Galaxy Launches The Custom GeForce GTX 780 GC
Galaxy recently announced the GeForce GTX 780 GC video card, which is the first custom card by Galaxy for the GeForce GTX 780 series. The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 video card that is based off the reference design (part nmumber 78NNH5DN00G0) has been discontinued, and the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC (part number 78XNH5DN8MSU) will be taking over. In case you are wondering the term GC comes from “Galaxy Clocked”, and is essentially Galaxy's way of saying it’s more than just a plain old factory OC card. In addition to the factory overclock, all GC edition cards have a Galaxy in-house designed PCB with premium components and improved cooling.
The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB video card is certainly different looking from any other NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 video card that we have seen. Galaxy's all new premium, high efficiency dual fan cooler looks sharp with a silver and blue accented fan shroud and clear fan blades that have a smoked finish. The twin fan cooling system uses EBR Fluid bearings for longer fan life and quieter operation. Under the fans you can see that Galaxy went with a hybrid metal GPU heatsink, so you can see both Copper and Aluminum cooling fins. Not only does this look good, but Galaxy claims that it maximizes the heat transfer from the card's overclocked GPU. The card itself features a custom PCB, but from what we can tell it is a reference NVIDIA PCB with higher grade components used on it.
When it comes to clock speeds, this cards NVIDIA Kepler GPU with 2304 CUDA Cores is factory overclocked to 967MHz Base Clock (standard: 863Mhz), and 1019MHz Boost Clock (standard: 900MHz). (It should be noted that the boost speed on our card is set to 1020MHz) The 3GB of Samsung GDDR5 memory is left stock at 1502MHz or 6008MHz effective. Due to the overclocked nature of this card, it means that you'll have enhanced gaming performance right out of the box. Enthusiasts that want to take full advantage of the card's superior cooling and improved overclock potential can use the included Xtreme Tuner Plus overclocking and monitoring software to further overclock the card.
Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC Key Features:
- Custom dual fan cooler with special “zebra” fan blade design increases air flow by 10% while reducing noise intensity up to 37%
- EBR Fluid bearings guarantee longer fan life and silent operation
- Force Air bracket maximizes airflow so less heat recirculates inside the PC chassis
- Quad nickel-plated heat pipes greatly improve cooling efficiency
- Hybrid Copper/Aluminum cooling fins for maximum heat transfer
- Aggressive Factory Overclock delivers visible gains in gaming performance right out of the box
Galaxy custom PCB design features:
- DrMOS multi-chip power stage modules for high current circuitry, low noise levels and low heat emission
- High quality shielded inductors maintain cleaner signal and eliminate coil whine
The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is a dual-slot graphics card that measures 10.5-inches in length. As you can see from the image above the card uses what appears to be a black colored NVIDIA reference designed PCB. The PCB part number on our Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is 180-12083-****-B01 and the reference card is 180-12083-1102-B01. Besides some different components being used the PCB layout looks identical on the front and back.
For those that are curious about the fan size and manufacture we took them off and found out they were Everflow model T129215SU frameless 4-wire fans that are 85x85x15mm in dimension.
The back of the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is pretty plane as they only noteworthy item located there is the serial number of the card. None of the GDDR5 memory is located on the back and there is obviously no backplate and there is not a PCB stiffener being used on this card. The GDDR5 memory ICs on the front of the card are Samsung branded chips with the part number K4G20325FD-FC03 (detailed GDDR5 information).
With the fan shroud and fans removed you can take a better look at the hybrid metal GPU cooler used on the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC and for the first time see the four 6mm nickle plated copper heatpipes that are being used.
At first glance we didn't think the 6mm heatpipes attached to the cooling fins with solder because the last few rows were not, but it turned out that the inner rows are. It would have been nice to see more solder to improve heat transfer, but this sure beats just pressed on cooling fins.
Display outputs include two dual-link DVIs, one HDMI and one DisplayPort 1.2 connector. This video card easily supports 4K resolution monitors and supports up to four monitors concurrently. This is great for those wanting to run NVIDIA Surround or NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround technology. Notice that Galaxy uses what they call the 'Force Air Bracket' that has larger ventilation holes for the exhaust ports. You can also see the pair of SLI connectors for 3-way SLI support along the top edge of the card in this image.
