Introducing The NVIDIA Titan RTX

 

All rights to NVIDIA

 

NVIDIA recently released their consumer-based Turing RTX cards featuring ray-tracing cores, improving shadows and reflections in-game and giving players a much more photo-realistic gaming experience. While the high-end RTX 2080Ti is a beast of a GPU, NVIDIA left their triumph card for last, ultimately the best GPU in 2018, and a card that will outperform the flagship RTX 2080Ti. It is no secret that NVIDIA always releases a TITAN GPU across all their GPU architectures, and Turing is no different. A few days ago, the TITAN RTX was officially revealed and is about to land on the shelves later this year. Where the RTX 2080Ti had some minor cut-downs from the TU102 GPU, the Titan RTX is a fully capable TU102 GPU with double tensor core performance and VRAM compared to the RTX 2080Ti. Yes, this beast of a GPU houses 24 GB of VRAM and 130 TFLOPS of performance.

Keep in mind that this card is both a gaming and professional GPU, especially when considering its crazy $2500 price point. Who would give out that much money for a GPU? Well, some wealthy people would and NVIDIA knows that, although 15% more raw performance for double the price of an RTX 2080Ti is not reasonable for most people, for some the price does not matter that much. At the table below, you can see the specifications of the new NVIDIA Titan RTX compared to both the consumer RTX models and the two latest workstation GPUs, the Tesla V100 and Titan V. Throwing in the workstation graphics cards seems appropriate since the Titan RTX card sits right in-between and can satisfy both gamers and professionals.

 

Titan RTX vs Titan V vs Tesla V100 Vs Consumer RTX Specification Comparison

GPU NameNVIDIA Titan RTXNVIDIA Titan VNVIDIA Tesla V100 PCIe NVIDIA RTX 2080TiNVIDIA RTX 2080NVIDIA RTX 2070
ArchitectureTuringVoltaVoltaTuringTuringTuring
FoundryTSMCTSMCTSMCTSMCTSMCTSMC
Process size12 nm
12 nm
12 nm
12nm12nm12nm
GenerationGeForce 2000GeForce 1000GeForce 1000GeForce 2000GeForce 2000GeForce 2000
Release DateDecember 3rd, 2018December 7th, 2018June 21st, 2017September 20th, 2018September 20th, 2018October 17th, 2018
Die Size754 mm²815 mm²815 mm²754 mm²545 mm²445 mm²
Memory Size24 GB12 GB16 GB11 GB8 GB8 GB
Memory TypeGDDR6HBM2HBM2GDDR6GDDR6GDDR6
Memory Bus384 bit
3072 bit
4096 bit
352 bit256 bit256 bit
Bandwidth672.0 GB/s
652.8 GB/s
897.0 GB/s
616.0 GB/s448.0 GB/s448.0 GB/s
Transistors18,600 million
21,100 million
21,100 million
18,600 million13,600 million10,800 million
Base Clock1350 MHz
1200 MHz
1246 MHz
1350 MHz1515 MHz1410 MHz
Boost Clock1770 MHz
1455 MHz
1380 MHz
1545 MHz1710 MHz1620 MHz
Memory Clock14000 MHz1700 MHz1752 MHz14000 MHz14000 MHz14000 MHz
Tensor Cores576640640544368288
Shading Units460851205120435229442304
Founder's Edition Launch Price 2,499 USD2,999 USD10,000 USD1,199 USD799 USD599 USD
Aftermarket GPU Launch Price (MSRP)---999 USD699 USD499 USD

 

A quick history throwback on the Titan series

All rights to NVIDIA

 

Any GPU holding the “Titan” trademark always has lots to live up too. A couple of years ago, Titan GPUs were always launched first by NVIDIA and then followed by the consumer GPUs. Especially before Pascal in 2016, Titan GPUs would stand out as undeniably the best graphics cards only the few could afford, ranging in the $1000+ price range. The consumer-based GPUs would launch later with the “Ti” model coming after all other gaming GPUs of the current architecture had been launched. While the “Ti” was still a great choice for gamers and yielded powerful performance, it could not hold its own against the Titan GPU. From a price to performance standpoint, it did not make sense to purchase a Titan GPU, and that was ok since it was and still is more of a “niche” product than anything else. So the typical NVIDIA GPU launch, Pascal included, would look like this:

1. Titan launch
2. x80, x-70 launch
3. x-60, x-50 launch
4. x-80ti launch

While the Pascal launch happened according to this formula with the Titan XP launching first and then the consumer based GTX 1080, 1070, 1060, 1050Ti and 1050 launching afterward and the GTX 1080Ti coming a few months later in March 2017, something had changed with the GTX 1080Ti launch. For the first time, the GTX 1080Ti had almost the same specifications as the Titan XP and outperformed the Titan XP in most games as you can witness in the video below:

 

The identical performance and specs between the Titan XP and GTX 1080Ti, of course, infuriating gamers who had spent their money on a Titan XP as others who waited half a year and bought the GTX 1080Ti, got a small performance advantage in games for $500 less. This uproar caused NVIDIA to make things even worse by releasing another Titan Xp (yes with a small “p” this time) and confuse gamers even more. Check out the video below by JaysTwoCents for more information on that:

 

How does the NVIDIA Titan RTX fit into the current GPU market?

