Gigabyte GeForce GTX Titan 6GB Graphics Card Review



/ 2 years ago

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So its just over a week since NVIDIA officially announced their contender to the single GPU battle between themselves and AMD. The GeForce GTX Titan has been the talk of the town for a little while and now we are finally able to get our hands on one and see what the fuss is all about. NVIDIA have said that they are going to leave it to us, the reviewers, to decide whether or not this new card is any competition for AMD’s 7970. This naturally can be taken either way in that they honestly don’t know how it will compare, or they are hiding the fact that this is not only going to give AMD a run for their money, but they will have to sprint to keep up.

So what is so special about the Titan? Well NVIDIA has dubbed this as potentially being the worlds most powerful single GPU in the world and that it is build for the next generation of supercomputer gaming. At the same time, with the announcement from AMD that they won’t be bringing out any more GPUs until next year and until then will be sticking with the 7000 series for desktops (even though we know the mobile 8000 series are about), it looks like this could be the one and only major release of the year meaning that if NVIDIA can pull it off, they potentially could be holding the top spot and podium for a large portion of time when it comes to single GPU cards.

The card has been named after what is currently the worlds fastest super computer – ‘Titan’ – a behemoth of technological engineering, packing in 18688 AMD Opteron 6274 16-core CPUs, 18688 Tesla K20X GPUs, 710TB of total memory, 10PB of storage, an a theoretical peak speed of 27petaFLOPS. The Cray supercomputer which consumes a whopping 8.2MW of power costs a total of $97 million and resides at the Oak Ridge National Labratory.

We saw a few of the Titan’s highlights mentioned last week when NVIDIA lifted the NDA on the cards specifications, but to refresh ourselves on these, the single GPU design houses 2,688 CUDA cores and 7.1 billion transistors and runs at a speed of 837MHz boosting to 876MHz – this is topped with 6GB of GDDR5 memory. A key feature that we will point out that is new to Titan over any other NVIDIA GPU is GPU Boost 2.0. This works in a similar way to how GPU Boost operates on other cards, however rather than limiting the cards overclock to staying within a certain power envelope, GPU Boost 2.0 now allows to card to go even further and overclocks the card dynamically whilst keeping it under 80 degrees Celsius. This in effect means that the card will be able to overclock itself to a higher speed and since the temperature is linked directly to the vCore, the board and adjust the voltages more accurately and higher at the same time to keep the card stable.

This is not where the new features end, there is also display overclocking, a concept that allow most monitors to display frame rates higher than they typically would be able to under normal circumstances. Typically most displays run at 60Hz, although there are a number that can run at 120Hz (normally 3D enabled panels) and to put this into frame rates, 60Hz = 60fps, so whilst the card is able to push out far more than this, the panel will only display at its refresh rate. What the Titan is able to do however is overclock the refresh rate of the screen and by increasing the frequency to say 80Hz, the screen will now actually display more frames each second to give a smoother image.

Keeping things simple and to the point, we find a standard Gigabyte / NVIDIA box design with the blue Gigabyte eye that we have come to associate with the GPUs.

Inside the box, we find a tube containing a MP8000 gaming mouse mat and a separate box with a quick start guide, driver CD, VGA adapter, two power adaptor cables, a HDMI lead and a new addition to the Gigabyte array of goodies, a pack of branded cards.

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  • http://twitter.com/Skidmarksdeluxe Wayne

    It’s a card that almost everybody drools over and it sure brings home the bacon with regards to it’s performance. Pity then that it’s practically irrelevant due to it’s price.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kev.thomas.75 Kev Thomas

    Thanks for the review, I can only wish I had enough money to splurge on a computer part. And thank you for highlighting the item you are reviewing in the chart comparisons, makes a huge difference in finding the information quickly.

  • StanB

    Amazing card but bad timing on Nvidia’s behalf.
    All the enthusiasts I know where waiting and hoping for news about this card
    since they knew the 680 was really mean to be the 670 of their lineup. Like i
    said we waited and waited but no new around the holidays so 99% of us took our
    savings and invested in dual 670s or dual 680s (SLI setups).

    Had Nvidia
    released this card at 600$ or even 649$ us/can this article would have been
    about Nvidia not being able to keep up with demand. (yes even at 700$ crazy
    enthusiasts like myself will dish out the $$ and milk every once of performance
    for the next 3 or 4 years)

    My Gigabyte GTX670 oc sli setup beats one
    Titan for around 200$ to 250$ less.

    Only people with tons of disposable
    income will splurge on this one. An sli setup like mine runs Crysis 3, Far Cry 3
    and Metro 2033 at 2560×1600 maxed out. (Crysis no AA/ Metro no DOF) On top of
    that the money saved by going for the 670s permitted me to upgrade my old i7 950
    to a 3770k.

    PS: Like most, I sell my old hardware every 3 or 4 years to
    cover at least 50$ of my upgrades

  • johndoe

    I can afford a Titan but I’m not getting it because it’s such a fucking stupid card built solely to milk nVidia’s giant cash cowing ass.

