NVIDA GeForce GTX Titan

Two days ago, we were able to show you the features and images of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB video card. We were asked by NVIDIA not to release our performance numbers until today. Since we have already covered the key features of the GeForce GTX Titan video card, we invite you to go back and take a get a quick refresh on what the card is.  

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card

NVIDIA sent over one GeForce GTX Titan video card for Legit Reviews to try out this week. We've only had the card five days, but we will be comparing it to the ASUS ARES II (Radeon HD 7990), AMD Radeon HD 7970, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 and GeForce GTX 680. If you are looking to spend $500 and above these are the cards you'll be looking at, so they were included in testing. We will be using our Dell 30-inch monitor for some 1920x1080 and 2560x1600 resolution gaming. Down the road we'll be doing some 5760x1080 testing, but for today we'll be focusing at 2560x1600 gaming!

GeForce GTX Titan Specifications

The GeForce GTX Titan has a base clock of 837MHz and a boost clock of 876MHz.  When it comes to the 6GB of GDDR5 memory, it is clocked at 6008MHz. The GK110 features 14 SMX units with 192 CUDA cores per unit, which adds up to 2688 CUDA cores. It has six memory controllers, 1.5MB of L2 cache and is linked to 6GB of GDDR4 memory running on the 384-bit memory bus. With the default clock speeds it puts the theoretical performance, with FP32 performance at 4.5 TFLOPS, FP64 performance at 1.3 TFLOPS, and 288.4GB/sec of memory bandwidth. To put that in perspective, a Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU has six cores, 2.3 billion transistors and 316 Gigaflops.

All these numbers sound great, but how does it perform in game titles?  Let's take a look!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Reference Card

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan retains the industrial design look that was first used on the GeForce GTX 690, but that is fine with us as we like it!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card

The GeForce Titan uses a silver aluminum casing for the cover and has a clear polycarbonate window that allows you to see the vapor chamber and dual-slot heatsink on the card.

NVIDIA GeForce Titan Back

The back of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan doesn't have a backplate, but you can see some of the GDDR5 memory ICs that make up the cards massive 6GB frame buffer.

samsung GDDR5 ICs

NVIDIA is using Samsung K4G20325FD-FC03 GDDR5 memory chips on the GeForce GTX Titan.  These memory ICs are rated to run at 1500MHz and are the same ones used on the GeForce GTX 690 reference cards.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card

The GeForce GTX logo on the edge of the TITAN board is also LED backlit just like the one on the GeForce GTX 690! This LED acts as a power indicator, lighting up when the board is in use. The intensity of this LED can be manually adjusted using tools provided by select NVIDIA add-in card partners; you can even adjust the intensity based on GPU utilization, so the LED will shine brighter as GPU utilization increases.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card Bracket

Display outputs include two dual-link DVIs, one HDMI and one DisplayPort 1.2 connector. This video card easily supports 4K resolution monitors and supports up to four monitors concurrently.

NVIDIA 2-way surround settings

If you plan on setting up a 2D surround monitor configuration with three monitors be sure to plug your monitors into the right ports though as you can't just use any old video output that you want!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan looks good from any angle! It should be noted that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan video card requires a 600 Watt or greater power supply. The NVIDIA minimum system power requirement is based on a PC configured with an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz CPU. This video card isn't power hungry, so that is good news for all gamers.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card Fan

With the fan shroud removed off the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan you can see the GPU cooler. NVIDIA uses a copper vapor chamber that is connected to an extended fin stack to keep the Titan as cool as possible. They also started using a new thermal interface material from Shin-Etsu that has double the performance of the thermal compound used on the GeForce GTX 680. A large blower-style fan pushes cool air from inside the case across this cooling solution and exhausts the air from the case. The fan is balanced and has acoustic dampening material inside to get it as quiet as possible.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card PCB

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan has a 6-phase power supply with overvoltaging capability that handles the GK110 GPU and a 2-phase power supply for the boards 6GB of GDDR5 memory. This 6+2 phase design is enough handle the cards power needs at both default and overclocked settings. NVIDIA has been able to take Titan video cards to over 1.1GHz with ease thanks to GPU Boost 2.0 and this design.

Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running.

Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:

Intel X79/LGA2011 Platform

NVIDIA Test Setup

Test System Settings

The Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard with BIOS 0305 that came out on 12/25/2012. The Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866MHz quad channel memory kit was set to 1866MHz with 1.5v and 9-10-9-27 1T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD was run with firmware version 2.25.

