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NVIDIA adds an interesting new price point, but does it release Titan demand, or simply create confusion?

2013 is going to be a big year in the graphics processing unit (GPU) arena, with the arrival of Intel Corp.'s (INTCHaswell, which brings the company's strongest on-die graphical showing yet -- Iris Pro.  For graphics card maker NVDIA Corp. (NVDA), the pressure is on to continue to convince the spectrum of gamers from casual to enthusiast that they need to keep buying discrete GPUs.  

NVIDIA appears to be responding by shifting its focus to higher-priced, more powerful GPUs.  And thus far the strategy appears to be working.  Will this continue with the company's latest card?  Let's dig in.

I. Meet the New Middle of the High End


For all intents and purposes, the GeForce GTX 780 is a lower priced, lower performance (due to having slightly less CUDA cores, etc.) version of NVIDIA's Titan that launched back in February.  Even the sleek silver cooler vaguely resembles Titan's metallic cooler.

In another light, the GTX 780 represents a pricier, more powerful GTX 680.  Both have Kepler series GPU chips built on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Comp., Ltd. (TPE:233028 nm process, but the GTX 780 uses a cut-down GK110, where as the GTX 680 uses a fully functional, but less advanced GK104.  Priced at $650 USD, the card is roughly $200 USD more expensive than the GTX 680, which currently hovers around $450 USD.

GTX 780
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780

The GTX 780 keeps the same number of ROPs, but cuts the video RAM in half from the Titan -- down to 3 GB.  But the card has 2 SMX units (192 CUDA cores; 16 texture units) disabled per chip.  The decrease in processing units has allowed NVIDIA to bump the clock speed, so the cores on the card are actually clocked faster than the Titan.

II. Between the GTX 690 and the GTX 680

Here's a recap of the specs:
GPU high end
 
Pricing              <---------High---------------------> Mid-High  <-------Middle-------->
(Click to enlarge)

As mentioned, the GTX 780 comes between the Titan/GTX 690/Radeon HD 7990 and the GTX 680/Radeon HD 7970GE.

III. Benchmarks Tell Tale of Confusion, Competition

In testing by AnandTech, the GTX 780 generally delivered about 90 percent of the performance of Titan; impressive considering that it's only 65 percent of the price.  On the flip side of the coin, versus Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s (AMD) Radeon HD 7970GHz Edition, the GTX 780 is roughly 44 percent more expensive, while only giving a 22 percent performance bump.

In other words, the graphics market is still very competitive with AMD keeping competitive at the  $1000 USD (GTX 690 vs. Radeon HD 7990) and $450 USD (GTX 680 vs. Radeon HD 7970GE).

It remains to be seen whether the GTX 780 delivers on NVIDIA's hope -- releasing pent-up demand for the more-popular-than-expected Titan/GTX 690 at a lower price point -- is fulfilled, or if the pricey new flagship GTX x80 model simply confuses so called "prosumers".

Adding to the confusion is the one thing not mentioned until now -- a pair of GTX 680 or Radeon HD 7970GE costs $900 USD and consistently beats both the GTX 690 and Radeon HD 7990 in performance.  So while the market is very competitive, consumers looking to buy on the mid-to-high end must navigate a confusing myriad of options.

Sources: NVIDIA [press release], AnandTech [benchmarks]



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RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By retrospooty on 5/23/2013 11:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
That happens with every new gen of products. Should they just not release any more? Besides, anyone that bought a Titan at that price isn't worried about cost.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By LordSojar on 5/24/2013 12:25:44 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, this is a great product. It's overpriced, yes, but only because nVidia absolutely crushed AMD this generation (in terms of sheer efficiency/performance). Sure, GK104 can't quite keep pace with the 7970GHz, but GK110 absolutely shames it. There hasn't been a gap like this in a long time. Let's hope GCN 2.0 can give nVidia a run for the money at the top of the product stack.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By Coldfriction on 5/24/2013 12:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
I hold the opinion that the day that the top end graphics card exceeded $300 was the same day that computer gaming lost its appeal to the masses. I was a kid who worked for months on a farm to buy my first computer, which was a PII 400mhz machine for over $2,000. I convinced my friends to buy/build computers to play with me. The mid to late 90's saw Quake 2 with all the mods that were released for it. Half Life with Counter Strike was amazing. Every couple of years the experience became so much more engaging. At the time a $200 graphics card was all you needed to get 60 fps at the then acceptable resolution of 800x600.

Fast forward and what we have now are a couple graphics card companies that push the limits with $600+ cards. They are milking the now grown up computer gamers that have a little more income to work with but are ignoring future gamers. Game developers target the widest audience so that these cards aren't even utilized except by the few that have multiple monitor setups (probably somewhat common among people reading dailytech, but it's not really a mass appeal thing).

Basically where this leads us is to a place where there isn't a new generation of computer gamers that are getting wowed into technology. What we have are a bunch of teenagers addicted to facebook and tablets.

I know someone will say that you can still get a great experience with a $200 graphics card, but for those who are trying to become enthusiasts it doesn't feel that great to be at the lower end of your hobby.

In summary, bloody drop the prices Nvidia and AMD. This $650 crap needs to stop to help the industry that feeds you. The only future computer gamers are going to be the kids of the old computer gamers, and I suspect hardcore computer gamers may not have a lot of kids.


By inighthawki on 5/24/2013 1:10:09 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. The technology that goes into these cards is significantly more complicated than anything that existed back during the time when you bought your first card. The amount of R&D required and the yield rates of chips that are approaching single digit nm processes is insane. They have to be able to make up for these costs. I'm sure nvidia also wants a profit, but I bet the cards back then also had profit margins. Every generation gets harder and harder to produce the same performance improvements.

