NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Reviewccokeman - February 19, 2013
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Closer Look:
Architecturally the GTX Titan is using the by now familiar Kepler architecture first shown when the GTX 680 was released just shy of a year ago. This time however, we get the full GK110 version of the silicon. Packed full of 7.1 billion transistors using a 28nm process, the GTX Titan is equipped with five Graphics Processing Clusters, 14 streaming multiprocessors each with 192 CUDA cores (2688 total), a total of 224 texture units, 48 ROPs, and an impressive 6GB frame buffer running through a 6 x 64 (384) bit bus to improve high resolution gaming not just now but into the future. Clock speeds for the GTX Titan are 837MHz on the core with a GPU Boost 2.0 clock of 876MHz as long as the core runs within both temperature and power limits. The 6GB of GDDR5 comes with a 6008MHz (4 x 1502MHz) clock speed for improved memory bandwidth. When you get to the end of the rainbow you are left with the supposed most powerful single GPU card currently in production.
Each new iteration of an architecture is going to come with an enhancement to the feature set. The GTX Titan is no exception to that rule. To start the show off we have GPU Boost 2.0. With GPU Boost 1.0 the ultimate goal was to reach as high a clock speed as the GPU could run while remaining below a specific power threshold regardless of temperature implications. This led to limits in the performance when temperatures were kept low through water cooling or a more efficient air cooling solution. NVIDIA realized that a change was needed as silicon degradation happened not only from the application of too high a voltage to the core, but from too high a temperature as well. GPU Boost 2.0 works on a thermal target instead of a temperature target allowing the clock speed to boost as high as it can while the GPU Core is at or under the temperature target of 80 °C. By dynamically adjusting the voltage, fan speeds, and GPU clocks, the GTX Titan can deliver the highest possible performance with the lowest possible noise profile all while staying at or under the 80 °C target temperature. To increase the maximum boost clock potential you can simply adjust the temperature target higher. By increasing the temperature threshold, the core can set higher clock speeds and again manage the acoustics to keep the card no higher than the temperature target. The charts below show this in a graphic that is easy to understand.
GPU Boost 2.0 provides an incredibly complex yet simplistic approach to giving the gamer/end user the best possible experience by allowing the operating parameters be set. Cooler temperatures, higher performance through higher clock speeds, or a lower noise solution that will fit right at home in a small form factor PC. The GTX Titan and GPU Boost 2.0 makes it possible to have the fastest single GPU in a small form factor chassis. It's a product that has been next to impossible to build until now.
If the performance that GPU Boost allows is not enough, then NVIDIA does support overvolting the GTX Titan as a means to further boost performance. By allowing the voltage to be increased above what it considers the Vrel, New Vrel, or voltage it considers safe for the silicon over a usage period via GPU Boost 2.0, performance can be impacted over time. That time period, as we know, can be short or a year from now. By increasing this to the MAX voltage, the user can push the performance targets even higher. Of course this comes with risks and to use this feature with the GTX Titan, the user must acknowledge the risks through a warning pop up.
One of the more interesting features is the ability to overclock or overdrive your display refresh rate to achieve a potentially higher FPS when running with VSYNC on. Typically you are limited to the refresh rate of the monitor. The monitor sends its capabilities to the display adapter through its Extended Display Identification Data or EDID. If your monitor can handle the increased refresh rate you stand to see an increase in the playable FPS in games. A win across the board in terms of gameplay. This tool is not directly available through NVIDA but will be supplied by the AIB partners.