 

The Intel X79 Test Platform

 

Component

 

Brand/Model

 

Live Pricing

 

Processor

 

Intel Core i7-3960X

 

Motherboard

ASUS P9X79 Deluxe

 

Memory

16GB Corsair 1866MHz

 

Video Card

 

Various

 

Solid-State Drive

 

OCZ Vertex 3 240GB

 

Cooling

 

Intel RTS2011LC

 

Power Supply

Corsair AX1200

 

Operating System

 

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

 

ASUS ARES II Video Card  GPU-Z Information:

titan-gpuz

titan-gpuz-idle-temp
 

Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City PC Game

Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios. It is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The game was released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The PC and Onlive version was released on November 22, 2011.

Batman: Arkham City Game Settings

Batman: Arkham City Game Settings

Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal Engine 3 game engine with PhysX. For benchmark testing of Batman: Arkham City we disabled PhysX to keep it fair and ran the game in DirectX 11 mode with 8x MSAA enabled and all the image quality features cranked up. You can see all of the exact settings in the screen captures above.

batman

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 46% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card, but was 22% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 on our single panel setup at 2560x1600. It was also 22% faster than the Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super OverClock Windforce 5x, which is one of the fastest AMD Radeon HD 7970 cards ever made.

 

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 (BF3) is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released in North America on October 25, 2011 and in Europe on October 28, 2011. It does not support versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista as the game only supports DirectX 10 and 11. It is a direct sequel to 2005's Battlefield 2, and the eleventh installment in the Battlefield franchise. The game sold 5 million copies in its first week of release and the PC download is exclusive to EA's Origin platform, through which PC users also authenticate when connecting to the game.

Battlefield 3 Screenshot

Battlefield 3 debuts the new Frostbite 2 engine. This updated Frostbite engine can realistically portray the destruction of buildings and scenery to a greater extent than previous versions. Unlike previous iterations, the new version can also support dense urban areas. Battlefield 3 uses a new type of character animation technology called ANT. ANT technology is used in EA Sports games, such as FIFA, but for Battlefield 3 is adapted to create a more realistic soldier, with the ability to transition into cover and turn the head before the body.

bf3

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 35-36% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition and Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super OverClock , but was 28% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 on our single panel setup at 2560x1600.

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 is a space western first-person role-playing shooter video game that was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. It is the sequel to 2009's Borderlands and was released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms. Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games on September 18, 2012 in North America.

Borderlands 2 Image Quality Settings

border-settings-2

 

Borderlands 2 runs on a heavily modified version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. We tested Borderlands 2 with vSync and depth of field disabled. We increased the general image quality settings and turned on 16x AF. PhysX effects were set to low to keep things fair as possible between AMD and NVIDIA cards.  FXAA was enabled.

bl2

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 66% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card. It was roughly 10% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 at 2560x1600, which is the closest in performance yet.

 

Dirt: Showdown

Image Description

Dirt: Showdown is a video game published and developed by Codemasters for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was released in May 2012 in Europe and in June in North America. It is part of the Colin McRae Rally game series.

Dirt Showdown Settings
Dirt Showdown Settings

Dirt: Showdown removes several of the gameplay modes featured Dirt 3, and introduces new ones. Gameplay modes can be classified as Racing, Demolition, Hoonigan or Party. We ran the built in Benchmark at Ultra settings to get a true feel of what this engine has to offer!

It is very important to note that Global Illumination and Advanced Lighting have massive performance penalties when enabled, something not seen in other titles in the Dirt series. We disabled this setting.

showdown

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 35% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card, but was 20% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 on our single panel setup at 2560x1600.

Far Cry 3

Farcry3 Game Screenshot

Far Cry 3 is an open world first-person shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is the sequel to 2008's Far Cry 2. The game was released on December 4th, 2012 for North America. Far Cry 3 is set on a tropical island found somewhere at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[11] After a vacation goes awry, player character Jason Brody has to save his kidnapped friends and escape from the islands and their unhinged inhabitants.

FarCry 3 Quality Settings

FarCry 3 Video Quality

Far Cry 3 uses the Dunia Engine 2 game engine with Havok physics. The graphics are excellent and the game really pushes the limits of what one can expect from mainstream graphics cards. We set game title to 8x MSAA Anti-Aliasing and ultra quality settings. 

fc3_550

Benchmark Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 39% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card, but was 24% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 on our single panel setup at 2560x1600. Far Cry 3 looks amazing with the image quality cranked up like this, but if you are playing at 2560x1600 you need a serious video card to handle the workload as you can see from our test results.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in the Ukraine. The game is played from the perspective of a character named Artyom. The story takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, mostly inside the metro station where the player's character was raised (he was born before the war, in an unharmed city), but occasionally the player has to go above ground on certain missions and scavenge for valuables.

Metro 2033 Settings

This is another extremely demanding game. Image quality settings were raised to 'Very High' quality with 4x AA and 16x AF. We turned off PhysX and DOF (Depth of Field) for benchmarking.

metro

Benchmark Results: In Metro 2033, the the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 42% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card! The ASUS ARES II was found to be 59% faster than the GeForce GTX Titan, but it costs a whooping $1500 and is a dual-gpu behemoth. 