Since the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) appears to be the same as the NVIDIA reference design it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that this card uses the standard single 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors to supply power to the 250W TDP card.
Here is a shot of the end of the card to better show the mix of the copper and aluminum cooling fins and that the end of the card is open. Hot air is exhausted in pretty much every direction with a design like this.
Retail Box and Bundle
The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC video card comes in a rather simple looking box that highlights some of the key hardware and software features of the card.
On the back of the box it goes into more detail on a few things and has a paragraph on why you should buy a Galaxy video card. Here is that paragraph:
GALAXY has been building award-winning graphics cards for the past 19 years but you may not have known it. If you could peel back the stickers of some of the best cards sold, you'll find a GALAXY built card. Now you can own the legendary GALAXY quality and performance and the best part is you don't have to pay another company to put on a sticker! Buy your graphics card from the company that has been designing, building, and shipping award-winning products for more than 18 years. The only difference now is that the awards will all say GALAXY.
Inside the retail packaging there is an inner box that holds the GeForce GTX 780 GC video card and accessory bundle. There is a piece of paper that thanks you for your purchase and has customer support information on it and the card comes in a anti-static bag.
Inside the retail box you'll discover the Quick Installation Guide, Driver DVD, and the user manual. You also get several adapters that might make life a bit easier for some. Included are a DVI-to-VGA video adapter and a dual-6-pin to single 8-pin adapters and a dual 4-pin Molex to 6-pin Power Adapter. There should be a reason that you can't get this card running out of the box as long as you have a power supply that can handle it. Galaxy recommends a 600W or greater power supply with a minimum +12V rating of 42 Amps for proper operation. You also get Splinter Cell Blacklist with the purchase of any GeForce GTX 780 right now until supplies run out, so this card qualifies for the NVIDIA game bundle that is active right now.
Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.
Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:
- NVIDIA GeForce 320.23 & 320.49
- AMD Catalyst 13.6 Beta
Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform
The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 0305 that came out on 12/25/2012. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz quad channel memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-27 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD was run with firmware version 2.25.
|The Intel X79 Test Platform|
Intel Core i7-3960X
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
16GB Corsair 1866MHz
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked with ACX Cooling GPU-Z Information:
Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.
Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.
Benchmark Results: The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB and the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked w/ ACX Cooling share the same GPU and clock speeds on the GPU and GDDR5 memory, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the cards perform basically the same. It should be noted that the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC was tested with GeForce 320.49 dirvers and the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 SC and other cards were tested with GeForce 320.18 drivers. In the game titles where performance drastically changed we went back and updated the numbers where needed and performed spot checks to make sure everything is okay. With 12 different GeForce video cards in the chart it would take nearly 100 hours to re-benchmark all of them since we average the scores of three runs!
BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games. BioShock Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock series, and though it is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games, it does feature similar gameplay concepts and themes. BioShock Infinite uses a Modified Unreal Engine 3 game engine and was released worldwide on March 26, 2013.
We tested BioShock Infinite with the Ultra game settings.
Benchmark Results: In Bioshock Infinite we again see the GeForce GTX 780 card performing on part with one another, but you can clearly see how the EVGA and Galaxy overclocked cards are faster than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 reference clock speeds.
Far Cry 3
Far Cry 3 is an open world first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to 2008's Far Cry 2. The game was released on December 4th, 2012 for North America. Far Cry 3 is set on a tropical island found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. After a vacation goes awry, player character Jason Brody has to save his kidnapped friends and escape from the islands and their unhinged inhabitants.
Far Cry 3 uses the Dunia Engine 2 game engine with Havok physics. The graphics are excellent and the game really pushes the limits of what one can expect from mainstream graphics cards. We set game title to 8x MSAA Anti-Aliasing and ultra quality settings.
Benchmark Results: The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC has no problems running Far Cry 3 at 2560x1600 and 1920x1080, but at 5760x1080 it was a bit choppy at times as the frame rate dropped below 20 at times.
Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth DirecX 11 video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. This game title uses the Glacier 2 game engine and was released on November 20th, 2012.
