Titan X review roundup: the fastest single-GPU card around

The tiger is officially out of the bag. Nvidia's sudden release of the new Pascal-based Titan X card caught everyone by surprise, and the burning question on everyone's mind now is probably "what kind of gaming performance does $1200 get me?" We took a long, hard look at some reviews around the internet and distilled the answer to that question.

We pride ourselves on long and detailed explanations, yet the Titan X merits a simple summary: it's really, really fast. To our eyes, it's the only GPU capable of playing games at 4K with all maxed-out settings. Halo products always present debatable value propositions, whether they're CPUs, GPUs, guitars or cars. The Titan X is no exception, but should you shell out a grand and two Benjamins for it, you can be safe in the knowledge that you got the fastest thing on the block.

In general, the Titan X delivers a significant boost over the GTX 1080 at 2560x1440, and an even meatier improvement at 4K. In fact, the Titan X is the only card routinely pushing around 60FPS at 4K. The actual boost over the GTX 1080 depends on the game, though.

According to sites' figures and our Mark I eyeballs, Dirt Rally, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Witcher 3, and Hitman (with DirectX 11) all see gains of 30% or more over the GTX 1080 at 2560x1440. That lead only increases at 4K, too. As interesting data points, the card's DirectX 12 and Vulkan performance seem to be top-notch, too. Doom, Ashes of the Singularity, and Quantum Break all let the Titan X flex its impressive muscles. The latter title in particular is very demanding, and the Titan X manages to pull over 50 FPS at 2560x1440, leaving the 30- and 40-FPS ranges of other cards behind. Despite the Titan X being an all-round impressive performer, there are a few exceptions. At 2560x1440, GTA V and Project Cars don't show that much improvement over a GTX 1080. If you're the lucky owner of a 4K monitor, though, you're still in for a meaty speed boost.

When it comes to frame time consistency, the GTX Titan X continues Nvidia's historically fine performance. There's little to report on that front apart from an unimpressive showing in the DirectX 12 version of Hitman. Nvidia's driver team is likely on that particular case already, though, and Hitman is challenging for any card to run smoothly to begin with.

It's clear the Titan X is pretty darn fast at its factory settings. It can go faster still, though. PC Perspective found that the Titan X has some trouble keeping its boost clocks up at its stock clock and power settings (delivered performance nonwithstanding). However, PC Perspective still pushed the boost clock 150MHz over the stock speed in its overclocking efforts, and it found that increasing the card's power limit resulted in a final, steadier boost clock of 1838 MHz. Yow. But wait, there's more! HardwareCanucks pushed its sample even further to 1923MHz, resulting in a considerable performance boost. We're curious what one of these cards might do under water.

On the power and noise front, there's little to report—good news in itself. PC Perspective found that the card keeps power draw within spec between the motherboard slot and power plugs. As for decibels, the bottom line is "a bit louder than a GTX 1080 Founders Edition," but at least that noise is of an unobtrusive character. Most sites found that GPU temperatures climbed just a little over 80º C—not bad for a big chip like this one.

What are we to take away from all of that info? Well, if you have $1200 burning a hole in your pocket right now, plus a 4K monitor, go ahead and treat yourself. You'll get the absolute best single-GPU graphics card money can buy, and the performance to show for it. At 2560x1440, the Titan X is still impressive, just slightly less so. If your graphics-card-purchasing criteria include bang for the buck, the Titan X probably isn't for you, but if you've gotta have the best, you can rest easy knowing this card is it.

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