Performance Summary Charts
First of all, let’s check out the difference between the MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming and the EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC at their default clock rates. As their model numbers suggest, these are same-class solutions of two different generations. The EVGA card's performance serves as the baseline in the diagrams below.
Announced over a year ago, the GeForce GTX 770 came at a recommended price of $399. The GeForce GTX 970, on its part, costs a recommended $329, ensuring a performance advantage of 33 to 35%. Sounds good even if we do not take any other advantages into account.
Besides beating one of the fastest factory-overclocked versions of the GTX 770, the MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming has no problem outperforming the ASUS STRIX GTX 780 OC with its 6 gigabytes of onboard memory. Here are the diagrams:
It is only in one test mode of Hitman: Absolution, in Crysis 3 and Batman: Arkham Origins that the new card can’t cope with its opponent. In the rest of the tests the MSI is an average 6 to 11% ahead at 1920x1080 and 3.8 to 9.3% ahead at 2560x1440.
We have the same picture comparing the MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming with the AMD Radeon R9 290X.
The MSI is slower than its opponent in Company of Heroes 2 besides the other abovementioned titles, but that’s not too many games anyway. We should note that the Radeon R9 290X has become cheaper, so this comparison isn't quite correct in terms of pricing.
And now let’s compare the MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming with the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 980.
The new card is 9 to 12% slower across all the tests but the GTX 980 is 67% more expensive in terms of their recommended prices ($549 and $329).
We managed to overclock the MSI card’s GPU and memory by 16.2% and 14.8%, which made the card considerably faster in each of our tests as is proved by the next pair of diagrams.
The MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming got 12-14% faster on average, delivering the same or even higher performance compared to the reference GTX 980.
That’s just an excellent reward for our overclocking efforts.
We measured the power consumption of computer systems with different graphics cards using a multifunctional panel Zalman ZM-MFC3 which can report how much power a computer (the monitor not included) draws from a wall socket. There were two test modes: 2D (editing documents in Microsoft Word and web surfing) and 3D (the intro scene of the Swamp level from Crysis 3 running four times in a loop at 2560x1440 with maximum visual quality settings but without MSAA). Here are the results:
The configuration with MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming turned out to be the most economical in this test. Its average power draw was about 450 watts with a maximum of 472 watts. Interestingly, the much weaker EVGA GeForce GTX 770 SC needs 30 watts more, so the progress between the two GPU generations is obvious. The new GTX 970 looks even better in comparison with the GTX 780 and Radeon R9 290X, requiring 81 and 87 watts less at peak load. The reference GeForce GTX 980 is impressive as well. Its configuration is comparable to the MSI one in power consumption. When the MSI card is overclocked, its power draw increases by a mere 21 watts at peak load.
The MSI GeForce GTX 780 Gaming delivers unprecedented performance for its class. It is much faster than the previous-generation GeForce GTX 770 it has come to replace and is available at a lower initial recommended price. The impressive overclocking potential of the new GM204 processor with Maxwell architecture and the high-speed memory help make the MSI card as fast as the flagship GTX 980 model or even better. Considering that the GTX 970 is less expensive, we guess it is going to be far more popular than the GTX 980.
Of course, MSI should also be given credit for equipping this graphics card with high-quality components and the advanced Twin Frozr V cooler which is very efficient and has an extremely low level of noise. We could never achieve such overclocking results with top-end graphics cards using just basic air cooling. The rather low power requirements of the new card must also be noted among its advantages. We’d recommend it to everyone as soon as it hits the stores.