Nvidia GTX Titan Black v Palit GTX780 Ti Jetstream OC (1080p, 1600p and 4K)

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Even though the Nvidia Titan was never truly designed as a gamers card, the high end enthusiast audience have been buying them en masse since they released. A muted launch in February this year saw the new Nvidia GTX Titan Black hit retail shelves. Nvidia didn’t sample the new card, with the reasoning that it was not a target for the gaming audience. Nvidia partners didn’t really sample the cards either, as they were forced to adhere to the Nvidia reference cooler design.

Even though the Titan Black retails for around £800 – the wealthy enthusiast gamer has been snapping them up to play the latest Direct X 11 titles. Is the Titan Black really worth the £300 premium over some of the best GTX780 Ti’s currently available today? Does the Titan Black’s extra 3GB of GDDR5 memory really make a difference with current games at Ultra HD 4K resolutions?
650px1 Nvidia GTX Titan Black v Palit GTX780 Ti Jetstream OC (1080p, 1600p and 4K)

Since the Nvidia Titan Black launched, we have been inundated with emails and comments from our readers on Facebook asking if we can take a look at the new hardware. Nvidia might have expected these requests to come from CUDA developers aching to analyse the double precision performance – but alas, they were all gamers.

To get the most in the latest games from either a GTX780 Ti or GTX Titan Black then we recommend you pair up with at least a 30 inch 1600p screen. This is why we have tested today at both 2560×1600 and 3840×2160 resolutions.

We have been testing at Ultra HD 4k for the last 6 months because we know the future of enthusiast level gaming will be based around a single Ultra HD 4K screen. This is exactly why you should be considering at a GTX Titan Black.

We know some our audience are still using triple screen configurations, but research in the last year has shown that most people will never consider more than one screen, due to the physical desk space required to house them all. Unless you pick up specialised monitors then the bezel on each screen can also prove distracting when gaming across a spanned image.

It is worth reiterating that the cost of an Ultra HD 4K screen will continue to drop this year and we think in 2015 that they will finally become affordable for a much wider audience. A case in point is the ASUS PQ321QE panel we use for Ultra HD 4k testing – last year this cost £2,999.99 and it has already dropped by March 2014 to £2,399.99. Thats a sizable 25 percent drop within four months.

Today we include additional tests, because hundreds of readers have asked us to include results at 1080p. It is worth pointing out that I sincerely don’t recommend you spend £800 on a graphics card to play games at 1920×1080 resolution, but the level of feedback has made us aware that a lot of our readers are feeling neglected.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)
Nvidia GTX Titan Black v Palit GTX780 Ti Jetstream OC (1080p, 1600p and 4K), 4.3 out of 5 based on 6 ratings
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  • Richard

    I was disappointed with this review.
    It would be more useful to compare at the same core/memory speeds,
    so that we can ascertain whether that extra 3Gb of vram is actually useful.
    For that reason, it would also be great to see a comparison of how much vram each test/game is actually using.
    I also think that if you’re comparing two of nvidia’s top gpus, why not completely max out the display settings and see how they compare?
    It might show the frame rate dropping below playable for most games, but would be a better comparison.
    The thing I’m most disappointed with is that you vendors aren’t allowed to add custom coolers to the titan black. That would allow for more overclocking headroom (or cooler/quieter performance).
    But that’s not your fault.

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  • http://www.kitguru.net Zardon

    Hi Richard, thanks for the feedback. The issue is that these are solutions that people could buy, its not a scientific clock per clock compare just focusing on memory count. Most manufacturers are selling overclocked GTX780 Ti’s for £300 less than a GTX Titan. In that regard it is a real world, buying advice test, not a 40 page analysis of memory count. This is also a giveaway as to why we have included 1080p and 1600p tests.

    Basically as you know for gaming the cards are the same architectures – same ROPS. texture units, CUDA cores etc and the point of the review isn’t JUST 6GB v 3GB, its a buying advice article and what you can get for your money. Some of the games incidentally such as Tomb Raider are maxed out at 4K and they still don’t need the 6GB of memory. This might change in the future however with upcoming games, but right now, nothing I have tested requires 6GB of memory.

    Some of the games if we set everything to maximum would show a running frame rate of say 8 fps on Titan Black and 10 fps on GTX780 Ti OC, nothing is using more than 3GB of GDDR5 memory so its again related to the core speeds and architecture, not the memory. Neither where playable however and SLI x3 would be the only route to get smooth frame rates at maximum settings in some titles at 4K. But thats another article completely. The GTX Titan Black is very poor value for money for gamers based on the GTX 780 Ti, so it makes sense that Nvidia didn’t sample or focus on it for the gamer audience. People still buy them however!

