MSI GeForce GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OCed Video Card Review

MSI GeForce GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OCed Video Card Review

We step away from Z97 motherboards for a moment and check out the brand new 6GB-wielding GeForce GTX 780 from MSI under the Twin Frozr Gaming name.

| May 27, 2014 at 1:32 pm CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

VIEW GALLERY - 37 IMAGES

Coming off of a solid run of Z97 motherboards, we have to slowly push the pile aside for a week and check out some of the video cards that have arrived. This time, I do find myself more excited than normal, though, as I prepare to do a couple of video card articles. The other day when we got a chance to check out the Sapphire R9 290 4GB Tri-X OC, you may have noticed that it's the first time that a 4K monitor had been used in our video card reviews.

This wasn't just a one off; instead, it was the start to the latest resolution being introduced into our future video card reviews. Adding 3840 x 2160 benchmarking into the mix helps put more stress on our setups. With four times the number of pixels of a standard 1920 x 1080 screen, this one monitor places more load on your system setup than a three screen Eyefinity or Surround Vision setup.

That's enough about our new 4K monitor. Today, we're going to be looking at a GTX 780 from our friends over at MSI. This one comes as part of the Twin Frozr Gaming series and is overclocked out of the box. While we'll be overclocking the card even further today, the big stand out for this particular model is the fact it carries with it 6GB of GDDR5 instead of the standard 3GB.

It's going to be interesting to see how the extra memory affects our overclocking. We'll hopefully continue to get a strong overclock out of the model. Before we find out just exactly how the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC did, we need to check out what's going on with the package.

Package - What comes inside the box

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Taking a look at the box, we don't see anything out of the ordinary as we've already seen a number of Twin Frozr cards under the Gaming series name. We've got the dragon, model, and series on the front, and in the bottom left corner, you can see the card is an "OC Edition."

Turning the box over, you can see that some of the main features of the card are explained in more detail. The two big ones here are, of course, the Military Class 4 components that bring Hi-c and Solid Capacitors to the card for better power quality.

The other big one is the Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooler, which helps drop both noise and temperature levels. You can also see support for the MSI Gaming App, which brings with it the ability to adjust the card to three different presents, including OC, Gaming, and Silent.

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Moving inside the bundle, you can see there's not a whole lot going on; the standard quick user guide and driver CD are present. Alongside those, we've got a DVI to VGA connector along with two power connectors. One is a dual Molex to 6-Pin PCIe power connector, while the other is a 6-Pin to 8-Pin PCIe power connector.

Video Card Details and Specifications

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Taking a look at the card, you can straight away see that the overall design isn't anything new to us. We've seen the Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooler a number of times, and you can see the black and red design with two oversized fans is the standard setup. We have a massive heat sink that sits behind the two fans and covers almost the entire card.

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Taking a quick spin around the card, you can see that power comes in the form of two connectors. One is a 6-Pin PCIe; the other, an 8-Pin PCIe. Staying at the top of the card but moving closer to the front, you can see our two SLI connectors, something that is important for users wanting to run more than one of these cards.

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Checking out the I/O panel, you can see we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors. One is DVI-I, while the second is DVI-D. Alongside them, you can see we have two other video out connectors in the form of DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a. This is a very standard I/O panel for this model.

Specifications

As we mentioned at the start, we're dealing with an OC version of the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming. Looking below, you can see that MSI has bumped the core up to 954MHz from 863MHz. This means that the boost clock comes in at 1006MHz, up from the standard 900MHz. As for the massive 6GB of GDDR5, that's been left alone at 6008MHz QDR.

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Like we said in the introduction, we will be overclocking the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC today to see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the model.

Starting off with the core, we managed to push that to 1050MHz, which was then pushed to a massive 1102MHz via the boost feature. As for that 6GB of GDDR5, we managed to push that up to a nice, round 6400Mhz QDR.

Test System Setup & FPS Numbers Explained

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, and Corsair.

