Who’s Titan For, Anyhow?

Having established performance expectations, let’s talk about where Titan fits into NVIDIA’s product stack. First and foremost, though Titan is most certainly geared in part as a gaming video card (and that’s largely how we’ll be looking at it), that’s not the only role it serves. Titan is also going to be NVIDIA’s entry-level compute card. We’ll dive more into why that is in a bit in our feature breakdown, but the biggest factor is that for the first time on any consumer-level NVIDIA card, double precision (FP64) performance is uncapped. That means 1/3 FP32 performance, or roughly 1.3TFLOPS theoretical FP64 performance. NVIDIA has taken other liberties to keep from this being treated as a cheap Tesla K20, but for lighter workloads it should fit the bill.

As compared to the server and high-end workstation market that Tesla carves out, NVIDIA will be targeting the compute side of Titan towards researchers, engineers, developers, and others who need access to (relatively) cheap FP64 performance, and don’t need the scalability or reliability that Tesla brings. To that end Titan essentially stands alone in NVIDIA’s product stack; the next thing next to a FP64-constrained consumer card is the much more expensive Tesla K20.

Far more complex will be the gaming situation. Titan will not be pushing anything down in NVIDIA’s product stack, rather NVIDIA’s product stack will be growing up to accompany Titan. Like the GTX 690, NVIDIA is going to position Titan as a premium/luxury product, releasing it at the same $999 price point. GTX 690 itself will continue to exist at the same $999 price point, meanwhile GTX 680 will continue at its current price point of roughly $450.

Continuing the GTX 690 analogies, Titan will not only be sharing in GTX 690’s price point, but also in its design principles and distribution. This means Titan is a well-built card with its housing composed primarily of metals, with the same kind of luxury finish as the GTX 690. On the distribution side of things Asus and EVGA are once again NVIDIA’s exclusive partners for North America, and they will essentially be distributing  reference Titan cards. In time we will see some specialized variation, with water-cooling in particular being an obvious route for EVGA to go. Factory overclocks are also on the table.

With the above in mind, it goes without saying that while GTX 690 had some historical precedence in its price, the same cannot be said for Titan. The price of NVIDIA’s top-tier single-GPU video cards hovered around $500 for the GeForce 400/500 series, and while they attempted to launch at $650 for the GTX 280, the launch of the Radeon HD 4870 quickly brought that price down to earth. As such this will be the most expensive single-GPU product out of NVIDIA yet.

Top To Bottom: GTX 680, GTX Titan, GTX 690

Ultimately NVIDIA is not even going to try to compete on a price-performance basis with Titan. There are a number of potential reasons for this – ranging from the competitive landscape to yields to needs for GK110 GPUs elsewhere within NVIDIA – and all of those reasons are probably true to some extent. Regardless, NVIDIA believes that like the GTX 690 they can sell Titan as a luxury product, and hence $999. The GTX 680 and below will compose NVIDIA’s more traditional price-performance competitive fare.

As to be expected from such a price, NVIDIA’s marketing department will be handling Titan in a similar fashion as they did GTX 690. This not only includes reiterating the fact that Titan is intended to be a luxury product, but also focusing on markets where luxury products are accepted, and where Titan in particular makes sense.

Perhaps not surprisingly, with $999 video cards the makeup of consumers shifts away from both traditional big-box OEMs and DIY builders, and towards boutique builders. Boutique builders are essentially already in the business of providing luxury computers, offering an outlet for luxury buyers who need not spend their time building their own computer, and want something of higher quality than what the typical OEM provides. As such while Titan will be sold on the open market just as like any other card, NVIDIA tells us that they expect a lot of those buyers are going to be the boutiques.

For Titan in particular, NVIDIA is going to be focusing on two boutique computer concepts, reflecting the blower design of Titan as opposed to the front/back exhausting design of the GTX 690. The first concept will be SFF PCs, where blowers are a necessity due to a lack of space (and often, a lack of heavy sound dampening), and where such cards can draw fresh air in from outside the chassis.