    The 6GB of memory will be useful for CUDA developers, but for gamers in 2014 – so far its not worth the £300 cost difference.

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  • Anusha

    I found it useful. I think a lot of people underestimate just how much 3GB of GDDR5 can handle.

    I read another article which showed a ton of Skyrims mods taking 4GB of memory, but I used them myself and they are so badly coded that the memory is basically being EATEN up and growing all the time – even if you have 6GB of GDDR5 if you play it long enough it will go past that as well and still kill performance. Its bad coding on third party mods that may make a little difference between 3GB and 6GB, but I don’t notice any different at 4K myself between a titan and a GTX780 Ti (I have both in two different systems). Adding a clock for clock test might have been interesting, but until we get a game that we know uses say 4GB to run properly, its all pointless.

    The issue is game developers – we need a new CRYSIS to push the hardware forward, the hardware is generations ahead of the crap PC games we are given today.

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  • Greg

    Good read over lunch today. I was expecting something exciting to happen, but I agree with Anusha. Game developers need to start using higher resolution textures and graphics, but they won’t. Why? Because most PC titles dont make a ton of money and they are ported over from consoles. This drives me nuts. If we had another CRYSIS title in 2014 with new technologies and demand on GPU hardware it would not only sell a ton of copies, but drive sales of hardware for both AMD and Nvidia.

    This is what we are missing.

    Still, I want a 4K monitor for the future, but I used a Dell one recently and the desktop was so tiny that I thought I had gone blind. Would need a lot of work to make icons and text bigger to use it properly I think.

    prices are down and its good to see more reviews using 4K, 1080p is still the most important res for 99% of the audience I would imagine.

    That Palit card is a killer, its well priced and quiet and runs at only 66c? Is that the best GTX 780 Ti out there?

    GTX TITAN BLACK is a epenis purchase. rich kids get one or two just to tell people. Shame the coolers are not great. I dont think they are good at all, contrary to what Zardon says in this editorial. I wouldn’t buy one, without changing the cooler to a new model.

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  • Ben

    I just bought a Palit GTX780 Ti Jetstream based on this article. I had a titan preordered from OCUK, but cancelled it as I won’t need it.Good article to dispel the myth about Titan Black, although some people are so miseducated on the titan cards that they base the reasons for buying one entirely on the fact the ‘name is cool’.

    A titan black is clearly just a GTX780 Ti with software changes to allow for double precision. Its clever how Nvidia do it, and its a good option against some of the more expensive quadro boards etc.

    Just ordered my new 4K screen too, waiting on it to arrive – excited !

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  • Topperfalkon

    Good info. im waiting to see the clock speeds on that 8GB Toxic Edition from Sapphire – be curious to see if they can knock the titan black for six. They need to work so much harder though as the R9 290X is almost already catching fire they run so hot.

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  • Denna

    Surprised to see a comparison, I know Nvidia didn’t promote this as a gaming card, but the introduction explains it all well and the reasoning behind it.

    I agree with Greg – Nvidia reference coolers are not good, not sure what Zardon is smoking (but can I have some?). You can’t base the point that nvidia coolers are good comparing them to AMD’s. They are just ‘worse’.

    You can easily mod a GTX titan Black to use a new cooler, but two watercooled would be the best bet.

    I also want to see the upcoming Sapphire cards – they tend to push the boundaries for AMD and fix their mistakes.

    I think they will both be power guzzlers and run hot. I know the 6GB HD7970 that Zardon loved was loud as hell and run very hot.

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  • Christopher Hall-Nelson

    I have a GTX Titan Black and I love it, I dont overclock and do a little CUDA development so its useful on that regard. (much cheaper than the high end Quadro boards!).

    In 2015 I think 6GB will be needed, especially when 4K gets more prominent, but it will take game developers to change their way of thinking and not just focus on console sales, or nothing will ever get better. Sure the Xbox one and PS4 are using more modern hardware, but it depends the starting point that developers create their textures and mapping and whether it will be viable for them to create completely different versions.

    I think if its done right, that the GTX titan Black V2, ‘or platinum’ may have 12GB of memory and be a big seller in the high end gaming market in late 2015. but the games will drive the development and demand.

    As we stand, the hardware is years ahead of the games. Not good.

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  • dinglesniff

    This review to me feels flawed as it does not really ascertain the benefit of a Titan. The Titan needs to be used in a surround setup at 1600p/1440p Baasha on the other forums has surround 4k monitors
    http://forums.evga.com/tm.aspx?m=2128391
    http://www.overclock.net/t/1472145/got-4k/0_70#post_21907126
    http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1809835

    He stated he NEEDS/ uses all 6GB in Surround. Then if he turns on AA it crashes, since there is not enough memory.

