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April 21, 2015

Unboxing & Review: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X


On the 17th of March 2015, NVIDIA have officially released their latest flagship GeForce GTX TITAN X graphics card, the ultimate 'Big Daddy' Maxwell flagship that features something we don't get to see very often on a graphics card targeting the high end user market - a whopping 12GB of DDR5 video memory!

In collaboration with our dear friend Warren Lee from www.klgadgetguy.com, we bring you the most powerful single GPU based graphics card yet from NVIDIA. The GTX Titan X shows great resemblance with the GTX Titan known to all, except that its shroud is covered in black.

Specifications



Unboxing

Inside this elegant and minimalist packaging, lies the world's most advanced GPU - or at least that's how NVIDIA claimed the GTX Titan X to be. 


While this looks just fancy enough, it is pretty much impossible for you to get a GTX Titan X from the store that is packed in this majestic packaging. 


Since the new Maxwell architecture GPU is named after the famous Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell (mentioned by NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during Game 24), NVIDIA has decided to have one of the differential form of the Ampère Maxwell Law equation printed on the box. 


Aside of being 90% covered in black, the GTX Titan X doesn't looks any much different if we were to compare it to the GTX Titan. However, black does makes themed build much easier compared to the silver-colored GTX Titan.


A graphics card of its capability powered only by a 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector, pretty impressive we must say. 


The exhaust vent of the GTX Titan X looks exactly the same as the one on the Leadtek GTX 980 Hurricane that we've previously reviewed. The GTX Titan X offers video output as following: 1 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x DVI-I.


Unlike the traditional blower design cooler, NVIDIA's new reference cooler design allows heat to escape from the front instead of having it trapped in that tiny space at the front. It's a little trade off in exchange for better cooling performance, which we consider it worthy.


From the back of the GTX Titan X we can see that it is capable of 4-way SLI judging the numbers of the SLI fingers available. A closer look at the memory chip reveals that SK Hynix memory chip is used on the GTX Titan X where each memory chip carries a total capacities of 512MB. With a total of 24 memory chips (12 chips on each side of the PCB), the GTX Titan X carries a whopping 12GB memory that will do pretty much enough even for 4K resolution monitor (theoretically).


Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H100i
CPU
Intel Core i7 5960X
Motherboard
ASUS Sabertooth X99
Memory
HyperX Predator @3000MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
Power Supply
Cooler Master V1200
Chassis
Vector Benchcase

We've conducted our test by installing the GTX Titan X to our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room with 30C° ambient temperature.

Performance, Overclocking

We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark in our possession on 1080p and 4k resolution - It's a whopping 12GB video memory right? Due limited voltage adjustment, we've only managed to push the GTX Titan X to its highest stable clock that is able to complete each game benchmark with the following values:
  • Maximum boost clock of 1345 MHz (270 MHz gain from the stock boost clock of 1075 MHz)
  • 7828 MHz on the memory clock
  • 1.2V on the voltage for GPU
Games Benchmark on 1080p

While running on its stock clock speed, we're already seeing a pretty good score from the GTX Titan X itself and with the very solid overclocking performance of up to 270MHz boost on this sample unit, we're seeing a very significant improvement of 13% in average on the games that we've tested. 

Games Benchmark on 4K 

12GB worth of video memory would be pointless if you don't really utilize that much of it and that's why, we have the 4K resolution test. It's true that 4K resolution monitor isn't everyone's choice of monitor but we'd like to see what kind of performance can the GTX Titan X deliver if it runs on 4K resolution.

4K resolution is a whole different level of display that is very taxing to even the most powerful single GPU graphics card to date and we've previously experienced that during the ASUS LAN Party that took place at MaGIC Center, Cyberjaya. The GTX Titan X as the current most powerful single GPU graphics card, couldn't escape from the wrath of the 4K resolution as well. Majority of the games we've tested couldn't even hit the 40 FPS mark (except for Tomb Raider) even after overclocked. 

3DMark: Fire Strike

The Fire Strike score without any overclocking done to the card.


After 270 MHz and 818 MHz boost to the GPU clock and memory clock, we're able gain an extra 1388 to the score.

Temperature

We've ran a 15 minute burn-in test on the FurMark GPU stress test utility with the fan operate under normal mode and maximum fan speed mode and the temperature for both test is recorded and populated in the graph above.


Verdict
The GTX Titan X comes out of the box with 1075 MHz and 7010 MHz on both GPU clock and memory clock respectively and to our surprise, it overclocks quite well. We're able to stretch the performance with another extra 270 MHz and 818 MHz gain to the GPU clock and memory clock, that's pretty impressive result despite of the long implemented Green Light program by NVIDIA to limit the voltage control for that extra juice to the performance.

Temperature wise, the reference Titan cooler is doing a fine job keeping the GTX Titan X below its maximum operating temperature of 91°C. While operating at normal speed, idle temperature hovers around 41°C and peaked at 86°C on full load. By sacrificing a little of the acoustic performance and turn up the fan speed to maximum, we're able to achieve a lower temperature reading; with idle temperature dropped to 38°C and load temperature dropped to 84°C, not really impressive but it'll still get the job done. 

The GTX Titan X is indeed a beast when it comes to single GPU performance and it'll last you for a couple of years without much of an issue. The only concern here is the hefty price tag of RM4,650 that is going to burn a giant hole in your pocket, not to mention that you could already get 2 x GTX 980 for SLI with that amount of money. 

Pros
  • Aesthetic appearance and solid to the touch
  • Good overclocking potential
  • Good gaming performance
  • 12GB video memory for that extra juicy gaming performance on high resolution
Cons
  • Hefty price tag
  • No custom PCB design 
  • 4K resolution is still taxing the GTX Titan X really hard

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