Back in the height of its popularity, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 was beloved for being the best bang for your buck GPU of the Maxwell generation. With a whopping 1,664 CUDA cores and a boost clock of 1,178 MHz, this 4GB (or 3.5GB if you’re being nitpicky) graphics card was fully capable of powering all your favorite AAA games at 1080p – and it still very much is.
However, its successor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 has arrived, and has taken the crown from its value-oriented precursor. So, with Black Friday PC component deals around the corner, is it a worthy successor? What can it do?
Well, there's an additional 256 CUDA cores this time round, a higher boost clock running up to 1683 MHz (1797 MHz on the MSI Variant we have in OC Mode) and an additional 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
Of course, it's running off of Pascal's mighty 16nm FinFET manufacturing node, enabling 6.5 TFLOPS of overall performance, or thereabouts. That's close enough to a Titan X in spec, but for half the price.
If you take a look back at our first review of the GTX 1080 that launched at the beginning of this June, you'll know our biggest complaint was with the price. The Founder's Edition looks fantastic and really does wonders to reinvigorate the now ageing metallic cooler we first saw with the launch of the GTX 680 way back in the day.
One issue with Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition cards is that you end up paying a high premium for what? A slightly earlier release date and sub-par cooling? Color us unconvinced. Unfortunately, this trend is true again with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070.
UK-based retailer Overclockers will be selling the Founder's Edition version at £410 (around $584 or AUS$792). There is a reason to be optimistic, however, as partner cards will be coming in at a far lower price.
MSI's Aero Cooler for instance, with a default blower style cooler is priced at £380 (around $541 or AUS$734), while an aftermarket Twin Frozr will set you back 10 pounds (around $14/AUS$19) more.
However, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 has finally arrived, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 prices are going to fall rapidly – with the MSI Gaming X card included. So, you can bet that there will be a ton of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to further slash the prices on this last-gen midrange GPU.
X marks the spot
The GTX 1070 variant we have here is non-other than MSI's top of the line Gaming X that comes with a fully custom PCB, improved fan design, LED lighting and stock overclock as standard. And, a meaty one at that. Thanks to MSI's Afterburner software, you have access to three different modes: Silent, Gaming and OC mode.
These fan modes fit in with the clean aesthetic design of MSI’s new Gaming X GTX 1070. It’s a nice reiteration of the last generation, but there are still a few things that bug us here – not least the inclusion of RGB LEDs on a card that’s mostly black and red, as realistically you just can’t change the color on that from anything other than red, white or off. Other than that it’s a fairly nice update.
However, these noise and aesthetic changes are arguably trivial, as once buried in your case you’ll barely hear or see this thing – unless you have a tempered glass side panel. This is especially true when you consider the 0dB fan tech that keeps the fans off until the core hits 60 degrees.
So, what makes this monster different from the GTX 1080 we reviewed a few weeks prior? Well, basically, just a few less CUDA cores,a lower base clock and a departure from the 10GHz memory of GDDR5X. That being said, GDDR5 is still a strong competitive VRAM memory spec, so it’s hardly like you’re going to be losing out to a huge degree, especially at 1080p and 1440p.
The extra megahertz on that core clock, that the factory overclock brings, will net you a good 20% improvement to frame rates in-game. Now, we know that doesn't sound like a lot, but as far as minimum frame rates go, the higher they are the smoother your overall experience will be.