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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.

Sniper Elite III was released in the middle of 2014. While it's not the most graphically demanding game, it scales well across various resolutions, and it's an AMD Gaming Evolved opposite to Shadow of Mordor's Nvidia-focused graphics. Plus, it's always fun to snipe Nazis in the unmentionables in slow motion.

Next up: Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition. This recent remaster of the surprisingly excellent Sleeping Dogs actually puts a pretty severe hurting on graphics cards. Even the highest of highest-end single-GPU options hit 60fps in Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition with detail settings cranked, at 4K or 2560x1600 resolution.

Metro Last Light Redux is a remaster of the intensely atmospheric Metro Last Light, using the custom 4A Engine. Not only is the game gorgeous, it's an utter blast to play. It's tested with SSAA disabled, because SSAA drops frame rates by roughly 50 percent across the board. 

Alien Isolation is the best, most terrifying Aliens experience since the original Ridley Scott movie. The game scales well across all hardware, but looks especially scrumptious in 4K.

Bizarrely, we couldn't coax Bioshock Infinite, a regular in our test suite, into offering a 4K resolution option in its benchmarking utility, despite being able to actually play the game in 4K. Here's how the Titan X stacks up to the competition at lower resolutions, though.

I also tested the systems using two off-the-shelf benchmarking tools: 3DMark's Fire Strike, and Unigine's Valley. Both are synthetic tests but well respected in general.

Finally, here's the power usage and thermal information. For thermals, we run the Furmark stress test for 15 minutes and record the GPU temperature using SpeedFan. Power usage is the total power consumed by the PC at the wall socket, measured with a Watts Up meter during a Furmark run.

All the various Nvidia reference cards run hotter than the Radeon R9 295x2, which uses an integrated closed-loop water-cooling solution, but none of them ever generated much noise or began throttling back performance. No surprise, our Radeon R9 290X — which is known for running hot on account of its atrocious reference cooler — hangs out at the front of the pack. 

Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan X: The final verdict

Nvidia was right: Single-GPU graphics cards don't come more powerful than the Titan X. It's no contest. The Titan X truly is the first solo GPU card capable of playing 4K games at reasonable detail settings and frame rates. And that ferocious power pushes even further if you're playing with MFAA enabled, especially if you're lucky enough to have a G-Sync monitor to match.

Still, that doesn't mean the Titan X is for everybody.

If you're in the market for a graphics card this expensive, raw power is obviously a major concern. And when it comes to raw power, both the Radeon R9 295x2 and dual GTX 980s running in SLI outpunch the Titan X. While a pair of 980s is fairly equal in price ($1,100 total) to a $1,000 Titan X, the cooler-running 295x2 is far cheaper, starting at $700 on the street today, and available even cheaper with rebates. Monitors bearing AMD's FreeSync technology will also likely cost less than competing G-Sync displays when they hit the market, given that G-Sync requires the use of a costly, proprietary hardware module where FreeSync simply works over DisplayPort 1.2a.


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