Can GeForce GTX Titan Handle Professional Workloads?
We covered Nvidia's still-new GeForce GTX Titan in Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB: GK110 On A Gaming Card and Benchmarking GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB: Fast, Quiet, Consistent. As a gaming product, we know it to be the fastest single-GPU board you can buy. But how does the vaunted Titan fare in professional applications? It wasn't possible to run a number of tests for the launch because Nvidia's drivers weren't working in most of the non-gaming titles we tried.
Nevertheless, you'd think that, given its GK110 GPU, first introduced on a couple of Nvidia's Tesla accelerator boards, the GeForce GTX Titan would be a shoo-in for a market that doesn't flinch at $1,000 graphics cards. So, we're taking it, along with a number of other desktop-oriented graphics cards (like the Radeon HD 7970, Radeon HD 6970, GeForce GTX 680, and GeForce GTX 580) to see how the last two generations of flagship gaming products handle workstation-class software.
We're using a Titan card that Gigabyte sent over. It's based on Nvidia's reference design, though Gigabyte does throw in some extras to set its offering apart. There's a large mouse pad, a deck of playing cards, some cables, and obligatory adapters.
The previous-gen processor in our test bed was swapped out in favor of an overclocked Core i7-3770K to help minimize platform bottlenecks. Getting to the point where we didn't see application performance change based on processor performance took a clock rate of 4.6 GHz, which just goes to show that older software is still CPU-limited. Optimizations for threading, CUDA, and OpenCL are playing a larger role in rendering tasks, but some workloads still aren't being parallelized.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge), 22 nm, 4C/8T, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading Enabled, Overclocked to 4.6 GHz|
|RAM||32 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum @ 2,066 MT/s|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3, Intel Z77 Express|
|SSD||2 x Corsair Neutron 480 GB|
|OS||Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (Fully Patched)|
|Drivers||GeForce 314.22 WHQLCatalyst 13.3 Beta 3|
We already know what happens when the Tesla's GK110 GPU is tossed into a gaming environment. So, what happens when we put that same hardware to work in a professional sense?
Today's story also serves as a preview for a big workstation graphics card round-up we have coming up with all of the new Kepler-based Quadro cards. We're going to use the same benchmarks (and a lot more) to compare two generations of Nvidia and AMD offerings. Right now, we're still sorting out some driver issues that show why it's so important for these companies to seek out certifications for their premium products. You'll see us add the results from these gaming cards to that piece, too.