    I have TRI SLI Titans and in game I also cap out at 5.2GB at times in games like Titanfall at 4800×2560 on 1600p surround portrait mode (landscape uses less ram).

    Now if I was going 1 1440p monitor I would say, yes a 780 ti makes sense, but when you go to Surround 1600p and above, you NEED the extra Vram. I am very pleased with my titan and it was definitely needed.

    Edit: I feel this review is flawed as it did ascertain the benefit of a titan which is in surround. For 1 1600p and below monitor I do not technically feel you need a Titan 100%. I feel you only really see the 6GB of VRAM benefit when you hit 4k / surround monitors. The reason being is that I personally have seen my cards use close to 5.2GB of VRAM in games. They crash once AA comes into play due to the VRAM wall. But hey at 4800 x 2560 AA is not important.

    Also, this review should also have compared the Titan Black to the regular Titan. The Titan black has its voltage locked whereas the Titan is unlocked and can move to 1.3V vs the Titan Black cap. This allows more room for overclocking specifically on water. I have seen on stock clocks the regular Titan hit 1175/1200mhz at 1.213- 1.225 V no problem (when you set the volts to this level it will fluctuate +/- .2/.3v

    Then on Water there are people who have gotten the Titan to over 1400mhz. Just food for thought IMO.

    Now, I am definitely in the minority, most people are not doing Surround, but to say that it is a dying breed as was eloquently (not verbatim) put in the review is false, I find more and more people moving towards surround as we thirst for more and more in our home theatre / computer setup

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  • dinglesniff

    Per my post above,

    I meant to add though that as Skupples and OCCAM would say on the Titan forum. It does not really make sense to put these two cards against each other for speed as they are the SAME CARD. The Titan Black is the 780 ti with 6GB of Vram

    “It is asinine to think there would be a performance difference, besides silicon lottery between Titan black & 780Ti.

    The tests only cover single screen resolutions. 1600P, 4K.”

    The true test would be in Surround and pit the 780 to 780ti titan to titan black.

    This would be a worthwhile benchmark. We also did a preliminary test on this of
    1vs2vs3vs4way SLI (not as in depth as this) but it was on surround monitors 1440p & 1600p. I would recommend these benchmarks being done again on this type of platform.

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  • Ian

    Dinglesniff – the review is not focusing on 3 screen gaming, its not even in the title – the author explains why. It has never taken off and a lot of people dont have the deskspace for 3/6 screens anyway. This is probably why it hasn’t.

    I agree with the author, the future is Ultra HD 4K, and for the purposes of the review – which weren’t specifically to sell a Titan, it makes sense to save the cash.

    It may seem obvious to the hard core guru’s that the titan and GTX 780 Ti are basically the same card (with a £300 price difference, clock speed changes and crap cooler), but people are buying them for gaming at 1080p/1600p/4K and spending £300 more for the luxury. It has been proved you don’t need one.

    I think a handful of people are under the impression this review should be a sales pitch for the titan and trying hard to find some obscure situation where the titan might have an edge (its a pro level card thats the benefit). I used to game on 3 screens and it was a pain in the ass getting it to even work right (6GB 7970) – I dont think a titan would cure that. the bezels look crap too. The future is 4K so I am glad it was covered.

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  • Xtreme

    The review has very set parameters due to reader feedback based on what I read in the introduction – 1080p, 1600p and Ultra HD 4K. The hardware was then tested at those settings and the results were posted. How is that Flawed? because you bought a couple of GTX Titan Blacks and feel you wasted £600?

    Seriously, lets keep the fanboyism off Kitguru, I like this site due to the fact everyone seems to have their head screwed on and reviews are always explaining the reasoning for the tests (even in the header) on the first page.

    GTX titan is a great card, but I agree, for almost everyone who games – it is a bad buy as it has software support for double precision for specific professional level development and creation duties. For those people it is a bargain.

    People who game with 3 screens are less than 1%, if they have a GTX Titan for that, it makes sense, but for the 99% other percent and the growing population who want sharper, higher resolution 4K graphics, this review was very useful. especially for me, as I just spent £2,399 on an ASUS screen from OCUK and have a budget of £1000 for graphics. I just ordered two 780 Ti’s.

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  • blacky75

    Well, looks like the 780ti is worth the money, compared to the titan black…. BUT… you nned to know why you buy it for! I’m running X-plane, and the scenery can be loaded so hard, that the best PC specs today, at full details/option (@1080i), will bring the computer on its knees.
    I bought the Black Edition for its 6GbVram… 3 are fine, with 6 you can push further through the scenery :-) X-Plane uses alot of Vram. The more the scenery is charged, the more vram you’ll need. FPS start dropping once you reached the limits of available VRam and need more. So here it’s not that about only speed, but mainly vram needs.
    happy gaming ;-)
    cheers

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