How We Tested Titan X
Nvidia’s latest and greatest will no doubt be found in high-end platforms. Some of these may include Broadwell-E-based systems. However, we’re sticking with our Core i7-6700K processor and MSI Z170 Gaming M7 motherboard, armed with G.Skill’s F4-3000C15Q-16GRR memory kit. Intel’s Skylake architecture remains the company’s most effective per clock cycle, and a stock 4 GHz frequency is higher than its higher-core-count models. Crucial’s MX200 SSD remains, as does the Noctua NH-12S cooler and be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W power supply.
As far as competition in the graphics space goes, Titan X has none. Before today, GeForce GTX 1080 was the fastest card available, and we already know it’s being eclipsed. Nevertheless, we’re borrowing from the line-up used in our GeForce GTX 1070 review, including GeForce GTX 1080, GeForce GTX 1070, the old GeForce GTX Titan X, GeForce GTX 980 Ti, Radeon R9 Fury X, and Radeon R9 Fury. Gone are the GeForce GTX 980 and Radeon R9 390X.
Drivers And Benchmarks
The more significant changes happen on the software side.
To begin, we’re adding Doom, a title we wanted to slip in for the GeForce GTX 1060, but ran out of time ahead of Nvidia’s embargo. That game is tested using Khronos’ Vulkan API, which both AMD and Nvidia support. Doing this involves shifting away from Fraps-based testing and adopting PresentMon, an Event Tracing for Windows-based frame rate monitor. By default, PresentMon records all running processes. But we specifically filter out the process we want to evaluate, generating a record of time between Present commands, similar to Fraps. The benefit we get from PresentMon is support in newer APIs like Vulkan and DirectX 12.
Consequently, our Hitman numbers now come from DirectX 12 instead of 11. So too do our Rise of the Tomb Raider results reflect running in DirectX 12 mode.
Today’s suite includes nine titles, three of which utilize DirectX 12, one measured through Vulkan, and the remaining five that reflect DirectX 11’s continued prevalence. We hope this helps address some of the feedback received in previous reviews, much of which centered on adding Doom and DirectX 12-based testing.
The DX11 titles include Battlefield 4, Grand Theft Auto V, Project CARS, The Division, and The Witcher 3. CARS, in particular, comes under regular fire for its treatment of AMD versus Nvidia hardware. I (Chris) would be more receptive to discarding this one, if not for its simultaneous hooks in the conventional PC desktop and VR platforms. Now that DiRT Rally supports the Rift as of version 1.2, we’ll look at making the switch if SMS isn’t able to help us troubleshoot what’s going on in CARS.
As far as drivers go, we’re starting to update our numbers using newer builds. In Doom, Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and The Division all AMD cards use Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.3 and all Nvidia cards use GeForce 368.98. The other titles include a mix of Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.5.2 and GeForce 368.13, 368.19, and 365.10. Moving forward, those numbers will be replaced game by game.
|Ashes of the Singularity|
|DirectX 12, Extreme quality preset, built-in benchmark|
|DirectX 11, Ultra quality preset, custom Tom’s Hardware benchmark (Tashgar jeep ride), 100-second Fraps recording|
|Vulkan, Ultra quality preset, custom benchmark, 100-second PresentMon recording|
|Grand Theft Auto V|
|DirectX 11, Very High quality settings, 4x MSAA, built-in benchmark (test five), 110-second Fraps recording|
|DirectX 12, Ultra level of detail, FXAA, High texture quality, built-in benchmark, 95-second PresentMon recording|
|DirectX 11, Ultra quality settings, High anti-aliasing, High texture resolution, Nürburgring Sprint, 100-second Fraps recording|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider|
|DirectX 12, Custom quality preset, Very High quality settings, built-in benchmark, 80-second PresentMon recording|
|Tom Clancy's The Division|
|DirectX 11, Custom quality preset, Ultra quality settings, Supersampling temporal AA, built-in benchmark, 90-second Fraps recording|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt|
|DirectX 11, Highest quality settings, HairWorks disabled, custom Tom’s Hardware benchmark, 100-second Fraps recording|
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Any word when we can get these at $1,200 or less?
I wish I was confident that we'd get good SLI support in VR, so I could just get a pair of 1080s, but I've had so many problems in the past with SLI in 3D, that getting the fastest single-card solution available seems like the best choice to me.
As for the Titan X, that cooler just isn't good enough. Not sure I agree that memory modules running 90 degrees C is "well below" the manufacturer's limit of 95 degrees C. What if your ambient temperature is 5 or 10 degrees higher?