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Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB: GK110 On A Gaming Card

Ready For The Numbers?

Nobody likes a tease. Unfortunately, Nvidia is asking that GeForce GTX Titan’s benchmark results remain confidential for another couple of days. We’re naturally using that time to generate as much data as possible: comparisons against GeForce GTX 680, GeForce GTX 690, and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition; two-way and three-way SLI configurations to pit against 690s in four-way SLI; power consumption; heat; noise; and of course, compute performance. Even when we are able to publish the outcome of our testing, GeForce GTX Titan won't be available for you to buy. The company says to expect availability the week of February 25.

Given the numbers we’ve already run using earlier drivers, along with the information presented today, what can we say about Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan? I’ve actually seen enough to draw my conclusions; the upcoming data dump is only going to serve to support my opinion.

Enthusiasts shopping for ultra-high-end cards like this one know they’re not going to get a good deal. Two GeForce GTX 680s sell for about $920. Better still, two Radeon HD 7970s (which are faster) can be had for $800. And as you slide down the scale, every dollar spent tends to stretch further. That’s not what the GeForce GTX Titan is about, though.

Titan: At home in big, beefy gaming PCs and mini-ITX enclosures

Rather, this thing incorporates a GPU currently found in the Tesla K20X (which HP will sell you for $7,700), a cooler clearly derived from the marquee GeForce GTX 690, and a staggering 6 GB of GDDR5 memory. As you’ll soon see, the combination generally falls between a GeForce GTX 690 and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition in our benchmarks. That means:

  1. Pay the same $1,000 for a GeForce GTX 690 if you only want one dual-slot card and your case accommodates the long board. It remains the fastest graphics solution we’ve ever tested, so there's no real reason not to favor it over Titan.
  2. The Titan isn’t worth $600 more than a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. Two of AMD’s cards are going to be faster and cost less. Of course, they’re also distractingly loud when you hit them with a demanding load. Make sure you have room for two dual-slot cards with one vacant space between them. Typically, I frown on such inelegance, but more speed for $200 less could be worth the trade-off in a roomy case.
  3. Buy a GeForce GTX Titan when you want the fastest gaming experience possible from a mini-ITX machine like Falcon Northwest’s Tiki or iBuyPower’s Revolt. A 690 isn’t practical due to its length, power requirements, and axial-flow fan.
  4. Buy a GeForce GTX Titan if you have a trio of 1920x1080/2560x1440/2560x1600 screens and fully intend to use two or three cards in SLI. In the most demanding titles, two GK110s scale much more linearly than four GK104s (dual GeForce GTX 690s). Three Titan cards are just Ludicrous Gibs!

We appreciate Nvidia’s continued attention to acoustics. We’re glad to see the GeForce GTX Titan exhausting all of its hot air. And as you’ll see in a couple of days, there’s a lot to like about this card’s performance. Our beef is with its stratospheric price tag, which limits the Titan to small form factor gaming boxes and multi-card configurations in ultra-high-end PCs. Most enthusiasts will rightly balk at this card. But if you’re in its target demographic, the GeForce GTX Titan is essentially unrivaled.

Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.