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Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 preview: Titan Light

Nvidia introduced the first card in its new 7 series of graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 780. Based on the name you probably expect an entirely new architecture, but the GTX 780 is based on the same GK110 GPU that's the foundation of the GeForce Titan. The new card has slightly fewer CUDA Cores (Nvidia's term for its unified shaders), somewhat less video memory and lower clock speeds. While it's not the 1,000 euro investment of the Titan, it still carries a hefty pricetag. Today we will take a closer look at Nvidia's new card and find out what it's capable of.

The GeForce GTX 780 doesn't have that many surprises in store in terms of hardware. Like the GTX 680 and the Titan, along with the other 6 series graphics cards, it's based on Kepler architecture.

If you're interested in all the details of the Kepler architecture and the GK104 and GK110 GPUs, please read Triple monitor shootout: Nvidia GTX Titan vs. GTX 680 vs. Radeon 7970 face off at 5760 x 1080 and the review of GeForce GTX Titan. This review will focus solely on the GTX 780, but we will also compared it to the GTX 680 and the Titan on certain points.

Like the Titan, the GTX 780 consists of 7.1 billion transistors. That suggests that the card either is a GK110 with a few inactive cores or, more likely, a GK110 that didn't make it through Titan certification but still had enough working transistors to be used in a lower positioned card. Where the Titan uses 14 out of the 15 operational 'Streaming Multiprocessors' or SMX units, with 192 Cuda cores each, the GTX 780 uses 12. That equals 2,304 Cuda cores or shader units for the GTX 780. That's a bit less than was speculated earlier, and exactly 50 percent more than the 1,536 shader units in the GTX 680. Nvidia promises a performance gain of 70 percent compared to the GTX 580 and 34 percent compared to the GTX 680. You can read the rest of Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 preview: Titan Light on