GeForce GTX 780M, 770M, And 765M: Scaling Vs. Radeon HD 8970M

We already have a really good idea how desktop-bound graphics cards perform. But what about the mobile hardware typically derived from those same GPUs? We test four identically-configured notebooks and show how they scale in six popular games.

Sometimes it's hard to know how a mobile graphics processor will perform based on its name alone. Both AMD and Nvidia refer to their mobile solutions using branding very similar to their desktop parts. To help us nail down expectations of its fastest laptop GPUs, Nvidia sent over ten grand worth of Origin PC notebooks armed with GeForce GTX 780M, GeForce GTX 770M, and GeForce 765M cards. 

I also wanted a bit of relativity, though. So I called up the folks at Eurocom for something comparable based on AMD's top-end graphics processor.

Origin PC recently unveiled its Genesis and Millennium cases, which were custom-designed for the company's gaming-oriented desktop PCs. Fortunately for us, though, Origin's Eon17-S uses Clevo’s P177SM chassis, which meant that Eurocom could send over a comparable system with a Radeon HD 8970M-based module with the same cooling system. An identical thermal solution is one more way we can give you benchmark results that are truly apples-to-apples.

Comparing Mobile GPUs

GPU-Z reports lower clock rates for Nvidia’s mobile GeForce modules than the manufacturer specifies, though that's likely a result of running at lower idle frequencies. Similarly, we had to load down the Radeon module with a 3D task to get its clock settings to show up at all.

A quick look at the GeForce GTX 780M’s specifications shows that it's derived from the same GK104 GPU used for several of Nvidia's desktop-oriented cards. Naturally, the company uses lower core and memory clock rates to bring wattage down to levels that are manageable in the confines of a notebook chassis. 

In case you're not familiar with the name of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 760 Ti in the chart below, it's an OEM-rebrand of the GeForce GTX 670.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 700-Series Specs
 GeForce GTX 780GeForce GTX 780MGeForce GTX 770MGeForce GTX 765MGeForce GTX 760 Ti (670)
Texture Units1921288064112
Full Color ROPs4832241632
Graphics Clock MHz
Texture Fillrate166 Gtex/s105.3 Gtex/s64.9 Gtex/s54.4 Gtex/s102.5 Gtex/s
Memory Clock1502 MHz1250 MHz1000 MHz1000 MHz1502 MHz
Memory Bus384-bit256-bit192-bit128-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth288 GB/s160 GB/s96 GB/s64 GB/s192 GB/s
Die Size561 mm²294 mm²221 mm²221 mm²294 mm²
Transistors (Billion)7.13.542.542.543.54
Process Technology28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm

AMD’s Radeon HD 8970M is also the product of recycled naming, though more severely. Once upon a time, this exact configuration was called the Radeon HD 7970M, though it was based on the desktop Radeon HD 7870. AMD makes big cuts in power consumption by underclocking the Pitcairn GPU sitting on its flagship notebook module.

