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ASUS GeForce GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC Video Card Review

ASUS GeForce GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC Video Card Review

ASUS expands its video card line up with the new STRIX series. Today Shawn spends some time checking out the GeForce GTX 780 version of the STRIX line.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Jun 26 2014 9:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package

Introduction of the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC

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During Computex 2014, we got a chance to take a look at the new STRIX GTX 780 from ASUS. On display, the company had the GTX 780 6GB card running StarCraft 2 with the fan not spinning, making the card completely silent.

Silent cooling solutions aren't something new to us, but we must admit this approach is different to what we've seen before. In the past, we've seen some companies offer an option where the fans don't spin at idle but start to turn as soon as any load is placed on the video card. The approach that ASUS takes is similar but taken up another notch.

We won't go into any more detail here, and we will instead talk about it a little further when we look at the card itself on the next page. For now, let's leave it at that and see what's going on with the package of the ASUS GTX 780 STRIX OC before taking a closer look at the card itself and the technology behind the STRIX name.

Package - What comes inside the box

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Taking a look at the overall box design, you can see it's nothing too out of the ordinary. We've got the ASUS logo along with the new STRIX one across the top, while the model is clearly shown along with some of the main features across the bottom, including 6GB of GDDR5 memory and a 0dB fan. Turning the box over, you can see ASUS goes into a bit more detail on the DirectCU II cooler along with mention about the DIGI+ VRM+ technology and GPU Tweak software. Finally, you can see on the left side a picture of the card and the outputs that are offered.

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Moving to the bundle, you can see not too much is going on with the standard inclusions offered. We've got a Speed Setup manual along with a driver CD. You can see in the cable department that we've got an SLI bridge and a dual 6-Pin PCIe to 8-Pin PCIe power connector. Not pictured, but also included, is a DVI to VGA connector to round things out.

Video Card Details and Specifications

Close up with the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC

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Taking a look at the card, you can see the very sleek black shroud sitting on a black PCB. You can see the dual fan setup sits on top of a massive heat sink with a number of heat pipes coming out from above the core. The DirectCU II cooler with 0dB Fan Technology works by letting the fans not spin when the card is idle. While that's nothing special, the big highlight is the fact that under situations when load isn't too extreme, the fans also don't spin.

Under games like League of Legends and StarCraft 2, where our core is kept at or below 65C, the fans will continue to not spin, helping the card to remain silent. It isn't until after it passes that temperature number that the fans begin to spin. We're hoping, though, that when it finally does spin that it doesn't create too much noise.

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Moving away from the heat sink and taking the time to move around the card, you can see that power comes in the form of two connectors: one 6-Pin PCIe power connector along with an 8-Pin PCIe connector. Staying at the top of the card and moving closer to the front, you can see our standard SLI connectors in the event you want to run more than one of these bad boys together.

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Finishing our look at the card, we have the I/O side of things that sees two Dual-Link DVI connectors in the form of a DVI-D and DVI-I. Along with that, we've also got the standard HDMI and DisplayPort connectors to round the connectivity side of things off. Looking above, you can also see that ASUS has included some vents that let some of the hot air escape out the back of the case.

Specifications

As the name suggests, ASUS has overclocked this particular model out of the box. This surprises us slightly as we thought that, due to the attempt at silence, they would choose to leave the card at the reference clocks. Instead, they've thrown caution to the wind and shown how much faith they have in the quality of their DirectCU II cooler.

Out of the box, a reference GTX 780 3GB will bring with it a core clock of 863MHz that is then boosted to 900MHz. As for the 3GB of GDDR5, that comes in at 6008MHz QDR. ASUS has chosen to bump the base clock of the GTX 780 STRIX OC to 889MHz that is then boosted to 941MHz. While they have chosen to leave the memory clock alone at 6008MHz QDR, they have chosen to double the amount, bringing 6GB of GDDR5 memory to the table.

Test System Setup & FPS Numbers Explained

Test System Setup

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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.

