Previous generations of Geforce reference designs featured relatively noisy coolers, but this is no longer the case. There is a caveat though. Overclockers might need something a bit better. When overclocked, the reference GTX 780 Ti can be loud, much louder than the Phantom at the same clocks. Furthermore, the Phantom cooler also allows for more overclocking headroom and it really stands out as a top notch cooler.
The new triple-fan Phantom cooler design comes with a removable fan feature, where each fan body can be removed for cleaning in minutes, without voiding the warranty. The Gainward GTX 780 Ti Phantom will certainly be one of the more interesting custom GTX 780 Ti graphics cards on the market.
That’s where the GTX 780 Ti Phantom really shines. It is just as quiet as the reference cooler even with a nice 104MHz GPU overclock. Furthermore, it allows more overclocking headroom. You can use the special ExperTool version which enables overvoltaging. Our additional 140MHz overclock resulted in an additional performance gain of 9 percent.
The cooler is now more important than ever, due to Boost 2.0 throttling and dynamic thermal management. Had it not been for the Phantom cooler, we probably would see a performance boost of up to 10 percent from the factory overclock, but combined with our overclock we measured up to 19 percent better performance.
The Geforce GTX 780 Ti is the currently fastest single GPU graphics card from Nvidia. The Geforce Titan is now second fastest, but it is officially not part of the GTX 700 series. The Titan was basically a prestige compute card and it was overpriced when it launched. For gamers it no longer makes any sense and we suspect its days are numbered.
We can’t wrap up the review without mentioning the competition and in this case it is clear that AMD forced Nvidia to launch the GTX 780 Ti and slash pricing across the board. The 780 Ti is now available for €585, although the Phantom costs 40 to 50 more. It is still relatively pricey compared to the R9 290X, but it has a vastly superior cooler and we have yet to see any custom Hawaii cards.
The GTX 780 Ti Phantom has 3GB of GDDR5, while the Titan ships with 6GB. Unless you have some very specific requirements, 3GB should be more than enough for comfortable gaming. The Titan is not faster in 2560x1600 tests than the GTX 780 Ti Phantom.
Our pet peeves aside, Gainward has done an outstanding job. The new Phantom cooler impressed us both in terms of performance and low noise, while the overall performance of the GTX 780 Ti Phantom is exceptional. The Phantom has enough power to deal with any current titles and it probably won’t have much trouble with any new games expected to show up over the next couple of years.
Let’s also note that the Geforce GTX 780 Ti and GTX 780 Ti Phantom cards come with Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Splinter Cell Blacklist.