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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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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Cypherdude1 on 5/24/2013 4:49:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing this release has done is burn anyone who bought a Titan, they blew a grand on a GPU only to have a cheaper option with 90% of its performance, albeit with gimped double precision and half the VRAM. It also burns anyone who spent the cash on a GTX 680...
There is one way to prevent oneself from being "burned": don't buy anything. If you don't buy anything, ever , you will never be burned. However, if you want a high end video card, you'll have to choose a model and stick with it. Constantly not upgrading can alleviate, although not fully cure, the burn problem.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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