Fast forward to 2018 and the RTX GPUs, NVIDIA revamped their GPU launch model completely with the RTX 2080Ti, RTX 2080 and RTX 2070 launching together this time and the Titan model being announced three months later. The launch model is not the only thing that got changed completely. If you take a look at pricing, you will see that the RTX 2080Ti with its $1000 MSRP (good luck finding one at that price) sits around the same price as older Titan models. And while someone would think that NVIDIA had no better GPU under their hood, there comes the Titan RTX with double the price of the RTX 2080Ti, outperforming the current RTX flagship card. Unfortunately, the price difference does not justify the small 15% we should be getting according to the specifications of the card.

Supposedly people had $2500 to spend on a new GPU, who should buy one? Well, given the fact that this card comes with GDDR6 and not HBM2 like the Tesla V100 and Titan V, which are workstation GPUs, this card makes sense for those who want to enjoy benefits from both gaming and professional graphics work, essentially combining both. The 24GB VRAM makes it perfect for demanding graphical applications while the identical base clock of 1350MHz and an increased boost clock of 1770MHz of the Titan RTX make it a great candidate for gaming as well. Additionally, NVIDIA enabled NVLink for their Titan RTX card, so if somebody is crazy enough to buy two of these beasts and run them in SLI, they can do that. Clearly, 2x Titan RTX cards and a 4K 165Hz IPS monitor is heaven for any gamer but very few people can afford that as tempting as it sounds. If you are capable of spending $2500 on a GPU though and $2000 on the monitor, an additional $2500 on a second GPU should not be much of a problem, I guess.

From a designing standpoint, the Titan RTX looks more like the other RTX models rather than the Titan V, with its dual fan configuration, 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0 port and a USB Type C port as well as support for VR headsets. If you take into consideration the fact that this card is the perfect balance between gaming and professional work, the $2500 price point should not come as a surprise at all with the Titan V costing as much as $3000. Some would even argue that this card is a bang for the buck by being $500 less expensive (just kidding). From a gamer’s standpoint, on the flip side, spending this amount only for gaming is ridiculous but for someone interested in professional workloads apart from gaming, the price makes much more sense. It will be interesting to see if either gamers or professionals would choose the Titan RTX over the RTX 2080Ti or Titan V, the cards that the Titan RTX has to compete with.

To sum it up, the Titan RTX is not a GPU for the masses but one that combines gaming and professional work effectively. If you are mostly a gamer, you should check out my detailed review of the consumer RTX cards, HERE. If by any means, though, you can afford to spend that amount of money on a GPU, the performance will certainly not disappoint you and the increased clock speeds compared to the Titan V and the enormous 24GB of VRAM will undoubtedly come in handy for use cases besides gaming. For sole gaming purposes, though you would be much better off getting a standard RTX card, whose prices might be inflated in comparison to older NVIDIA generation cards but, at least, you know that you are spending your money to get a card that has been made with gaming in mind. To make things clear for you, check out the graph below:

  • The Titan RTX is the perfect card for combining gaming and workstation applications. You get the best of both worlds but be prepared to dive deep into your pockets. Performance should be roughly 15% higher than the flagship RTX 2080Ti.
  • The RTX 2080Ti is for PC Enthusiasts who are more focused on gaming than doing any professional work. The RTX 2080Ti is the card to go to if you are just into gaming. No need spending more money for your gaming purposes.
  • The RTX 2080 is, again, a high-end card on par with the GTX 1080Ti performance-wise. If you do not want to spend too much on an RTX 2080Ti, the RTX 2080 is the perfect choice for you and will not leave you disappointed as it is perfectly suitable for 4K 60Hz and 2560×1440 144Hz gaming.
  • The RTX 2070 is slightly better than the GTX 1080 and is a great 2560×1440 60Hz card and is even suited for 2560×1440 144Hz gaming should you be willing to turn performance down a notch from Ultra to High or figure out custom setting in each game.  This card makes sense for most people as it is much more price-friendly and provides excellent performance for its price tag.

 

The Titan RTX is an expensive beast

There is no denying that NVIDIA put their best effort into the Titan RTX to make it the best GPU in 2018. We will not see a better GPU for many years to come. With its 24 GB of VRAM, GDDR6 memory and even better clock speeds than the RTX 2080Ti, this card is ideal for anyone interested in both gaming and professional workloads. If someone asked me to characterize the Titan RTX with two words, I would say “expensive beast.” And I believe that most gamers would agree with me since $2500 is not a forgettable amount of money to be spent on a GPU. On the flipside, for professionals looking for a GPU, the $2500 might not look that expensive especially if they have been using the Titan V with its $3000 price point. In all honesty, though, for gaming purposes alone, the Titan RTX makes little to no sense. Even the RTX 2080Ti at half the price is too much to ask for casual gamers. So if you had been complaining about the “outrageous” price of the RTX 2080Ti, do not even consider looking at the Titan RTX.

However, if you have the spending capacity to get your hands on a Titan RTX once it becomes available, you will be amazed by what this card will bring to the table. While no benchmarks are available yet, the specifications speak for themselves. But, then again, the Titan RTX is supposed to be a “niche” product appealing only to a small percentage of gamers. GPU manufacturers profit much more from the professional GPU market than from the consumer GPU market, which is no secret and is the main reason why workstation GPUs hit the market first followed by gaming GPUs. All in all, regarding gaming, the Titan RTX will crush any competition once it comes out. As far as workstation GPUs are concerned though, it would be interesting to see how the Titan RTX stacks up against the Titan V in professional workloads. I will make sure to post gaming and professional benchmarks to showcase how the Titan RTX performs against the other RTX cards and the Titan V.

 

I would be interested to hear your opinion on the Titan RTX in the comment section below. What do you think of the card? Do you think the Titan RTX will be powerful enough to satisfy both gamers and professionals with the price of the card in mind?