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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 review: The new people's champion topples Titans

Brad Chacos | May 30, 2016
Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 is one hell of a graphics card, delivering Titan X-level performance at a price real gamers can afford.

For the first time in history, a graphics card in the $350 to $400 price range delivers truly no-compromises 1440p/60fps performance. The GTX 1070 is probably overkill for 1080p resolution unless you’re playing on a 144Hz screen. If you’re playing on a 60Hz 1080p screen, you’re better off from a price-to-performance standpoint waiting to see what the eventual GTX 1060 and its Radeon rival can do. And like the Titan X, the GTX 1070’s probably underkill for playing at 4K resolution. You’ll clear 30fps, but struggle to hit 60fps in many games unless you dial back graphics details—though investing in a 4K G-Sync monitor would transform any lingering stiffness into buttery-smooth performance onscreen.

What’s also interesting is how the GTX 1070 affects the rest of the graphics card world.

Not only does the GTX 1070 immediately invalidate any reason for gamers to buy the Titan X—though ferociously overclocked GTX 980 Ti custom cards can likely meet or top its results, for much more money—it renders AMD’s Fury lineup obsolete. Unless you need the $500 Radeon Nano’s mini-ITX form factor or the $650 Fury X’s closed-loop liquid cooling for specific build needs, the GTX 1070 is the clear winner, and for less money. There’s zero reason to buy an air-cooled $500 Radeon Fury or even a $400 Radeon R9 390X over this. Just don’t do it—unless AMD responds by drastically slashing prices, of course, which it may have to do as a response (although that might not be an option for the Fury line, given the sky-high cost of high-bandwidth memory).

The future

AMD may very well have an ace up its sleeve with Radeon graphics cards based on its own 14nm FinFET Polaris GPUs. We have no idea what Team Red has planned on that front, but it’s hosting a livestream for “Polaris updates” from Computex in just a few days, at 10 p.m. Eastern on May 31. Employee leaks suggest a Radeon RX 480 might be revealed, but nothing's been confirmed at the time of this writing. Between the time this review launches on May 30 and the GTX 1070 actually hits the streets on June 10, we’ll have a more concrete idea of what AMD has planned.

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Credit: Brad Chacos

Even though the GTX 1070 delivers Titan X-class power and comes heartily recommended, it doesn’t feel like quite as much of a slam dunk as the GTX 1080. While the new king improved performance over its predecessor by a solid 70 percent across the board, this new prince’s gains over the older GTX 970 vary from 25 to 73 percent, depending on the game and the resolution setting. 

 

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