NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition Review

In our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card we will explore the price competitive performance and find out what kind of gameplay advantage the new GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition offers over the previous generation cards. We compare both the GTX 980 and Radeon R9 Fury GPUs to the new GTX 1070.

Introduction

On Sunday, May 29th the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition was quickly paper launched without much fanfare as all the attention was given to the GTX 1080 Founders Edition. With expected hardware availability on June 10th, we are now less than a week away from availability finally. Our review today, in combination with our preview published last week, we will have all the information you need to decide if this is the video card for your upgrade purchasing.

In our NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition Preview we compared the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card to the "performance competitive" GPUs for comparison. What we mean by this is that not based on price, but rather based on performance we found what kind of performance the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition is closes to and how that compares.

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We found that the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition delivers the same gameplay experience as a GeForce GTX 980 Ti. In fact, depending on the game, sometimes it was even a bit better. Clear across the board raw performance was at least 5-10% faster than a GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

The above is very important because the new GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition will retail for $449 on June 10th. Even better, add-in-board partner video cards will start at a lower $379 and scale up depending on features. This means $649 performance that the GeForce GTX 980 Ti use to buy you can now be found in the $379-$449 price range. NVIDIA has taken GeForce GTX 980 Ti performance and brought it down to a price segment that more people can afford. This in turn means more people can now afford what was the high-end of GPU performance in the last generation.

Comparing by Price

In today's review, we are now going to look at the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition performance based on the price comparison the last generation GPU. What we mean by this is that we will now match the price of the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition with the price competitive video card from the last generation. In this way we can see the performance and gameplay advantage over what the last generation provided. You can determine how much of a performance upgrade this video card will be for you and if it warrants your hard earned dollars.

While the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition is the spiritual successor to the GeForce GTX 970, it is not the price successor. The GeForce GTX 970 debuted at $329 when it was launched and can now be found under $300. Therefore, while the GTX 1070 is the spiritual successor, it is certainly not the successor by price. We will not include the GeForce GTX 970 in this review.

The video card that is actually in competition with the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition, based on price, is the GeForce GTX 980. The GeForce GTX 980 is the next step down from the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, and no other video card exists between them. The GeForce GTX 980 debuted at $549, but current online pricing puts the GeForce GTX 980 at prices with rebates as low as $379-$500+ with many models dancing around the price points of either the Founders Edition GTX 1070 or partner card 1070's. Therefore, the GeForce GTX 980 is the perfect video card to compare to the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition based on price and we can find out what kind of an upgrade the GTX 1070 will allow.

On the AMD side of things there is the AMD Radeon R9 Fury (non-X) video cards which are the next step down from the Radeon R9 Fury-X. These video cards also debuted at the same price as the GeForce GTX 980 at $549. The Radeon R9 Fury provides a better gameplay experience from the GeForce GTX 980, so this will be an interesting comparison for the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition. The Radeon R9 Fury represents a high-end level of performance, and with rebates can be had as low as $500, only slightly more expensive than a GTX 1070 Founders Edition video card.

Why not the AMD Radeon R9 390X you ask? That depends, with savings and rebates it can end up being priced under the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition. We also know this, we know that the AMD Radeon R9 390X perfectly matches GeForce GTX 980 performance in every game review and video card review we've performed in DX11 games. All of our gameplay performance reviews confirm this, and all of our reviews of R9 390Xs versus GTX 980's confirm this. It was true when both cards were available on the onset, and it is still true to this day. Therefore, you can look at GeForce GTX 980 performance and say that is also Radeon R9 390X performance, the data would be redundant. Whatever percentage advantage the GTX 1070 Founder Edition has over the GTX 980 would be the same with the R9 390X. Therefore, instead of showing two things that are exactly the same we can add the the AMD Radeon R9 Fury and you gain an even bigger picture of the whole lineup from AMD in relation to the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition. Our goal is to try and give you as big a picture as possible to make a purchasing decision.

By using an AMD Radeon R9 Fury we can see if purchasing a GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition at a $50 lesser price will actually provide an upgrade from a slightly more expensive video card, the Radeon R9 Fury. We will find out if for less money you can actually exceed the performance of the AMD Radeon R9 Fury, which generally performs better than a GeForce GTX 980 despite retailing for the same price at launch. In this way you can determine if the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition provides a value (better performance, at a lower price) compared to AMD's performance offering.

GTX 1070 Specs Recap

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We will briefly go over the specifications once more on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition. The GeForce GTX 1070 and Founders Edition is based on the same Pascal GPU found in the GeForce GTX 1080 and Founders Edition. It is based on a 16nm FinFET process with 7.2 billion transistors.

The GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition has 1920 CUDA Cores, 120 texture units and 64 ROPs. The base clock is 1506MHz and the boost clock is 1683MHz. There is 8GB of GDDR5 on board with a 256-bit memory bus at 8GHz. This provides 256GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Remember that the new Pascal GPU also uses a further improved Delta Color Compression to reduce the overall memory bandwidth needed and improve performance.

One GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition has a TDP of 150 Watts with one 8-pin power connector. On board are 3 DisplayPorts, 1 HDMI and 1 Dual-Link DVI port.

GPU Boost 3.0 and Clock Speeds

The GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition utilizes a new GPU Boost 3.0 technology. In our GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition Preview we looked at and completed our testing of the actual in-game GPU clock speed over time while gaming. Our results were conclusive in that preview. We found that for the most part the GPU clock speed was consistently above the boost clock specificied by NVIDIA. There were occasional brief periods of time the clock speed dropped below the boost speed, but none were ever for a prolonged amount of time.

Not once did the clock speed ever fall below the base clock, so no throttling was happening. It was obvious from testing though that thermals do play a part in this clock speed and with better custom coolers we may see higher clock speeds. The average clock speed we got was around 1756MHz while gaming.

In our overclocking preview we found that turning up the fan speed and power target allowed a much higher clock speed and more consistent. The clock speed averaged 1837MHz with just the fan speed and power target options turned up. This shows there is room for improvement with better cooling.