I have been building and repairing computers and networks for the majority of my life. When it comes to a gaming computer specifically the most important part is trying to futureproof it. No one likes spending money on a brand new computer and having to fork out additional funds a year or two later so you can continue to play the newest and greatest of games.
Nvidia was gracious enough to send me a GTX 1070 Founders Edition (yes, I know the apostrophe is missing speak to Nvidia about that) video card to review. Now, before some people jump on me and say this isn’t a review because I didn’t compare it to other video cards. I was only sent one card from one company thus I can’t compare it directly to other manufacture cards to give you a comparative review . While I can compare my benchmark results to those online, the results will be slightly skewed due to my system being different than others who did the test. Results will vary. That being said, I did put this card through a ton of benchmarks, played MMOS on the highest of settings, even jumped into Ark: Survival Evolved to see if I was able to get more than 5 FPS (I did!!). Along with Ark, I tried to put this card through it’s paces in the MMOs that I have installed, this includes, Black Desert, Evolve (not exactly an MMO, but it’s a beautiful game and I needed to see it on this card), World of Warcraft (not so graphically intense as other games but I did play it so I figured I’d make mention of it), and last but not least, The Elder Scrolls Online. So many people say ESO has poor looking graphics but I disagree, the game is gorgeous when you max out every setting.
So let’s get right into it, first, you’re probably wondering what the heck is Founders Edition. It’s not an elite group of people with a particular set of skills, but it is a better overall card in comparison to the non Founders Edition ones. Founders Edition means a few things, it means that Nvidia has designed everything about the card from the chip to the cooling. Typically whichever sells the card, MSI, Asus, Zotac, etc, design everything except for the actual GPU. Founders Edition cards, it’s all Nvidia. Specifically with the GTX 1070 and 1080 Nvidia uses a single fan and a vapor chamber cooling system. I haven’t had first hand experience with this but I have read multiple reports that the Founders Edition cards also offer more stability when being overlocked. My system doesn’t have optimal air-flow design so my system does run a touch warmer than I would like. That said, the Nvidia GTX 1070 Founders Edition has yet to go over 72° at full load. I’ve benchmarked this card using 3D Mark and even during its most intense test it never peaked over 72°. Very impressive in my mind considering my last card would run at just over 80° in my machine. In a computer with a proper size fans and one that doesn’t have a cat that likes to sit at the intake vents should easily have the GPU run below 70° on full load.
As I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t test the card directly against other cards but what I can do is show you the specs of this card versus other ones.
The GTX 1070 is the designed to replace the 980 Ti. You’re getting less cores but a substantially faster clock speed as well as more memory. The GTX 1070 also uses the same GPU as the 1080 just trimmed down a bit. Even though it is trimmed it still boasts all the the same features as the 1080, Simultaneous Multi-Projection for VR, Fast Sync and the Ansel screenshot technology for those who enjoy being game photographers.
During my 3D Mark tests I ran through everything with surprising results. I averaged 80 FPS through everything except the physics tests which I dropped down to 36.35 FPS. I have never had a single card perform overly well during the physics score, the tests themselves are very heavy loads for the GPU then to include real time physics to the formula really stresses the machine.
When buying a video card affordability places a major factor. You don’t want to go to the bottom end because you’ll just end up replacing the card sooner. If you too high end you’re spending money on performance you’ll never actually use, it’d be like buying a Formula 1 race car but never taking it to a track to see what it can do.
Looking at PCPartPicker right now, the lowest cost GTX 1070 Founders Edition is $440. If you’re interested in the non Founders Edition, which is almost the same card spec wise, but you potentially compromise on cooling and overclock stability, they cost roughly $390. This card is priced considerably competitive, remember this card is designed to replace the 980Ti which costs approx $100 more and doesn’t offer the VR support that the 1070 does.
We have no idea if VR is going to be the next big thing in gaming. Having experienced VR I truly hope it does. It needs to come down in price to make it more accessible to a wider range of consumers but when that happens this card is completely ready for it.
You don’t want to underpower or overpower yourself when you buy a video card but you want to ensure you’re future-proofing yourself. When I built my PC nearly 7 years ago I designed it to be able to play games on high to ultra settings for the next 5 years. Some of you might say 5 years isn’t a long time but when it comes to games and technology a lot change happen. Had my card not have crapped out on me (I blame the cat) I would probably still be gaming with it without any issues. The GTX 1070 Founders Edition should extend well past 5 years barring no hardware failures. So keep up on your cleanings.
- It uses a trimmed 1080 GPU
- Ansel Technology - Being able to stitch still images of your games to incredible sizes
- Simultaneous Multi-projection - If you’re into VR this is what you need and this card has an incredible support system for this feature.
- Founders Edition Cooling and Overclock Stability
- True 2 slot size making it easier to place two cards next to each other
- Removable Backplate for better SLI air flow
- Future proofed
There isn’t a ton I can say against this card. The card does use the 1080 GTX GPU it doesn’t perform as well as the 1080 when it comes to 4k Gaming. It does perform outstanding at 1440p which to me I think is where this card excels. Any game on the market right now, will easily be able to perform at high or ultra settings without breaking a sweat at 1440p resolution. Jump it to 4K and the GPU really starts to work, not that it can’t do it, it can, just has to work extremely hard to do it.
Long story short, if you’re in the market for a new video card that is future proofed for many years this one should be on your list of go to items.
Editor's Note: Nvidia provided a GTX 1070 for review purposes.