The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Review

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Conclusion; A Screaming Value? Maybe…

So here we are staring at another NVIDIA launch and while some may feel that the GTX 1080’s massive performance numbers may have taken something away from the more affordable GTX 1070, the opposite is actually true. While the framerate achieved by a fully enabled GP104 core is truly a sight to behold, due to its price and ability to produce some groundbreaking category-specific performance, the GTX 1070 is arguably the more impressive of the two products.

There should be no denying the GTX 1070 is an important card for NVIDIA since it represents Pascal’s first foray into more volume-focused markets. There’s no doubt that everyone would love to afford that $700 GTX 1080 Founders Edition or its subsequent custom derivatives but most simply can’t even fathom paying that much for a GPU. At $449 for the GTX 1070 Founders Edition and (potentially) $379 for board partners’ versions, this card is infinitely more appealing but it doesn’t even give up that much to its bigger brother from a performance perspective. It also puts a massive amount of downwards pressure upon the cards currently residing in AMD’s and NVIDIA’s respective lineups.

In DX11 applications the GTX 1070 absolutely shines and actually provides an very tempting upgrade path for GTX 970 and GTX 980 users, particularly for those who are thinking about transitioning to VR or 4K. GTX 980 Ti users meanwhile can rest easy knowing their cards lose by a mere 10% to this new card but that’s cold comfort when you consider the $449 Founders Edition price.

I mentioned in the introduction that AMD might be in for a hard time due to their current Fury X’s pricing structure. With the GTX 1070’s introduction the Radeon lineup’s flagship looks completely out of touch with reality since its currently saddled by the lead weight of a $640 price. Granted, its performance is similar to that of a GTX 980 Ti but the affordability and efficiency of this GP104 offshoot could be one of the final nails in this SKU’s coffin provided NVIDIA can supply it in the necessary volumes.

Naturally the GTX 1070 doesn’t come close to beating the GTX 1080 and the gap here is larger than the one between the GTX 980 and GTX 970. However, with some judicious overclocking I’m sure the gaping chasm could be somewhat bridged.

Moving on to DX12 and in some cases the situation changes quite dramatically. Here the GTX 1070 just demolishes the 970 and 980, by sometimes embarrassing proportions. As the situation resolved itself I kept wondering whether this was due to the GTX 1070’s architectural strengths in Microsoft’s new API or how abjectly pathetic the GM104’s DX12 output really is. It is likely a combination of both since performance relative to the GTX 980 Ti and GTX 1080 is relatively consistent when making the DX11 to DX12 transition.

Whereas DX11 highlighted some of AMD’s weaknesses, things begin looking quite interesting in DX12 for the R9 Fury X. It nearly closes the gap at 4K but once again its price contributes to a very, very poor value quotient in comparison to NVIDIA’s current wares.

Efficiency and temperature outputs are two cornerstones of NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture and the GTX 1070 personifies both of these. Despite drawing less power than the GTX 970 in our testing, it absolutely blew the doors off of its predecessor. It will be interesting to see how this core architecture scales down into even more affordable GPUs since those will be the ones competing against AMD’s budget-focused Polaris.

Based on feedback from the GTX 1080 there will of course be some debate about certain aspects of this launch and with good reason too. Once again we are seeing a paper launch nearly two weeks before availability and the Founders Edition will likely be viewed as expensive day-one fodder for folks with more money than sense. However, let none of that dissuade you from the GTX 1070’s strengths: it is well priced, sips at power and occupies a price range AMD won’t be directly attacking for some time.

The GTX 1080 really did impress me with its feature set and gaming capabilities but the GTX 1070 takes my opinion about this new architecture to the next level since it mixes in a great dose of affordability. Unlike the GTX 970 –the card ostensibly being replaced by the 1070- it is perfectly capable of playing most games at 4K without any hitches and also happens to be very well equipped for forthcoming DX12 titles. While I can’t outright recommend the Founders Edition due to it foisting an unnecessary premium upon early adopters, the GTX 1070 itself will likely prove to be one of the best values in the graphics card market for a long, long time.

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