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NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Gaming Review

ccokeman    -   February 21, 2013
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NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Conclusion:

The definitions of the word Titan all point to being great in size and strength. Things of which that embody what the GTX Titan is at its core. Equipped with an immense core count and 6GB of frame buffer, it has everything the gamer is looking for in a single GPU video card. In each and every benchmark it was the fastest single GPU card hands down. Not quite the equal of the GTX 690, but edging closer at around 80+% of its performance. The objectives NVIDIA had when putting together the Kepler core were fully realized with this release.

The GTX Titan is a bit unique in that it is not only designed and equipped to be the best gaming GPU core on the market but has the ability to work as a gateway for the budding CUDA developer using its 896 Double Precision cores. As a card built for the enthusiast, the GTX Titan has a feature set that includes GPU Boost 2.0; a radical shift in philosophy for NVIDIA as it's no longer using a power target or threshold to manage the boost clock of the GPU but a temperature target. The reasoning behind this switch is that silicon degradation happens with high temperatures and voltages. NVIDIA found that the power target method of limiting performance prematurely reduced the boost clock dropping performance needlessly when there was thermal headroom still available with GPU Boost 1.0. GPU Boost 2.0 works by setting the default temperature target and basing the boost clock headroom on that temperature information. The boost clock speed for the core is 876MHz according to NVIDIA, however in my testing I saw upwards of 950MHz on the core regularly or about another 8% boost in performance over the stock solution.

GPU Boost gives the end user some basic overclocking right out of the box, but manual overclocking can prove even more fruitful. NVIDIA stated it was seeing up to 1100MHz on the core in its testing; a level I was able to reach and exceed at between 1124 and 1150MHz depending on the application. Memory overclocking came in just over 1600MHz at 1625MHz. Both reasonable overclocks that drives the GTX Titan's performance ever closer to that of the GTX 690. To allow the enthusiast to try for even more clock speed, the GTX Titan does support overvolting the GPU core within reason at 1200mv. Enabling the overvoltage control entails acknowledging that the overvoltage level will damage the GPU. Short and sweet, and to the point.

Overclocking is a great way to boost performance but the cooling of the GPU has to be capable of dissipating the heat generated by the massive core on the GTX Titan. NVIDIA did its homework and used a large vapor chamber-based solution that keeps the thermals in check whether running at stock clock speeds or boosted above stock levels. Running at stock speeds, the cooling solution ran the GPU core temperature right up to the target temperature of 80 °C and kept it right on that mark regardless of the GPU loading. Manually controlling the fan speed to 85% dropped the temperature to 63 °C when fully loaded in my testing. Pretty significant when you look at it. Cranking the fan speed up is going to raise the noise level of the GTX Titan but no where near what we have seen in the past. When using the target temperature as the guiding principle the card is dead silent. I could not even hear it running in the chassis during my testing.

As a single card, the GTX Titan is phenomenal; as a pair or set of three there is nothing the combination could not play. For that kind of graphics horsepower there is a price. In this instance it comes in at $999; a tough pill to swallow that will likely relegate the GTX Titan to those systems where only the best hardware is used for the discriminating buyer or extreme gamer. To that end NVIDIA has given the GTX Titan the looks to go with the hardware and it will deliver all the FPS that you want for a high end gaming fix, for a price!

 

Pros:

  • Gaming Performance
  • Good Looks
  • Cooling Potential
  • GPU Boost 2.0
  • Tri and Quad SLI Ready
  • Display Overclocking

 

Cons:

  • Price


 

Editors' Choice



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  2. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan: Specifications & Features
  3. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Testing: Setup & Overclocking
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  5. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Testing: Crysis 3
  6. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Testing: Batman: Arkham City
  7. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Testing: Battlefield 3
  8. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Testing: DiRT 3
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  14. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Testing: Temperature Testing
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  16. NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Conclusion
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