Sitting alongside our ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC, we've got a bunch of cards today. On the NVIDIA side of things, we've got the reference GTX 770 2GB and the recently looked at ASUS GTX 780 TOG Poseidon Platinum 3GB OC, which brings with it a even higher core clock of 954MHz that is then boosted to an impressive 1006MHz.

As for the AMD side of things, we've got the MSI R9 280X 6GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC running at 1200MHz on the core and 7000MHz QDR on the memory. We've included two R9 290 4GB cards in the form of the AMD reference one and the recently looked at HIS IceQ X2 Turbo version.

We finally finish off our collection of cards today with the reference R9 290X 4GB, which is running in "Uber Mode".

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 come 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

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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Starting off with 3DMark 11, you can see performance is strong out of the gate, and at the higher Extreme preset, the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC has no problems outperforming the higher-end R9 290X from AMD.

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

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Fire Strike sees some good performance, and you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC doesn't run into any problems taking on the recently looked at HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2 Turbo.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven & Phantasy Star Online 2

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

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NVIDIA always proves to be strong under the heavy tessellation used in the Heaven benchmark. You can see that our ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC is right on the tail of the AMD R9 290X 4GB at both resolutions.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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PSO 2 performance, while a little behind the top single GPU AMD offering, is overall very strong. You're not going to have a problem playing this game with most of these cards here.

Benchmarks – Lost Planet 2 & Just Cause 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Lost Planet 2 numbers are really strong across the board. You can see the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC had no problem taking on the AMD offerings, and at the highest 2560x1600 resolution, we have an average of over 100 FPS.

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Just Cause 2 performance is strong across the board, and while the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC does indeed trail behind the AMD offerings by a decent chunk, the overall FPS numbers are excellent, with a 96 FPS average being seen at 2560x1600.

Benchmarks – F1 2012 & Metro Last Light

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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F1 2012 numbers are good at all resolutions, with the FPS wall being hit at the lower resolutions. While we don't hit it at the higher 2560x1600 resolution, you can see our overall FPS numbers are exceptional, with a solid 151 FPS average being seen.

Metro Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Metro Last Light places a lot of load on our video cards, and you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC manages to get playable FPS at both 1920x1200 and 1680x1050. When we move to 2560x1600, you can see that the numbers aren't where they need to be.

Benchmarks – Dirt Showdown & Nexuiz

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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While Dirt Showdown again sees the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC fall a little behind the AMD offerings, you can see that we've got strong FPS at all resolutions, with an average of 72 FPS being seen at 2560x1600.

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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While Nexuiz sees the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC come out slightly ahead of the AMD offerings, you can see that, apart from the 1680x1050 resolution, the average FPS number is just too low, with the 55 FPS average at 1920x1200 being 10 percent shy of where we'd like to see the card perform. Looking above, though, you can see all our setups here fail to hit that 60 FPS number at 1920x1200.

Benchmarks – Sniper Elite V2 & Sleeping Dogs

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Sniper Elite V2 performance across the board is strong, with playable numbers seen at all resolutions. You can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC has no problems outperforming the AMD offerings, and playable numbers are seen at all resolutions.

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Sleeping Dogs numbers are strong across the board, and while the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC does fall slightly behind the AMD offerings at the highest resolution, it manages to offer playable FPS and stronger numbers at the lower resolutions.

Benchmarks – Hitman Absolution & Tomb Raider

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Hitman Absolution performance is strong across the board. Because of the later FPS wall seen on the NVIDIA offerings, we see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC manages to win out at the lower resolutions. At the higher 2560x1600 resolution, though, when the wall isn't hit, the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC does fall behind. The good news is the 60 FPS minimum and 72 FPS average means that the game is extremely playable.

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Tomb Raider performance between the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC and R9 290X is very similar across the board, with little difference being seen. As for playability, you can see that all of our setups here fall short of that average we want at the highest resolutions. Below that, though, you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC has no trouble offering a great gaming experience.

Benchmarks – BioShock Infinite & Battlefield 4

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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BioShock Infinite sees the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC offer some excellent FPS numbers across the board. At the highest resolution, you can see that the 10 FPS gain we get over the R9 290X 4GB is enough to put us into that 60+ FPS playable territory.

