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Nvidia's GeForce GTX 780: a Titan for the rest of us

Mark Hachman | May 27, 2013
The same GPU powering the $999 Titan is now available in a $649 cousin, and the GeForce Experience utility comes out of beta.

Longtime Nvidia customers who purchased early GeForce cards will appreciate that Nvidia has made a concerted effort to reduce the GTX 780's fan noise. The GTX 780 includes the same heat sink that the Titan does: a copper vapor chamber and dual-slot aluminum heatsink along with a blower-style fan. In all, it generates about 43 dBA, versus the 48 or so dBA that the GTX 680 produced. In part, the lower number is due to the on-chip temperature sensor that Nvidia included, which helps keep the fan on when the chip needs cooling and off when it doesn't, thereby minimizing noise.

In addition to the new Boost 2.0 capabilities and software, users are likely to notice the GeForce Experience--previously a beta-only piece of software that Nvidia says was downloaded more than 2.5 million times. The Experience software automatically sniffs your hardware and the game you're playing, and attempts to optimize one for the other. It currently supports more than 70 games, and Nvidia said that it plans to roll out more, along with support for its Project Shield technology.

Nvidia also said that it will ship a software utility called ShadowPlay that will automatically record the last 20 minutes of gameplay so a player can send the clip to his friends or rivals, a feature that cloud gaming companies such as OnLive first introduced.

In a nutshell, Nvidia's new GTX 780 is designed to accelerate technologies that the company has called "WaveWorks" and "FaceWorks," containing improved techniques for rendering surfaces like oceans and faces, respectively. Nvidia hopes that these next-generation graphics technologies will appear in future games. For that reason, don't expect Nvidia to bundle any free games with its new GTX 780 cards, Walker said.

"Free games are nice, but ultimately when you're considering the graphics card, this card is going to define your gaming experience for the next several years," Walker said. "It's not just a short-term solution."

Additional reporting by Michael Brown.


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