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Nvidia Titan Xp 12GB Review


GeForce GTX 1080 Ti created an imbalance in Nvidia’s portfolio that pretty much doomed future sales of the original Titan X (Pascal). Titan Xp rectifies this with the most complete implementation of GP102 possible, aggressive clock rates, and 12GB of overclocked GDDR5X memory.

The resulting configuration is definitely faster than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and Titan X, though the advantage you enjoy depends on what you're playing and how it utilizes Nvidia’s GPU. Through our 10-game test suite, run at the highest detail settings available, Titan Xp averages 8%-higher frame rates than Titan X at 2560x1440 and a 9.5% improvement over its predecessor at 3840x2160.  

To be sure, that’s really only quick enough to fix the issue of GTX 1080 Ti outperforming Nvidia’s old Titan X (Pascal). Few enthusiasts will find reason to spend $500 more on Titan Xp this late into Pascal’s cycle, with the first Volta-based GPU already generating buzz in data centers, and ahead of AMD’s eventual Radeon RX Vega launch.

No doubt, Nvidia anticipated a bit of indifference to Titan Xp. It even applied some of its own. Although the little ‘p’ appears on the card’s retail packaging, Nvidia left a Titan X logo on the fan shroud and neglected to remove its back-lit GeForce logo up top. On the outside, Titan Xp is almost indistinguishable from Titan X.

If we go back and take a more nuanced look at Titan Xp’s higher performance, we see that Nvidia did spend some time tweaking this card’s operational parameters. In order to accommodate GP102 with all of its resources enabled, using the same thermal solution and power target as GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and then claim a similar GPU Boost-rated clock rate, the company needed to blow more air through its cooler. In typical gaming workloads, expect Titan Xp to maintain higher frequencies than the other GP102-based boards and make more noise as a result. Push too hard, though, and you’ll hit a power ceiling that knocks clock rates down to ~1.4 GHz, well below the GTX 1080 Ti. To Nvidia’s credit, Titan Xp’s fan curve under the most intensive tasks is smoother. The card’s temperature doesn’t rise as fast, resulting in a more balanced acoustic profile through our stress test. Still, it’s pretty clear that Nvidia gets everything it can from its reference cooler. Increasing fan speed under typical loads had to be a reluctant, but unavoidable choice.

Nvidia fancies Titan Xp as the choice “for extreme users where every drop counts.” If those last few percentage points are worth hundreds of dollars to you, then our observations won’t dissuade you from spending the extra money. Titan Xp doesn’t give you any additional gaming or compute functionality over GTX 1080 Ti, though, as GeForce GTX Titan did back in its day. So really, this story amounts to a bit of extra performance at the same exorbitant price point. It’s always hard to invoke the word value in a discussion of flagship-class graphics cards, but GeForce GTX 1080 Ti makes plenty of sense. Titan Xp does not. Of course, that’s precisely why certain enthusiasts will want it.

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