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It can get a bit confusing in the video card world, what with the similar names for all the cards and the subtle differences among models. Things just got more confusing this month with the release of the Gigabyte GTX 780 GHz Edition, which was a special designation previously used for AMD cards. Since AMD has abandoned the GHz tag, however, Gigabyte figured it would adopt it and attach it to a superclocked version of the venerable GTX 780. Whereas the standard GTX 780 comes with a base clock of just 863MHz and a boost clock of 900MHz, the GHz edition comes with a base clock of—can you guess?—1,019MHz and a boost clock of 1,071MHz. That’s quite an overclock right out of the box, and to achieve it Gigabyte has deployed its highly effective WindForce triple-fan cooling solution. We’ve seen this cooler before on the company’s higher-spec’d GTX 780 Ti, so we know it allows for silent operation and impressive overclocking. The GTX 780 is in the middle of a price war with AMD’s new R9 GPUs, so it has to keep costs down in order to remain competitive. The R9 290 is generally faster than the GTX 780 in stock trim, so the GHz edition is a response to that card, but since it’s priced at $540 it’s primed to take on the R9 290X, as well.
This bad boy boosted to almost 1,200MHz right out of the box.
Compared to the stock GTX 780, the GHz edition has the aforementioned higher clocks as well as a fully custom PCB that includes an eight-phase power design for more stable overclocking. It also features two 8-pin power connectors instead of a 6-pin and an 8-pin, which helps it achieve those higher clocks and remain stable at higher frequencies. Finally, it features a metal back-and-side plate that wraps around the card on all sides, which isn’t something we’ve seen before on an aftermarket card. The GHz edition card is one-half inch longer than the stock card at 11 inches, and costs about $40 more than the reference design.
For our testing, we compared the card to a stock GTX 780 as well as the king of GTX 780s—the EVGA GTX 780 ACX, which received a perfect 10/Kick Ass verdict in our October issue. We also tossed it in the ring with a stock AMD Radeon R9 290 and an R9 290X, since they are all in the same GPU ballpark. When compared to the Radeon cards, the GHz edition board ate their lunch, which is a turnaround from what we’ve seen before, where the cards were neck-and-neck in testing. The GTX 780 GHz even beat the more expensive Radeon R9 290X in seven out of 11 of our tests, and simply crushed the Radeon R9 290 in all but two tests. Since the Radeon cards are hard to find and priced accordingly, the regular 290 is now more than $500, so choosing between it and the 780 GHz edition is a no-brainer, as the 780 wins every time. Choosing between the Gigabyte card and the EVGA card is more difficult though, as the EVGA card is about $10 less expensive, so flip a coin because they are both superb.
$540 (street), www.gigabyte.us
Note: This review was originally featured in the March 2014 issue of the magazine.
Excellent performance; back-and-side plate; very quiet and cool.
A little expensive compared to the EVGA card.
|Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 GHz ||GeForce GTX 780 (Reference)||EVGA GTX 780 ACX||Radeon R9 290 (Reference)||AMD Radeon R9 290X (Reference)|
|3DMark Fire Strike||9,695||8,309||9,607||9,108||9,737|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0 (fps) ||39||33||40||30||33|
|Unigine Valley 1.0 (fps)||47||38||53||36||36|
|Call of Duty: Ghosts (fps)||53||45||51||41||47|
|Crysis 3 (fps)||30||24||27||25||28|
|Far Cry 3 (fps)||44||21||42||25||31|
|Tomb Raider (fps)||25||20||25||27||27|
|Metro: Last Light (fps)||25||20||24||10||17|
|Battlefield 4 (fps)||47||46||45||41||45|
|Batman: Arkham Origins (fps)||51||43||49||50||51|
|Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (fps)||30||46||34||30||30|
Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard with 16GB of DDR3/1600 and a Thermaltake ToughPower 1,050W PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows 8. All games are run at 2560x1600 with 4X AA except for the 3DMark tests.