Testing Nvidia's $1,000 Graphics Card: GeForce GTX Titan Review

By Julio Franco · 104 replies
Mar 7, 2013
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  1. Scavengers

    Scavengers TS Booster Posts: 110   +21

    Sorry. $545
  2. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,706   +172

    4GB more actually. The 690 is a dual GPU with effectively 2GB VRAM.
  3. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,283   +242

    "After wearing the single-GPU performance crown for 12 months, the GTX 680 has been dethroned by the new GeForce GTX Titan."
  4. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    True that.
  5. And as for titan, haha titan to be 16% faster than the 7970 GE at 1080p for 225% more price...if you dig deep then you find nv cheat business more and more


    $499 (1 month from launch) GTX280 was 18% faster than $299 4870 ==> $11.11 for each 1% increase in performance
    $499 GTX480 was 17% faster than $369 5870 ==> $7.65 for each 1% increase in performance
    $499 GTX580 was 15% faster than $369 6970 ==> $8.67 for each 1% increase in performance

    "$999+ Titan is barely 16-30% faster than a $430 1100mhz 7970 ==> $28.92 for each 1% increase in performance....that's a rip-off as usual way overpriced nvi trend "....

    to think titan is great on compute for 2.7x the price over 7970GE,then you are wrong ...kepler architecture is itself crippled in computing how much you refresh and juice a product for marketing angle as titan-


    Can you please explain what compute advantage the Titan has exactly for its $1000 price? AT included the ElcomSoft's password cracking. AMD cards would destroy the Titan there in 2 seconds.

    "If we look at Wireless Security Auditor, ElcomSoft's most popular tool the situation changes slightly, as a single K20 delivers 85,000 passwords per second, compared to the 65,000 on the GTX 690. Then again, Nvidia still lags behind AMD, as the three year old Radeon HD 5970 handles 103,000 passwords per second, and HD 6990 increased that to 129,000. In that aspect, not even the K20 can reach performance achieved by a single consumer AMD card. This is also the reason why a sea of secy agencies went forward and acquired AMD Radeon HD 5990 and HD 6990 cards, instead of going professional with the Tesla and FirePro cards."


    ...If you need password hacking, you aren't buying an NV card, period.

    ..Bitcoin mining = fail on NV

    OpenCL compute fail of nvi=http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2013/test-nvidia-geforce-gtx-titan/13/

    Double Precision = For $500 Asus Matrix Platinum @ 1300mhz gives you 1.33 Tflops. That's half the price for a similar level of DP.

    ...The only way you can justify the compute advantage here is if you use very specific compute programs that rely on CUDA. If you do and it really matters, you are probably a professional at which point you are rocking a Quadro. If you are need DP for semi-pro work, your company will probably buy you these cards if your department really need them and can save costs on not going with Quadros. Of course there are very niche consumers who might find this card a bargain but I wouldn't at all agree that on the "Compute side" it has no equal.

    ...Besides RayTracing, the Titan's compute isn't looking so hot for that $1k:


    And if you compare DP performance of Tahiti XT OC, the Titan is even bigger compute failure for the price than it is in gaming.

    ...AMD had DP compute in spades for more than half a decade and now that NV brought it to a consumer card, people are talking about it as a "killer" feature that justifies the $1K price. I don't remember this talk when HD5870/6970 mopped the floor with 480/580 in DP. Go Premiums!!!


    .....I have no doubt in my mind 20nm GPUs will show just how overpriced this card was in hindsight.

    so CONCLUSION of TITAN- "1000$ BULL**** MY ARSE"
  6. amstech

    amstech IT Overlord Posts: 1,936   +1,101

    If your buying a GTX Titan to play at a measly 1080p, your a fool.
  7. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    I feel as if people just comment on reviews instead of actually reading them. Either way, good review, Steve.
  8. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,274   +461

