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The Excellent EVGA Card - PNY GTX 780 Ti XlR8

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5/7/2014 11:53:17 AM
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The Excellent EVGA Card - PNY GTX 780 Ti XlR8

Graphics card prices are ridiculous right now. We needed to get that out the way at the top of this review because we’re about to suggest that PNY’s latest overclocked version of the GTX 780 Ti is actually good value. At $850. Yeah...

The Excellent EVGA Card - PNY GTX 780 Ti XlR8

Graphics card prices have been steadily increasing generation-on-generation to the point where top-end GPUs are now regularly tipping up at exorbitant prices like the $1,330-odd being asked for the new GTX Titan Black. PNY’s overclocked GTX 780 Ti costs $500 less and offers roughly the same overall frame rates and gaming experience.

Both cards sport the full-fat NVIDIA GK110 GPU, with its 2,880 CUDA cores. All that’s really missing is the 6GB frame buffer and the double precision mathematical capabilities NVIDIA decided to switch off in the GTX 780 Ti. For a gamer looking for the fastest GPU, that extra $499 will ultimately be a waste.

We can cross the Titan Black off the gamer’s wishlist then, but what about the other overclocked GTX 780 Ti cards we’ve seen? Well, EVGA has reconsidered the exorbitant pricing of its Superclocked ACX, dropping it from $1,014 to $907. The PNY edition is cheaper still, and its cooling solution shaves another 5°C off the very impressive peak operating temperature of the EVGA ACX chip-chiller. This card’s fan trifecta is a little more power-hungry and a little louder than the EVGA cooler’s dual spinners, though.

The air-cooler's pretty effective

What is ‘value’?

But we’re talking about an individual component that costs the same as some full PC builds. That’s where it gets tougher to talk about the ephemeral notion of ‘value’.

Still, if you’ve splashed out on a high-resolution display like the gorgeous 2,560 x 1,440 screens we’ve looked at in recent months, you’ll be willing to open your wallet again to drive it properly in-game, and nothing can really come close to a GTX 780 Ti in full flight – no matter what AMD would like to say. And to be fair, you wouldn’t be able to hear it over the roar of the R9 290X’s monstrous fans anyway.

So you’ll want the best value relative to what’s sitting around it. Like it or not (and let’s be fair, no one but NVIDIA shareholders likes it), this is the price of high-end graphics cards now. if you want the best you have to pay. Through the nose. With your first-born.

That said, the PNY XlR8 card is one of the best options we’ve seen. EVGA’s chiller is quieter, but PNY’s keeps your overclocked chip cooler. It is a little behind the EVGA card in terms of gaming performance, but only by a frame or two, which is ultimately negligible. They’re both frighteningly quick, and far superior to the lovely-looking reference version, and at this level the $58 between them seem almost insignificant. If that extra matters to you, the PNY option happily trades blows with the excellent EVGA card.

 

The XLR8 Liquid Cooled GTX 580 OC 1.5GB is equipped with an all-in-one pump,
water-block and radiator in a pre-filled loop that's already attached to the PCB.

It’s almost too close to call, but since this is a review we kind of have to, so we’d put our money behind the EVGA card for that quieter cooler. At this rarefied end of the GPU market it’s all about the tiniest of margins.

 

 

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