Back in early May, graphics specialist NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) announced the first consumer gaming graphics processors based on its Pascal architecture -- GeForce GTX 1070 and GeForce GTX 1080. These two were based on a chip NVIDIA refers to as GP104.
Various leaks had pointed to NVIDIA working on an even higher-end gaming-oriented graphics chip code-named GP102. In fact, rumors even pointed to this card arriving fairly soon. However, even with all the signs that GP102 would be with us shortly, I was still quite surprised when the company announced a new ultra-high-end graphics card based on this product on July 21, the (new) Titan X.
Meet the new Titan X
This GP102-based graphics card is called Titan X, the same name the company used for its prior-generation bleeding-edge Titan card.
NVIDIA says the new Titan X packs 3584 CUDA cores (up from 2560 in the GTX 1080 and 3072 in the older Titan X) presumably built on TSMC's (NYSE:TSM) 16-nanometer manufacturing technology.
It also comes with 12 gigabytes of GDDR5X (likely from memory specialist Micron (NASDAQ:MU)) that delivers 480 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth.
The company claims the new card is up to 60% zippier than its prior-generation Titan X (which should put it solidly ahead of the company's recently released GTX 1080).
According to NVIDIA, the new Titan X will go on sale on August 2 and will carry a hefty price tag of $1200 (up from $999 for the prior-generation Titan X). Interestingly, the new Titan X will apparently only be available to buy directly from NVIDIA and from "select system builders."
Putting Titan back on top
NVIDIA's Titan-branded cards certainly don't sell in anywhere near the quantities the more mainstream GeForce GTX cards do. These things are expensive, and with the new Titan X, they're getting even pricier.
However, these cards appeal to those folks willing to pay whatever it takes to have the fastest/best gaming performance available. And, since NVIDIA keeps releasing these Titan-branded cards, it's clearly worth the graphics specialist's time to build and market these products.
It's also good that NVIDIA managed to get this card out as quickly as it did following the GTX 1080 launch. The GTX 1080 was significantly faster than the prior-generation Titan, so in the interim between the launch of the 1080 and the new Titan X, the Titan brand was equated with "old and overpriced" rather than "the absolute best graphics card a gamer can buy."
With the new Titan X, the positive/premium perception of the Titan branding among gamers should be restored.
NVIDIA's Pascal available up and down the stack
So far, NVIDIA has released three distinct gaming-oriented chips for gamers based on the Pascal architecture: GP102, GP104, and GP106. The company has interesting Pascal-based products starting at $250 and going all the way up to $1200.
As far as desktop gaming-oriented graphics cards are concerned, NVIDIA really has only one chip left to release: GP107. This chip should serve as the replacement for the older GM107 chip that powers the relatively inexpensive GTX 750 Ti and the GeForce GTX 750.