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Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card reviewed


Anything you can do, I can do better
— 6:26 AM on November 3, 2017

Now that both Nvidia and AMD have made a beachhead on next-generation process technology with next-generation architectures throughout their product stacks, the fight for high-end graphics card supremacy seems ready to settle down into guerilla skirmishes. Witness the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti that Nvidia just launched. Although the chips aren't quite as big and the stakes aren't quite as high as they were among the Radeon R9 290X, the GeForce GTX 780, and the GeForce GTX 780 Ti during the 28-nm era, history echoes. AMD's Radeon RX Vega 56 basically tied a hot-clocked GeForce GTX 1070 in our inital review of AMD's latest, and had I tested those cards reference-for-reference, it's quite likely the GTX 1070 would have fallen behind. For a company that's on top of its GPU game like Nvidia is right now, that kind of rebeliousness won't stand. Time to Ti it up.

As we discussed prior to today's launch, Nvidia is taking one simple step to power up the GTX 1070 non-Ti: bring the world's tiniest chainsaw to bear on one of the GP104 GPU's 20 SMs while holding over the GTX 1070's 8 GT/s GDDR5 memory subsystem. Nvidia clocks the GTX 1070 Ti at the same 1607 MHz base clock as the GTX 1080 Founders Edition, but it slightly throttled back this card's boost clock to 1683 MHz, compared to 1733 MHz on the GTX 1080. (The green team's GPU Boost 3.0 dynamic frequency mojo remains in effect, though, so that 50-MHz haircut is unlikely to matter much in practice.)

  GPU
base
clock
(MHz)
GPU
boost
clock
(MHz)
ROP
pixels/
clock
Texels
filtered/
clock
Shader
pro-
cessors
Memory
path
(bits)
Memory
bandwidth
Memory
size
Peak
power
draw
RX 580 1257 1340 32 144 2304 256 256 GB/s 8 GB 185 W
GTX 1060 6GB 1506 1708 48 80 1152 192 192 GB/s 6 GB 120 W
GTX 1070 1506 1683 64 120 1920 256 256 GB/s 8 GB 150 W
RX Vega 56 1156 1471 64 224 3584 2048 410 GB/s 8 GB 210 W
GTX 1070 Ti 1607 1683 64 152 2432 256 256 GB/s 8 GB 180 W
RX Vega 64 1274 1546 64 256 4096 2048 484 GB/s 8 GB 295 W
GTX 1080 1607 1733 64 160 2560 256 320 GB/s 8 GB 180 W
GTX 1080 Ti 1480 1582 64 224 3584 352 484 GB/s 11 GB 250 W
Titan Xp 1405 1585 96 240 3840 384 547 GB/s 12 GB 250 W

Going by Nvidia's official numbers, this dial-a-yield strategy gives us the following theoretical peak measures of graphical throughput, going by the card's official boost clock:

  Peak pixel
fill rate
(Gpixels/s)
Peak
bilinear
filtering
int8/fp16
(Gtexels/s)
Peak
rasterization
rate
(Gtris/s)

Peak
FP32
shader
arithmetic
rate
(tflops)

Radeon RX 580 43 193/96 5.4 6.2
GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 82 137/137 3.4 4.4
GeForce GTX 1070 108 202/202 5 7
Radeon RX Vega 56 94 330/165 5.9 10.2
GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 108 256/256 6.7 8.2
Radeon RX Vega 64 99 396/198 6.2 12.7
GeForce GTX 1080 111 277/277 6.9 8.9
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 139 354/354 9.5 11.3
Nvidia Titan Xp 152 380/380 9.5 11.3

Since both the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 already enjoyed the full complement of 64 ROPs from the GP104 GPU, the GTX 1070 Ti doesn't gain anything in raw pixel fill rate over its forebear. What it does get is 54 GTex/s more texturing horsepower, a lot more theoretical rasterization potential, and a teraflop and change more compute capacity, at least going by Nvidia's stated boost clock. Those bolstered specs get us most of the way to a fully-enabled GTX 1080, and they should give the GTX 1070 Ti more than a fighting chance against the Radeon rebellion at its $450 suggested price.

In another tip-off to the fact that this card is closer to a GTX 1080 than not, Nvidia suited up the GTX 1070 Ti with the fancy heatsink and circuit board from the fully-enabled GP104 card. That move means a five-phase power-delivery subsystem feeds the GPU instead of a four-phase design, and a vapor-chamber heatsink sits atop the GPU instead of the copper-and-aluminum deal that cooled the GTX 1070 FE. If you'd like to know more, you can check out our dismantling of the GTX 1080 in our original review of that card.

A wide array of custom GTX 1070 Tis will be available today from Nvidia's board partners with even fancier coolers on board, but the Founders Edition card no longer carries a premium compared to third-party options. If you only want to spend $450 on a GTX 1070 Ti, the Founders Edition will probably be nicer than similarly-priced partner cards. Its all-aluminum shroud and verdantly-illuminated GeForce logo remain just as classy as when they bore the GTX 1080 name, and the axial-blower design will push all of this card's waste heat out of a case.

I could tire your eyes with more words about the GTX 1070 Ti, but GP104-powered graphics cards are a well-known quantity at this point. Let's see whether this card's performance is as straightforward as my spitballing would suggest.