A Review of the Nvidia GeForce GTX TITAN X 4K-capable Graphics Processor Unit
Nvidia itself is the dominant player in the GPU and processing chip market today and the Titan X graphics processor is their single most powerful single-GPU model. Thus, you can imagine just what this means in terms of expectations and overall specs.
Well, to be blunt, the Titan does not disappoint. As what is arguably the best overall GPU on sale, it’s a very powerful and smoothly running choice for taking 4K gaming and graphics rendering on your ultra HD-ready PC to the next level.
Featuring a whole host of high performance specs in terms of clock speed, RAM and streaming microprocessors, the Titan X is Nvidia’s best effort so far at “the ideal” 4K graphics processor.
It’s hard to know where to begin when hoping to describe everything that comes great in the Titan X. For starters, this beast of a GPU is based on Nvidia’s latest and best GM200 processors and it gets set out to customers with all 24 of its streaming microprocessors ready to run like horses.
Additionally, the X features a whopping total of 3072 CUDA Cores and a massively powerful 12GB GDDR5 memory that might almost see like total overkill for PC gaming needs until you think about how fast 4K UHD gameplay is advancing and realize that Nvidia is simply padding the technology for near-future advancements.
On top of these excellent aspects, Nvidia claims that the Titan X can overclock massively, meaning that you can take things even beyond the nominal limit with processing power, assuming that you also have a good air cooling system in place.
The Titan X also offers an HDMI 2.0 connection port along with its DisplayPort 1.2 slots and gives you advanced H.265 decoding capabilities for fully accessing 4K resolution.
4.8 - 87 Reviews
Bad doesn’t enter much into the equation with the Titan X if you’re using any normal measurement standards. Nvidia is known for being the premier manufacturer on the entire gaming processor market and holds far more of the market share in this area than does AMD with its also excellent Radeon cards. Furthermore, the Titan X is Nvidia’s flagship card, so you can’t expect much weakness here.
However, since nothing is perfect, a couple things bear mentioning and the single most important one is that as a single-GPU setup, even the mighty Titan X isn’t quite ready for 4K gaming at full power. In tests done of the frame rates to be expected at “ultra” 4K detail settings in some of the most high-intensity games available today, the Titan X still falls into the same quagmire of low fps as any other of the three top performing cards. 4K games played at “high” or “medium” detail are just fine and even excellent but if you want the absolute max in resolution detail a single Titan X won’t cut it.
For example, tests done with “Dragon Age: Inquisition” –a really serious 4K gameplay experience—showed that even the Titan X couldn’t quite reach even the 30 fps level in rendering the game at ultra 4K detail levels. It clocked out at just 28. Still much better than the performance of the AMD’s flagship card, the Radeon 295X2 but not the kind of rendering that lets us call this the “perfect” 4K-ready GPU.
And speaking of the Radeon 295X2, it’s another factor that plays against the Titan X. Namely, while Nvidia claims that its Titan card is the best on the market, it does often get beaten by the its Radeon competitor in terms of fps delivered in 4K gaming. The Titan X performs much better with its speed, temperature, noise and power use benchmarks but frame rates are important and AMD seems to have done better in this regard
If you want to get as close as possible right now to completely smooth 4K gaming on a single-GPU rig, then the Nvidia Titan X is possibly your best choice, though it does get some very serious competition from AMD’s Radeon 295X2. It is however the better overall choice and definitely better than any other single-GPU Nvidia card.
• CUDA Cores: 3072
• Texture Units: 192
• ROPs: 96
• Core Clock: 1000MHz
• Boost Clock: 1075MHz
• Memory Clock: 3505 MHz
• Memory data rate: 7 Gbps
• VRAM: 12GB GDDR5
• Form Factor: dual slot
• Total Memory Bandwidth: 336.5 GB/s
• GPU: GM200
• Architecture: Maxwell 2
• Transistors: 8B (billion)
• Manufacturing Process: 28nm
• Power Supply: 600 watts
• Thermal Threshold: 91 degrees C
The single biggest highlight of the Nvidia Titan X is the fact that this is the closest anyone has yet come to truly creating a single-GPU for playing at 4K resolution. This is what Nvidia itself is using as one of its mian selling points for the Titan X and it’s also what the evidence bears out in terms of the card’s specs. For example, the GTX 680, which came out just three years ago, came with only 32 ROPS. The X offers a full 96, three times as many. ROPS are render output units, and are responsible for the output of finished pixels that get arrayed onto the PC display screen.
