A preview of potential Volta gaming hardware

We dive into the gaming performance of the TITAN V

This is a multi-part story for the NVIDIA Titan V:

As a surprise to most of us in the media community, NVIDIA launched a new graphics card to the world, the TITAN V. No longer sporting the GeForce brand, NVIDIA has returned the Titan line of cards to where it began – clearly targeted at the world of developers and general purpose compute. And if that branding switch isn’t enough to drive that home, I’m guessing the $2999 price tag will be.

Today’s article is going to look at the TITAN V from the angle that is likely most interesting to the majority of our readers, that also happens to be the angle that NVIDIA is least interested in us discussing. Though targeted at machine learning and the like, there is little doubt in my mind that some crazy people will want to take on the $3000 price to see what kind of gaming power this card can provide. After all, this marks the first time that a Volta-based GPU from NVIDIA has shipped in a place a consumer can get their hands on it, and the first time it has shipped with display outputs. (That’s kind of important to build a PC around it…)

From a scientific standpoint, we wanted to look at the Titan V for the same reasons we tested the AMD Vega Frontier Edition cards upon their launch: using it to estimate how future consumer-class cards will perform in gaming. And, just as we had to do then, we purchased this Titan V from NVIDIA.com with our own money. (If anyone wants to buy this from me to recoup the costs, please let me know! Ha!)

  Titan V Titan Xp GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070 RX Vega 64 Liquid Vega Frontier Edition
GPU Cores 5120 3840 3584 2560 2432 1920 4096 4096
Base Clock 1200 MHz 1480 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz 1406 MHz 1382 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1582 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz 1677 MHz 1600 MHz
Texture Units 320 240 224 160 152 120 256 256
ROP Units 96 96 88 64 64 64 64 64
Memory 12GB 12GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB
Memory Clock 1700 MHz MHz 11400 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz 1890 MHz 1890 MHz
Memory Interface 3072-bit
384-bit G5X 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2
Memory Bandwidth 653 GB/s 547 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 484 GB/s 484 GB/s
TDP 250 watts 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts 345 watts 300 watts
Peak Compute 12.2 (base) TFLOPS
14.9 (boost) TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $2999 $1299 $699 $499   $399 $699 $999

The Titan V is based on the GV100 GPU though with some tweaks that lower performance and capability slightly when compared to the Tesla-branded equivalent hardware. Though our add-in card iteration has the full 5120 CUDA cores enabled, the HBM2 memory bus is reduced from 4096-bit to 3072-bit and it has one of the four stacks on the package disabled. This also drops the memory capacity from 16GB to 12GB, and memory bandwidth to 652.8 GB/s.

We have yet to spend the proper time digesting the Volta architecture properly, and that is something we want to fix before the consumer cards may be released next year. In fact, there is a decent chance that Volta as it exists today may NEVER be released as a consumer-facing product. Instead we might see another chip iteration to lower costs, remove some of that double-precision horsepower, and help increase margins.

Finally, due to time constraints, we are “moving ahead in our action” in order to provide as much data as quickly as possible. We will follow up this story that looks at gaming performance with one that looks at GPU-compute based workloads, single and double-precision, to get a better idea of how the Titan V compares to the Titan Xp and the Vega 64 / Frontier Edition cards in the workloads it is directly targeted at.

The NVIDIA Titan V Graphics Card

From a design perspective, the Titan V is mostly unchanged externally from the Titan Xp or GTX 1080 Ti implementations. We have a two-slot, blower-style cooler with the angular shroud design. The Titan V gets the champagne treatment for color, making it unique in that way.

The Titan V has a 250 watt TDP and requires an 8-pin and 6-pin power connector to operate. External output connections include 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI; again the same as other recent NVIDIA Founders Edition hardware.

Despite that fact that it looks the same, the cooler on the Titan V is new too. It is still a vapor chamber design but instead of using a copper base and aluminum fins, the fins on this cooler are all copper as well. This gives the card a definite heft increase, and was the first thing we noticed when taking it out the box in the office.

We already took the card apart in our first story and teardown video posted this week, so head over and visit that page for the footage if you are interested in seeing what this guy looks like underneath. Despite the fact that Volta GPUs have been around for some time, it is an impressive feat.

GPU Clock Consistency

One of the things we always check for on a new graphics card or partner card is the clock speed consistency. With GPU Boost modifying the clocks of the GPU in order to maintain power, thermal, and voltage thresholds, we like to see how the performance of the card changes and levels out during extended use. We take advantage of the looping benchmark of Unigine Heaven for our workload and use GPU-Z to monitor clocks and temps courtesy of the NVAPI.

Results are interesting – the Volta GPU on the Titan V starts well above the 1700 MHz mark but after just 2 minutes of run time we drop below the 1600 MHz mark and find the comfortable resting place. The average from this run, with the early higher clock rates included, comes to 1602 MHz, giving you an idea of here the Titan V will operate for gaming sessions.

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