GTX 870M vs GTX 780M and GTX 870M vs GTX 680M

Me again..

In this one, I want to cover the higher end of the previous Nvidia generation (series 600 and 700) compared to the new GTX 870M model. I want to cover it because the GTX 870M is available for a relatively lower price compared to the GTX 780M and I wanted to cover the GTX 680M vs 870M issue – what are the performance benefits for the two generations newer GPU.

Let’s leave the GTX 880M for another post as well as a wrap up of the AMD Radeon M290X / 8970M / 7970M (which are annoyingly very very similar to one another, almost identical).

The usual simple hand written html table:

Modelcore (stock)memory (stock)Power
GTX 680M (Kepler)GK104 (Kepler), 1344cores@720HZ + boostGDDR5@0.9GHZ (3.6GHZ effective), 256-bitaround 100W
GTX 780M (Kepler)GK104 (Kepler), 1536 cores@820MHZ + boostGDDR5@1.25GHZ (5GHZ effective), 256-bit~100W
GTX 870M (Kepler)GK104 (Kepler), 1344 cores@941MHZ + boostGDDR5@1250MHZ (5GHZ effective), 192-bit~100W probably (peak ofcourse)

Yes, that’s true. These are all Kepler based GK104 core GPUs. The GTX 870M has obviously the higher clocks (easily 15%-20% higher) thanks to the better manufacturing yields and quality. These are all 100W parts and no miracles there from the GTX 870M.

It is also obvious that the GTX 780M has the highest memory bandwidth by far, with almost 40% advantage over the GTX 680M and around one third over the GTX 870M and also 14.2% more cores than the others (that can be negated with higher core clocks of the 870M, though).

So, the 780M has the highest potential of them all, but we do know that the 780M raw advantages don’t translate into higher gaming performance in practice, compared to the GTX 680M. Lets see how the 680M fares compared to the GTX 870M.

GTX 870M vs GTX 780M vs GTX 680M, 1080p, difference in percentage GTX 870M vs GTX 780M vs GTX 680M, 1080p

Two small notes pop up from these graphs:

  • Not surprisingly, some games have a preference for a the GTX 870M, probably thanks to its higher core clocks, like Dota2.
  • The GTX 780M is usually the faster, sometimes a lot (Crysis 3).


As for the performance itself, in many games, the difference between the GTX 870M and the other two is not that significant. The GTX 870M sits comfortably between the GTX 680M and the GTX 780M and in many games it is really close to the GTX 780M.

I can’t see any advantages over the GTX 780M besides maybe a little better energy efficiency (probably). There is no direct competition between the two as far as new laptops go, so the question which to get is not that relevant. Saying that, if you have a GTX 680M, I wouldn’t bother getting a GTX 870M machine instead and I’d wait to a Maxwell GTX 870M version (GTX 875M?) or I’ll go with the GTX 860M which is way more power efficient and has a high gaming performance enough for most games on 1080p.

I would also consider trying to get some used/refurbished machine with a GTX 680M for like $900-$1000 (yes, sometimes you can find such things, with warranty).

Bottom line, if you already have a machine with a GTX 680M or 780M, don’t get a GTX 870M machine instead – you’d also won’t get any superior display or any other extra value. And if you don’t have one, consider the GTX 860M (860M vs 870M) or consider waiting for the next round or GPUs. Remember that these all are Kepler based GPUs and the Maxwell successors to come will be much more energy efficient (including the high midrange GPU, GTX 860M).

Anyway, you can ask over the forums for some advise!