Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

NVIDIA TITAN V Video Card Gaming Review

What does $3,000 US buy you in terms of gaming performance on the PC in 2018? We are about to find out. We’ve got the Volta GPU powered NVIDIA TITAN V video card in-house, tested in thirteen games at 1440p and 4K, oh and we even overclocked it, just because.

Introduction

Today we have the NVIDIA TITAN V on our test bench today for review. This video card has a retail MSRP of $2,999.00. Obviously, the TITAN V is not your "normal" video card. In fact, some might not consider it a video card at all.

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NVIDIA TITAN V Positioning

First and foremost, the NVIDIA TITAN V is not a gaming-oriented video card. This is extremely important to differentiate the market segment the NVIDIA TITAN V is positioned for. The NVIDIA TITAN V at $2,999.00 is positioned for the professional workstation-class video card in the GPU-Compute environment, Deep Learning, AI and Cloud Computing. It packs a ton of CUDA Cores and a ton of Tensor Cores inside to play the role of a powerful GPU-Compute Supercomputer Accelerator. However, it can also game.

Up until now the TITAN line has ridden the edge between a gaming video card and a cheaper workstation-class GPU-Compute video card for professionals. Well it seems NVIDIA has finally got its act together and separated TITAN completely from the gaming GeForce GTX brand and firmly planted it in the ground of being a Supercomputer GPU-Compute accelerator video card. Finally, the naming structure is not confusing, TITAN V is clearly a successor to all other NVIDIA TITAN video cards.

NVIDIA TITAN V Specs

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Now that we know the positioning of this video card, the TITAN V also has the capacity to play games. Let’s break down the specifications.

This is where it gets good. The NVIDIA TITAN V is based on a next generation architecture that supersedes the Pascal architecture. Up until now Pascal has been the latest GPU architecture from NVIDIA. This new NVIDIA TITAN V is using a new architecture called Volta. The timeline of architectures looks like this: Volta>Pascal>Maxwell.

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The NVIDIA TITAN V (also called GV100) is first and foremost manufactured on TSMC’s 12nm FFN process. This is a reduction from the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti’s (using the 1080 Ti as the closest fastest example to compare with) TSMC 16nm FinFET process. There are 21.1 Billion transistors in TITAN V compared with 12 Billion in GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. TITAN V is 815mm2 versus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti at 471mm2.

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NVIDIA TITAN V contains 5120 CUDA Cores versus 3584 on GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Uniquely, NVIDIA TITAN V has 640 Tensor Cores. If you are familiar with NVIDIA’s GeForce gaming lineup you probably have not heard about Tensor Cores. Tensor Cores were introduced in NVIDIA’s Tesla lineup. Without getting technical, Tensor Cores are the ability for the GPU to handle matrices a lot better in mixed precision, such as 4x4 matrices. Basically, it is a GPU-Compute thing and something that benefits Deep Learning, AI and all that jazz that we are truly not concerned with for this review.

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Continuing the specification comparison, NVIDIA TITAN V has 96 ROPs and 320 Texture Units. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has 88 ROPs and 224 Texture Units. In Single Precision the NVIDIA TITAN V can do 13.8 TFLOPS and in Double Precision 6.9 TFLOPS. Tensor Performance is 110 TFLOPS. For comparison GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is 11.3 TFLOPS Single Precision.

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On clock speed NVIDIA TITAN V has a Base Clock of 1200MHz and a Boost Clock of 1455MHz. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has a Base Clock of 1481MHz and a Boost Clock of 1582MHz. In our testing clock speed does run higher in games on GTX 1080 Ti, and GPU Boost works on both video cards.

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In terms of memory NVIDIA TITAN V is also unique in that it uses HBM2 memory, 12GB of it. The memory runs on a 3072-bit memory bus width at 850MHz (1.7GHz) combined. The memory bandwidth results in a whopping 653GB/sec. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has 11GB of GDDR5X on a 352-bit memory bus width at 11GHz. That results in 484GB/sec. The NVIDIA TITAN V has 35% more memory bandwidth.

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The great thing about the new manufacturing process is that all of this on the NVIDIA TITAN V only costs 250W TDP. That is exactly the same TDP as the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. So, within the same TDP NVIDIA was able to provide this much more performance and features using a new architecture and a new manufacturing process. The video card measures 10.5 inches in length and does require an 8-pin and 6-pin power connector.

And, It Can Game

While technically not positioned for "gaming" the TITAN V can be used for gameplay. It does have hardware features games do not utilize however, such as the Tensor Cores. For gaming, this is considered wasted space. Most likely a gaming GPU would remove the Tensor Cores and opt to increase clock speed instead. This is one way how a gaming GPU can be differentiated from the GPU-Compute GPU in the future.

There is one very important thing to keep in mind about the TITAN V, since it is not "gaming oriented," that means neither are the drivers. The drivers have not been optimized for gaming performance or for specific games. This means that there could be gaming bugs, issues, or even performance problems in newer games. While the hardware may be able to play games, software/drivers also play a huge part, and gaming is not that part.

For our review today, we are going to compare the NVIDIA TITAN V to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Original MSRP on this video card was $699. Let’s see what $3,000 can buy you in terms of gaming performance today.