PNY GTX 780 Ti XLR8 OC Single & SLI
Though they are normally associated with being one of the few board partners entrusted with NVIDIA’s Quadro lineup, PNY also has a relatively large and expanding stable of GeForce products as well. The GTX 780 Ti XLR8 OC is their flagship single GPU card and while it doesn’t have a well-marketed name like Classified, Matrix, Lightning or Super Overclock but unlike those indirect competitors, its price is quite a bit lower. PNY intends the XLR8 OC series to compete against the likes of ASUS’ DirectCU II OC, Gigabyte’s Windforce OC and MSI’s Gaming-branded cards. In the face of such entrenched competition, the GTX 780 Ti XLR8 OC will need to emphasize its relative value.
One of the major contributors to PNY’s value-added equation is their inclusion of a lifetime warranty with all of their cards which is backed up by North America-based tech support. With EVGA quietly dropping out of the lifetime warranty game, PNY is the only company around which backs their cards for a term longer than three years. Granted, a few board partners allow you to purchase extended warranties but this one is offered for free and if our experience is any indication, their customer support is top notch as well.
The PNY GTX 780 Ti XLR8 OC isn’t trying to hit any out-of-box frequency records but it does provide a more than adequate bump in clock speeds. It runs at almost the same speeds as EVGA’s GTX 780 Ti Superclock but lower than ASUS’ Matrix and Gigabyte’s very impressive GHz Edition. As usual, memory speeds have been kept to their reference settings. To confuse matters a bit more PNY also has an “Enthusiast Edition” of this card with a –GEPB product code which features better performance and a binned core along with an upcoming Customized Series which we will be reviewing in the near future.
Other than its impressive warranty, one of the main selling points of this card is its price. At $650 ($800 here in Canada) the XLR8 OC is currently one of the least expensive custom designed, overclocked GTX 780 Ti’s on the market. With that knowledge, we decided to test it in both single and SLI configurations against some of the fastest alternatives available. Granted, two of these cards will put you back $1300 but that’s less than half the price of a $3000 TITAN Z. It should be interesting to see how they stack up –especially at 4K- considering the vastly different memory allotments.
The PNY GTX 780 Ti XLR8 OC is a sleek looking card with its all-black heatsink shroud but that may not necessarily appeal to all gamers. Some folks are always looking for a bit of color to add some interest to their rigs so the XLR8’s distinct lack of any highlights may not be appealing, though to us having a blank slate to work with is quite welcome.
In terms of overall length, PNY has kept their card to roughly reference specifications (they actually use a reference PCB with upgraded components), though there is a slight overhand which extends it to 11”. Of particular interest to anyone who wants to use the XLR8 in a smaller chassis is its width; due to the slightly larger center-mounted fan, it will require an extra 5/8” of case width.
PNY’s GPU heatsinks don’t receive anywhere near the attention granted to the likes of ASUS’ DirectCu or MSI’s Twin Frozr but that doesn’t mean they aren’t well equipped. There’s simply a lack of marketing dollars needed to highlight their features. In this case the XLR8 has been equipped with a direct-contact copper base plate alongside five large copper heatpipes while its fin array has been designed to create minimal airflow restrictions. It uses a pair of 70mm fans alongside a single 80mm fan directly on top of the core which is supposed to enhance cooling performance in this key area. We’ve already seen one of PNY’s designs in action and it was extremely impressive.
As is usually the case with these cards, PNY has included voltage read points even though most enthusiasts ignore them. What is different here is the inclusion of a dedicated OCP Unlock circuit which can be jumped via a solder point to remove NVIDIA’s current limitations.
However, one area where PNY is lacking is within the software field; currently, they don’t have a branded overclocking program. While this isn’t a detrimental loss, using a competitor’s solution to overclock a PNY card leads to a loss of brand recognition above all else.
PNY has also built in some additional capacitance behind the GPU via a quartet of solid capacitors. These are supposed to allow for more cleaner power delivery at higher input voltages.
According to rumors there was originally a 6GB version of this card being developed which housed its additional memory on the PCB’s back. However, that project never went beyond the drawing board so the GTX 780 Ti XLR8 OC goes without a secondary heatsink in this area.
With a pair of DVI connectors and outputs for HDMI and DisplayPort, PNY has retained the reference backplate layout, though the power inputs have been upgraded to an 8+8 layout for some additional headroom.
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