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Heat And Noise

Benchmarking GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB: Fast, Quiet, Consistent
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Idle temperatures are only meaningful insofar as they affect fan speeds, and thus acoustics. AMD allows its Tahiti GPU to idle much warmer than the GK104 and GK110 processors. We can only hope that means the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition’s cooler is spinning slower, and consequently generating less noise.

AMD doesn’t enjoy any specific advantage from its hotter chip, though we’re happy to see all four high-end solutions idling extremely quietly. In each case, you’re not going to hear any of these cards when you’re working on the Windows desktop.

As with our idle temperatures, measurements under load are largely indicative of how hard a card’s thermal solution is working. The GeForce GTX 680 and Titan both hit their targets of about 80 degrees during our Extreme loop of the 3DMark Fire Strike demo. GeForce GTX 690 doesn’t quite get as warm. Meanwhile, AMD’s Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition heats up to 84 degrees, consistent with what we found in AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review: Give Me Back That Crown!

And here’s where we run into our issue with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, time and time again. In order to keep its Tahiti GPU running within an appropriate thermal range, AMD’s cooler has to spin very fast. It generates more than 50 dB(A) in the process—way, way louder than GeForce GTX 680, 690, or Titan. A number of factors play into why this is the case, but the ultimate outcome is a real problem with noise.

GeForce GTX Titan, in comparison, hosts a 7.1 billion transistor GPU, dissipates up to the same 250 W of heat, and manages to duck in just under the GeForce GTX 680. That advantage simply cannot be ignored (quite literally).

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Top Comments
  • 39 Hide
    spentshells , February 21, 2013 1:14 PM
    I feel 2 7970's should have been included in the multi card setups.
  • 36 Hide
    whyso , February 21, 2013 1:07 PM
    if you use an actual 7970 GE card that is sold on newegg, etc instead of the reference 7970 GE card that AMD gave (that you can't find anywhere) thermals and acoustics are different.
  • 27 Hide
    cknobman , February 21, 2013 1:08 PM
    Seems like Titan is a flop (at least at $1000 price point).

    This card would only be compelling if offered in the ~$700 range.

    As for compute? LOL looks like this card being a compute monster goes right out the window. Titan does not really even compete that well with a 7970 costing less than half.
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    jimbaladin , February 21, 2013 12:33 PM
    For $1000 that card sheath better be made out of platinum.
  • 21 Hide
    aofjax , February 21, 2013 12:42 PM
    Lol, $1000.
  • 25 Hide
    Novuake , February 21, 2013 12:42 PM
    Pure marketing. At that price Nvidia is just pulling a huge stunt... Still an insane card.
  • 36 Hide
    whyso , February 21, 2013 1:07 PM
    if you use an actual 7970 GE card that is sold on newegg, etc instead of the reference 7970 GE card that AMD gave (that you can't find anywhere) thermals and acoustics are different.
  • 27 Hide
    cknobman , February 21, 2013 1:08 PM
    Seems like Titan is a flop (at least at $1000 price point).

    This card would only be compelling if offered in the ~$700 range.

    As for compute? LOL looks like this card being a compute monster goes right out the window. Titan does not really even compete that well with a 7970 costing less than half.
  • 12 Hide
    downhill911 , February 21, 2013 1:08 PM
    If titan costs no more than 800USD, then really nice card to have since it does not, i call it a fail card, or hype card. Even my GTX 690 make more since and now you can have them for a really good price on ebay.
  • 20 Hide
    spookyman , February 21, 2013 1:14 PM
    well I am glad I bought the 690GTX.

    Titan is nice but not impressive enough to go buy.
  • 39 Hide
    spentshells , February 21, 2013 1:14 PM
    I feel 2 7970's should have been included in the multi card setups.
  • 12 Hide
    hero1 , February 21, 2013 1:17 PM
    jimbaladinFor $1000 that card sheath better be made out of platinum.


    Tell me about it! I think Nvidia shot itself on the foot with the pricing schim. I want AMD to come out with better drivers than current ones to put the 7970 at least 20% ahead of 680 and take all the sales from the greedy green. Sure it performs way better but that price is insane. I think 700-800 is the sweet spot but again it is rare, powerful beast and very consistent which is hard to find atm.
  • 16 Hide
    raxman , February 21, 2013 1:19 PM
    "We did bring these issues up with Nvidia, and were told that they all stem from its driver. Fortunately, that means we should see fixes soon." I suspect their fix will be "Use CUDA".

