A New Mainstream King
Going into this review, we knew that the GeForce GTX 1070 had 25% less CUDA cores than the GTX 1080, so we expected that on average the 1070 would be between 20 and 25% slower. Well, those expectations were met as the 1070 was 20% slower at 1440p and 18% slower at 1080p. However, considering that 1070 costs 37% less when comparing MSRPs (for the partner boards), this is an excellent value, and is why this product has been highly anticipated by a lot of people.
AMD is yet to adjust its upper tier pricing, so the 1070 should come in at a little over 40% cheaper than the Fury X if that board partner MSRP is met. This doesn't bode well for AMD as the 1070 was 6% faster than the Fury X at 1440p and 12% faster at 1080p.
The other interesting AMD comparison is the soon-to-be-replaced R9 390, which currently costs around $300. While the 1070 is 27% more expensive, it delivered 36% more performance at 1440p and 39% more at 1080p, so it presents the better value.
For those wondering whether the 1070 would justify its $50 premium over the GTX 970, we're glad to report that you can expect anywhere from 40% to almost 70% more performance in today's games. On average, the 1070 was 57% faster than the 970 which is similar to the 1080 vs. 980 performance gain.
The key advantage here for GTX 970 owners other than the huge jump in performance is the fact that it comes without a power penalty. The 1070 performs akin to a Titan X while drawing around 25% less juice.
Compared to the GTX 1080, the slight reduction in power usage for the 1070 means that the Founders Edition cooler can keep the card below 80 degrees at all times using the standard fan profile (assuming a room temp of 21 degrees or thereabouts). This is excellent for a reference cooler, especially because the 1070 runs almost silently. That said, there's no way it's worth paying an extra 18% over board partner cards which will very likely run even cooler while maintaining similarly quiet operation.
Another drawback of the Founders Edition card is in its overclocking headroom. Like the 1080, the 1070 was good for a minor bump in frequency which lead to a decent 12% performance boost. That isn't a terrible result, but we expect the partner boards to do considerably better on this front.
Overall, the GTX 1070 is an exceptional upper-tier offering that delivers previous-gen flagship performance at a serious discount. It's every bit as good as the 1080 we saw almost two weeks ago - in fact, you could argue that the 1070 is a better product thanks to its superior cost per frame ratio. With the initial results in, we're looking forward to variants by Nvidia's board partners as well as AMD's response.
Pros: Titan X-like performance at a fraction of the price and less power usage. Perfect for 60fps 1440p gaming.
Cons: We still don't think the premium for Nvidia's Founders Edition card is worth it if you can hang tight for board partners.