On top of all of that, there are plenty of video cards well within the budget of the younger generation. $200 will buy you a pretty good midrange card that can run any modern game. Maybe not on "ultra setting @ 2560x1600," but you can't be picky at that age. I remember saving up for a long time for a 9800 pro, which at the time cost me $400. Not far off from today's prices. AMD sells the 7970GE for only $450, and it holds its own very well to even the 780.


By someguy123 on 5/24/2013 1:57:07 AM , Rating: 2
That makes no sense. You said yourself that you were obtaining 60fps on 800x600 (really back then it was more like 60~100fps at 8x6 when you're talking about games like counter strike running a decent geforce 3 or 9800. 8x6 was also on the average side during the HL/CS days, with 1024/1280 being on the high end) with $200 cards, which is comparable to what you'd get these days at 720p or even 1080 on $200 cards for most games. Hell you can find $160~ HD 7850s right now.

There's been a massive spike in visual complexity as well as resolution. The higher tiers of video cards these days just offer even more performance through bruteforce approaches of transistor stacking that require gigantic coolers. I remember when my 9800 pro was high end and all it had was this flimsy fan the size of a dollar coin. It's more akin to low end design now.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By kingmotley on 5/24/2013 5:39:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I hold the opinion that the day that the top end graphics card exceeded $300 was the same day that computer gaming lost its appeal to the masses.

Then you are saying that computer gaming lost it's appeal to the masses prior to the pentium? Your memory fails you because my first new PC was a 486/33, and it came with a $600 video card. Every PC I bought or built new since then has always had a ~$600 video card in it.

It is likely that when you were a kid, you just didn't realize there were better video cards out there. You weren't in the market for one, so you weren't really looking.


By Piiman on 5/26/2013 4:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
Bull Crap.
Back when 486/33's where the high end CPU they didn't even make 3d cards and a good 2d card was less than 200.00. Maybe you were thinking about memory prices they were sky high back in the 486 days. I paid 600.00 for like 16 Megs


By retrospooty on 5/24/2013 8:34:37 AM , Rating: 1
"for those who are trying to become enthusiasts it doesn't feel that great to be at the lower end of your hobby"

That is the whole fun of it. Buying mid-grade stuff and overclocking and tweaking it to get more performance. I think its a great time to be an enthusiast.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By TakinYourPoints on 5/25/2013 11:29:02 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Fast forward and what we have now are a couple graphics card companies that push the limits with $600+ cards. They are milking the now grown up computer gamers that have a little more income to work with but are ignoring future gamers. Game developers target the widest audience so that these cards aren't even utilized except by the few that have multiple monitor setups (probably somewhat common among people reading dailytech, but it's not really a mass appeal thing).


The problem with this argument is that mid-range and low end video cards are more than enough for the mass market.

These high end $400+ cards are for extreme niche cases. They're specifically for people who game at 2560x1440 or 1600, or people who do multiple monitor gaming with three displays.

As of today, if you're gaming with a standard 1920x1080 display then a $200-$300 card is perfectly fine. 1920x1080 is the majority of gamers based on the Steam hardware survey.

Resolution is the main determining factor with cards these days. 1920x1080, 1680x1050, 1600x900, 1280x1024, and 1366x768 are the most common resolutions on Steam's survey. 1920x1200, which is also fine with something like a GTX 660 Ti, is only 3%, a much lower number of users compared to those other resolutions.

I game at 2560x1440 and I'm in a niche, less than one percent. Multimonitor resolutions make up less than a half-percent altogether.

Blaming the death of PC gaming on niche products that only move a few thousand units at most is missing the big picture, especially given that PC gaming is as big as its ever been.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By TakinYourPoints on 5/25/2013 11:32:28 PM , Rating: 2
Like, the only reason I have a GTX 680 is because I'm gaming on a 27". If I was still gaming on my 23" then I'd totally go with something less powerful.

High end cards really aren't necessary for most people, and they can get away with a lot less power while still getting a great experience.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By Piiman on 5/26/2013 5:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
Then you wasted your money.I have a 680 and use it with three 23 inch monitors. Seriously you thouht you needed to go highend for 4 more inches? Go buy some more montiors. :-)


By TakinYourPoints on 5/27/2013 5:09:22 AM , Rating: 3
There's a huge difference in needed horsepower between 1920x1080 and 2560x1440, you should know this. :)

I have a 24" 1920x1200 monitor just as a second monitor, and I'm fine with all that. No interest in triple-monitor gaming either. I don't like the gaps from bezels, nor do I like the distortion on the left and right monitors. Gaming on one 27" is perfect for me, that or a 30".


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By Da W on 5/24/2013 7:23:01 AM , Rating: 3
Crushed? By removing compute from their gaming chips! I find it weird from a compny that bet the farm on compute with fermi, to back away from it with their keper cards. Sure AMD got surprised too, but if they do the same for the next generation, they will match Nvidia in efficiency. As for price, both AMD and Nvidia are equal in performance at any given price. Nvidia just has more zealots.

I got two 7870 in crossfire and i challenge you to beat that in price-performance-powerdraw. It's not the best of the best but it will run rome total war on 3 screens.


RE: This wasn't such a great idea IMO
By BRB29 on 5/24/2013 10:43:57 AM , Rating: 2
playing shogun 2 right now!!! only need a 7850 to run dual screen. I paid $150 for my 7850.
I don't see the appeal for a $650 card when it will only make a better gaming experience in a few games like Crysis 3.


"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive














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