AMD Radeon HD 8000-Series Specs
 Radeon HD 8970/7970 [280X]Radeon HD 8970MRadeon HD 7970MRadeon HD 7870
Texture Units128808080
Full Color ROPs32323232
Graphics Clock MHz
1000 (1050) [850/1000]850 (900)8501000
Texture Fillrate128 Gtex/s [109]68 Gtex/s68 Gtex/s80 Gtex/s
Memory Clock1500 MHz1200 MHz1200 MHz1200 MHz
Memory Bus384-bit256-bit256-bit256-bit
Memory Bandwidth288 GB/s154 GB/s154 GB/s154 GB/s
Die Size352 mm²212 mm²212 mm²212 mm²
Transistors (Billion)
Process Technology28 nm28 nm28 nm28 nm
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  • outlw6669
    Nice review.
    I can honestly that I was not expecting Pitcairn to perform so well against GK104 while also maintaining lower power consumption!
  • guvnaguy
    Are Optimus or Switchable Graphics available in these systems?With those solutions around, I wish we could start seeing reasonable (>4-5 hr) battery life out of these laptops when not under load.
  • damric
    In about a year or so when there is a catalog of Mantle games, laptops could make a comeback as a viable gaming platform under $1500.
  • blackmagnum
    When will they make mainstream external boxes for these gaming cards? Give it a cheap and fast link to a notebook and price it competitively to the gaming laptops; awesome upgrades like the desktop crowd.
  • tchahin
    I own a 780M.I would like to see 780M versus 8970M using Mantle in BF4.
  • San Pedro
    I really like my 8970M. It's awesome having that much power in a notebook. I just hope it doesn't die like my 6990M did.
  • cats_Paw
    A great place to check GPUs in laptops and laptops in general is notebookcheck.netIts especially important because heat can be a problem in laptops very, very fast.Sure those did not seem to have that problem but ambient temps, as well as dust acumulation are two factors rearly taken into consideration when talking about overheating.
  • daglesj
    I have seen people buy the kind of laptops that these cards exist in. The main issue with them is that they are often so compromised in one way or another they spend more time getting sent back for repairs and fixes than they do on the owners desk.Like TVR cars, they did more miles strapped on the back of low loaders going to and from Blackpool than actually on its own wheels.
  • gxpbecker
    the wife has a MSI i7QM 3630 i believe and a 670mx. It has been over a year and still runs strong. Alpha testing EQNLandmark with her laptop and it runs like a champ on a mix of ultra and high settings. we have not had one issue with it and runs pretty dang cool and quiet for a gaming laptop. not sure what machine the people you have seen Daglesj, but we are very happy with ours.
  • manitoublack
    Wish you included the GT750m SLi available on the Lenovo Y510P. I own said laptop and $ for $ couldn't ask for more, but have no real goal post against the other chips in the Nvidia range.Great to finally see some mobile GRFX chop reviews and look forward to more in the future.
  • Blazer1985
    Well, speaking about reliability, I own a alienware m17r4 with a 675m (580m slightly overclocked) never had to be repaired and still running strong. I often use it for gpu rendering tasks which are the equivalent of running furmark for several hours. Cpu never went below the turbo frequency gpu never throttled or got above 70c. The system is one and a half years old now and still kicking :-)
  • Blazer1985
    Oh and btw optimus is by default enabled on the above tested systems. You get an astonishingly long battery life with these systems (given the specs)... If you have enough muscles to carry them around :-)
  • Godfavor
    What do you mean actual temperature minus ambient? What is the ambient temperature? If it is a 20 celcius then gtx 780m is 92.6 celcius??? That is very hot if it is true!
  • vertexx
    I like the new twist in the value analysis, where you determine the overall system price at which the different components add the most value. It would be good to see this incorporated into the standard value analysis for desktop components as well.
  • sjc1017
    There seems so little development in the laptop sector, they consistently artificially rig the market to make consumers spend around the £800 mark for anything capable of running pc games (look at the dell revamp of the inspiron 17 which is around the £1000 mark). I know there is the Lenovo but why don't more manufacturers produce machines in a 17.3 form factor with those specs? It seems you have a choice of badly specced machines that are very cheap or really extortionately priced gaming laptops with little in between.
  • Avro Arrow
    Gaming laptop, there's an oxymoron if I ever heard one. The "twist" in the value analysis changes nothing. Hell I could play with numbers to prove that an Intel i7-4960X is a "better value" than an AMD FX-6300 just by dropping it into a $10,000 system. Playing the percentages instead of the actual dollars makes it look better than it actually is because even though the percentage is smaller, it's still a smaller percentage of a larger number and ends up being the same. You say that the 8970M is 33% less expensive while the 780M is 13% faster? Man, you really do know how to screw with numbers don't you? The 780M is indeed 13% faster than the 8970M but it is a FULL 50% MORE EXPENSIVE than the 8970. Why are you trying so hard to word it like nVidia is the better value? No tech journalist is stupid enough to do it by accident!
  • Blazer1985
    The cost of the gpu alone may be 50% more but when you put the whole system into account you may end up paying it 33% more, not 50%. Beside that, this time the price/performance ratio seems to favor amd imho.
  • squirrelboy
    I wish the performance of the desktop counterparts would have been added to the charts. or even the desktop PRICE counterparts, so the 780M compared to the 780TI etc.
  • Arkane5
    Blazer1985, what you didn't understand is the difference of point of view between the 2 comparisons. It says "8970M is 33% less expensive // 780M is 13% faster". It should be either :"780M is 50% more expensive // 780M is 13% faster"OR"8970M is 33% less expensive // 8790M is x% slower"
  • Godfavor
    Don't play with numbers! :) 500 to 750 is 50% more expensive, BUT 750 to 500 is 33% less expensive, damn the mathematics!
  • CaptainTom
    Honestly you would be silly to pay more than $1400 for a laptop... At that point it will no longer be mobile, and it will just be a desktop with heating issues. Believe me, I have been there...
  • Phillip Wager
    @blackmagnum "When will they make mainstream external boxes for these gaming cards? Give it a cheap and fast link to a notebook and price it competitively to the gaming laptops; awesome upgrades like the desktop crowd." i don't think that it will ever happen. laptops being all proprietary and non upgradeable is what has made them such profitable business over the years they are counting on people throwing away their old ones every three years. i wish it weren't true either.
  • qlum
    If you go into value I'd say its also a very important factor how much the performance increase with the huge bump in cpu price, if a significantly cheaper cpu performs marginally worse amd wins in value by a mile.Power usage also means noise so there is that as well.
  • rajangel
    @sjc1017 In Korea, you can get an MSI laptop with an 8970m for about $1000 (1,100,000 krw @ EmartMall). 4700mq, 120gb 840 ssd, 1tb 7200, 16gb ram, 48cm (18inch). In other words, they charge what they know people are willing to pay.