    Why does this thing have a magnesium shroud on? It does nothing other than to ridicule the card’s price. And price/performance is terrible, too. This thing is worth 600-700 tops. Or hell, even 550 would be much more sensible. Built quality isn’t all that great either.

    Right now, you can have a pair of Double D 7970’s for $395 each after rebate from Amazon, which are going to completely blow the shit out of this card. In every single way. They even have a titanium shroud that makes them look very well. They’d work significantly cooler, be higher quality with the Volterra VRM, run less noisier, and perform much better. And you’d have 200 bucks left in the pocket…

    • trajan2448
      • johndoe

        It does indeed work, AMD has recently stated that the frame latency issues ARE getting fixed with the most recent driver of the previous month and the one before it.

        And mind you, Fraps is a rather shitty way of recording frame latency as it, ITSELF causes frame latency.

        It works and most the time works properly. It’s only rare cases that the frame latency issue STILL exists in, and even then, it STILL “works”.

        And well, if you don’t want to deal with CF, then you can get a pair of Sparkle 680 Calibre’s for $480 each. And boy, how do they shit over a Titan. They look just amazing, the cooler on them is practically the BEST 680 cooler, they’re built very well, better than this card and run very quiet too. And ironically, they still come in cheaper…

        fact of matter is, you have absolutely no reason to defend this card because it’s a card made solely for Jen Hsun to handle $1000 cheques and cruise on his yatch while you’re playing some crappy game…

        • trajan2448

          Obviously you didn’t bother to read the article. This is about RUNT frames, frames that are not actually rendered or are just slivers being counted as normal frames by FRAPS fps counter. This has NOT been addressed in the latest drivers. Take out the slivers and FPS numbers have been exposed to be inflated by as much as 100%. Tech Report, Hardocp, and PC Perspective are all investigating. This is a story that is not going away.

          • johndoe

            It doesn’t change the fact that FRAPS is NOT a good tool to measure frame latency because it ITSELF it laggy as fuck, that’s what my point was.

            I admit I didn’t know that the issue was that deep, regardless, I digress. The 7970 CF configs do fine for most, and those issues are about to be ironed out in a few drivers once AMD completely mans up GCN. It’s only a few drivers left till everything is settled, and EVEN now, the 7970 CF configs are fine. And if you don’t believe me, speak to SolidBladez from [H]. He owns 7970 Quad-Fire and has had every possible 7970 config out there, watercooled. He says 7970 CF is mostly, pretty much always fine for real World usage, and I take his word.

            The frame latency issue isn’t that big of an issue anymore and is about to be ironed out so I wouldn’t worry about it.

            Regardless, if you want to digress than I’m not going to suggest you any AMD GPU’s. Get a pair of Galaxy 680 White’s for $520 each, overvolt and try to take them to 1350 Mhz, and it’s going to pull the heals of TWO Titan’s with the Volterra VRM…

            the point here is just that this is a pointless card that’s been getting milked to most extreme edges possible, and, in my really humble opinion, is NOT a worthwhile card solely because it’s a son of a bitch card.

          • trajan2448

            Whatever. I have seen nothing to indicate this issue with Crossfire is even close to being solved. Some technicians have speculated that it indicates a serious hardware related problem. When and if it is fixed, I’m sure it will become PUBLIC knowledge and proclaimed loudly by AMD. IMHO,Titan is an outstanding piece of Tech with many advantages over other GPUs. You don’t like it, don’t buy it.

          • johndoe

            Then you have no idea what is going on, because AMD has lowered down frametimes and DID and IS trying to solve the frametime issue COMPLETELY. Read the driver logs from the previous months and everything you want to hear is there, and, that “issue” isn’t an obvious issue. It’s only a specific problem that exists on specific cases anymore now that AMD has acknowledged it and is in the progress of completely getting rid of it.

            It sounds like those so called “technicians” seriously need to educate themselves because this has absolutely NOTHING, NOT one fucking thing to do with the hardware. It’s a completely software related issue due to AMD not being able to “completely” hash the GCN architecture yet.

            And the fact that you see Titan so “outstanding” just goes to show how clueless you are. TITAN is nothing more than a $550 card with a complete and utterly pointless magnesium shroud, and a “titan” name to sell to the misguided, uneducated, ill-informed. It’s nothing more than a 680 with 16 out of 15 SMX cores enabled, and a 690-like cooler on it. Technically, it’s at most worth around 700. So why should I pay a completely ridiclous grand for one? I’m not out here to milk that sucker ass, I’m here spend my money wisely and sensibly, while getting the most out of what I pay. I’m not getting money from dumpster to throw away those extra, unneeded hundreds of dollar to who is arguably THE most selfish CEO around, Jen-Hsun.