    You're killing me Amstech, just because it's more than you need doesn't mean it's more than what someone else needs. Just like how everyone differs on what they consider satisfactory performance everyone differs or what they actual need. What if someone was playing on a 1080p screen with 120 Hertz capabilities?
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Firstly, of the 27* site reviews that feature the Titan and a 7970GE, the averaged margin is 33.47% in favour of the Titan at 19x12/19x10, that number grows to 45.5% at 5760x1080.
    Secondly, when taking into account the maximum image quality available -full screen super sampling AA (inc. SGSSAA) the Titan becomes 118% faster at 5760x1080.
    Thirdly....is that you Blue Falcon? ;) ...sure sounds like you (syntax), and the post length plus barrage of links looks mighty familiar also.
    Oops, you missed one - probably an accident since you obviously didn't intend to cherry pick every point in the post. Allow me...
    $499 GTX 680 was 15% faster than $549 7970 ==> $3.33 saving for each 1% increase in performance
    It's a pity that you didn't see the previous page in the Anandtech review that you actually linked to, you might have noticed this, which might well have gone some way to answering the question before you asked it:
    ...and the accompanying words:
    Nvidia have that covered. The K6000 was all but presented at Nvidia's last CC, and if that's too rich, then it isn't a great hardship to add a GK107 based Quadro to your Titan...and voilà!...and of course the fascinating subject/ horrifying spectre of AMDs (near non-existent) pro drivers - here for example with Tahiti based FirePro getting schooled by Fermi based Quadro. Oops (BTW: Autodesk Maya etc. uses both double precision (calc) as well single precision (storage)).

    Anyhow, all you've really outlined is that graphics cards for the <1% of gamers make little or no financial sense. Thank you but I think most (if not all) here are already aware of this fact.
    As for the professional field, Tahiti based FirePro's seem to have difficulty living with Fermi based Quadro's, let alone GK110, so its obviously not all about the hardware, eh?
    Not actually sure why you invested so much effort in the post tbh, when the user base for this card would have decided on buying it as soon as either 1. it was announced that the Tesla's 1/3 rate for FP64 was retained, or 2. The card in either single, dual, triple, or quad guise would provide the highest benchmark scores in all those four categories. Whomever decided on this card did so within a few days of its release -if not before launch.
    EVGA have two non-reference (waterblocked) cards due up, and if you Google MSI Titan Lightning you'll likely get a few links to look at.

    * Using only the maximum image quality benchmarks from: AlienBabelTech, Anandtech,Bit-tech, Bjorn3D, ComputerBase, Expreview, Guru3D, HardOCP, Hardware Canucks, Hardware France, Hardware.info, HardwareLUXX, Hexus, Hot Hardware, HiTech Legion, Lab501, Linus Tech Tips, Maximum PC, Overclockers Club, PC Gamer, PCGH, PC Perspective, Sweclockers, TechPowerUp, Tech Report, TechSpot, Tom's Hardware
  10. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,485   +45

    I remember paying $799 for a 8800 ultra and I may just jump all over this card for my new build.
  11. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Yup, I was a multi 8800U owner also. Having largely skipped the GTX, the Ultra was a huge step up from the what I was running (X1800 XT and 7800GTX). The Titan is too rich for my blood atm, I'll wait and see how demanding the next series of games are (Metro: Last Light esp.)- by that time there should be some Titans showing up in the resell (once the non-reference cards make an impact) market and the "new adopter tax" might have passed.
    I can't see any single GPU surpassing the Titan this year -either Nvidia or AMD, and the price differential between that and waterblocked & SLI'ed 670/680 may not be that extreme.
  12. Blue Falcon

    Blue Falcon TS Addict Posts: 161   +51

    @ dividebyzero,

    The post above is definitely not by me. I don't post here as a guest. It's interesting that you automatically have assumed I would dash out an essay regarding Titan. Did it ever occur to you there are hundreds of members who read TechSpot?
  13. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    One mystery partially solved then. But I hope you can understand the reasoning. A selection from my self-imposed 2 minute search limit:
    1. Essay flying off on many tangents, including some cherry-picked ancient history
    2. Another Essay flying off on many tangents -including the sadly unprophetic statement : "Why does NV get a pass for removing voltage control from high-end after-market GTX670/680 cards? If AMD did that, enthusiasts would be extremely displeased" ( Many newer HD 7950/7970 are now also voltage locked...with nary a peep from the AMD enthusiasts...oops)
    3. Another links dump...a wall of text arguing a single point
    4. A wall of text refuting a point ....that no one was making
    Technically you're probably out by at least an order of magnitude, although the rabid AMD cheerleader contingent who treat us to a sermon of cherry-picked details are, thankfully, much fewer.

