 ti benchmark 2019

4K wasn’t even remotely common in 2013. This was far from the reaches of gaming GPUs at the time, as illustrated with the 780 Ti’s 25FPS AVG at 4K. This is the sort of test that people would likely have scoffed at as synthetic, but today, even though the former flagship 780 Ti and R9 290X are roughly tied in their inability to play, it still takes a modern $500 card to reasonably begin playing with these settings. The RTX 2070 at $500 could absolutely be made to work with settings reductions, although that may be undesirable. Overclocking the 780 Ti gets it to 30FPS, which is clearly still not enough, particularly when considering frametime performance is sporadic and places us at 13FPS 0.1% lows, translating to frametime spikes upwards of 90ms. That means that, sometimes, you don’t get a new frame for a full 10th of a second.

Apex Legends GTX 780 Ti 2019 Benchmark vs. 1080 Ti, RTX 2080, R9 290X

apex legends 1080p gtx 780 ti benchmark 2019

Apex Legends is up next. We don’t have as many cards tested here since we only just recently added it, but the test gives a look at one of the most popular, modern games that has come across our bench. Apex Legends uses the Source 2 engine and DirectX 11, building on top of the platform that Titanfall 2 laid-out for it. This one omits the 290X because it was previously tested, but we’ll show plenty of 290X numbers following Apex Legends.

At 1080p, the GTX 780 Ti stock card runs high settings with a 46FPS AVG, allowing the GTX 970 SC a lead of 40% over the 780 Ti. Overclocking the 780 Ti does allow it to gain an impressive 21% performance over its baseline stock performance, although this still isn’t enough to top the 970. If you’re looking to jump to another flagship, the 980 Ti Hybrid operates at 80FPS AVG stock, which is about a 75% increase over the stock 780 Ti. The 1080 Ti is a couple times higher in performance and is capable of 4K, whereas the 780 Ti would struggle even with 1440p in this title.

GTX 780 Ti in 2019: F1 2018

f1 2018 1080p 780 ti benchmark 2019

F1 2018 uses the EGO engine and offers a good look at other racing games made by CodeMasters, as they all run on roughly the same engine. F1 2018 also has some interesting quirks, like its desire for higher performance system memory, although that’s irrelevant where we control for non-GPU variables.

At 1080p, the 780 Ti ends up at 59FPS with Ultra-High settings. That’s pretty good for a card this old and considering that quality can be dropped to maintain higher FPS. Frametimes are rough in this game in general, although not for Vega, but average FPS plants the 780 Ti as below the 290X’s 65FPS AVG. The 290X also maintains better frametime consistency in this test path. Overclocking the 780 Ti propels it to nearing 70FPS AVG, approaching the GTX 970’s performance. That’s not particularly compelling performance when considering the tremendous step-down that the 970 is from a flagship. Overclocking the 290X lands it at about 390X levels, unsurprisingly.

f1 2018 1440p 780 ti benchmark

At 1440p, the 780 Ti runs about 46FPS AVG stock and 54FPS AVG overclocked, which ranks it as comparable to a 390X or 290X stock card when the 780 Ti has its OC applied. The 980 Ti holds a tremendous lead of 76% over the stock 780 Ti, indicating that we may be running into some memory limitations on the 780 Ti’s limited 3GB framebuffer.

f1 2018 4k 780 ti benchmark

4K has the 780 Ti at 28FPS AVG, with an overclock barely improving framerate. Frametime performance is dismal here, making this game unplayable with these settings. The 290X also struggles, although not to the extent of the 780 Ti. AMD tends to do better in this title versus its mean performance in other titles.

Far Cry 5 – GTX 780 Ti Benchmark 2019

far cry 5 1080p 780 ti benchmark 2019

Far Cry 5 positions the 780 Ti at 49FPS AVG with our graphics settings, ranking it as between a 290X’s 58FPS AVG and 960 SSC’s 44FPS AVG. Even the RX 570 outperforms the 780 Ti, running at 59FPS AVG and with consistent frametime performance. The 980 Ti outperforms the 780 Ti stock card by 78%, jumping to 88FPS AVG from 49FPS AVG. Overclocking the 780 Ti puts it between the 390X and 290X stock cards.

far cry 5 1440p 780 ti benchmark 2019

At 1440p, performance falls to 35FPS AVG, allowing the 290X a lead of 22% stock. That said, overclocking the 780 Ti ties it up to the 290X stock and gets it close to overclocked 290X performance, although the 290X maintains a lead. The 980 Ti can play this game reasonably well at 1440p, whereas the 780 Ti struggles without a graphics quality reduction.

far cry 5 4k 780 ti benchmark 2019

4K performance has the 780 Ti at 18FPS AVG, marking it as clearly unfit for 4K. That’s really no surprise given the 4K market in 2013. Other old cards also struggle here, and even the 1080 Ti ends up below 60FPS AVG, although it’s close enough to make things work with a settings change.

Sniper 4 – GTX 780 Ti DirectX 12 Benchmark

sniper elite 1080p 780 ti benchmark 2019

Sniper Elite 4 will only be tested at 1080p for this one. We normally also do 4K tests for some synthetics, but will stick to 1080p on the 780 Ti for today’s Sniper Elite benchmark. Stock settings run the game at 73FPS AVG, which ranks it as between the 960 and RX 570. The 290X runs 98FPS AVG stock, and we should note that this game is more compute intensive, so that may be the specific reason we see the advantage on the 290X. With the 780 Ti overclock, we end up at 88FPS AVG to close-in on the RX 570, but see that the 290X still holds a lead of 11% over the 780 Ti OC benchmark. The 290X climbs further with its own overclock, approaching levels of the RX 580 8GB.

Conclusion: GTX 780 Ti Upgrade Options

If you’re upgrading for the same price today as you paid 6 years ago for the 780 Ti, the RTX 2080 is a massive upward shift that better enables higher resolutions. These are the main reason for an upgrade, we think, as the monitor market has migrated heavily toward more affordable 4K in the time since the 780 Ti launched. An RTX 2080 will probably cost about $100 more than the average MSRP of GTX 780 Ti cards of 2013 and 2014, with used GTX 1080 Ti or used GTX 980 Ti options still offering strong value positioning (for those comfortable with used, anyway). If you’re more cost-conscious about an upgrade, the RTX 2060 still outperforms a 780 Ti and is about $350, reviewed here, and AMD’s Vega 56 is a good choice when it can be found for around $300. Performance will be a couple times higher in average framerate with an RTX 2080, making it compelling, and so the card will allow for higher resolution or higher settings quality. The 780 Ti now sits closer to a 1060 than anything else, sometimes even lower than an RX 570, and so is beginning to show its age.

Editorial, Testing: Steve Burke
Video: Josh Svoboda, Andrew Coleman

Last modified on February 24, 2019 at 8:48 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.

Advertisement:

  VigLink badge