NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN; GK110ís Opening Act

Author: SKYMTL
Date: February 18, 2013
Product Name: GeForce GTX Titan
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GTX TITAN Under the Microscope

With its incorporation of high end materials, NVIDIAís GeForce Titan looks more like the GTX 690 than other members of the GeForce lineup. This shouldnít be a surprise considering the astronomical $999 price, but the focus here is efficient heat conduction and quiet operation. Plus, it just looks great and only measures 10.5Ē long, making for an easy fit into nearly any case.

Unfortunately, unlike its dual card sibling, the GTX TITAN doesnít have any of the fancy materials like a silver trivalent chromium finish or injection molded magnesium alloy. Rather, it uses cast aluminum panels which have been bolted together in order to ensure they donít divert from their laser-like positioning. Thereís also a heat resistant polycarbonate window.

One of the most important aspects of this design is its ability to exhaust hot air outside of the chassis. This allows the TITAN to become a perfect fit for SFF cases which have limited cooling capabilities and were simply overwhelmed by the GTX 690ís axial heatsink design.

The TITANís rearmost area is dominated by a secondary heatsink which maximizes the fanís intake airflow. Power is handled by an 8+6 pin combination, which ensures adequate current while also providing adequate room for overclocking.

For those with windowed cases, NVIDIA has provided a glowing GeForce GTX logo thatís been laser cut into the TITANís cast aluminum side panel.

The backplate doesnít show any surprises with two DVI connectors as well as full-size DisplayPort and HDMI outputs. Luckily, this allows for triple monitor support without using any adapters, though for 3D Vision Surround youíll need an expensive active DisplayPort to Dual Link DVI dongle.

The TITANís primary heatsink is quite extensive and covers the core as well as all front-mounted memory ICs. It uses a closed vapor chamber topped with a dense fin array that is optimized to funnel fresh air quickly and efficiently along with a custom Shin Etsu thermal compound for optimal heat transfer. NVIDIA has also extended the secondary heatsink so it covers nearly all of the VRM components and acts as a PCB stiffener, reducing board flex.

With the heatsink removed, the sheer size of the GK110 core becomes evident alongside the 24 GDDR5 ICs (12 on the front and 12 on the PCBís underside). On reference boards, NVIDIA has installed an advanced 6+2 phase all-digital PWM layout which should provide adequate and stable board current.

Finally, the boardís underside reveals a non-standard heatsink bolt pattern which hasnít been used by any past NVIDIA card. It seems like this PCB layout has been lifted directly from the Tesla version since it features a second 8-pin power connector location which is utilized on some K20x cards.

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