On the other end of the spectrum will be the ultra-enthusiast market where one Titan isn’t enough, and even two may come up short. Again thanks to the fact that it’s a blower, Titan can easily be fit in an ATX motherboard for tri-SLI operation, which NVIDIA envisions not just as the ultimate gaming computer, but the ultimate NV/3D Surround computer in particular. Multi-monitor gaming with graphically intensive games can quickly nullify the performance of even a single Titan card, so tri-SLI is NVIDIA’s solution to driving three monitors as well as one Titan can drive one monitor. At the same time however, NVIDIA intends to showcase that a tri-SLI system doesn’t need to be loud, despite the cramped conditions and despite the 750W+ that 3 Titans will pull, thanks to the high quality construction of the cards. Tri-SLI has been possible for a number of years, but NVIDIA believes with Titan in particular they have a solid grip on the heat and noise concerns it typically comes with.

To that end, as part of the Titan launch NVIDIA has shipped out a number of boutique systems in either a SFF or tri-SLI full tower configuration to reviewers, in order to show off their usage concepts in completed and well-constructed systems. Anand received a SFF Tiki from Falcon Northwest, while I have received a tri-SLI equipped Genesis from Origin PC. Like Titan itself we can’t talk about the performance of these systems, but we’ll be able to go into greater detail on Thursday when the complete NDA lifts. In the meantime we’ve been able to post a few impressions, which we’ve put up on their respective articles.

Moving on, with a $999 launch price NVIDIA’s competition will be rather limited. The GTX 690 is essentially a companion product; NVIDIA’s customers can either get the most powerful single-GPU card NVIDIA offers in a blower design, or an alternative design composed of two lesser GPUs in SLI, in a front and rear exhausting design. The GTX 690 will be the faster card, but at a higher TDP and with the general drawbacks of SLI. On the other hand Titan will be the more consistent card, the lower TDP card, the easier to cool card, but also the slower card. Meanwhile though it’s not a singular product, the GTX 680 SLI will also be another option, offering higher performance, higher TDP, more noise, and a cheaper price tag of around $900.

As for AMD, with their fastest single-GPU video card being the 7970 GHz Edition, offering performance closer to the GTX 680 than Titan, Titan essentially sits in a class of its own on the single-GPU front. AMD’s competition for Titan will be the 7970GE in CrossFire, and then the officially unofficial 7990 family, composed of the air-cooled PowerColor 7990, and the closed loop water-cooled Asus Ares II. But with NVIDIA keeping GTX 690 around, these are probably closer competitors to the multi-GPU 690 than they are the single-GPU Titan.

Finally, let’s talk launch availability. By scheduling the launch of Titan during the Chinese New Year, NVIDIA has essentially guaranteed this is a delayed availability product. Widespread availability is expected on the 25th, though cards may start popping up a couple of days earlier. NVIDIA hasn’t gone into depth for launch quantities, but they did specifically shoot down the 10,000 card rumor; this won’t be a limited run product and we don’t have any reason at this time to believe this will be much different from the GTX 690’s launch (tight at first, but available and increasingly plentiful).

February 2013 GPU Pricing Comparison
  $1000 GeForce GTX Titan/690
(Unofficial) Radeon HD 7990 $900  
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition $450 GeForce GTX 680
Radeon HD 7970 $390  
  $350 GeForce GTX 670
Radeon HD 7950 $300  


GeForce GTX Titan Meet The GeForce GTX Titan
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  • ehpexs - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Great card, too rich for my blood though. For those who can afford one or two (or four) enjoy. I'll stick to my $550 pair of 7950s.
  • Wreckage - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Remember the 7970's were $1100 at launch.
  • TheCrackLing - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Then how did I manage to pay only $1150 for 2 at launch?

