Pricing, Availability and Closing Thoughts

So you've seen the performance, you've seen the power consumption, and you've seen the design; does the GTX Titan X stack up well in today's GPU market?


Clearly and without a doubt, the GeForce GTX Titan X is now the world's fastest, single-GPU graphics card for PC gaming. With a combination of 3072 CUDA cores, 12GB of memory and impressive efficiency, the Titan X will be able to handle any game at 2560×1440, 3440×1440 and is clearly the best option for 4K gaming on a single GPU. Compare this new flagship product to NVIDIA's own GTX 980, our performance increases range from 25-50% with a good average floating in the 30-35% range, especially in those pixel dense 4K scores. That is a pretty wide delta for real-world gaming results though I imagine many of our readers expected a bit more when you saw the specifications increase by 50% across the board. But keep in mind that the clock speed of the GM200 GPU in this case is running 10-12% lower (at stock) than the GM204 used in the GTX 980, so that explains a lack of perfect scaling.

AMD's competition has two different options. First, the Radeon R9 290X based on the aging Hawaii GPU is, on average, 40-45% slower than the new GTX Titan X card. We actually measured a couple of 50%+ differences (Bioshock Infinite at 4K, Unigine Heaven) as well, giving NVIDIA's new flagship GPU a measurable, and sizeable, advantage over the best single GPU that AMD can offer.

The R9 295X2 is interesting as well – by combining two of those Hawaii GPUs on a single, very power hungry graphics card, AMD can still make the claim of the fastest graphics card. In our testing, the 295X2 produces average frame rates around 25-30% faster than the GTX Titan X. But of course that comes with all the complications associated with multi-GPU system and gaming. You have to worry about CrossFire profile updates for newer games (which are admittedly slower to appear than with NVIDIA's drivers) and you need to be concerned with frame time consistency and the ability for two GPUs to run as smoothly as possible. AMD has done a lot of work in the last two years to help improve the CrossFire experience in this area, but it will never be perfect and we saw several instances of higher frame time variance (Battlefield 4, Metro: Last Light).

Also, take note that, for gaming today, 12GB of memory is decidedly overkill. You might be able to use as much as 6-7GB based on what NVIDIA's testing has shown before the Titan X release, and they claim this makes the GPU extra "future proof" but really…12GB is just a bragging point!

Power Efficiency

NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture surprised us all with its focus on power efficiency when we were introduced to the GM204 GPU back in September of last year in the form of the GTX 980 and GTX 970. That trend continues with the GM200-based GTX Titan X, though we get into the realm of standard flagship GPU TDP levels this time. With a 250 watt TDP, the GTX Titan X is able to outperform the R9 290X by as much as 45% while using 40-50 watts less power, proving again that NVIDIA's focus on power was well founded. There is still the argument that, in theory, NVIDIA could have given gamers more performance and the expense of more power, but the need to have an architecture that scales from Tegra SoCs to flagship gaming GPUs and Tesla compute products is better served with what NVIDIA has built today.

As we look to the future when AMD will release its own new architecture, the question of whether or not AMD has taken the same path as NVIDIA remains open. Will the Fiji GPUs suffer from power efficiency deficits again – and more importantly, will that matter enough to gamers to drive them to GeForce products?

Pricing and Availability

At the GPU Technology Conference, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang let us know that the GeForce GTX Titan X will begin selling today for $999. That is the same starting MSRP that both the original Titan and the Titan Black were released at, so the Titan X fits in line with expectations.

So now, things are interesting. If you measure and decide on your GPU purchases simply by performance per dollar, then the Titan X isn't going to be your choice. The Titan X is 81% more expensive than the GTX 980 but offers a performance improvement of 30-35%. The Titan X is 178% more expensive than the R9 290X yet offers performance advantages of only 45-50%. So even though the Titan X is clearly the fastest GPU we have ever tested, it is definitely not the most cost effective. The Titan X is built of gamers that want the very best in GPU hardware and have the budget to splurge on the investment.

The Radeon R9 295X2 is $300 less than the Titan X, but offers better performance if you focus on the average frame rate. That sounds like it would be a big-time win for AMD, but as we have mentioned before, there are the concerns that surround depending on multi-GPU setups for your gaming system. Gamers that are focused on performance per dollar will find that the 295X2 is possibly the best option in PC hardware today. Just be aware of the caveats.

Final Thoughts

As a hardware enthusiast, it's impossible to not fall in love with the GeForce GTX Titan X. NVIDIA has combined specification that drop your jaw: 3072 CUDA cores, 12GB of memory and 6.14 TFLOPS of peak theoretical compute (before overclocking). The look and style of the Titan X is still at the top of its class, despite the fact that I think it might be time for a refresh. The GM200 GPU is incredibly impressive in the performance department offering gains of 35% over the GTX 980 and 45% over the R9 290X. Only the Radeon R9 295X2 can beat it but it requires a pair of GPUs to do so.

NVIDIA continues to bundle high quality hardware with extra features and programs that are getting gamers' attention. You have full feature-level DX12 support, HDMI 2.0, G-Sync variable refresh monitors, GeForce Experience software with streaming/capture capability, frequently updated drivers with major game releases, GameWorks game implementations and more. Yes, you can debate the value and importance of one of those (and other) features and technologies but it is the combination that adds up to a package that clearly appeals to PC gamers. The market share changes through 2014 prove that's the case.

Obviously the one caveat to this is that price tag – $999 is a lot to spend on a GPU that offers "only" 35% better gaming performance than the $550 GTX 980. But, much like the Intel Extreme Edition processors that continue to be released, refreshed and sold, the market proves that these parts sell enough to warrant the cost.

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