Just last week Nvidia launched their latest flagship, the GTX 1080, while keeping its arguably more interesting card in the wings. The GTX 1070 is still only out later next week, and there’s a a fairly unsurprising reason as to why Nvidia is holding back. Just like the Maxwell range before it, the GTX 1070 is certainly the more logical Pascal purchase, and its reviews just reaffirm that in leaps and bounds.
The GTX 1070 differs a little more than the two Maxwell cards did, and that might divide buyers before the jump. Unlike the GTX 1080, the 1070 features only 1902 CUDA Cores instead of 2056, while also featuring slower GDDR5 memory as opposed to the 1080’s GDDR5X (think 8GB/s instead of 10GB/s). Otherwise the chip underneath all the cooling is identical, meaning clocks are still well within the 1700 MHz range (and higher still if you push it).
What this translates to in real terms is performance on the level of the GTX 980Ti and Titan X – for over 50% less of the cost. As Hexus.net states in their review, the GTX 1070 essentially closes the coffin on the Maxwell range.
You’re effectively getting the graphics performance akin to the best of the last generation in a new GPU that sips on considerably less power and arrives at retail armed with more competitive pricing. Nvidia’s Pascal salvo has sewn-up the premium end of the market for the time being.
If you’re looking up from a GTX 970, the GTX 1070 might actually look like a more alluring upgrade than Nvidia lead most to believe. Although it stays within a frame of the Titan X (and 980Ti) in most tests, it easily delivers over 50% more performance than the most popular graphics card on the planet currently. That’s not a figure to scoff at, and it’s something to seriously consider if you were holding out until Volta. The extra speed coupled with the memory bump creates a sweet spot for modern games, and Guru3D doesn’t think it’s something you can pass up on.
Next to that I have got to say, 8 GB 256-bit GDDR5 graphics memory also feels like an excellent and well-balanced amount of graphics memory anno 2016. Would you ever use 8 GB of memory? Well, not anytime soon. The largest number we ever measured as like 5 or 6 GB. But hey, who knows with titles like The Division / GTA5 and technologies like Ultra HD and / or DSR versus performance and VRAM what you find valid, or not.
One feature the GTX 1070 does retain from its bigger brother is the heat limiting due to the inefficient dissipation that Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition offers. Although it runs at a ridiculously low 150W (how’s that for performance per watt), the GTX 1070 still throttles a little when it exceeds 80 degrees. That’s not helped by the cost cutting in the cooler design either, which might’ve helped clock speeds bump up a little if it truly was identical to the GTX 1080. As Tomshardware discovered:
Under the shroud, differences between the 1070 and 1080 become more apparent. Whereas the 1080 employs a vapor chamber solution, 1070 sports an aluminium heat sink with three embedded copper heat pipes. Almost assuredly this is a cost-cutting measure related to the 1070’s 150W TDP. A lower-power card simply doesn’t need such a beefy cooler, even if it would undoubtedly help GeForce GTX 1070 overcome some of the thermal limits we saw the 1080 hit.
Overall though, it’s a strong showing from the card playing second fiddle to the flagship. There’s no doubt that the GTX 1070 will quickly become a mainstream favourite thanks to its incredible performance for the price, and seeing that it’s even a worthy enough upgrade for Maxwell users is a huge plus. Expect it sometime in June, as the global launch kicks off on June 10th.
Last Updated: May 30, 2016