Nvidia’s Titan arrives to take the performance crown – the Preview
Nvidia is announcing its second “designer card” today, the $999 GeForce GTX Titan, based on its GK110 GPU on 28nm Kepler DX11.1 architecture. This new 7.1 billion transistor single-GPU flagship card is a continuation of Nvidia’s strategy for an exotic card that is aimed at the highest end of PC gamers to capture their hearts and their wallets. The industrial designs of the GTX 690 and the Titan are aimed particularly at gamers who might spend over $3000 on three video cards for Tri-SLI who want the absolute fastest and yet a reasonably quiet PC – at any cost. It is also aimed at the small form factor PC to give them a powerful but small video card, and finally at the smaller cost-conscious programmers to grow CUDA by allowing full double precision for the first time in a “gaming” GPU even though it does nothing for gaming.
The GTX Titan is the culmination of years of Nvidia’s efforts with their new DX11.1 Kepler architecture, their single-GPU flagship video card. Yet this card does not replace the GTX 690 which also retails for $999. Nvidia believes that they both have their place in their product line-up. This time, Nvidia is aiming for just-below dual-GPU GTX 690 performance on a single card. The specifications of the Titan are quite impressive:
Because we received a Titan from Nvidia just yesterday, we will bring you a two-part review. First up today is the introduction to Titan and in the second part on Thursday, we are comparing the performance of the GTX 690 with the new Titan, as well as with AMD’s very fastest offering, the HD 7970 at GHz edition speeds. There are also two very limited editions of the dual-GPU HD 7970-X2 cards made by AMD’s partners which each retail for $1500 but they are halo cards as only 1000 cards of each were made.
We will also compare the GTX 680 as well as the dual-GPU GTX 590 from the last generation and AMD’s last generation, HD 6990 which consisted of two downclocked HD 6970s on a single PCB. Both of these last generation 40nm dual-GPU cards were faster than the GTX 680 and HD 7970 when the new 28nm cards launched, and we shall see if there are any changes due to driver improvements. In particular, AMD’s Catalyst drivers have shown good performance improvents over the past few months, and the HD 7970 GHz edition has taken the single-GPU performance crown from the GTX 680 - and Nvidia wants it back!
Soon you will see us pit the stock and overclocked GTX Titan against the reference GTX 690, GTX 680 and GTX 590 against our PowerColor reference design HD 7970 at GHz edition at boost speeds (1050MHz) and the HD 6990, using 30 modern games and 7 synthetic benchmarks mostly using 1920×1080 and 2560×1600 resolutions, as well as 15 game benchmarks at 5760×1080 using the GTX 690, Titan, GTX 680 and HD 7970 GHz. We are also comparing the performance of our last generation reference dual-GPU video cards, HD 6990 and the GTX 590 (below) as they were – up until today – the fastest video cards of AMD’s and Nvidia’s last 40nm generation.
We shall also compare Nvidia’s 3-panel Surround working now off of a single GTX 690 at 5760×1080 resolution. Lastly, we also bench 3D Vision 2 and PhysX, ‘on’ versus ‘off’ at the very popular 1920×1080 resolution. However, today is not the day. Today is the introduction to the GTX Titan, and on Thursday, we shall reveal our benchmarks.
What’s New with Titan?
Nvidia’s marketing buzzwords for the GTX 600 series launch were, “Faster. Smoother. Richer.” The GTX Titan is also designed for extreme efficiency and high performance.
The GTX Titan’s Kepler architecture is SMX-based, now with 2688 CUDA cores. It promises better geometry and texture processing than Fermi thanks to its improved instruction throughput and redesign. In addition, Nvidia brings “GPU Boost II” - a more dynamic way to boost clocks speeds and maximize performance for each game, now based on temperature instead of assumed power draw.
New kinds of anti-aliasing – FXAA and TXAA – are now said to compete with MSAA in terms of IQ while not sacrificing performance. And there is a new “Adaptive VSync” that helps to reduce tearing and stuttering associated with regular VSync. Great hardware needs great software to support it and Nvidia is also a software company. They claim to give a lot of attention to how the frames are delivered with a special eye on reducing lag and input delay thus minimizing jitter. Nvdia now gives more voltage unlocking options with Titan than with the rest of the Kepler GPUs, and even a way to overclock your display.
With Titan as with the rest of the GTX 600 series, it is possible to play games spanning 3 displays in Surround or in 3D Surround from a single GeForce GPU, something Fermi could not manage. And this time, the GTX Titan brings two dual-link DVI connectors plus HDMI and a DisplayPort for a 4th accessor display. PhysX continues to be improved.
How does the GTX Titan compare with its rival, AMD’s cards
Part two of this evaluation which is due in two days, attempts to analyze and compare GTX 690, GTX 590 and GTX 680 performance with the new Titan. We also include HD 7970 at GHz edition performance as well as AMD’s fastest card, their dual-GPU HD 6990 and we will announce a performance winner. We will also look at the details to see what this new Nvidia Kepler GK110 GPU brings to the table for a thousand dollars.
First, let’s take a closer look at the new GTX Titan.