Benchmarking GeForce GTX Titan 6 GB: Fast, Quiet, Consistent

Heat And Noise

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).

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • jimbaladin
    For $1000 that card sheath better be made out of platinum.
  • aofjax
    Lol, $1000.
  • Novuake
    Pure marketing. At that price Nvidia is just pulling a huge stunt... Still an insane card.
  • whyso
    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.
  • cknobman
    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.
  • downhill911
    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.
  • spookyman
    well I am glad I bought the 690GTX.

    Titan is nice but not impressive enough to go buy.
  • spentshells
    I feel 2 7970's should have been included in the multi card setups.
  • hero1
    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.
  • raxman
    "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.