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Who Is It For?
Although we couldn't benchmark the GTX 1070 Ti as thoroughly as we'd have liked for this launch review in terms of number of titles, I'm glad we did spend the extra time testing the card's overclocking potential. It's clear based on this limited testing that out of the box the 1070 Ti sits between factory overclocked 1070 and 1080 graphics cards.
If the game is particularly memory sensitive then the 1070 Ti does perform more like a factory overclocked 1070, at least before you overclock it.
That being the case, for the 1070 Ti to really make sense you have to overclock it and those that do will be rewarded. Doing so enables factory overclocked GTX 1080-like performance and here we were able to match the Gaming X model. That said, you can also overclock the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X and extract around 6% more performance.
The GTX 1080 Gaming X currently costs $570 while the GTX 1070 Ti Gaming is priced at $490. Both are well over their MSRPs, but let's ignore that for now because GPU pricing is inflated across the board. The 1080 costs 16% more and with both cards overclocked the 1080 would be around 6% faster. So the 1070 Ti is certainly a better value, just not worlds better.
Looking at the MSRPs, the 1080 only costs 11% more than the 1070 Ti, so under normal market conditions the 1070 Ti is a lot less exciting.
What the 1070 Ti does address is AMD's Vega 56 (and we suspect this was its only purpose). At the time of putting this review together you could buy a Vega 56 for $420, albeit a loud reference card but still that's not a bad buy in today's market.
I have to admit picking between the MSI GTX 1070 Ti Gaming at $450 and a reference Vega 56 card at $420 is actually a difficult decision. Had Vega 56 been equipped with the Twin Frozer 6 cooler, that might be the way I would lean.
For now, the GTX 1070 Ti looks to fill a small price gap. You can save ~$50 by buying the 1070 Ti and still achieve GTX 1080 performance, which doesn't exactly redefine the market. Nvidia is obviously hoping that by releasing a new GPU and creating a buzz, sales will pick up as a result and hold them over till the next major release.
In any case, if you're in need of a new $400-$500 graphics card, the GTX 1070 Ti wouldn't be a mistake to purchase. It's a solid offering even if it's not that exciting.
As a follow-up to this coverage we are on the fence about expanding the benchmarking session comparing the 1070 Ti and 9 other GPUs across 34 PC games including new releases such as Assassin's Creed: Origins, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Destiny 2. Please let us know if the additional coverage for this card would be helpful.
Pros: Performance that approaches the GTX 1080 for a relatively minor discount.
Cons: You'll have to overclock if you want the most of what this card has to offer.