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Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X review: Hail to the new king of graphics cards

Brad Chacos | March 18, 2015
Nvidia sure knows how to strike a killer first impression.

Speaking of, here's how Nvidia describes the Titan X's cooler design:

"A copper vapor chamber is used to cool TITAN X's GM200 GPU. This vapor chamber is combined with a large, dual-slot aluminum heatsink to dissipate heat off the chip. A blower-style fan then exhausts this hot air through the back of the graphics card and outside the PC's chassis."

The card runs extremely quietly even under load, to the point that I'm not sure if I was hearing the case fans or the GPU cooler during intense benchmarking sessions. That's essential, especially since all Titan X designs will rock reference coolers only — there will be no aftermarket cooler options from board vendors. Nvidia claims the Titan X overclocks like a champ, hitting up to 1.4GHz in the company's internal testing. I was unable to OC the Titan X due to time constraints, but given the superb overclocking capabilities of every other Maxwell-based GPU, I heartily believe the claim.

The Titan X features the same basic software features as the GTX 980 and 970, including Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI), which lets developers create better dynamic lighting without invoking a massive performance hit, and VR Direct for virtual reality gaming. (The Titan X was actually used to power many of the VR demos on display at GDC 2015 — hence the surprise launch during Epic's panel.)

It also fully supports Nvidia's impressive Multi-Frame-Sampled Anti-aliasing (MFAA) technology, which smooths out jagged edges at a level similar to traditional MSAA, but with much less of performance hit. This awesome technology works with any DirectX 10 or DX11 title that supports MSAA and basically provides a free — and often substantial — frame rate increase. That's a huge deal at any resolution, but it can mean the difference between a playable game and stuttering garbage at 4K resolution.

If you use Nvidia's GeForce experience to automatically optimize your games, it'll enable MFAA in place of MSAA by default.

Next page: Performance benchmarks and a final verdict on Nvidia's Titan X graphics card.

Benchmarking the Titan X's performance

So why does the Titan X rock such a ridiculous amount of RAM? The massive 12GB frame buffer is frankly overkill for today's games, but it helps future-proof one of the Titan X's biggest strengths: Ultra-high-resolution gaming. Higher resolutions consume more memory, especially as you ramp up anti-aliasing to smooth out jagged edges even more.

The Titan X is the first video card that can play games at 4K resolution and high graphics settings without frame rates dropping down to slideshow-esque rates.

Not at ultra-high-level details, mind you — just high. And still not at 60 frames per second (fps) in many cases. But you'll be able to play most games with acceptable smoothness, especially if you enable MFAA and have a G-Sync-compatible monitor.

 

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