Couple of big announcements from Nvidia this morning, including product software updates, price drops, and more news on its upcoming flagship GPU, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti (first announced two weeks ago as part of Nvidia's G-Sync event). Regarding the 780 Ti, Nvidia is still holding the Keplar GK110 hardware (the same chip used in its GeForce Titan) specs close to its chest, but has revealed that the card will go on sale on November 7th for a suggested retail price of $700. That pricing should give an indication of how confident Nvidia is of the GTX 780 Ti's performance, given that AMD's just-released R9 290X is $150 cheaper at $550. Like the Titan, the 780 Ti is a card intended for PC builders who aren't worried about budget and just want what's (theoretically) the best performance in their games.
For the vast majority of us who actually have to consider budget and tradeoffs when pricing out a new PC, Nvidia has some good news. Both the GeForce 780 and 770 are getting significant price cuts--the former dropping from $650 to $500 and the latter from $400 to $330. We've tested both those cards, and can recommend both. In our review of the GeForce GTX 780, we noted that its performance was about equal to AMD's 7970GHz edition, but was much quieter and more power efficient. Reviews of AMD's R9 290X put it above the GTX 780 in most games by about 10%, which accounts for Nvidia's price drop of the GTX 780 to 10% cheaper than the 290X. The really attractive buy is now the GTX 770, which we called the best price-for-performance card you could get this year. And that was at its launch price of $400. At $330, it's an even better buy. Anandtech has a good chart showing where AMD and Nvidia's cards fit into the new pricing spectrum.
There's more good news too if you're a Shield owner. A new software update today brings several changes to Shield's software, not the least updating Android to version 4.3. Along with 4.3 comes the ability to transfer large APK app and game files to run off of a microSD card, as well as the ability to create custom game profiles that map Shield's physical buttons to touchscreen-only Android games. The Gamepad Mapper is a stopgap measure for games that don't use Android's gamepad input APIs, which most newer games do anyway.
The most notable changes is PC Streaming coming out of Beta, and being renamed Nvidia GameStream. Streaming functionality remains the same, though Nvidia's officially supported list of PC games for streaming is now at 109 (not counting unofficially supported games that still work). The one new feature of GameStream is a "Console" mode, which allows you to tether a bluetooth controller to the Shield while it's plugged into your TV with HDMI. This effectively turns the Shield into a dedicated game console, which can play 1080p Android games on your HDTV as well as 720p streams of games piped from a networked PC. Shield owners can look forward to a future update that will allow 1080p PC streaming if they plug the Shield into a wired Ethernet connection using a USB-OTG dongle and USB ethernet adapter. That's a bit more complicated of a setup than just connecting over Wi-Fi, but I appreciate the option.
Nvidia has also launched a promotion that deducts $100 off the price of a Shield if you buy a new GeForce GTX 700 series (770 and higher) videocard, and $50 off if you buy a GTX 600 series (660 and higher) card.