    The 7970s were around $550-600 at launch, nowhere near $1100.
  • Wreckage - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    I was (obviously) responding to his statement "pair of 7950s". If I could edit my post I suppose I could change it to CF and up the price $50. Either way Titan is in line with AMD pricing.
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    So according to your logic, we can expect to pay 2k for cards that are twice as fast as the titan in the future?
  • just4U - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - link

    Well... I recall paying almost 800 for a Geforce3 at launch. So hmmm.. i don't think the high end has gone up much (if at all..) over the past decade. Sometimes it comes down if Nvidia/Amd are duking it out on pricing but overall it's remainded fairly consistant.
  • JonnyDough - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    And it shouldn't. These cards get cheaper and cheaper for them to produce. Their profit margins just continue to climb. In other words, we're getting poorer and poorer in comparison to the upper class but nobody is taking notice...game on, until you can't afford to live.
  • shompa - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    Cheaper and cheaper to produce? How do you know that? Do you have wafer prices from TSMC and Global foundries? Or are you like many uneducated people who believes everything gets automatic cheaper with smaller process technology? *hint* Wafer prices goes up for each shrink. Thats why the majority of all microprocessors are manufactured at 65-90nm!

    Look also at AMDs profit margins. Oh... They are loosing money. Guess they have zero profit.

    To many uneducated people on the internet!
  • rupert3k - Saturday, June 1, 2013 - link

    Is that tone really necessary?
  • TheJian - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - link

    ROFL. AMD lost 1.18B this last year and NV only made 725mil (with a 300mil Intel payment).

    NV made ~800mil in FY07 and lost money in 08 & 09 FY's lost 100mil, '10 made 235, '11 530m, last year finally hitting 725...It's taken them 5yrs to come close to what they USED TO MAKE.

    You apparently don't read balance sheets or earnings reports.

    For AMD I'll just give you the sum of the last 5-6. They lost a total of 5.1B roughly...THEY HAVEN'T MADE MONEY over the last 5 years they lost their fabs, wrote down ATI, laid off 30% of employees etc...They just lost 1.18B last year for christ's sake. You'd better PRAY amd stops giving away games and raises the price of their gpus/cpus before they go bankrupt. At the rate they are burning cash now they will be out of funding by the end of the year. Do you understand that? 5 years=5B+ in losses. Read a balance sheet once in a while before you say junk like this.

    Also note, just looking at NV, they are getting ~300mil per year right now from INTC. So they aren't even making what I said! AMD's margins are at 15%! NV 53%. Regardless of what you think of the price, neither is sticking it to you compared to the performance gains they are giving you every year and what it costs to get them. AMD, looking at the entire life of the company (I'm not going to actually do it), I don't think has actually made a $1 profit...LOL. They're gouging you? Feel free to pull up every year of earnings they have had since existence. I think you'll find they have actually LOST money.
    AMD's 10yr, has lost at least a few billion with a quick look. Is this computing in your head yet? In the last 10yrs AMD total has lost ~3-4Billion dollars. They aren't making SQUAT! If it weren't for large backers they'd be bankrupt ages ago. They were just downgraded by Fitch TWO grades to JUNK BOND status (just like USA two downgrades since obama took office)...In financial terms, it means NOT INVESTMENT GRADE.

    They are getting killed by INTC/NVDA. Now a cadre of a good 5 players are entering their cpu/server business. They will continue to lose money and be lucky to make it to 2014 without yet another borrowing fiasco and this time and even higher rates of interest due to junk status.

    NVDA finally hit record cash/revenue this year (and margins, but by a decimal, helped by Intel 300mil), after 5 years! What margins are you talking about? While a FAR better company than AMD, gaining share, entering new markets etc, NV isn't getting RICH either. Their future looks bright (AMD looks bankrupt or bought by 2014 without help), but unless you can prove otherwise they are in no way ripping you off. BOTH companies should be charging $50+ more on every card under $500. Granted the high end is what it is (middle income people don't drive Lamborghini's either), but the low end is costing them both with their current war that's been on for ~5yrs.