We benchmarked Hitman: Absolution with Ultra Settings.
Benchmark Results: The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is able to run Hitman smoothly at 1920x1080 and 2560x1600. It was again performing the same as the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked w/ ACX cooling.
Metro Last Light
Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013.
Metro Last Light was benchmarked with the games built-in benchmark with Very High quality settings, 16x AF, normal motion blur and DX11 tessellation set to normal. Advanced PhysX was disabled.
Benchmark Results: In Metro Last Light the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC video card did great and we were getting 32FPS on our NVIDIA Surround setup at 5760x1080!
On March 5th, 2013 Square Enix released Tomb Raider, billed as a reboot of the franchise. In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. In contrast to the earlier games Croft is portrayed as vulnerable, acting out of necessity, desperation and sheer survival rather than for a greater cause or personal gain.
The game has been built on Crystal Dynamics's game engine called the "Crystal Engine" and the graphics look fantastic. AMD and Crystal Dyanmic's worked on a new technology called TressFX Hair, which AMD describes as “the world’s first in-game implementation of a real-time, per-strand hair physics system” for this game title. We set the image quality to ultimate for benchmarking, but we disabled TressFX Hair under the advanced tab to be fair to NVIDIA graphics cards that don't support the feature.
Benchmark Results: The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC performed neck-to-neck with the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked w/ ACX cooling card in Tomb Raider.
3Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs
Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.
Fire Strike Extreme:
Benchmark Results: The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is a beat and scored 4730 points in 3DMark Fire Strike with the Extreme preset!
Catzilla is a relatively new benchmark that is made the Polish demoscene group Plasticis. something we are using for that reasonis being produced in collaboration with Polish post production company, Plastige. Plastige is the company that worked on Witcher 2 Enhanced Edition and some of the developers there were behind the PlayStation Network game Datura. The benchmark uses a parallel graphics engine that takes advantage of multi-core CPUs. This isn't a benchmark being made in some kids basement and it doesn't appear to be bought off by any companies yet, so it should be a good benchmark to use.
While this benchmark is in beta phases, we still have found that Catzilla is a good cross-API benchmark. You also can't go wrong with a benchmark that has a giant animated cat nuke cities with its laser eyes as you do. You can watch a video of the benchmark in action below.
We purchased Catzilla Advanced and ran the full Catzilla benchmark at 2560x1440. This 1440p benchmark is designed for high-end computers, which is perfect as that is where these video cards are going to end up!
Benchmark Results: Catzilla showed the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 SC 3GB having an overall score of 7813 when run on a screen resolution of 2560x1440.
Noise and Temps
Temperature & Noise Testing
Temperatures are important to enthusiasts and gamers, so we took a bit of time and did some temperature testing on the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 Gaming OC C 3GB video card.
Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB Idle Temperature:
In a room that was 20C (70F) we observed the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC had an idle temperature of 26C and the idle fan speed was set to 37% or 1238 RPM.
Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB Gaming Temperature:
When playing Far Cry 3 and Battlefield 3 for about 30 minutes each, we hit 77C on the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC and the fan speed ramped up to 2006 RPM during our gaming session.
Here you can see the results in comparison with some of the other cards we have been looking at over the past month. The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC thermals are better than the reference design, but no where new the low temperatures observed on the EVGA GeForce GTX SuperClocked card with the ACX Cooling System.
We recently upgraded our sound meter to an Extech sound level meter with ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with 'A' frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.
When it comes to noise levels the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB card was actually a bit louder than the reference card, but it was still quieter than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 680 reference card coolers! This is the important thing as it will likely be quieter than what you are upgrading from.
For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we ran three games at 1920x1080 and averaged the peak results seen on the power meter.
Power Consumption Results: With the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB in the test system we observed the platform using 101 Watts at idle and during our gaming session we noted an average peak power use of 429 Watts. This is a load number is a tad more than some of the other two GeForce GTX 780 cards that we have tested before by about 25 Watts, so we aren't quite sure what is going on there.
