[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

Launched last month, the GeForce GTX TITAN X is the fourth video card from the TITAN high-end video card series from NVIDIA, and the first one to support DirectX 12 (actually, DirectX 12.1), promising to be the fastest single-GPU video card to date. With superlative specifications, such as 12 GiB of memory, let’s see how well it performs in games using UHD 4K resolution, compared to the GeForce GTX 980.

The GPU chip used in the GeForce GTX TITAN X is called GM200, and it is based on the GM204 GPU present in the GTX 980. Both chips are based on the Maxwell architecture. The GM204 chip has 2,048 processing cores, divided in 16 units called “SMM” (Streaming Multiprocessor Maxwell) by the manufacturer, each one with 128 processing cores. On the other hand, the GM200 (nicknamed “Big Maxwell”) is 50% bigger, having 24 SMMs, for a total of 3,072 processing cores. The clock rate of the chip, however, is a little lower, since the TITAN X works at 1,000 MHz (1,075 MHz turbo clock) while the GTX 980 works at 1,126 MHz (1,216 MHz turbo clock).

The memory bus of the TITAN X is also 50% wider: while the GTX 980 uses a 256-bit bus, the TITAN X uses a 384-bit one, raising the bandwidth from 224 GiB/s to 336 GiB/s.

Additionally, NVIDIA equipped the GTX TITAN X with 12 GiB of video memory, against the 4 GiB available on the GTX 980.

For this review, we tested the GeForce GTX TITAN X on some games, comparing it to the GeForce GTX 980 with Full HD (1920 x 1080) and UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolutions. Unfortunately, we had no access to a Radeon R9 295X2, which would be the most direct competitor in price, even though this card uses two GPUs, and not only one.

In the table below, we compared the main specifications of the video cards included in this test. The price of the GTX 980 was researched at Newegg.com on the day this test was published; the price of the TITAN X is the price suggested by NVIDIA.

Video card Core clock Turbo clock Memory clock (effective) Memory bus Memory bandwidth Memory Processing cores TDP DirectX Price
GeForce GTX TITAN X 1,000 MHz 1,075 MHz 7 GHz 384 bits 336 GB/s 12 GiB GDDR5 3,072 250 W 12.1 USD 999
GeForce GTX 980 1,126 MHz 1,216 MHz 7 GHz 256 bits 224 GB/s 4 GiB GDDR5 2,048 165 W 12 USD 535

Let’s now take a closer look at the GeForce GTX TITAN X.

[nextpage title=”The GeForce GTX TITAN X (part 1)”]

Figures 1 and 2 show the GeForce GTX 980 and the GeForce GTX TITAN X. We received the reference models and, as usual in high-end products, NVIDIA partners should simply sell the reference model with their own brand printed on it.

Notice that the cards are very similar; they have actually the same dimensions, being 10.5 inches (69 mm) long, and the coolers used are almost identical. However, the TITAN X does not come with the backplate seen in the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 1: the GeForce GTX 980 and the GTX TITAN X

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 2: the GeForce GTX 980 (top) and the GTX TITAN X (bottom)

In Figure 3, you see the video connectors of the GTX TITAN X. It brings one DVI-I, one HDMI 2.0, and three DisplayPort outputs. The card supports up to four displays at the same time.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 3: video connectors

Figure 4 shows the top of the board. It uses two PCI Express power connectors, one with six pins and another with eight pins. The “GEFORCE GTX” logo lits when the computer is turned on.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 4: top view

Figure 5 unveils the TITAN X with its cooler removed. Actually, the cooler has two parts: a metal plate that cools the memory chips and the voltage regulator, and a vapor chamber base cooler that cools the GPU. You can also see the twelve memory chips that are located on the component side of the PCB (there are another twelve chips on the solder side of the PCB).