    Nvidia has really dropped the ball on OpenCL. They don't support OpenCL 1.2, they make it difficult to find all their OpenCL examples. Their link for OpenCL is not easy to find. However their OpenCL 1.1 driver is quite good for Fermi and for the 680 and 690 despite what people say. But if the Titan has troubles it looks like they will be giving up on the driver now as well or purposely crippling it (I can't imagine they did not think to test some OpenCL benchmarks which every review site uses). Nvidia does not care about OpenCL Nvidia users like myself anymore. I wish there more people influential like Linus Torvalds that told Nvidia where to go.
  • -1 Hide
    realibrad , February 21, 2013 1:19 PM
    Titan is made for a very small segment. The Microstutter issue for high end systems is very annoying, becuase you spent thousands, and at that point, it should work perfectly. A 690 will kill just about any game, but it does have microstutter issues. Why not get a Titan, who may have a slightly lower FPS, but a much better over all game.

    The Titan has a much smoother feel with the lows being better, and micro stutter almost completly gone. Now, if you go triple SLI with a 690, micro stutter is gone, but you are likely to do insane resolutions, and the lower amount of memory will bit you.

    The only reason to get a 690, is if you plan to only get 1, because you cant afford 2k in titans.
  • 13 Hide
    aofjax , February 21, 2013 1:22 PM
    I wonder if I can build a whole new $1000 rig that can match/exceed a single Titan.....
  • 14 Hide
    Memnarchon , February 21, 2013 1:27 PM
    Actually this card seems to be an engineer miracle (comparing GF110 vs GK110 its almost twice performance from one generation to an other). The frame latencies from such a gaming beast are also impressive.
    But its a single gpu ffs. Cut the memory to 3GB 384bit GDDR5 keep the SMX at 14/15 (2,688 cores) and priced it $750. (Its expensive again but it would sell a lot more)
    Then take a full GK110 15/15 (2,880) SMX with 6GB 384bit GDDR5 give it 100Mhz more on the core and name Titan Ultra at $1000+...
    Everyone is happy then.
  • 18 Hide
    outlw6669 , February 21, 2013 1:32 PM
    I was defiantly expecting more from Titan, especially for that $1000 price tag.
    Really, I would like to see it priced around $650ish before it is considered competitive.

    Also, way to go AMD; your GCN arch really is the king of compute!
    I was honestly expecting Titan to tromp the HD 7970 GHz and am pleasantly surprised.
    Future APU's with GCN onboard is looking better and better :) 
  • 13 Hide
    Memnarchon , February 21, 2013 1:40 PM
    outlw6669I was defiantly expecting more from Titan, especially for that $1000 price tag.Really, I would like to see it priced around $650ish before it is considered competitive.Also, way to go AMD; your GCN arch really is the king of compute!I was honestly expecting Titan to tromp the HD 7970 GHz and am pleasantly surprised.Future APU's with GCN onboard is looking better and better

    Actually Chris Angelini has already answered this.
    Chris AngeliniWe did bring these issues up with Nvidia, and were told that they all stem from its driver. Fortunately, that means we should see fixes soon.


    Also Anandtech made some tests also and revealed that Titan is better at compute power: Anandtech
  • 6 Hide
    Hellbound , February 21, 2013 1:41 PM
    The card is not worth $1000.. $800 should have been the price point.
  • 24 Hide
    ilysaml , February 21, 2013 1:54 PM
    People who say that Titan should be sold for $800, my question is why the hell should it be even sold @ the $800 range? It's not even twice faster than HD 7970 or GTX 680, in most cases it's 35%...that card should be $100-200$ more than a GTX 680/HD 7970 GHz. For me this card is just good for it's appearance.
  • 22 Hide
    blubbey , February 21, 2013 1:58 PM
    People are missing the entire point of this. This is not a card for you or I. This is not a value card. This is at $1k for pure profit. This is an e-peen card, pure and simple.
  • 5 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 21, 2013 2:02 PM
    Would have liked some video conversion bemchmarks too.
    And i hope you are planning a new article with the OpenCL drivers updated ? :) 
  • 9 Hide
    phenom90 , February 21, 2013 2:11 PM
    i would never buy a titan that costs $1k... i would rather choose hd 7970 instead if i'm going to purchase a new card.. a $400 card vs $1k card... only idiot will buy a card that $600 more expensive to gaming on single 1080p.. and since amd began to put more efforts on their driver support.. and hopefully their driver will turn out to be as polished as nvidia.. i may try radeon in my next purchase...
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