NVIDIA has just launched the Titan V, a consumer grade graphics card that is capable of delivering a whopping 110 teraflops of deep learning horsepower. Even though it looks like any other NVIDIA graphics card on the market, the special thing about the NVIDIA Titan V is its new internal architecture – Volta.
Hold up – Architecture in a graphics card?
Yup – architecture isn’t exclusive to buildings and interior design. In electronics and computer engineering, architecture (also called microarchitecture), is the way that a processor is designed to operate – where data processed goes, how it goes there, in what capacity, and in what time.
Think of architecture like how the city highways are designed – their goal is to get vehicles from one end of the country to another. There are various lanes that cater to buses and heavy vehicles, as well as others for general traffic. Conversely, GPUs are built to get data generated to the destination (For example, the destination or goal is to display a 3D object in a game). Similar to highway lanes, there are specific lanes for data traffic to get where they want to go.
Every once in a while, some geniuses at NVIDIA invent a more efficient way of designing architecture so that more traffic gets to where it needs to go faster, while using less electricity and power. This results in graphics cards that can run very demanding PC games at less cost – essentially, more affordable gaming for everyone!
NVIDIA Titan V – More processing speed using less power
Alright – now that’s out of the way, let’s get to NVIDIA Titan V. Titan V is the company’s first consumer grade Volta-Powered GPU. Its 21.1 billion transistors deliver 110 Teraflops (standard unit for computing power) of Deep Learning Horsepower, and is aimed at Researchers and Scientists.
How is it different from the previous NVIDIA architecture, Pascal? For starters, Titan V’s Volta architecture features a major redesign of the streaming multiprocessor that is at the center of the GPU. It doubles the energy efficiency of the previous generation, essentially enabling Volta deliver much more performance than Pascal while using less power.
Volta has new Tensor Cores designed specifically for deep learning deliver up to 9x higher peak teraflops. With independent parallel integer and floating-point data paths, Volta is also much more efficient on workloads with a mix of computation and addressing calculations. Its new combined L1 data cache and shared memory unit significantly improve performance while also simplifying programming.
Fabricated on a new TSMC 12-nanometer FFN high-performance manufacturing process customised for NVIDIA, Titan V also incorporates Volta’s highly tuned 12GB HBM2 memory subsystem for advanced memory bandwidth utilisation.
This is a similar GPU to the NVIDIA Tesla V100, but less powerful and far more accessible and affordable. In the past, Volta GPUs like the Tesla V100 could only be used in extremely expensive custom setups ($10,000 and above), and required specialized setups in a data center. Titan V is the first consumer grade Volta card that can be fit into a regular sized PC box via the universal PCI-E standard. This means science guys who need something efficient, cost effective and small to crunch data for projects related Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning in a very efficient way can use Titan V, instead of having to deal with renting data center space.
TLDR; NVIDIA Titan V does so much more with less power for AI and Machine Learning research.
Titan V’s incredible power is ideal for developers who want to use their PCs to do work in AI, deep learning and high performance computing. Users of Titan V can gain immediate access to software that takes full advantages of this power, such as the latest GPU-optimised AI, deep learning and HPC software by signing up for a free NVIDIA GPU Cloud account. This container registry includes NVIDIA-optimised deep learning frameworks, third-party managed HPC applications, NVIDIA HPC visualisation tools and the NVIDIA Tensor RT inferencing optimiser.
“Our vision for Volta was to push the outer limits of high performance computing and AI. We broke new ground with its new processor architecture, instructions, numerical formats, memory architecture and processor links,” said Huang. “With Titan V, we are putting Volta into the hands of researchers and scientists all over the world. I can’t wait to see their breakthrough discoveries.”
What does this mean for us gamers?
Image: Nvidia. We love the gold geometric design of the card. Very Deus-ex Human Revolution style.
The Titan V costs US$2,999 and can be bought straight from NVIDIA stores in participating countries. It’s expensive for the average consumer – so how is it relevant for everyday gamers like us?
Well, in the past, Volta GPUs could only be used in extremely expensive custom setups ($10,000 and above), and required you to own a data center to use one. The Titan V can be fit into a regular sized ATX motherboard with a PCI-E slot. Anyone can buy this – well, that is if you have $3,000 USD to throw around and you’re dead set on getting the world’s best gaming performance in your PC.
But for the rest of the gamers who are not so rich, the Titan V is expensive as hell and not worth the cash. However, its launch signals great news – the next generation of NVIDIA cards like the 1150, 1160, 1170 and 1180 may be coming soon. They’ll most likely be very power efficient, enabling gamers to get even more performance than the 1060 and 1070 while using less power from your PSU.
When are the 11-series cards coming out, and how much are they going to cost?
There is no set schedule for the 11-series of cards, but we speculate that they might arrive in the second half of 2018 – June will be the 1st year anniversary of the GTX 1080TI’s launch, and it would be a nice time to release the Volta cards.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to pinpoint an exact price for the new cards. Prices of current graphics cards are going up because bitcoin and cryptocurrency miners are buying them like there’s no tomorrow. We could see high prices at launch, but they might be cheaper than we think. Who knows?
Regardless of the release date, we recommend getting a graphics card when you absolutely need to upgrade. It’s very hard to pinpoint the exact launch date and price of the new Volta cards, so please don’t keep waiting! If you wait, you might end up holding off your hi-def gaming experiences for nothing – for all you know, the 1160 and 1170 might just offer a very marginal performance upgrade from the 1060 and 1070 cards.
Get a more powerful card within your budget when you want to play more demanding games. If the 1160 or 1180 get released, you can always sell off your old cards.