Galaxy GTX 780 Overclocking
We installed the Galaxy XtremeTuner Plus v126.96.36.199 software utility to see how the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC 3GB video card could be overclocked! You can use whatever software utility you like for overclocking and we used this one since it comes with the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC video card.
This is the first time that we have ever used XtremeTuner Plus, but is it similar to most any other overclocking utility out there. The GUI is interesting to say the least as everything that you need to adjust is so tiny and hard to see. You also can't type in the values you want, so get ready to use the slider or click the mouse a few hundred times to get to the overclock that you want. The good news about this utility is that you can adjust the power target, GPU voltage, memory voltage, frame rate target, and the fan speed.
In case you forgot, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 reference card is clocked at 863 MHz base and 902 MHz boost and the memory is clocked at 6008MHz (effective). The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC comes with a base clock of 967 MHz and a boost clock of 1020 MHz with the memory at 6008MHz (effective). This is already a nice 12-13% clock increase on the 2304 CUDA Cores! Let's see how much higher we can overclock this already overclocked card!
We increased the power target to 112% and the temperature target to 94C. This is the highest possible setting for each. We then slowly increased the GPU clock offset and memory clock offset to see how far we could go before the card would become unstable.
We ended up with a GPU clock offset to +94MHz and the mem clock offset to +610MHz before we started to get encounter some issues. Anything over these clock speeds and we would get freezing and driver crashes while gaming. This overclock meant that we were running at 1202MHz thanks to NVIDIA Boost 2.0 on the core and 1805MHz (7220MHz effective) on the 3GB of GDDR5 memory. The card was running in the high 75-79C temperature range with this overclock and we saw the power use in games jump up from ~430W to ~445W.
It should be noted that this is not the highest overclock we have ever had on any NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 video card when it comes to the GPU, but this is the fastest memory frequency we have ever hit on a GTX 780!
For example in 3DMark Fire Strike we saw performance go from 9308 to 10170 by overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB video card. This is a performance gain of 9.2%, which is a very large performance gain seeing how this card is damn near the best that money can buy and you can still push the frequencies up higher!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
At the end of the day, the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is a welcomed addition to the Galaxy lineup and a worthy successor to the old Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 that was based entirely on the NVIDIA reference design. Our testing showed that the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC had better gaming performance, ran quieter and had better thermal performance than the reference design, so this card looks good.
When you compare the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC to other custom GeForce GTX 780 video cards on the market today things start to get a little dicey. For starters the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC arrived to the market on July 17th, 2013 and that is more than a month after other brands released their custom cards. When something is late to the game you'd expect to see some killer features, totally custom design or insane clock speeds, but that is not what Galaxy did.
The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC features a reference designed PCB with some different brand components on it along with a custom cooler and vBIOS. The clock speeds of the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC are higher on the GPU that then reference card, but they are the same as the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked! Why not beat it by say 5MHz or 10MHz just to make your card different? Why share the same clock speeds of one of your rivals when you could possibly beat it? Come to think of it, this card is Galaxy Clocked... That sounds familiar doesn't it?
When it comes to the custom cooler on the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC we have to admit that it looks awesome. The color combination of the silver and copper cooling fins with the silver and blue fan shroud really make this video card pop and stand out from the crowd. If you are looking for something a little different, this certainly could be what you are looking for. The performance of the GPU cooler is better than the reference design, but not as good as some of the other implementations out there when it comes to idle/load temperatures or noise levels.
The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC retails for $659.99 shipped and is backed by a 3-year limited warranty, so it is only about $10 more than reference design GeForce GTX 780. It is also around $10 less than the EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Superclocked w/ ACX cooling. Both cards use the NVIDIA reference PCB and have identical clock speeds. The only major difference is the GPU cooler and the appearance said cooler!
In conclusion, the Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC was found to be a great performing card with a solid GPU cooler and was easy to overclock. Sadly, there isn't anything revolutionary about it that makes us say that this is the card you have to buy. There is no one killer feature or something that this card has over any of the other cards on the market. It is getting extremely hard to differentiate yourself from other brands when it comes to PC hardware and this is a prime example of that issue.
Legit Bottom Line: The Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 GC is a great performing video card and is competitive with other GeForce GTX 780 cards in its price range!