Now that we've had a chance to look at power consumption, temperatures, acoustics, and efficiency, we have a better sense of the GeForce GTX 1070's standing. Losing the 1080's vapor chamber cooling does exact a penalty on the 1070's temperatures, which in turn imposes slightly more fan noise than the 1080 Founders Edition card. But as we see from MSI's Pascal-based boards, it is possible to run a lot cooler and quieter than the reference implementations.
A little extra time post-launch also gave us the opportunity to measure performance per shader, which told us that the GeForce GTX 1070 actually fares better than GTX 1080 (and, by a long shot, GTX 980 Ti). Really, the 1070 is a gaming beast at its price point. Where does it land, exactly? In every test we ran, GeForce GTX 1070 is as fast as, or faster than the $1100+ GeForce GTX Titan X. It’s not always quick enough to beat AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury X, or even the vanilla Fury. But in those cases, Nvidia’s previous-gen cards lose by an even larger margin. And it’s hard to call the 1070’s losses meaningful at all. It’s imperceptibly slower than the Fury in Ashes of the Singularity and Hitman at 2560x1440 and 3840x2160. It’s imperceptibly faster than both Fiji-based cards in The Witcher 3 and The Division at 3840x2160. But everywhere else the 1070 enjoys an undeniable advantage.
Oh yeah, and remember that the 1070 Founders Edition card is slated to sell for $449. In the days prior to launch, GeForce GTX 980 Ti still goes for $550 and up. Titan X remains pegged at $1150. Radeon R9 Fury X commands $600 or more. And the vanilla Fury starts in the neighborhood of $520. As you might imagine, a GeForce GTX 1070 that outruns every one of those previous-gen products and sells for ~$450 completely rewrites our high-end recommendations moving forward.
Now consider Nvidia’s claim that third-party cards from its partners will start at $379. Tom’s Hardware staffers have different opinions of those custom designs, which are influenced by quality, cooling, noise and size. But if all you care about is performance, the 1070 puts incredible frame rates in reach of gamers who might have been looking at souped-up 970s or entry-level 980s previously. Flip back through the benchmarks to see what 1070 does to the 980. Now imagine how a 970 would fare.
Where would we deploy a GeForce GTX 1070? The board obviously has little trouble with QHD at maxed-out detail settings. It doesn’t quite get there at 4K, unfortunately—that’s an honor we’ll reserve for the GTX 1080. But if you’re willing to make some quality compromises, the 1070 could easily be a capable 4K card. Shoot, simply disabling anti-aliasing at 3840x2160 bumps Battlefield 4’s average frame rate from 43.5 to 63.7.
Don’t forget VR. While we still don’t have a final, definitive framework for benchmarking Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, my own experiences with the Rift suggested that a GeForce GTX 980 Ti delivered great performance in the launch-day titles. Presumably, an even faster 1070 would have headroom for next-gen games as well. And if they support some of the Pascal architecture’s VR-specific capabilities to improve efficiency, the 1070 could stand out from its predecessors even further.
As in our GeForce GTX 1080 review, Nvidia’s hardware does all of the talking. GeForce GTX 1070 is faster than the company’s fastest Maxwell-based solution at a price point less than half of what a Titan X still sells for. Our only gripe is that we’re dealing with a second paper launch in as many weeks. Hopefully the company has enough availability on June 10th to satisfy what will inevitably be a surge of demand.
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