Overclocking, Power, Sound and Closing

Overclocking the ASUS Strix GTX 780

Obviously, with the DirectCU II cooler and the custom built PCB on the ASUS Strix card, you know there is going to be a lot of headroom remaining in the design for users to push the clock speeds even further. Out of the box, the ASUS card is only 30-40 MHz faster than the reference cards, which results in a fairly modest amount of performance increase. But, as it turns out, and it’s no surprise with the engineering that ASUS has placed into it, the card can reach quite a bit higher with just a little bit of elbow grease.

I was able to implement a clock speed offset of 175 MHz, bringing the new base clock to 1064 MHz and the new rated typical boost clock to 1116 MHz. I moved the power target slider as far forward as it would go, in this case 110%. All of this was without increasing the voltage even a little bit.

Better still, the real world clock speeds at these settings were closer to 1188 MHz with temperatures never going much over 70C. Clearly the ASUS DirectCU II cooler and the custom PCB design are paying dividends and it’s very likely that, with just a bit more work, gamers would likely be able to game consistently over 1200 MHz.

The result in gaming?

This graph shows frame times (so lower is better) and the lighter color of red is the ASUS Strix GTX 780 at stock settings, the darker red line is with our +175 MHz frequency offset overclock. Clearly in Metro: Last Light, the overclocked settings result in noticeable frame rate increases.


Power Consumption and Sound Levels

Based on our testing, the power consumed by the ASUS Strix GTX 780 is barely higher than that of the reference GTX 780 cards – just 7 watts as shown above. Compared to the Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X products though, the GTX 780 is much more power efficient. The Radeon R9 290-series is using 35-40 watts additional power to get the performance advantage its offers over the GTX 780.

The ASUS Strix card, even when not running in its fairly limited “silent” mode, is still a very quiet and efficient cooler. We already showed in our overclocking that the GPU never went above 70C and, in the results above, the noise produced by the cooler is lower than the reference GTX 780 and quieter than the ASUS DirectCU II R9 290X offering.


Pricing and Availability

As of this writing, the ASUS Strix GTX 780 6GB graphics cards has a pretty widely varying price point depending on where you look. Newegg.com is selling it for $599 while Amazon.com has it listed for $744. Ouch. Let’s see how that compares to some other cards compared in the review.

Even when compared to just the other NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 cards on the market, the added cost of the ASUS Strix model is substantial. Looking at other reference of custom cooled GTX 780 cards the ASUS part here has more than $100 premium. Even the ASUS GTX 780 DirectCU II that uses almost the same cooler (but with half the memory) can be found for $519 on Amazon.

And obviously AMD continues to be quite aggressive with pricing of the R9 series of graphics cards. The R9 290 with 4GB of memory, even in custom cooled iterations, can be picked up for as little as $399, a full $200 less than the ASUS Strix card we are reviewing today. Even the R9 290X, with its higher performance can be bought for $100 less than the Strix.


Final Thoughts

The engineering and quality built into the ASUS Strix GTX 780 6GB graphics card is truly impressive. You have a PCB design with improved power delivery, a cooler that is built to keep the large Kepler GPU chilled even under extreme workloads and a new fan controller design that allows for silent operation when the GPU can be maintained under the 65C temperature mark. Consumers that know they want to stay in the NVIDIA ecosystem will find a lot to love with the ASUS Strix 780, including the 6GB frame buffer that can help future proof your purchase should you be looking at 4K monitors or even multi-monitor Surround gaming.

Man, look at that raised SLI bridge!

But the cost increase makes it really hard to give the card a blanket recommendation. At $599, you are getting pretty close to the lowest prices of the currently selling GeForce GTX 780 Ti cards. Those options wouldn’t include 6GB of frame buffer of course, but the added performance of the additional CUDA cores have to be compelling to gamers. That doesn’t even take into account the AMD Radeon line of GPUs that continue to offer much better raw performance-per-dollar than their NVIDIA counterparts.

For excellence in raw engineering and features, the ASUS Strix GTX 780 6GB gets a Silver Award from us but be sure you are comfortable with the price premium you’ll pay for it.

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