Nvidia GeForce Titan review

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Nvidia GeForce Titan review

Postby Milen N Ester » March 17th, 2013, 17:09:06

    Nvidia GeForce Titan review

    Last year's GeForce GTX 680 rewrote the rule book on the levels of gaming performance we should expect from a high-end single-chip graphics card, seeing off AMD's competitors in terms of power while delivering a remarkable level of quietness and efficiency. Less than 12 months on, the firm has topped its own considerable achievement with the release of the GeForce Titan - a consumer-level edition of its £2,800 Tesla K20 "supercomputer" board. The good news is that the gaming version of this phenomenal technology retails for a fraction of the cost with no appreciable cutbacks in its overall capabilities, but the bad news is that it's still twice the price of the GTX 680. The question is, can the case be made for an £800 graphics card? Nvidia reckons so, its marketing positioning Titan as a luxury product that sits atop its current range: ultimate performance at a stratospheric price tag.

    Initially, the "Kepler" architecture rolled out in 1536 and 384 CUDA core configurations, aimed at the high-end and mobile/entry-level markets, with mid-range offerings gradually filling in the gap between the two. However, it turns out that the GK104 chip found in the GTX 680 was originally planned to occupy the mid-range space, with another, larger piece of silicon initially slated for the top-end consumer product. When it became apparent that GK104 outpaced AMD's best offerings by quite a margin, it was repositioned as the high-end release, with the original design for the GTX 680 repurposed for the Tesla "supercomputer" line.

    Now that larger, more powerful chip - dubbed GK110 - has finally been released into the consumer space, and it's no exaggeration to suggest that in performance terms it's a bit of a monster. Where the GTX 680 features 1536 CUDA cores, the Titan boasts a colossal 2688 - a 75 per cent increase. Onboard GDDR5 RAM gets a threefold boost from the reference design GTX 680's 2GB up to 6GB, while bandwidth is expanded with the move from a 256-bit bus to a meatier 384-bit interface. Transistor count more than doubles from 3.5 billion to 7.1 billion, while ROPs are boosted from 32 to 48, enhancing the card's capabilities in servicing ultra-high resolutions.

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    The only area where the new card gives way to the previous single-chip flagship is in terms of clock-speed. Core clock runs at 837MHz in the Titan, down from 1006MHz in the GTX 680. Similarly, boost speeds (the auto-overclocker that increases performance until thermal limits are reached) drop too - reduced from a maximum of 1058MHz down to a more realistic 876MHz. The bottom line is that the larger chips become, the more heat they produce - paring back clock speeds help keep the system stable.
    Benchmarking the beast

    Altogether, this impressive barrage of specs suggests that the Titan should offer anything between a 30 to 50 per cent boost compared to the GTX 680 depending on how the hardware is stressed, so let's break out some synthetic and gaming benchmarks to see just how much the design improvements in GK110 translate into actual performance.

    Our test rig needs to be powerful enough to get the most out of the GPU while at the same time reflecting the kind of high-end hardware likely to be utilised by someone seriously considering an £800 graphics card - so we used a six-core i7 3970X processor overclocked to a phenomenal 4.8GHz, working in concert with 32GB of 1600MHz DDR3 RAM.

    We begin with a couple of runs on 3DMark 11 and the new numberless 3DMark tool, utilising its Fire Strike benchmark designed specifically to test higher-end hardware to its limits.

    3DMark 11's extreme tests yielded impressive results - a clear 48.5 per cent boost in performance for the Titan, while the demanding Fire Strike test almost matched that at 46.3 per cent. That's pretty much exactly where we would have hoped to see Titan stack up bearing in mind the technological composition of the silicon. However, we were keen to see whether those numbers continued into actual game engines, so we collated a range of software featuring built-in benchmarking tools.

    To begin with, we called upon the fearsome Metro 2033, with its GPU-rending Frontline tool. We ramped up every setting to the max and just to make things even more problematic for our hardware, we ticked the PhysX option too.

    Across the range of our gaming benchmarks we also tested a range of resolutions too - the GTX 680 makes a good fist of running most games at max settings at 1080p60, so we introduced 2560x1440 into the mix (an increasingly popular configuration for high-end gamers) and added 4K to the line-up too since it is being positioned as the display standard of the future.

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Re: Nvidia GeForce Titan review

Postby FreezingLight » March 17th, 2013, 18:01:35

I've seen it, tested it. I have to say that there has been only minor changes of performance in comparison to the 680. However, I do agree that there has been, to an certain degree, many improvements compared to the 680. So I guess get it if you don't have 680 if you can. The thing is about $259 over here in North America.
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Re: Nvidia GeForce Titan review

Postby mikloncaric » March 21st, 2013, 02:14:57

That cheap? Nice,so over here in Croatia it will cost only about 29000$.
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