We have a bunch of cards in our graphs here today, and the main attraction, of course, is the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC that we've overclocked to 1050MHz on the core and 6400MHz QDR on the memory. Alongside that, though, we also have the reference GTX 770 2GB and the recently looked at ASUS GTX 780 ROG Poseidon Platinum 3GB OC to round off the NVIDIA side of things.

As for the AMD side of things, we've got three cards, including the MSI R9 280X 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC running at 1200MHz on the core and 7000MHz QDR on the memory. Along with that, we've also got the Sapphire R9 290 4GB Tri-X OC and AMD R9 290X 4GB in "Uber Mode" to round things off. Let's leave it at that and see just what's going on with performance.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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Starting off with 3DMark 11, we can see a great jump out of the gate. You can see that at both presets the performance of our MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC, when overclocked, is ahead of all our other setups here.

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

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Fire Strike sees some great performance, and you can see, thanks to the overclock we've given the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC, it manages to be the only card that is able to break into the 5,000 point realm at the higher Extreme preset.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven & Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

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Heaven performance is really strong, and you can see the overclock has really helped the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC a lot as it pushes well ahead of the competition here.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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PSO 2 tends to fair extremely well when overclocking is thrown into the mix, and you can see with the strong overclock here that the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC manages to sit well out ahead of the other setups.

Benchmarks – Lost Planet 2 & Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Lost Planet 2 numbers are great; not only do we have strong performance at all resolutions, but you can see we're also ahead of all our other setups again thanks to that strong overclock we gave the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC.

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Just Cause 2 numbers look great at all resolutions, and you can see we've got playable numbers at every resolution. At the highest resolution, though, you can see that the AMD R9 290 series manages to get just a couple of FPS on the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC.

Benchmarks – F1 2012 & Metro Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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At both 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1060, you can see we're hitting that high 170 FPS wall that is present. While we don't quite hit it at 2560 x 1600, you can see we still manage a massive 166 FPS, which puts us ahead of everything else here.

Metro Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Metro Last Light sees the overclocked MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC perform ahead of everyone else at all resolutions. Unfortunately, you can see that, at the highest resolution, we're still shy of that 60 FPS number we're always-on the hunt for.

Benchmarks – Dirt Showdown & Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Dirt Showdown looks good across the board with strong playable FPS being seen at all resolutions. Under this particular game, the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC is indeed battling it out with the top end R9 290 series cards from AMD.

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Against the competition, the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC, when overclocked even higher, performs extremely well. You can see it does fall short of that 60 FPS number we want at 1920 x 1200. Looking above, though, you can see it's by just a single FPS.

Benchmarks – Sniper Elite V2 & Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Sniper Elite V2 numbers are great; they're both playable at all resolutions and also ahead of the competition. The MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC, when overclocked to 1050MHz on the core, continues to perform extremely well.

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Sleeping Dogs sees some great numbers at all resolutions that equal not just playable numbers, but numbers that are ahead of the competition.

Benchmarks – Hitman Absolution & Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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At the lower resolutions, you can see that Hitman Absolution hits a wall. Moving to 2560 x 1600, you can see that while we don't hit a wall and do fall behind the R9 290 offerings, the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC, when overclocked, manages to still put out very strong and very playable FPS at that resolution.

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Tomb Raider sees some fantastic performance, and while our average at 2560 x 1600 is just below that 60 FPS number we want, due to the fact that we've got an excellent 46 FPS minimum, the 58 FPS average is acceptable.

Benchmarks – BioShock Infinite & Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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BioShock Infinite numbers are awesome at all resolutions, and we again see that our overclocked MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC manages to push out FPS better than anyone else. At the highest resolution, you can see that it's the only card that manages to break into the 70 FPS realm. Under these intensive games, we always love a little bit more breathing room.

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

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Battlefield 4 numbers across the board are strong and ahead of the AMD competition. You can see we're clearly not going to run into any problems here with our MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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While we do see the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC outperform our other cards here, you can see with AA and AF on that we're falling short of the 60 FPS number we need.

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Unlike Metro Last Light, you can see that we've got strong, playable FPS here at both resolutions. As for how the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC stacks up against the competition, you can see that we're going a little back and forth with the top AMD offerings.

