When Nvidia launched the GTX 1080 Ti at the end of February, it short-circuited its own highest-end product, the 6-month old Nvidia Titan X, thanks to higher clocks and a much lower price tag ($ 700, compared with $ 1,200). Now, Nvidia is rectifying that issue with a full-fat GP102 part — the Titan Xp.
The Titan Xp sports 3840 cores, 240 texture units, and 96 ROPS, compared with the 1080 Ti’s 3584:224:88 configuration. We don’t know the card’s base clock yet, but Nvidia’s press release claims 3840 CUDA cores running at 1.6GHz. It’s not clear if that refers to the base clock — if so, the Titan Xp would be clocked significantly higher than any other GP102 on the market today. We know it packs an eye-popping 547GB/s of memory bandwidth and a 12GB frame buffer.
The purpose of a card like this is simple: At $ 1,200, it isn’t meant to represent a particularly great deal; it’s meant to serve as a halo product for those particularly discerning and well-heeled customers who want something just a little faster, a little nicer, than everything else on the market. Even the 1080 Ti is going to be a better deal than the Titan Xp, as far as price/performance ratios are concerned.
New driver sets add Mac support
The other interesting tidbit to come out of this announcement is that Nvidia is promising a new driver set, due later this month, that will add full Mac support for the entire Pascal product lines. Anyone with a 10-series Nvidia GPU should be able to use that GPU in their Mac, no problem… provided, of course, that you have a relatively old Mac Pro.
There’s a certain level of absurdity to the current situation. Unless you buy an external dock and create a custom solution for yourself via Thunderbolt, you’re not plugging a 10-class GPU into a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or MacBook. iMac? No way. Mac mini? The GPU is larger than the system. And we already covered the limitations of the current Mac Pro, and why Apple has to redesign its own “groundbreaking” chassis to allow it to work with modern hardware.
It isn’t clear if these drivers are limited to Mac Pros that support macOS Sierra (10.12) or not. Only the mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros were updated officially for Sierra, though apparently Xeon workstations from 2008 and 2009 can be unofficially upgraded to Sierra (at which point, presumably, the 10-series GPU would still work with them).
Nvidia could also be hinting that it expects to take AMD’s slice of the Apple market when Apple refreshes the Mac Pro. Apple has relied on AMD GPU silicon for a number of years, but that could change if Team Green offered them a sweet enough deal.