  14. Linus should have scrapped the Ares II and instead of it tested 2 HD7970 Platinum Matrix cards. It would have rapped everything for $1000 and at 1300mhz on both 7970s it would have been blazing. What I don't get about the Titan is in the most demanding games like Crysis, Metro 2033, Witcher 2, and some of those compute games of 2012 it doesn't beat the 7970Ge by even 30%.

    In other games it even loses to a GTX660Ti SLI.
    I just tend to think it's extremely disappointing that the Titan's performance advantage over the 7970GE shrinks in the most demanding games like Metro 2033, Crysis, Witcher 2, Sleeping Dogs with highAA, etc. But if it can't improve performance a lot in the most demanding games, what's the point? Look at Witcher 2 with UberSampling for example. You are paying $1000 for 7.1 fps more than a $400 HD7970. For real?

    HD7950 CF overclocked is some serious *** kicking.
    HD7950 CF OC could beat a Titan OC. Even when CF is broken, a single 7950 @ 1130mhz+ ~ HD7970GE. Amazing value for $280-300.


    That's a non for profit project. If you are buying Titans for distributed computing DP projects or projects that work faster on NV like F@H, you are either committed to this cause for personal reasons, or are stacked with $. Who goes out and buys a $1000 GPU for F@H otherwise? If you are going to talk about performance in DC projects, then AMD's cards rake up more points in MilkyWay @ Home and things like CollatzConjecture than any NV card has a chance in F@H. So if you are chasing points in leader-boards, once again AMD cards are better. That means you have to be really committed to the F@H cause because it's not going to get you the most points for leader-boards.

    I agree with your points about the CUDA eco-system wholeheartedly. If you use apps that take heavy advantage of CUDA, then sure this card is worth its price. How many people of the 1% top PC enthusiasts gamers will care? Another 10% maybe 20%? If NV cared SO much about the 20% of the 1%, why hasn't ANY 500-550mm2 flagship card up to now ship with full DP enabled? It seems to me they are enabling it to further justify the mark-up. This is fair I suppose but it actually hurts PC gamers who would have rather paid $699 for a card without DP. If AMD charged a lot of extra $ for DP, I wouldn't buy their cards either. It was always "free" on their cards which is why it was a bonus feature, not a requirement.

    I think the problem is the 6+2 power phases. It's only 2 more than a GTX680.

    For a card that costs $1000, you'd think the PCB / components on the Titan would look like the GTX680 Lightning. I wonder why NV didn't price this at $1,500? They probably should have. Apparently there is a huge demand from hardcore PC gamers for full DP performance all of a sudden and wait for it actual compute performance after the same people suggested it was great this was cut off from GK104 to make it more lean. At least the people who said GK104 was a great lean gaming card are sticking to their guns are saying how worthless the DP is for gamers. They are being consistent, just flip-flopping Romnies defending any move NV makes to justify prices.

    All I got out of this that when AMD raises prices, all hell breaks lose. When NV does it, there are 100+ reasons why it's justified (DP, compute, 6GB of VRAM, SLI scaling, etc). Also, apparently there is an army of loyal NV users who are willing to pay $1000 for a Titan GPU. What surprises me now is why did NV even bother keeping GTX480/580 at $500. Sounds like they could have sold those cards at $700.

    Oh well, the price/performance conscious PC upgrades will skip this overpriced card and wait for 20nm for a reasonable jump in price/performance. The early adopters who want the fastest GPU have their chance to dominate benchmark scores for at least 12 months with 3 of these cards watercooled. Too bad if these cards sell well, it basically means NV will establish a new price level for flagship 500mm2+ cards at the $800+ mark.

    If you made a poll on our forum and asked people if they would have wanted a $650-699 Titan with 3GB of VRAM and 1/24th DP instead of $1K 6GB of VRAM 1/3 DP Titan, I am sure the vote would be something like 80% to 20%, if not worse. NV tacked on a bunch of gimmicky features gamers don't care about and priced this card at $1000.



    DB0,....Did you read the details of the compute apps they tested on there? University/scientific research?~!.