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The 68 FPS the overclocked MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC sees here is a solid gain over the 63 FPS that the next closest card sees at 1920 x 1200. When just scraping into the 60 FPS mark, the extra breathing room is always appreciated.

Of course, just scraping in at 1920 x 1200 means that 2560 x 1600 isn't an option as our setups plummet to 40 FPS and lower.

Benchmarks – 4K – 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K monitors are the next step for gamers demanding the best in image quality. With 4x the pixels of a standard 1920 x 1080 monitor (meaning 4x the intensity), 3840 x 2160 brings with it a new level of intensity to video cards.

Wanting to make sure that you're buying the right video card for a monitor that offers such a large resolution, we test the latest and greatest video cards in a couple of benchmarks to give you an idea of just what kind of setup you require.

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Cranking up the resolution sees the overclocked MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC come out ahead of our R9 290 4GB here. We'd expect that given the fact that we consider this a higher-end card.

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Checking out Sleeping Dogs, you can see that the overclocked MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC manages to offer a very convincing 72 FPS at this massive resolution.

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Hitman Absolutions manages to give off a pretty strong minimum. Looking above, though, you can see our average sits below 50 FPS, and we would say that's just too low to be playable, even with the strong minimum.

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Under Tomb Raider, we see neither a strong minimum nor average here. We're slightly ahead of the R9 290 here, but overall the FPS number we're getting out of the MSI GTX 780 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC is just too low.

Temperature & Sound Testing

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run of 3DMark Vantage at the Performance preset.

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Temperature numbers are strong and sit towards the middle of the pack. Considering the strong overclock and increased memory, this is just an overall very strong number we're seeing. It comes as little surprise, though, as the Twin Frozr series of coolers have always done an excellent job.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter, we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that, we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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We love to see that those strong temperatures aren't coming at the cost of excess noise. Looking above, you can see that the Twin Frozr IV cooler, as always, gives off a minimum amount of noise.

Power Consumption Testing

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01--or "Power Thingy" as it has quickly become known as to our readers--we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated video cards installed. Keep in mind that it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember, though. While our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10 percent more. We test at the exact same stage every time, so tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum--only an SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items will result in a higher draw.

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Power draw sits at the upper end of the scale, as you'd expect, with a little under 500 watts being drawn. Considering the power of the card, this is a pretty standard number, and we'd recommend a quality power supply in the 650-watt+ range.

Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts

Normally we would start off talking about the pricing and availability. Unfortunately, that's not so much an option today as MSI has literally just uncovered this card. As you'd expect, though, you're going to pay a premium to have a card stacked with twice as much GDDR5 over the standard model, which by itself will set you back under $500.

Since we can't really talk much about the pricing side of things, let's get into the specifics of the cards. Performance on the model is exceptional; is that because of the extra memory, though? More than likely, no. Even on these higher-end cards, the extra memory in our tests has shown little change. Saying that, though, our plan next is to compare this card against the 3GB version at only 4K resolution. We're hoping that the huge amount of pixels being pushed to the screen will mean that the extra memory is going to come in handy.

At most standard resolutions, though, you're just not really seeing a difference. That doesn't mean it's not worth the extra money. If you're someone who plans to keep ahold of their video card for a while, the extra memory can come in handy as the next generation of games come forward, especially when the extra cost associated with the card isn't normally that bad.

Outside of just the memory, though, you've got a fantastic card on hand. The Twin Frozr Gaming series has impressed us a ton since inception, and this one is no different. Even with the larger amount of memory, you saw that overclocking on the model continued to be exceptional. The cooling also stands up extremely well as you'd hope and expect, and it offers us excellent temperature numbers at a solid noise level.

Overall, this is a fantastic video card, and some people are going to want the extra GDDR5 no matter what. If you're not in a huge rush, though, and you're thinking about getting a 4K monitor to go with the card, then we recommend you wait to see how the card performs in our future 4K Showdown article.

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Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:32 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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