Kepler: The Return
First off, a bit of background about Nvidia’s Kepler and current lineup releases for those who may be living under a rock and unfamiliar.
When Nvidia’s Kepler GTX GeForce 680 launched amidst much hype and fanfare, it was a revolutionary step forward from the days of Fermi. The changes and advances were significant in just about every facet, and the popularity of Kepler is a testament to its own success. So where to go from there? Moving forward, the 700 series is the next natural step for Nvidia, but the advances are more modest; it’s now evolutionary, a stepping stone ahead, and not quite the giant leap we saw when Kepler launched.
So, how did we get here? After the 600 series lineup had matured, we saw the launch of Nvidia’s GTX Titan. Turns out that Titan was the answer to our collective and confused “Why?” as far as Nvidia’s product lineup goes, but it seems we didn’t know it at the time. In hindsight, it now makes sense because the GeForce GTX 780 appears to be more of an improvement and refinement of Titan, not the GTX 680.
The actual Kepler core GK104 architecture on the GeForce GTX 770 actually isn’t too dissimilar from the previous 600 series. The CUDA cores sit at 1536, with higher clocks speeds than previous GTX 600 series GPUs.
The GeForce GTX 780 comes with 2GB of GDDR5 in a 256-bit bus, while core clock speed is 1046MHz Base Clock. The GPU Boost clock is 1085MHz, but remember, this is the minimum you can expect to achieve; higher speeds are absolutely possible as discussed earlier. Interestingly, the memory gets a serious boost to 7Gbps (1753MHz effective) speeds.
Peak bandwidth is 224.3GB/sec, which is 15% more than the GTX 680.
Here’s an image that shows a bit more detail on the particulars:
It appears we’ll be able to get a bigger frame buffer in the form of 4GB of GDDR5 from board partners. Expect enthusiast models to hit shelves for those who need the extra at higher resolutions and image quality settings. Custom board designs and cooling will be offered by various partners as well, and we’ll be looking at a couple of those from MSI and Gigabyte in other launch day reviews.
Perhaps most significant specification on the new Kepler flagship is the power draw, with a TDP of 230W. That is impressive given the horsepower under the hood (as you’ll soon see), and this translates to 6-pin and 8-pin connectors being necessary to power the card.
Let’s take a closer look now at the card.