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Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 780 HerculeZ X3 Ultra 3GB

Inno3D produces four GeForce GTX 780s, and only one of them follows the reference design. We’ll test the fastest of the remaining three, which is called Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 780 HerculeZ X3 Ultra.

The colorful wrapper of the product box was lost, so we again show you a pack shot from the official website:

The accessories to this card include one power adapter, a DVI->D-Sub adapter, a software CD, a coupon to download 3DMark Advanced Edition, a PSU product booklet, an installation guide, and a high-quality mouse pad:

The card is manufactured in China and costs $679. The warranty is 3 years long as far as we know.

The Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 780 HerculeZ X3 Ultra is the largest GeForce GTX 780 we’ve ever tested with dimensions of 302x112x58 mm. While its length and height are quite normal for a top-end product, the thickness of 58 mm means that the card is going to block the two nearest PCIe slots on the mainboard.

The Inno3D card looks powerful with its three 90mm fans set into titanium-like metal inserts. Its reverse side is almost all covered by a similarly styled back-plate. The series logos are painted on a faceplate made of translucent plastic. This graphics card looks like a tremendous war machine that’s capable of crunching through any 3D game.

It has the same video, power and SLI connectors as the reference GeForce GTX 780.

 

However, the Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 780 HerculeZ X3 Ultra is specified to have a peak power draw of 265 rather than 250 watts. A 600-watt PSU is recommended for a computer with one such device inside.

Having removed the cooler and the heat-spreading plate that’s fastened to the backplate, we saw a reference PCB once more.

It is exactly like the reference GeForce GTX 780. We could find not even a minor difference.

The GPU die is only different from the previous two in its manufacture date (late February, 2013).

The Inno3D has the highest default GPU frequency among all GeForce GTX 780s we've tested: 1006/1046 MHz (+16.6%). According to our monitoring tools, the frequency peaked up to 1111 MHz. That's some nice factory overclocking, but can the card be overclocked even more?

Interestingly, the high frequencies are guaranteed despite the low ASIC quality of the chip, which is only 62.0%:

Of course, we’re talking about a particular sample of the graphics card, yet this fact serves to prove that there is no direct relation between a chip’s ASIC quality and frequency potential.

The memory chips are the same as we've seen on the two previous graphics cards in this review.

The memory is pre-overclocked, though. Instead of the rated 6008 MHz, it is clocked at 6212 MHz.

Inno3D is especially proud of its original HerculeZ X3 Ultra cooler:

By making the cooler large, they managed to increase its efficiency far above that of the other original coolers for GeForce GTX 780s, some of which are developed by more renowned brands than Inno3D. Let’s take a closer look at this thing:

The HerculeZ X3 Ultra has an aluminum heatsink with five nickel-plated copper heat pipes, 6 mm in diameter. All of the pipes appear from one side of the nickel-plated copper base and then, bending and alternating with each other, go to the two separate heatsinks.

Three heat pipes pierce the large heatsink consisting of a number of aluminum fins embellished with a pressed-out name of the cooler series. The other pipes go through the smaller heatsink in the same way.

 

The fins seem to be press-fitted onto the pipes, yet the heatsink is all neat and robust. None of the fins is loose.

The cooler is equipped with three 90mm Colorful CF-12915S fans.

The fans run on sleeve bearings and should be quiet at work. They are dust-resistant and let you take off their impellers for cleaning. The speed of the fans is PWM-regulated in a range of 1000 to 3300 RPM. Besides, there is a small switch in the top part of the cooler, right below the highlighted logo, which can be used to turn off the PWM regulation and enable the Boost mode (i.e. make the fans work at their maximum speed).

By the way, there’s a plastic faceplate among the card’s accessories, using which you can make your own logo and put it on your graphics card.

Now, here’s how efficient the HerculeZ X3 Ultra is:


Auto fan mode

Maximum fan speed

The GPU is 61°C hot in the automatic fan regulation mode, with the fans rotating at up to 1450 RPM, and only 50°C hot at the maximum speed of the fans. We should remind you that we’re talking about a top-end graphics card with a pre-overclocked 561 sq. mm GPU! The rest of the GeForce GTX 780 coolers we’ve tested so far are clearly inferior to it in performance. We guess such high efficiency is worth the third blocked PCIe slot.

We didn’t expected the Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 780 HerculeZ X3 Ultra to have any overclocking potential left, yet we still managed to increase the GPU and memory clock rates by 50 and 960 MHz, respectively.

The overclocked card worked at 1056/1096/1793 MHz.

Although the GPU frequency would go up to 1150 MHz during our tests, the HerculeZ X3 Ultra didn’t find it to be a problem:

The GPU is only 63°C hot, with the fans rotating at 1490 RPM. That’s impressive indeed.

 
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