            Give me a single reason, other than being slightly faster to buy a Titan over a Galaxy 680 White. The Galaxy 680 White looks much better, has a WAY better VRM with superior chokes and overclocks much better, and costs what? Half as much. A heavily OC’ed Galaxy 680 White will be JUST AS fast as a TITAN, so why in the hell should I pay TWICE the price for a goddamn CASH cow card?

            Everything acknowledged to me leads that there absolutely is NO reason to buy this card unless you “completely” demand the best possible.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Martin/1258108688 Ryan Martin

            Entirely true. If performance was to match price you are talking about $750 max. Agreed $1000 is just marketing hype, no idea where they pulled that price from. I’d have GTX 670 SLI any day or a really high spec GTX 680 like you say.

          • trajan2448

            Learn how to have a civil discussion. People can can have differing points of view for perfectly valid reasons.

            Yes there are many people in the world who demand the best possible, period. They don’t care about a few hundred bucks in the slightest. Don’t hate because you are not one of them. Currently Titan has been proven by professionals whose job it is to find out have proclaimed Titan to be the best single GPU available. Your frothing at the mouth opinion is a little ridiculous.

          • johndoe

            I do demand the best possible in many aspect though I do not accept paying a 200-300 extra for nothing. 1000 for this card is highway robbery. I’m not getting it only because I don’t want to support such silly business decisions.

            It indeed is the best GPU available but when the Galaxy 680 White CAN reach it’s speeds once heavily OC’ed, while looking better, being built better, running cooler and costing HALF as much, there’s no point in buying into this giant bag of obvious robbery.

            It’s not opinion, it’s a fact. This is a useless card unless you want that extra little more performance, which can be exceed and excels in other areas such as better cooling or PCB quality or overclockability or lower noise levels with a customized 680, and when you add the sky shot price tag on top of it, it just doesn’t make sense to pay an insane grand for a GPU that’s only slightly faster and obviously worse in other areas than a $500 card.

          • trajan lodge

            Hate to break it to you but your opinion is far from fact as many respected reviewers have already stated.

          • johndoe

            Nobody has stated what this card costs. I worked for one of the largest PSU OEM’s that know has it’s doors closed and owned by SuperFlower, Topower. I know how much the parts that cost to make this card actually do make a difference and understand more about power components than most.

            Neither this card’s meh built with those Taiwanese TRIO FET’s nor the fact that it’s basically a 680 with one more SMX core enabled makes up for an insane grand of price tag. It doesn’t, it just can’t. Just doesn’t make sense. And all that Magnesium shroud does is to ridicule the card’s price for the blinded masses such as yourself.

            In case you don’t understand (and you don’t seem to) those so called “reviewers” you’re talking about are TOLD to shill and milk the card as much as possible so that it sells. How else do you think those review sites stay open and pay the bandwidth bills? Review sites review hardware for free. They’re SUPPOSED to review it accordingly so that they can keep on going. What the hell else do you expect? This is a money making business, and it’s cheap money. You really don’t understand how the things work and the actual procedures going underneath those reviews you’re reading.

            Ryan has stated it very well underneath my post and that’s all you need to know.

            And if you wonder, what people believe in, you can go over TPU to check out their poll of “how much 680 should cost?” and the people who’re in this industry (such as btarunr) ALL claim and KNOW that this card, CAN be sold at 550 yet while still making profits. So the $1000 price tag is, as said many times before and will be said again, nothing more than wide open robbery.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Martin/1258108688 Ryan Martin

            I agree in the most part of what you are saying, although being in essence a “guest” reviewer here at eTeknix I don’t entirely agree with you. I write reviews based on how I feel the products perform, if they are good you say it, if they suck you can say they suck but you have to word it in a way that is constructive and fair. Yes it is a money making business but such is only true when the reviewers are directly affiliated to the financial success of the company e.g. they have something to gain by awarding everything. reviewers that work “independently”, i use the term loosely because you can never be fully independent of what is going on, but independent reviewers generally speaking can speak their mind without fear of negative economic consequences for the company site they write for. Review sites are marketing tools for companies, but I always like to think that there are two main types of review sites, those who are extended marketing arms of the companies and those who are able to incorporate marketing into the consumer’s perspective which is ultimately what I strive for. There will always be marketing involved because if people didn’t buy any of these products review sites would be obsolete.

          • johndoe

            I would say, if EVERY reviewer bought this card out of their own pocket, then the reviews would have been far more different. Which, IMHO, just goes to show that no matter how hard you try, you still can not `completely` independantly review a product as a reviewer.

            I mean, if I went ahead and bought this card and found it inferior to say my 570 Twin-Frozr 3 in one way or another, I can very openly go ahead and yell that I got ripped off on an overpriced, pointless piece of shit. But if I was reviewing the product, then I could not have done the same since then nVidia would not send me any other GPUs in the future.

            See where I am heading..?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Martin/1258108688 Ryan Martin

            well I guess it all depends on how much you value money but yes most reviewers don’t consider the value of money even nearly as enough as they should

  • Arnoud van Lieshout

    Ordered one, yes too expansive. But so is life… so is entertainment….