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs PC game

Sleeping Dogs is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix. The game was released on August 14, 2012, for Microsoft Windows. The game uses the Havok physics engine.

Sleeping Dogs Settings

We used the Adrenaline Sleeping Dogs Benchmark tool to benchmark this game title to make sure the benchmarking was consistent. We tested with 'High' quality setting at 1280x1024 and 1920x1024 resolutions.

dogs-high

Benchmark Results: With 'high' image quality settings the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 26% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card at 2560x1600.

Sleeping Dogs Extreme Settings

Since both cards were able to run this game title fine with 'High' settings we figured we'd crank it up to 'Ultra' and see what happens.

dogs-extreme

Benchmark Results: With 'ultra' image quality settings the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 32% faster than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition video card at 2560x1600. When you have a high-end $1000 graphics card you'll want to crank up the graphics and the GeForce GTX Titan let's you do just that and still get more than acceptable frame rates on this game title!

3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark 11 Benchmark

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

Futuremark 3DMark 11 Benchmark Settings

We ran 3DMark11 with both the performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.

3DMark11 Performance Benchmark Results:

 3dmark-p

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ARES II scored P16542 3DMarks, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 scored P15520 3DMarks and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan scored P13421 3DMarks in 3DMark11 with the performance preset. Not bad scores from the $999 and above graphics cards. The ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top Edition is $540 and able to score P11223.

3DMark11 Extreme Benchmark Results:

 3dmark-x

Benchmark Results: When Futuremark 3DMark11 is run with the extreme settings the performance scaling between the test cards is almost linear, which is pretty wild. The ASUS GeForce GTX Titan 6GB video card was able to score X4997 on 3DMark11 with the extreme preset! A very impressive score for a stock clocked video card with just a single GPU for this intense benchmark.

3DMark

3Dmark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs

Use Fire Strike to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs, or use the Fire Strike Extreme preset for high-end systems with multiple GPUs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.

3DMark Fire Strike

 

Fire Strike Benchmark Results:

firestrike

 

Benchmark Results: 3DMark Fire Strike shows that the GeForce GTX Titan is about 26% faster than an overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680. The Titan was found to be around 9.5% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690.

Fire Strike Extreme:

firestrike-extreme

Benchmark Results: 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme is a very tough benchmark to run, but it showed the GeForce GTX Titan is 29% faster than an overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680. The Titan was found to be around 11.8% slower than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690.

Power Consumption

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan

For testing power consumption, we took our test system and plugged it into a Kill-A-Watt power meter. For idle numbers, we allowed the system to idle on the desktop for 15 minutes and took the reading. For load numbers we measured the peak wattage used by the system while running the OpenGL benchmark FurMark 1.10.4 at 1024x768 resolution in full screen mode. We also ran four game titles at 1920x1080 and averaged the peak results recorded the highest Wattage seen on the meter for the gaming results.

powerconsumption_550

Power Consumption Results: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan has amazing power efficiency numbers compared to the other four high-end graphics cards that we compared it to today. Seeing a 250W TDP card idling at just 99 Watts was amazing. Thanks to the new temp target feature on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan we found the load power use to be very easy to monitor and it was always around 390 Watts. This really isn't much more power than the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 Top edition card was using and the performance was 20-40% higher in pretty much all of of tests! The performance versus power use on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan is certainly one of the cards best assets. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 was faster on our 2560x1600 monitor, but notice that it uses roughly 60 Watts more power at load and around 12 Watts at idle. If you are building a small form factor system the GeForce GTX Titan's less power use and shorter board length (half an inch) might be the best fit for you.

Temperature & Noise Testing

Temperatures are important to enthusiasts and gamers, so we took a bit of time and did some temperature testing on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan video card.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Idle Temperature:

titan-gpuz-idle-temp

The NVIDIA GeForce Titan video card had an idle temperature of 33.0C in a room that was 22.0C (72F). Not bad temperatures at all for a flagship graphics card that features over 7 billion transistors!

NVIDIA GeForce GTT Titan in Furmark:

furmark-load

With Furmark fired up and running at 1024x768 we saw the temperature reach 62C on one core and 64C on the other after things warmed up and leveled off with the use of two fans on the radiator. When just one cooling fan is used on the radiator the GPU temperature was observed at 70C and 72C.  The fan noise was also significantly louder due to the higher temperatures, so using two fans really does help cooling.

temp-testing

When it comes to temperature testing the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan is different than any other card that we have ever tested due to the temperature targets that this card has. The temperature target for this card is 80C, so when it's being used it will reach this temperature and level off. This is why when at load the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan is right around 80C.