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

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Battlefield 4 numbers across the board look great, and you can see that playability at all resolutions isn't an issue here.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF Testing

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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Turning on AA and AF sees all of our setups crumble, with all falling short of that 60 FPS number we need at both resolutions. Against the R9 290X 4GB, you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC scores exactly the same at both resolutions.

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While falling a little short of the R9 290X 4GB here, you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC manages to push out some strong FPS numbers at both resolutions, with a solid 74 FPS average being seen at 2560x1600 with AA and AF turned on.

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Sleeping Dogs sees the R9 290X 4GB and ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC perform very closely to each other. That means that 1920x1200 isn't an issue, but 2560x1600 isn't an option because the FPS numbers plummet.

Benchmarks – 4K – 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K – 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K monitors are the next step for gamers demanding the best in image quality. With four times the pixels of a standard 1920x1080 monitor (meaning four times the intensity), 3840x2160 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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Looking at our 4K testing, you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC manages to come out ahead of the HIS R9 290 4GB IceQ X2. Our results continue to be limited here, though, so we don't know how it compares to AMD's higher-end R9 290X 4GB.

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Cranking the resolution right up, you can see that the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC manages to still sneak past that 60 FPS mark with a 64 FPS average.

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While the minimum under Hitman Absolution doesn't look too bad, you can see the average is just too low for the game to be playable.

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Tomb Raiders sees both an average and minimum that is too low here. There's no denying that the 4K resolution puts some serious stress on our video card.

Temperature & Sound Testing

Temperature Test

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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Looking above, you can see the overall temperature numbers are strong. The idle does, of course, sit a little higher than normal, but this is to be expected as fans aren't spinning.

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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What's really awesome is that when the fans do finally decide to start spinning, they do so at a really low noise level.

Power Consumption Testing

Power Consumption Test

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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At over 500 watts, the ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC sits towards the top of the power graph as you'd expect. We'd recommend a quality 700-watt power supply or higher for a setup like this.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

The ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC is really quite new, and at the moment, we don't have pricing on the model. From the perspective of the cooler, we can assume it won't carry too much of a premium when compared to other DirectCU II options from ASUS. It won't see the same kind of premium as the watercooling supported ROG POSEIDON model we looked at from ASUS a bit ago. What will bring the biggest jump, though, is the decision to go with 6GB of GDDR5 instead of the standard 3GB.

The doubling of the memory will undoubtedly see the card sitting in the high $500 price bracket with other 6GB models from other companies. I find myself not completely convinced by the need to double the memory on the model. We can't deny, though, that a number of users love to have as much GDDR5 as possible accompanying their GPU of choice.

Performance on the whole is strong. The overclock that ASUS is offering is impressive and a decent bump over the reference NVIDIA clocks. It's short of the ROG POSEIDON clocks that ASUS has given that model, but the more extreme nature of that cooler means the company can go a bit crazier than normal. What we love is the cooler, though, and that's clearly what ASUS wants us to love about this product.

The idea behind the STRIX series is fantastic, and with the right components, you could really have a system that is pretty much silent at idle. One of the things that really stands out for us about the cooler is the fact that even when gaming it doesn't always spin; not until it gets to a certain temperature does it need to get up and running. This is a testament to the quality of the heat sink that ASUS has.

Outside of that, what is really quite amazing is that when the core does warm up and the fans do begin to spin, they don't start screaming away to drop the core temperature right down. Instead, they run at an extremely low noise level while also keeping the core at a very reasonable temperature under load. What really tops it all off is the fact that ASUS has then turned around and increased the core clock of the card for more performance.

While the bundle is a little on the light side of things, it's also in line with what we see most companies offer these days. The ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC is all about the cooling system that ASUS offers. The ASUS GTX 780 6GB STRIX OC is just a fantastic video card. It features great performance, a ton of memory, and a cooler that really stands out from the pack for all the right reasons. ASUS has really put together a great product here.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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