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Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review

Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra 3GB Review

Manufacturer: Inno3D
UK:
£599.99 (inc VAT)
US: Currently unavailable

While it's technically Titan Black that sits at the top of Nvidia's single GPU stack, the GTX 780 Ti is the real focus for high-end gamers. Nvidia's board partners have hit the GTX 780 Ti with everything they've got – bulky coolers and hefty overclocks, such as we saw with Zotac's AMP! Edition, are commonplace. Today, we're looking at an even beastlier card, the iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra from Inno3D. The name HerculeZ (the Z makes it cool) is appropriate – this monster card sports three 90mm fans, occupies three expansion slots and is anything but subtle in appearance. The price tag, too, is enough to make you cry more than a Greek hero's uppercut - £600. It's exclusive to Overclockers UK, that at the time of writing has it on offer for £560, which is still a hefty sum.

Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review
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This price tag makes the iChill DHS edition one of the most expensive GTX 780 Ti cards on the market, but it also has the highest factory overclock that we're aware of. Its 2,880 cores and 240 texture units have a base clock of 1,085MHz (and a boost of 1,150MHz), a massive 24 percent more than the stock speed of 876MHz. To put that in perspective, our reference sample of the GTX 780 Ti toppled over at a base clock of 1,100MHz, so Inno3D is obviously pushing these cards close to their limits. In fact, the GPUs used in them are hand selected twice (DHS = Double Hand Selected) to ensure stable performance at massive clock speeds. This lengthy binning process surely contributes to the inflated price tag. The core clock jump is twinned with a much more modest memory overclock, from 7GHz to 7.28GHz (4 percent).

Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review
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Not only is this iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS a triple slot model, but it measure 300mm in length too. Its height also extends past the usual PCI bracket height by about 15mm too – users of cramped cases need not apply. An aluminium backplate gives the card additional stability against its own weight, and will also help dissipate PCB heat while providing something a bit nicer to look at than a bare PCB backside. Speaking of aesthetics, there's also a top-mounted plastic logo section that is lit with white LEDs when powered on, giving the card a nice subtle glow. A plexiglass cover for this area (not pictured) is also included.

There's a relatively generous bundle shipped with the iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS, including a power cable adaptor, DVI to VGA adaptor, a door hanger, a mouse pad and a copy of 3D Mark Advanced Edition, which retails for $24.95 usually. Currently, Watch Dogs is included as a free game, and the card comes with a three year warranty.

The video outputs are the standard affair, with two DVI connection, a HDMI and a DisplayPort. Two SLI connectors provide multi-GPU support, but because of the card requiring three slots only certain motherboards will have the appropriate spacing for using two of these cards together.

Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review
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The PCB is the stock Nvidia one and it is unchanged in design as far as we can see. Power is delivered through one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-E connections before being routed through the 6+2 power phases. The hardware used for the power phases is hasn't been given any upgrades, which is disappointing given that you're paying £600 for the privilege of owning this card, as most users will probably want to push the overclocks even further.

Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review
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As usual, the memory chips used are SK Hynix H5GQ2H24AFR-R2C ones. These are rated for 7GHz, but we've seen them hit almost 8GHz stable with other cards more than once – hopefully the same is true here.

The main heatsink is a serious chunk of metal that makes contact with the GPU via a large nickel-plated copper baseplate, from which five heat pipes emerge. Two of these feed the fin stack directly above the GPU, while the remainder feed the secondary stick to the side. The fins are densely packed and sealed along the sides so as to better direct airflow to the other components beneath. These components (the MOSFETs and memory chips) are all cooled by a single metal contact plate that transfers heat up into the fin stacks via two foam bridges.

Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review Inno3D iChill GTX 780 Ti DHS HerculeZ X3 Ultra Review
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As the card's cooler housing isn't sealed, heat will be exhausted into your case by the three 90mms, which all run with the same speed since they're all controlled by a single 4-pin header on the PCB. An Allen key is provided (tucked in behind the top-mounted logo section) so you can easily disassemble the fan housing and access the fans, which have detachable blades for easy cleaning.

Specifications

  • Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti, 1,085MHz (boost 1,150MHz)
  • Pipeline 2,880 stream processors, 240 texture units, 48 ROPs
  • Memory 3GB GDDR5, 7.28GHz effective
  • Bandwidth 349.4GB/sec, 384-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 11.0, OpenGL 4.4
  • Outputs/Inputs Dual Link DVI-D, Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • Power connections 1 x 8-pin PCI-E, 1 x 6-pin PCI-E, top-mounted
  • Size 300mm long, triple-slot
  • Warranty Three years