    AMD has 1B in cash. If they lose another 1B this year that's gone, how do you think they run the company with no cash? No money coming from consoles will go on the books until the end of the year (and those sales won't be phenomenal IMHO, look at vita/3ds/wiiu failures and cuts), and mobile won't bring them a dime until mid 2014 at best on the books with no ARM until then. Are you doing the math here?

    Get a better job, or quit buying things your budget can't afford! While your at it vote in a president who is PRO BUSINESS and ANTI TAX/SPEND. Start voting for people who CUT GOVT SPENDING & TAXES, then maybe you'll pay a little less in taxes, and more of us we'll be working to cover it because guess what happens when you cut taxes? (see Coolidge presidency, or Reagan, Coolidge was Reagan's hero...LOL...well duh - heard of the ROARING 20's?). Companies hire workers, and people start small businesses...Which causes...Wait for it...REVENUE to come in to cover the tax cuts! It should go without saying you need to CUT spending also when doing this for it to work (they keep kicking the can down the road today, again next month).

    Guess what came after the roaring 20's? A TAX AND SPENDER! What do they create? THE DEPRESSION! LOL. What is Obama creating? The depression v2.0 (well, amped up to 16.5 trillion levels I guess depression v9.9?).


    He didn't bail out flood victims, didn't bail out farmers (piss off), not even his hometown state when they had a natural disaster! He definitely would have kicked out every one of the 20mil illegals YOU & I are about to pay for medically etc (actually you're already paying, just not getting the service, and the high risk fund is already broke...LOL). When you wonder why your medical is so high in 2015 and why service sucks, you can thank your president and the illegal aliens. Coolidge vetoed every spending bill that was pork too! NO PORK passed his plate. That's how you get the DEBT DOWN.

    1929, 8 months later depression...LOL. How does he respond, govt works projects (spend, govt growth) etc...FAILURE. Sound familiar? "SHOVEL READY" anybody?...ROFL. He raised the top tax bracket from 25-63%...ROFL. Sound familiar? Raised taxes on Business! Sound familiar?
    "Hoover's defeat in the 1932 election was caused primarily by his failure to end the downward economic spiral, although his support for strong enforcement of prohibition was also a significant factor". This country just voted in Hoover's big brother TWICE!

    So take away your money, take away your rights (no drinking for you!) and spend spend spend, tax tax tax...Sound familiar? Obama attacking guns, our constitution, spying on everyone, raising taxes, killing business, taxing rich who create jobs (upping the brackets) unemployment everywhere...See the problem?

    Get a better job, or vote your govt out. Those are your options...LOL. Your graphics card price is NOT the problem and even if they give it to you FREE you won't live a better life...ROFLMAO

    $20 says you voted obama.
    "He was concerned about all Americans, especially the working class man and woman. He wanted them to be free, independent, and self-reliant. Like Jefferson, he wanted them to be able to rise as far as their abilities permitted."

    The exact opposite of WELFARE obama. "you didn't build that"

    A few more for ya: "He never sought to make history for himself."... "his conservative, Constitution-based principles of government". His nickname was SILENT CALVIN.

    Obama's on TV every chance he gets. Obama's nickname? THE WELFARE PRESIDENT. He golfed with tiger woods Sunday...ROFL spent 8hrs with Tiger's coach first, golfed 18 with Tiger who left, obama went another 9...LOL. No time to fix the debt though. Obama believes in destroying the constitution & your ability to be SELF RELIANT. If you rise too high, He'll have to take your money and re-distribute it...LOL. It's YOUR job to make a better life for yourself and the govt's job to get out of your way. I clearly see you think the rich OWE you and desire govt intervention to get what you think they owe you. I want to game on, but I keep having to pay for PEOPLE like you who won't look to themselves to improve their lives. :(
    Reality bites eh? ;)

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