GRAPHICS OUTFIT Nvidia could probably have stuck a price premium on the Star Wars edition Titan Xp cards, but both of the two special edition GPUs are available for the same price as the normal Titan Xp models. Don’t get excited though, these aren’t cheap products and they almost certainly aren’t for everyone.
For the sake of this hands-on, let’s consider two things: what are they for, and how do they look in the context of system builders who want something amazing for their rig-with-a-window gaming PC?
In terms of aesthetics, people seem very divided on which of the two special editions is the nicest. But the choice, when presented, was between a reasonably stylish but quite safe “Empire” edition, or the distressed look of the “Jedi” card. We took the Jedi card, and apparently that was a unique decision with most other outlets taking the darker, red-coloured Empire card.
The first minor issue you might have is with that colour choice. Most people in the market for a card like this are going to be building RGB systems, and these cards tie you to a specific colour. You might or might not think this is an issue, but it will put some people off. You could, perhaps, mask some parts but light pours from this thing so it’s likely to be impractical.
The other issue you might worry about is the simple fact that this is a blower card. Air is taken from inside your case, blown across the memory and GPU and forced out the back. That’s fine, but it’s louder than an open card – in fact, the Palit 1070 that we ran previously didn’t even need to run its fans unless it was under load, while the Titan does.
The other slight issue is that if the fan fails you might struggle to replace it easily. I suspect you could, but you don’t really want to change the design of the limited edition card all that much. Better hope then that the Nvidia fan is a solid performer for the years service you’ll want out of this GPU.
Also bear in mind there are only three DisplayPort 1.4 connectors and a single HDMI 2.0b. DVI is gone, but Nvidia does include a DP to DVI dongle in the box. And a Jedi Order sticker for your PC case. There’s not a lot else included here, apart from the meaty GPU.
On the plus side, the build quality is nothing short of epic. The custom backplane has the Star Wars logo pressed into it and Nvidia has printed the card name back there too. The distressed metal look is genuinely cool in person and while the photos do sell it, they also don’t tell you the whole story.
The packaging this card ships in is also a real highlight. It’s an event, it’s well designed and if you were absolutely bonkers you could leave the card in it as a display piece. There are, of course, Star Wars collectors who do hoover up all the merch that comes out of the franchise so it’s worth pondering if any of these cards will end up unused – you’d be crazy to do this though. Once the Titan becomes outdated, you can always return it to the case then after giving it a little clean. It will always look good on a shelf in its case.
So what of the GPU itself? Well it’s as epic as you’d think. We’ve not benchmarked it under formal conditions – so no graphs – but the specs speak for themselves. This is a top-flight gaming card, but in some ways you’d be wasting your money if that was all you were going to do with it.
If you have other pastimes, like video editing or bitcoin mining, then you would be better off picking this card. For pure gaming, you can save some money getting the GTX 1080ti or even a vanilla 1080. If, however, you want to do some deep learning, then this card will really sing. But you’re probably not going to be buying a Star Wars themed GPU for such applications, are you?
Anyway, the Titan Xp remains in the ultimate GPU. It’s not cheap but there’s been no attempt to get more money out of Star Wars fans for these. They are absolutely stunningly designed and a treat for any Star Wars geek. It’s very likely that, while the cost is high, that these cards will deliver amazing performance for many years to come.
If you can talk yourself into dropping over a grand, then go for it. µ
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