When Nvidia announced their latest line of Pascal-based graphics cards, the world was forever changed. The company had managed to do the impossible in a post-Moore’s Law world by simultaneously doubling the performance of their previous lineup, cutting the cost in half, and doing it all in classic Nvidia style by running another set of victory laps around AMD. You can also check out the Nvidia GTX 980M.
But do the 10XX cards actually live up to the hype in real world testing, and will third-party outfits like MSI let them live up to their full potential?
Read on in my MSI GeForce GTX 1070 8GB review to find out!
Price: $429.99 at Amazon
Model #: MSI GeForce GTX 1070 GAMING X 8G
Summary: The MSI GeForce GTX 1070 8GB graphics card is great for gamers who run a 1080p screen and want ultra crisp textures, and still posts solid results in 4K too (as long as you don’t mind playing on medium to high settings).
What We Liked
- Great performance in 1080p gaming
- Decent FPS rates at 4K
- Customizable and overclockable
What We Didn’t
- 4K results could have been slightly better
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Graphics Card Specs
|ASUS ROG Strix RX 480 OC Edition|
|GPU Engine||Polaris 14nm (RX 480)|
|Engine Clock||1330MHz (OC Mode)|
|Dimensions||11.73 " x 5.28 " x 1.57 " inches|
|Ports||1 DVI-D, 2 HDMI 2.0, 2 DP 12.2, HDCP|
Our Testing Process
To gauge the capabilities of the MSI GeForce GTX 1070, we ran it through a series of tests with demos in 3DMark including the latest DX12 test “Time Spy”, as well as in four different popular games released in the past several years: The Witcher III, Heroes of the Storm, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and the online multiplayer arena shooter Overwatch.
Although the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 is priced right around where gamers who mainly stick to 1920 x 1080 screens at 60Hz would want to be, we also cranked it to the max by including two separate monitors with variable resolutions and refresh rates. The first was on an LG UC3899 UltraWide 21:9 gaming monitor running at a resolution of 3840 x 1600 at 75Hz, while the second was an ASUS MG28UQ 4K gaming monitor running at 60Hz.
All of our results were recorded using the latest version of the Fraps FPS capture tool, and include both the max FPS achieved, as well as the average recorded over a period of 10 minutes of uninterrupted gaming with ultra/hyper/extreme graphics settings enabled.
All tests were run on a custom built desktop with the following specs, at a preset overclock rate of 105%:
- CPU: 6th-Gen Intel Core i7-6700 3.4GHz processor,
- RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 2133MHz
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming
- PSU: Cooler Master GX 750W
- SSD: Patriot Blaze 120GB
- HDD: Seagate 1TB ST1000DM003 6.0Gb/s
- Monitors: LG 38UC99 (3840 x [email protected]), ASUS MG28UQ (1920 x [email protected], 3840 x [email protected])
Included with the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 is MSI’s own internal configuration and overclocking software, known as the “MSI Afterburner” and “Gaming App”. It’s in these two pieces of software where you can alter all the overclocking settings on your card, as well as monitor your temperatures, change the LED pattern on your card, and turn on the “ZeroFrozr” option, which best we could tell was simply a boost to the graphics card’s fan speed.
Although you can use Afterburner to push the card even further, it’s not recommended to push past what MSI considers its own OC spec. I was able to run all the tests below without one crash in OC mode, which cranks the clockspeed to 1797 MHz /1607 MHz. Gaming Mode sets the clocks to 1771 MHz/1582 MHz, while Silent Mode brings things down to 1683 MHz/1506 MHz.
It was no surprise to see the GTX 1070 cruise past titles like Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch in all resolutions, both of which are highly optimized and run clean on basically any system that’s not an actual toaster.
|Mirror's Edge - Hyper|
|Heroes of the Storm - Extreme|
|Overwatch - Epic|
|The Witcher III - Ultra|
|1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz||92.71 FPS/ 172 FPS||183.29 FPS/ 197 FPS||127.59 FPS/ 178 FPS||78.31 FPS/ 89 FPS|
|3840 x 1600 (21:9) @ 75Hz||38.21 FPS/ 51 FPS||90.46 FPS/ 101 FPS||97.54 FPS/ 107 FPS||40.88 FPS/ 46 FPS|
|3840 x 2160 (4K) @ 60Hz||37.07 FPS/ 51 FPS||90.87 FPS/ 103 FPS||97.91 FPS/ 106 FPS||41.12 FPS/ 45 FPS|
The Witcher III and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst are where things expectedly started to slow down a bit with settings maxed out at 4K, however the GTX 1070 still held its own for the most part when run in 1440p or less.
SkyDiver Score FireStrike Score TimeSpy Score 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz 39831 12911 4037 3440 x 1440 (21:9) @ 100Hz 38867 12819 3739 3840 x 2160 (4K) @ 60Hz 38090 12702 3970
3DMark scores were impressive across the board, though this isn’t surprising given the advancements in Pascal’s architecture over competing chip offers from AMD.
The MSI GeForce GTX 1070 does exactly what Nvidia said it would all those months ago, and delivers on its promise to run any game in moderately high resolution at 1080p at 60FPs and above.
If you’re looking for a card that will flawlessly run AAA games at the same framerate on a 4K monitor…you’re probably better off going with the MSI GTX 1080 instead. But the GTX 1070 is still a worthy contender, and for a little more than half the price of the 1080 it still held its own well above the 40FPS mark when pit against some of the most graphically demanding games on shelves today.
If you have anything less than a 4K monitor then this is obviously the choice for you, as it excelled in resolutions that aren’t as hard on the card and let it really stretch its circuits out to see what it can do.
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