In addition to this, there is the 12GB GDDR5 RAM. This is simply monstrous and well beyond what even 4K would need at a lighter resolution setting but it’s also a case of Nvidia opening things up for the future: When the original GTX 980 emerged over a year ago, it came with just 4GB of RAM and the next generation 980 Ti, which was just recently released, upped this to 6GB. For the Titan X, Nvidia want’s to be dead sure that at least as far as RAM goes, it’s ready and the 12GB is there to deal with 4K graphics as the other GPU specs catch up to true, complete 4K compatibility.
Thus, yes, the Titan X is 4K compatible, in a way that no other graphics card matches but this 4K compatibility isn’t totally perfect and depends at least in part on whether you want the absolute max in ultra HD detail or are willing to settle for just a very high level of it.
4.8 - 87 Reviews
Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the performance benchmarks of the Titan X in terms of power consumption, boost voltage, cooling noise generation and FPS at different settings.
As far as boost voltage goes, the Titan X does less than either the GTX 980 Ti or the original GTX 980. Yet at a boost voltage of 1.162v, it still provides good overclockability without overheating as much as, say, the Radeon 295X2 and this is a useful thing to know.
In terms of power consumption, the Titan X is a bit of a beast. This is to be expected for such a powerful GPU and while it doesn’t quite provide the wattage efficiency of the 980 Ti during gameplay, it does give out more performance so the tradeoff can safely be considered worthwhile.
Under idle conditions, the 980, 980 Ti and Titan X are evenly matched at about 74 watts, which is nicely superior to the 98 watts of the Radeon 295X2. However, when being used for some of the more serious 4K games like Crysis 3 or others, the Titan X seems to level off at between 385 and 395 watts. Not as efficient as the Nvidia 980 Ti and 980 but again much better than the Radeon with its relatively ridiculous 697 watts.
The Titan X doesn’t pull off quite the same heat efficiency as the 980 Ti but this is also variable depending on the cooling rig you put in place. Either way, tests have shown that it’s idle GPU temperature runs at around 32 to 33 degrees C, putting it on par with its GTX cousins from the last few years. As for GPU temp under gaming conditions, we’re looking at a temperature range between 80 and 84 degrees. In all these metrics, it completely outdoes the 295X2 whose idle temperature and load temperatures sit at 43 and 94 degrees C respectively.
We’ll keep this simple. The Titan X is superb at being quite when idle, with a decibel generation of just 37, even better than the slightly weaker GTX 980 Ti. However, under load conditions with a more intensive game like Crysis 3, it reaches 51 to 52 decibels, not quite as quiet as the Radeon competitor.
General performance during gameplay
In terms of FPS, the Titan X is a solid performer, and it had better be as the premier 4K-capable GPU in the world as of this writing. For gameplay in HD conditions or for lighter 4K games like BioShock Infinite at High or even Ultra detail settings, the X simply flies, easily reaching FPS of 135 and 55 respectively (HD and 4K).
On the other hand, when used for some of the most heavy-duty 4K games, the Titan X can only manage 25 to 30 fps at an Ultra detail setting while reaching 62 fps under Full HD conditions.
As we’ve already covered above, the Titan X is the single best Nvidia GPU for gaming at 4K resolution and high levels of detail in that resolution. However, it does get beaten by the Radeon 295X2 at delivering high FPS for some games in some UHD detail levels but in general terms and in terms of how it heats and makes noise while working hard on the 4K, the X does better than its AMD rival.
However, and this applies to all existing GPUs with 4K capability, the Titan X is not the ideal card for high intensity 4K in a hardcore game at the absolute maximum of detail. This simply doesn’t exist yet at the consumer level and even Nvidia and AMD have a little ways further to go before they can develop a card that can handle games like Metro Last Light or Company of Heroes 2 at maximum detail settings in 4K and still deliver frame rates of 50 or more.
The Titan X from Nvidia is definitely not a cheap GPU and retails for $999. This is a bit steep of a price and given that Nvidia’s own GTX 980 Ti delivers close to 97% of the performance of the Titan X while costing only $649. You might want to think carefully before buying this particular model, despite its excellent specs.
4.8 - 87 Reviews
• Best overall single-GPU performer on the market
• Excellent clock speed
• Superb rendering of 4K in most settings
• Excellent heat and noise efficiency
• 12GB GDDR5 RAM!
• 3072 CUDA cores
• Too expensive for all it offers
• Inferior to Radeon 295X2 at fps in 4K (sometimes)
• GTX 980 Ti offers the better deal