Nvidia's second Pascal gaming graphics card is finally breaking cover, after only a quick mention at the launch of the top-spec GeForce GTX 1080. It'll be out two weeks after its slightly more powerful counterpart, but its significantly lower price should make it especially attractive to anyone gaming at sub-4K resolutions.
With a slated release date of June 10 for the GTX 1070 — both the $US499 Founder's Edition and the $US379 third-party cards are expected on this date — the new card gives the flagship GTX 1080 at least a couple of weeks to make its way into the hands of hardcore enthusiasts and early adopters. The reason is clear; early reviews are extremely positive, but plenty of people are waiting for a more affordable card that still uses the newest-generation Pascal GPU.
The GeForce GTX 1070 is around three quarters as powerful as the GTX 1080, and uses its brand new 16-nanometre Pascal GPU to get there in a slightly different way to the 1080's outright performance figures. Nvidia is enabling 15 out of the 20 possible streaming multiprocessors on the GTX 1070, which adds up to a total of 1920 CUDA cores and 120 texture units, but the same number of ROPs (64) as the 1080. Here's a table demonstrating the difference between the two:
|Specifications||GeForce GTX 1080||GeForce GTX 1070|
|Memory Clock/Type||10Gbps, GDDR5X||8Gbps, GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||256-bit||256-bit|
|Teraflops (rated)||8.9 TFLOPS||6.5 TFLOPS|
From the broad, paper-only specs available — there are only Nvidia's numbers to work from, not even the very top-line benchmark numbers we saw at the 1080 launch — it's looking like the GeForce GTX 1070 will be around 70 to 75 per cent as powerful in raw number-crunching as the GTX 1080 is. To put it in context, this is slightly more of a performance gap than the GTX 970 and GTX 980, meaning there's now a larger and more distinct gap between the two cards.
In a very simple benchmark — Nvidia loves to talk about "relative performance" versus previous generation cards — the GTX 1070 returns around 1.7x the performance of last year's GTX 970 in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and 1.8x in Rise Of The Tomb Raider, as well as blowing it away by around 2.5x in VR. Take these numbers with a grain of salt, though, because they likely rely on those games using graphical enhancements designed for the latest Pascal architecture that artificially hobble older cards like the GTX 970.
The new GTX 1070 uses regular GDDR5 RAM versus the 1080's newer and faster GDDR5X, and that should mean it has slightly less overall memory bandwidth. That, plus the less energy-intensive binning of the Pascal GP104 chip used, means that the 1070 uses 17 per cent less power at 150 Watts than the 1080's 180W, making it a little more attractive to buyers considering picking up two and using them in SLI for high-res or VR gaming or developing.
There will also be a Founder's Edition version of the 1070, priced at $US479 — we're expecting GTX 970-topping prices of around $700 in Australia at least. That's still significantly lower than the $US699 price of the Founder's Edition GTX 1080, though, and in terms of performance per dollar we're expecting the 1070 to be the card of choice from Nvidia's camp for this generation. [Nvidia]