The Titan X is based on a new Pascal-based GPU core, called GP102 (the GTX 1080 uses the GP104 core), which has a 471mm² die filled with 12 billion 16nm transistors. Those transistors give you an awful lot of stream processors – 3,584, in fact – spread over 28 streaming multiprocessors (SMs) in six graphics processing clusters (GPCs), and the GPU has 96 ROPS at its disposal. The GPU has a base clock of 1417MHz, and an official boost clock of 1531MHz, although we regularly saw the GPU boost to over 1800MHz during our tests.
That boosting headroom is partly due to the efficiency of Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, but also Nvidia’s superb vapour-change reference cooler. It’s very similar to the one on the GTX 1080 Founders Edition, but in this case, it gets noticeably hotter to the touch when the card is running at full pelt. However, it remains quiet.
Also on the PCB is a whopping 12GB of GDDR5X memory, although that’s overkill for any current games, even at 4K with maximum settings and anti-aliasing. It’s quick, though, running at the same 10GHz effective frequency as the GTX 1080. There are also two power connectors at the top – one 6-pin socket and one 8-pin socket, showing that the Titan X needs more juice than the GTX 1080 with its single 8-pin connector. Finally, you get three DisplayPort outputs on the backplate, along with an HDMI socket and a good oldfashioned dual-link DVI output.
The Holy Grail for high-end single-GPU cards for the past few years has been 4K gaming, and while Nvidia’s Maxwell-based Titan X and GTX 980 Ti cards managed it with borderlineplayable frame rates, the new Pascal-based Titan X nails it. Every one of our game tests wasn’t just playable at 4K with maximum settings, but smoothly playable. It didn’t even drop below 65fps in Doom at Ultra settings.
Even our usual Fallout 4, The Witcher 3 and Crysis 3 4K tests couldn’t stop the Titan X, which never dropped below 49fps, 55fps and 44fps respectively. To step up the challenge, we enabled Ultra settings in Fallout 4, where the Titan X still remained playable at 33fps. We then upped the settings in The Witcher 3 to Ultra, with HairWorks enabled, and it still didn’t drop below 39fps, and the game looks absolutely stunning at these settings.
At load, our test system drew 385W from the mains with the Titan X installed, slightly higher than with the Maxwellbased GTX 980 Ti installed, although the new Titan X is still more power efficient than AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury X. Interestingly, the Titan X’s power consumption and clock speed went up and down a fair bit in our game tests, more than on the GTX 1080, suggesting the Titan X controls the clock speed quite aggressively. Also, in nearly all of our tests, the frame rate from the first run would be 2-3ps quicker than the other runs, pointing to the Titan X running flat out at first, but then holding itself back when it heats up. We ran each test four times, discarding the first result, to give a more accurate picture of performance.
Our Titan X sample had a surprising amount of overclocking headroom too. We were able to add another 250MHz to both the GPU core clock and the memory frequency, causing the Titan X’s GPU clock to peak at a massive 2062MHz in games, while the memory ran at 5258MHz (10516MHz effective).
The Titan X may have a daft price tag, but it’s the first single- GPU card that can properly handle 4K gaming at maximum settings without compromising. If that’s what you’ve been waiting for, and you have buckets of cash at your disposal, then this card will do it.
However, if Nvidia’s previous launch strategies are any indication, a second, cheaper GPU based on the GP102 core, perhaps with one GPC disabled, may arrive in the near future. If you want the fastest gaming GPU right now, the Titan X is amazing, but we’d hold off and see what the future holds before spending such a large amount of money.