Green Giant: Nvidia on ‘the world’s most powerful GPU’ and where PC is headed next

Matthew Jarvis
Green Giant: Nvidia on ‘the world’s most powerful GPU’ and where PC is headed next

It's not uncommon to hear hardware firms talk up their latest bit of kit, but to call something the most powerful product on the planet goes one step further.

However, that's exactly what Nvidia is doing with its latest graphics card, the Titan X.

The successor to the first Titan, released in 2013, the new Titan X is armed with 12GB of GDDR5 video memory and eight billion transistors. In layman's terms, it's a seriously powerful component.

But while the Titan X may be able to blast out 4K resolutions and top-end graphics, that performance comes at a price – the product costs 879 in the UK. So how many gamers will actually be happy to take the leap?

Phil Wright, head of content development for EMEAI at Nvidia, retorts that the number might be more than you expect.

When we first released the original Titan, people were very skeptical about the fact that this high-end part of the market even existed,” he recalls.

But the gaming enthusiasts proved them wrong and the Titan was a great success.”

While the PC has long been worshipped by devotees as a bastion of bleeding-edge graphics, in recent years some of the world's biggest games have embraced a preference for accessibility over graphical prowess.

For instance, eSports behemoths Dota 2 and League of Legends – which boast a combined player base millions strong – can both run on older hardware with little problem and are free-to-play, meaning that players don't need to invest hundreds of pounds to get involved.

Wright says that while this may be true, the minimal barrier to entry can encourage players to eventually spend more money on their hobby.

With games like League and Dota 2 you have great titles that are expanding the PC gaming market by bringing in new players who then get bitten by the PC bug, and want to go on to build their own shiny and powerful PC,” he explains.

He continues that, despite a growing number of titles designed to run on a wider variety of PC configurations, powerful cards will maintain a fervent following.

There will always be enthusiast gamers who want the absolute best and, as we continue to see games push the limits of even the highest-end GPUs, those customers will be looking to upgrade to the latest hardware every year.”

He adds: It's important to push boundaries –what is now ultra high-end will filter down to become mid-range performance within a few years.”

"PC is, and will continue to be, the pre-eminent gaming platform."

Phil Wright, Nvidia

The PS4 and Xbox One are more like their PC siblings than ever before, allowing developers to attempt to bring near-PC-level performance to the boxes.

Wright says that while the platforms may be closer in design, PC continues to sprint ahead – and won't be held back by the need to cater to static console hardware.

It's wonderful that consoles now share an x86 chip architecture with the PC, as it makes it easier for developers, who always led with the PC, to pare down textures and the like for consoles,” he observes.

Already, you're seeing far better multi-platform titles allow the PC to stretch its legs – regardless of what is happening on console.”

He concludes by highlighting the strong year ahead for PC in 2015.

There are some great games coming to the PC this year,” he says.

The Witcher 3, Tom Clancy's The Division and Just Cause 3, to name just a few, should undoubtedly be on your wish list.

The ultra-fast pace of game development never slows down and the PC is, and will continue to be, the pre-eminent gaming platform.”

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