    "EMM (measures performance of dense matrix multiplication) and FFT (Fast Fourier Transform). These numerical operations are important in a variety of scientific fields"

    If you are a university, you get thousands of dollars research grants. For those people if the Titan costs $1K or $2K doesn't matter. So what you are saying is NV's price is justified because they prioritized universities, corporations that are interested in research, etc. when they set the pricing on the Titan and said screw gamers? Ya, I get that in some Compute tasks the Titan is a monster but in the context of gamers, it seems NV told them to screw themselves because they could care less about any of these features. Essentially the PC gamers are paying a $350 "workstation pricing premium" for features they will never use. How nice of NV to be so generous.;)

    (What's there to expect from a guy that defends NV 24/7 every generation. They are like wreckage re-incarnated.)....................

    NV aimed this card straight at boutique PC builders, the type of people who drive Porsche 911s and live in $2 million homes. That's who the Titan is aimed at imo.*nerd*
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    I was wondering when someone was going to mention F@H. Even though I am no longer folding, I am still curios how well the titan will perform with the project.
  16. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,040   +678

    Ah, then you replied to the wrong post, because my reply to him was in there. :)

    No offense, but your computer does not represent every computer in the world running Tomb Raider, and in fact, I read in a forum where someone was experiencing crashes in Tomb Raider (2013) and someone suggested turning Tessellation off, and the dude came back and replied saying it worked and gave his thanks, so I passed it on only trying to help.

    Moral of the story: Don't help anyone.
  17. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Why? The Matrix Platinum has been discontinued. Why bother benching a card that you can't buy.
    I'd say that is a pretty fair assumption. At $1K the Titan represents a reasonable middle ground (for professionals) between price and features. If a Tesla+Quadro or K6000 sits at ~$3500-4500, then the weighting is about right for that segment that don't require ECC or MPI, nor pro drivers. The Titan looks to be a push to get CUDA to a wider programming audience- hardly surprising since Nvidia would need an application base for Tegra5 and Denver.
    I'd say the number- for PC enthusiasts, would actually approach 0%. The people buying this card who aren't coding/pro users, are benchmarkers. The card is all about 3DMark
    Really? I see a thread full of indignation and exasperation at the price tag of this card...a trend that is duplicated on every review thread on the net. Here's an example of an AMD cheerleader equating buying Titan to depriving African children of life- posted around the same time as your posting:
    Strangely enough, the post has since been deleted as trolling. Not quite the one way street you're depicting.
    So, you wouldn't buy an AMD card in FP64 was constrained, but deride the apparent interest from others ?
    Sounds like you've been taking the ramblings of trolls to heart.
    The only real takeaways from the GK104 launch were a lowering of power usage and attendant heat/noise from the previous top tier cards, a quick PR knifing when AMD had to hastily drop 7970 prices. The rest was basically noise- as it is with any graphics launch.
    It was readily apparent that a "one-size-fits-all" large complex GPU designed to span a price range from $265-6000 wasn't working ( late to market G200 and GF100 for example, die size, return on investment, yield), hence the split in product lines. Double precision generally isn't required for gaming ( DP isn't the same as compute shader utilization), nor is 72-bit ECC, nor six or eight memory controllers -both also missing from GK104
    1. Unlikely that there are going to be that many cards in the consumer space
    2. Which brings us full circle from your first issue re: the Ares 2. Maybe they can be pen pals with the 1000 AMD buyers of the $1600 Ares II. Must have awesome value right ? AMD think so:
    "We have the world's fastest graphics card with ASUS, when they launched the ARES II"
    "Actually I'm happy that they're launching this, because it's a proof point that the ARES II will continue to be the world's fastest graphics card"
    "From all the data that we have, they aren't going to be able to beat the ARES II."
    "I think what matters for end users, is the graphics card. And that's what ASUS' ARES II delivers"
    "I see absolutely no threat to the ARES II's market position right now…"
    That's five instances of AMD fapping to plugging a partners $1600 non-reference card within one teleconference

    BTW: If you're adding graphs etc. it's usually the done thing to include a link back to the source- both as a courtesy to the people whose work went into it, and as a point of verification- both for validity, and whether the information is current. An example of a picture not being worth a thousand words:
  18. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    I am not having a go at you. I am tell you what we have experienced first-hand after running over 500 tests. You will read a lot of things on forums, I wouldn’t necessarily pass them all on. That said suggestions are find and often welcomed, I just have a little more to go on.
  19. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 21

    Here's the way to go over a Titan.