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 5: the GeForce GTX TITAN X with its cooler removed

[nextpage title=”The GeForce GTX TITAN X (part 2)”]

Figure 6 unveils the GM200 chip. With a surface of 601 mm2, it is the biggest chip produced by NVIDIA to date.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 6: the GM200 chip

Figure 7 shows one of the 24 memory chips present on the TITAN X. It is an H5GQ4H24MFR-R2C from SKhynix chip, with 4 Gib (512 MiB) of capacity and maximum clock of 3.5 GHz (7 GHz effective). Therefore, there is no room to overclock the memory within its specifications. You can, however, try to rise the memory clock above its limit.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 7: memory chip

Figure 8 shows the voltage regulator circuit of the GTX TITAN X. It uses six phases for the GPU and two phases for the memory chips.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 8: voltage regulator

In Figure 9, you see the GeForce GTX TITAN X and the GTX 980 without their coolers. Notice that the printed circuit boards have the same size, but differ on the size of the GPU chip, amount of memory chips, and voltage regulator design.

GeForce GTX TITAN XFigure 9: the GeForce GTX TITAN X (above) and the GTX 980 (below), without the coolers

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications “]

The main characteristis of the GeForce GTX TITAN X include:

  • GPU: GeForce GTX TITAN X, runing at 1,000 MHz
  • Memory: 12 GiB GDDR5 (384 bit bus), 24 H5GQ4H24MFR-R2C SKhynix chips, runnig at 7 GHz
  • Bus: PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • Video connectors: one DVI-I, one HDMI 2.0, three DisplayPort 1.2
  • Power consumption: 250 W
  • Recommended power supply: 600 W
  • Cables and adapters that come with the card: we tested the reference card, which comes with no accessories
  • CDs/DVDs that come with the card: we tested the reference card, which comes with no accessories
  • Included games: none
  • Included programs: none
  • More information: https://www.geforce.com/
  • MSRP in the USA: USD 999

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between tests, the only variable component was the video card being tested. We overclocked the CPU to 3.5 GHz, in order to reduce any possible bottleneck caused by the CPU.

Hardware configuration

Software configuration

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Desktop resolution: 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz

Drivers versions

  • Intel INF driver: 10.0
  • NVIDIA video driver: 337.88

Software used

Error margin

We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 4% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”3DMark”]

3DMark is a program with several benchmarks. We ran the Fire Strike Ultra, Fire Strike, and Sky Diver tests.

The Fire Strike Ultra is the “heaviest” benchmark set available in the program, running DirectX 11 simulations at 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K) resolution. In this test, the TITAN X was 30% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

The Fire Strike benchmark measures DirectX 11 performance and it is targeted at high-end “gamer” computers. It runs at 1920 x 1080. In this test, the GeForce GTX TITAN X was 23% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

The 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark is aimed at mainstream computers, running at 1920 x 1080. In this test, the GTX TITAN X was 15% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

 

[nextpage title=”Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag”]

Launched in 2013, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag uses the AnvilNext engine, which is DirectX 11. We ran this game in both 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K) resolution, with all video quality options set as “ultra”, disabling vertical sync, and we played the first mission of the game, measuring the framerate three times using FRAPS.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag at Full HD, the GTX TITAN X was 11% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

Moving to the UHD 4K test, the TITAN X was 35% faster than the GTX 980.

[nextpage title=”Battlefield 4″]

Battlefield 4 is one of the most popular games of the Battlefield franchise, being launched in 2013. It is based on the Frostbite 3 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure the performance in this game, we played the first mission, measuring the framerate three times using FRAPS. We ran the game in both 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K) resolutions, with overall image quality ser as “ultra”.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

ON Battlefield 4 in Full HD, the GeForce GTX TITAN X was 30% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

In the UHD 4K test on Battlefield 4, the TITAN X beated the GTX 980 by 29%.

[nextpage title=”Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a first person shooter (FPS) game from the popular Call of Duty series, launched at the last quarter of 2014.