Sound Testing

We recently upgraded our sound meter to an Extech sound level meter with ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with 'A' frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.

noise_550

When it comes to noise levels the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was the quietest video card of the five at idle and was in the middle of the pack when it came to load noise levels.  For a reference GPU cooler design, it is very good at cooling and the noise levels are in check. This card shouldn't be heard in most systems!

GeForce GTX Titan Overclocking

We installed the EVGA Precision X 4.0.0 software utility to see how the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB video card could overclocked!

EVGA Precision 4.00

EVGA Precision X v4.0.0 includes a few new features that are unique to this card. Not only can you adjust the power target, GPU and Memory clock offsets within a certain range, but you can now also adjust the temperature target.  By default the power and temp targets are linked together, but you can unlink them and adjust them independantly.

titan-gpuz

In case you forgot.  The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan has a base clock of 837MHz with a boost clock of 876MHz!

oc-clocks

After a few hours with the GeForce Titan we found that the card was able to reach 1163MHz on the core clock and while we weren't too aggressive with the memory we were able to get it up to 1625MHz (6500MHz effective). To get this overclock we had to 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan at Stock Settings (837MHz Core & 6008MHz Memory): 

titan-stock

EVGA GeForce GTX Titan Overclocked w/ 1163MHz Core & 6500MHz Memory: 

titan-oc-93

With this overclock we were able to hit P14838 on 3DMark 11 with the performance preset, which is a nice increase from P13421! This is a 1417 point in our score, which is a 10.6% improvement in performance over the reference cards clock speed! With the cards temp target set at teh default setting of 90C the score was around P14550, so by increasing the GPU's temperature target we were able to run at full boost clocks longer than when set to a lower temp target. This was enough to give us an additional performance increase that was measurable in the benchmarks!

metro-oc

Real games also showed some pretty decent improvements! In Metro 2033 we saw a nice ~11% performance gain at 2560x1600.

bf3-oc

In Battlefield 3 we saw a 11 FPS performance gains at both 2560x1600 and 16 FPS at 1920x1080! This is a huge increase and just shy of the performance of a GeForce GTX 690.

ocpower_550

Just for fun we took a look and overclocked power consumption and in game test one in 3DMark 11 the power use went from 435W to 450W, which isn't that bad at all. We did increase our power target though and a result of that was louder fan speeds. With default settings the card was running around 52 dB in 3DMark11, but when overclocked with the temp target set to 93C the noise from the card jumped up to 55.3 dB. Not a huge difference, but one that you can certainly hear.

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB is without a doubt the most powerful single-GPU video card ever released. This card is aimed at gamers and enthusiasts that are gaming at Ultra HD resolutions like 2560x1600 or 5760x1080 (Surround gaming setups). The GeForce GTX Titan and the GK110 GPU runs great at 1920x1080, but that is like doing the speed limit with a super car. This card was build to game at high resolutions and really starts to stretch its legs when you get to the higher resolutions. That said, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB video card has a retail price of $999. That is a good chunk of change, but the gamer that will be buying this card will have a gaming setup that costs thousands and not hundreds of dollars.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card

When it comes to performance the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan was found to be 26-66% faster than a factory overclocked NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 with the GK104 GPU. That is a pretty dramatic performance increase and it goes to show how powerful the GK110 Kepler GPU really is! The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan made short work of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 and AMD Radeon HD 7970, but at more than twice the cost it was to be expected. Gamers looking for the best gaming performance for the dollar are still better off going with two GeForce GTX 680's in SLI. That setup would be faster than a single GeForce GTX Titan, but it will be louder, less energy efficient and it means that you'll have to deal with some SLI quirks that pop up from time to time. Those looking for the ultimate SLI setup can look to the GeForce GTX Titan. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 6GB card can be run in up to 4-way SLI and would offer the best frame rates possible. An NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan 3-Way SLI setup would be faster than a GeForce GTX 690 SLI setup, so if you have deep pockets you should be looking at a 3-way SLI solution!

The new GPU Boost 2.0 technology is also a welcomed addition as having the ability to have temperature targets is ingenious. For decades have been concerned about temperatures, but now there is a way to set the temperature target for the GPU. For example you can set the GeForce GTX Titan to operate at 70C or 90C and the software will do the rest. Right now you have to use a third party utility like EVGA Precision to use this feature. In the future we would hope this would be rolled into the driver as it would be one less utility to install and update. You can also do display overclocking with GPU Boost 2.0 technology, but that is something we'll have to explore later as we just didn't have the time to do so for this review.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Video Card

At the end of the day the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan looks great, is energy efficient, silent on operation and is the fastest single GPU on the planet. The only bitter pill that you need to swallow with this card is the price tag, but all flagship products are priced higher than the mainstream ones!

recommended

Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan is the fastest single GPU powered video card on the planet!