    Firstly, buy this:


    Then these...





    And some high quality tubing (like Masterkleer or Alphacool) and some Bitspower FTW compression fittings and approximately a gallon of distilled water with 2 silver kill coils...

    then buy these:



    You need 6 of those fans. That is if you can stand the noise of ONE... LOL.

    Now you have everything you need to take you to the Mars and come back in one night to morning... load up Afterburner. Start with Mhz adjustment. You're looking around 1200-1250 Mhz alone just by adjusting the Mhz slider. Then start pushing the volts as long as temps are under control. If you know what you're doing, you'll easily get it to 1350. Then 1400 and then so on. If you're lucky, you'll end up around 1500 Mhz... and there it is. You reached Mars. Now take down a stupid, pointless Titan while you're at it...

    yes, I'm insane. :)
  20. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Interesting but the build cost for what you suggest is $1040 (using just one of the six fans you suggested), that's more than the Titan and I am not sure a 50% overclocked GTX 680 is as easy as you suggest even with all that gear. Still if it is a 50% overclocked GTX 680 build which costs more than a GTX Titan probably isn't going to be any faster, especially if you plan to overclock the Titan.
  21. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 21

    Actually you can do it for much cheaper, a single MCP35x would do. So would a 240 Coolgate full copper coated res. And those kind of kind fans aren't really needed. Some Akasa Vipers would do just fine.

    Though, with that setup you can easily add in an excellent CPU block like a Kyros HF for 70-80 or so and OC the CPU to heaven, which also would help.

    The sole reason I'd do that though, because I do not want to pay $1000 for a card that's worth $750 at most. I do not support silly and cash cow business decisions. Jen-Hsun Huang is arguably the most pompous CEO out there and I really do not want to pay $1000 for a pointless card.

    Though, IMHO, most sensible thing to do would be to just get this and OC it:

  22. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Sure but as we said in our review there are a number of options available to gamers that represent better value than the GTX Titan and that should not be surprising given the price tag.

    However we also noted that there isn’t much point to a single GTX Titan and don’t believe this to be the true purpose of this graphics card. Instead it makes more sense to use two or even three of these cards to drive three or more high resolution displays.

    For example we have three 30” Dell 3008 monitors for testing and when using them all together for a resolution of 7680x1600 there are few GPU configurations that can provide playable performance in today’s latest games. The GPU configuration really needs to be more extreme than a pair of GeForce GTX 680 or Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards for decent performance and this is where the GTX Titan’s come in.

    Obviously not everyone is going to spend over $5000 on monitors but those that do will likely have no problem dropping two of three thousand on GPU’s and Nvidia is probably counting on that.

    As I see it Nvidia are not trying to con anyone into buying the Titan. They already have an extensive range of products that compete with AMD’s line-up very well. The Titan is just something different, something unique that has no real competition. If Nvidia was to price the Titan to fit into their current pricing model as a viable single card option then yes it should cost $700 but since it has no equal that is not the case.
  23. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 21

    There're 4GB 680's which would do the trick. Not as good when you're going for the MOST extreme, but they still would do the job easily.

    Well you see, I personally can afford this card. In fact, I can afford FOUR of this thing. But I won't. Not even one I'm not going to buy into this obvious robbery. I'm not making money from the dumpster to throw it onto that guy to cruise on his yacth while I am playing some game...

    I'd rather spend that money on a C4 Vette or something like pair or these...

  24. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,868   +2,035

    Clearly you have to work out what your priorities are, extreme multi-monitor gaming or poorly built cars (sorry couldn’t help myself). If you have as much money as you are suggesting maybe get both :)

    Personal views aside if you want the ultimate GPU setup for maximum performance the Titans are the way to go (ohh wait that's my personal opinion :S). That being said not sure I would invest in them either as buying three Titan’s, let alone one would be pretty low on my priority list.
  25. johnnydoe

    johnnydoe TS Member Posts: 21

    Well... tuned point injection ain't that bad if done properly...

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