We played the first mission of the game with all visual options at maximum, first at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and then at 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K), measuring the framerate tree times using FRAPS.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

Running CoD: Advanced Warfare in Full HD, the GeForce GTX TITAN X was 24% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

On the UDH 4K test, the TITAN X was 30% faster than the GTX 980.

[nextpage title=”Dragon Age: Inquisition”]

Dragon Age: Inquisition is the most recent game from the popular action RPG franchise Dragon Age. It was lanched in november 2014 and uses the Frostbite 3 engine with SpeedTree.

We ran the game at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and at 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K), with all quality options at the maximum, measuring three times the framerate with FRAPS.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

In Dragon Age: Inquisition, at Full HD, the TITAN X was 26% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

At UHD 4K, the TITAN X beat the performance of the GTX 980 by 34 percent.

[nextpage title=”Dying Light”]

Dying Light is a open-world horror game launched in January 2015, using the Chrome Engine 6. We tested the performance at this game with all quality options at their maximum settings, at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K), measuring three times the framerate using FRAPS.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

At Full HD, the GTX TITAN X was 18% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

AT UHD 4K, the TITAN X was 22% faster than the GTX 980.

[nextpage title=”F1 2013″]

The F1 2013 is a car race game launched in 2013, based on the Formula One championship, using the EGO 3.0 engine.

We tested the performance at this game using the in-game performance test, with image quality adjusted to “ultra”, at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) and 3840 x 2160 (UHD 4K).

GeForce GTX TITAN X

At the Full HD test, the GeForce GTX TITAN X was 28% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

On the UHD 4K, the TITAN X beat the GTX 980 by 29%.

Notice the small difference between resolutions: this is because this game is CPU-bound, which is a bottleneck even in a high-end system.

[nextpage title=”Far Cry 4″]

Far Cry 4 is the most recent title in this popular franchise. It uses the Dunia 2 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure the performance on this game, we played the same mission three times, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920 x 1080 and then at 3840 x 2160, with the image quality set as “ultra”.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

Running Far Cry 4 at Full HD, the TITAN X overperformed the GTX 980 by only 3.4 percent.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

At the UHD 4K test, the TITAN X was 27% faster than the GTX 980.

[nextpage title=”Metro Last Light”]

Metro Last Light is a terror/FPS game that uses the 4A engine, launched in 2013.

In order to measure the performance on this game, we played the game introduction three times, measuring the framerate with FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920 x 1080 and then at 3840 x 2160, with the image quality set at maximum.

The results below are expressed in frames per second and represent the arithmetical mean of the three collected results.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

On the Full HD test, the TITAN X was 14% faster than the GTX 980.

GeForce GTX TITAN X

On the UHD 4K test, the TITAN X ouverperformed the GTX 980 by 12 percent. However, it was not possible to play decently with any of the cards at this configuration, which shows how “heavy” this game is with all quality options at their maximum settings.

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

From the technical point of view, the new GeForce GTX TITAN X brings impressive specifications: 3,072 processing cores, 384-bit memory bus, memory chips at 7 GHz and 12 GiB of video RAM, besides the support to DirectX 12.1. But how those features translate into gaming performance?

The GeForce GTX TITAN X actually ran most of the games we tested with a framerate above 30 frames per second, even at UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution and all the graphic quality settings maxed out, with low noise level and no overheating problems.

However, even with 50% more processing cores, 50% more memory bandwidth, 200% more RAM, and costing about 87% more than the GeForce GTX 980, the GTX TITAN X was not more than 35% faster. So, we can say it is an exceptional video card, but does not have a good cost/benefit ratio.

An interesting detail is that such a powerful video card is only justified if you either have a 4K display, or want to play using multiple displays, since using a single Full HD monitor, the GTX 980 is powerful enough to run all the games at high (or ultra) image quality settings.

Anyway, if money is not a problem for you, and you are looking for the most powerful single-chip video card available today, the GeForce GTX TITAN X is the right option.