Gainward GTX Titan
Summing up the GTX Titan isn't as easy as we might have assumed. The reason is isn't necessarily a case of "best thing ever, go buy it" is two fold.
Firstly, the potential of the card is clearly barely tapped at the moment. All new GPUs are better than the previous generation and then, as the drivers mature and developers unlock the potential, it becomes even more spectacular. Secondly the GTX680 and HD7970 are already running on very mature drivers whereas the Titan is on the betas. This clearly has some issues as we saw in our overclocking results, but the biggest issue is that the GTX680/HD7970 are as outstanding as they are ever likely to be, but the GTX Titan has barely had the surface scratched. So although the results are good right now, in the future they should be even more jaw-dropping. Of course we can't, and never would, review something based on theoretical future performance.
Even with the beta drivers though the GTX Titan is a special card. Unquestionably the fastest single GPU currently available, it often ran dual-card setups close. Perhaps the thing that has us salivating the most is the performance in the very latest titles. Whereas, for example, The Witcher 2 showed good results, titles such as Unigine Valley, 3D Mark Fire Strike, and Crysis 3 had a vast improvement when running on the Titan. If this is the level of performance that we can expect to see from the very early samples then once the drivers are mature and the games companies take advantage of the incredible amounts of power available to them, then we're certain that this will be the card that you want in your rig.
Indeed with the recent announcement of the Playstation 4, as well as the forthcoming XBOX 720, the gap between a console port and a great looking PC game is even narrower, so we're sure that soon we will finally get the range of games that make these expensive GPU purchases a worthwhile investment.
Overclocking is now limited by temperature rather than power-draw, so once some watercooled variants appear the sky is now the limit, and the card will automatically achieve those levels of performance. In current trim there clearly is a bit of tweaking still needing to be done as our sample didn't seem to give the same temperate readings across all programs. We do however think this needs further investigation before we decide whether its a glitch or faulty.
If you want to be ready for the future, then the Gainward GTX Titan is the card for you. It's certainly capable of some incredible frame-rates and with the combination of Adaptive Vsync, GPU Boost 2.0 and TXAA (all technologies that benefit gamers) it is the next generation now. This Gainward model is near silent too. Performance and silence in one easy to use package, a worthy winner of the OC3D Performance Award.
NOTE - Following the writing of this review it became apparent that the failure lay with the Afterburner software, and we'll be doing a follow-up review on our new overclock results next week.