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Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black 4-way SLI review

Nvidia has a new premium model and we put it through it paces - in all possible SLI configurations

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Introduction

Tuesday, February 18th 2014 marks not just the introduction of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 750 and GTX 750; the brand also introduces a new top model, the GeForce GTX Titan Black. While Nvidia did not provide us with samples of this new premium graphics card, our heroes at Tones.be helped us out so we could test Nvidia's new top of the line model. True to form, our Belgian friends delivered the equivalent of about 4000 euros worth of graphics card in our lab, so we could test not just a single card, but also SLI, triple- and quad-SLI configurations. 

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black SLI (4-way)


We can consider the original Titan's story known. Nvidia introduced the GeForce GTX Titan early March 2013, based on the first and most powerful chip of the Kepler generation, the GK110. The Titan was aimed both at consumers and professional users and it broke pretty much every record in existence, thanks to its 2688 Cuda cores, 6 gigabytes of memory and 384-bit bus. Of course this performance came at a price, of around 1000 euros. As such, it was only an option for the most privileged of gamers, and overclockers well-endowed with sponsors. In addition, the group that the Titan proved really popular with was the one using the graphics card for professional Cuda applications: the GTX Titan offered the same unrestricted double-precision floating point performance as Nvidia's much more expensive Tesla cards.

A side-effect of the GTX 780 Ti's introduction was that the original Titan looked a bit lackluster by comparison.

For gamers that was not a necessary feature and at the end of May Nvidia introduced the GeForce GTX 780, which was quite a bit more affordable (though still far from cheap). The number of cores was reduced to 2304 (still quite a few more than the GK104 based GTX 680 had offered) and the clock frequencies were increased a bit. For gamers this offered a far superior value to the Titan, but professional users hoping for a real bargain option were out of luck, as the GTX 780 saw its double precision floating point performance crippled in software: it was reduced to one-eight of the original speed.

AMD managed to surpass the GTX 780 briefly with its Radeon R9 290X, but in November Nvidia introduced the GTX 780 Ti to take back the number one position. It did this by simply activating all 2880 Cuda cores available in the GK110 chip and using significantly higher clock frequences than those of the GTX 780 and Titan. In particular, the GDD5 memory running at 1750 MHz helped a lot.

Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black
De GK110 chip op de GTX Titan Black

A side-effect of the GTX 780 Ti's introduction was that the original Titan looked a bit lackluster by comparison. Even though it was still the only GeForce graphics card with uncapped double precision floating point performance and 6 GB of memory, for gaming the 780 Ti is the superior option. As such, Nvidia lacked a single clear top model, a situation it remedies today with the introduction of...

Watch a quad-SLI GTX Titan Black setup at work in our demo video, or continue reading at the next page.

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four products discussed in this review


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