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GTX 1070 Ti: stuck in the middle

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2017 has been a great year for computing, with more major CPU launches in a single year than we can recall ever seeing. We’ve also had a lot of excitement in the GPU arena, with the GTX 1080 Ti, Titan Xp, Volta GV100 for deep learning, and AMD’s RX Vega.

The last was disappointing, because on paper Vega looked like it might be a contender. Instead, we got a power-hungry GPU that couldn’t even claim a decisive win over Nvidia’s parts that launched a full year earlier.

But competition in the graphics card market can be brutal. The 1070 trails Vega 56 by as much as 10-15% in specific games, and overall it’s a few percentage points slower.

Never mind the supply problems AMD continues to experience several months after the official launch, with higher than expected pricing.

Never mind the distinct lack of custom Vega cards – a few are on the way, but graphics card vendors seem to be just as unimpressed with Vega as we are, and cooling a card that can pull well north of 350W when overclocked is no mean feat.

AMD winning at any level simply won’t do, says Nvidia, so here’s an upgraded 1070 Ti.

Nvidia is pouring salt into the Vega wound, and it hurts. The 1070 Ti slots in nicely midway between the 1070 and 1080, in price as well as performance.

But did we really need another high-end $450 Pascal-based GPU? No, but it gives Nvidia a new product SKU for the holiday shopping spree, which is never a bad idea. More importantly, the 1070 Ti provides a solid 10-15% performance boost relative to the vanilla 1070.

That’s enough to clearly beat Vega 56 and match Vega 64; but what we really wanted was a GTX 1060 Ti to fill the void in the $300 space. Maybe next year.