Here comes a new challenger

NVIDIA has another new GPU for us before the year’s end. Do you need it though?

The release of the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti has been an odd adventure. Launched into a narrow window of a product stack between the GTX 1070 and the GTX 1080, the GTX 1070 Ti is a result of the competition from the AMD RX Vega product line. Sure, NVIDIA might have speced out and prepared an in-between product for some time, but it was the release of competitive high-end graphics cards from AMD (for the first time in forever it seems) that pushed NVIDIA to launch what you see before us today.

With MSRPs of $399 and $499 for the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 respectively, a new product that fits between them performance wise has very little room to stretch its legs. Because of that, there are some interesting peculiarities involved with the release cycle surrounding overclocks, partner cards, and more.

But before we get into that concoction, let’s first look at the specifications of this new GPU option from NVIDIA as well as the reference Founders Edition and EVGA SC Black Edition cards that made it to our offices!

GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Specifications

We start with our classic table of details.

  RX Vega 64 Liquid RX Vega 64 Air RX Vega 56 Vega Frontier Edition GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070
GPU Cores 4096 4096 3584 4096 3584 2560 2432 1920
Base Clock 1406 MHz 1247 MHz 1156 MHz 1382 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1677 MHz 1546 MHz 1471 MHz 1600 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz
Texture Units 256 256 256 256 224 160 152 120
ROP Units 64 64 64 64 88 64 64 64
Memory 8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 1890 MHz 1890 MHz 1600 MHz 1890 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz
Memory Interface 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 484 GB/s 484 GB/s 410 GB/s 484 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP 345 watts 295 watts 210 watts 300 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts
Peak Compute 13.7 TFLOPS 12.6 TFLOPS 10.5 TFLOPS 13.1 TFLOPS 11.3 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 7.8 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $699 $499 $399 $999 $699 $499 $449 $399

If you have followed the leaks and stories over the last month or so, the information here isn’t going to be a surprise. The CUDA core count of the GTX 1070 Ti is 2432, only one SM unit less than the GTX 1080. Base and boost clock speeds are the same as the GTX 1080. The memory system includes 8GB of GDDR5 running at 8 GHz, matching the performance of the GTX 1070 in this case. The TDP gets a bump up to 180 watts, in line with the GTX 1080 and slightly higher than the GTX 1070.

All signs point to the GTX 1070 Ti being a competitive performer in line with the GTX 1080. With only a 5% drop in CUDA core count and a slightly reduced peak memory bandwidth (25%), my expectation is that the GTX 1070 Ti would look much closer to the GTX 1080 than the GTX 1070.

The pricing is interesting as well – NVIDIA and its partners are going to push the GTX 1070 Ti down to an MSRP of $449, right smack in the middle of the expected pricing on the 1080 and 1070. Partners will likely have supply in that range as well, with EVGA sending me the GTX 1070 Ti SC Black Edition that has a price at $469.

The GTX 1070 Ti Oddities

Let’s address a couple of interesting things about this product release. First, this marks the first time that I can remember being a reviewer of hardware that NVIDIA has stealth launched (if you don’t count the buckets of leaks) a graphics card without briefing the media group prior. The Oct 26th announcement was the first official word I had gotten from NVIDIA about it, at all. Odd, but maybe not interesting to those of you reading today.

What is of interest is the lack of pre-overclocked options from vendors like EVGA, ASUS, and others. For a normal launch, we would see 3-5 options from each of these guys hit our inboxes, each with a slightly different/better cooler implementation and each with slightly increased base and boost clock speeds. This pre-overclocked status helps to differentiate the cards from each other and creates a tiered structure of product so EVGA can sell and offer premium options.

If you read our launch story for the GTX 1070 Ti, EVGA is offering four different models. They have a blower cooler, two different dual-fan options, and a hybrid liquid cooler. However, all four models have the same clock speeds and memory speeds out of the box. Why is this? Though NVIDIA and its partners won’t say officially, the benchmark numbers we are going to show you on the next page make it pretty obvious: an overclocked GTX 1070 Ti will often times beat the performance of a stock GTX 1080. Rather than deal with the fallout of a card labeled GTX 1070 Ti besting a card labeled GTX 1080 at stock settings, NVIDIA decided to restrict the AIC vendors’ ability to set above-reference specs.

To be clear: I do not think this is a standing policy NVIDIA will make going forward. Instead, this appears to be a one-off solution to a complicated problem that they didn’t predict would occur when laying out the roadmap years ago. Also, this policy in no way impacts the consumers' ability to overclock the GTX 1070 Ti cards they purchase manually through EVGA Precision XOC or other software tools. In fact, the latest iteration of Precision XOC actually prompts you to run its auto overclocking tool immediately after install – almost as if they feel guilty for not getting you a boost out of the box.

The Founders Edition and EVGA SC Black Edition Cards

I’m going to be upfront with you all here: there isn’t much to see. The GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition looks exactly like every other Founders Edition of this generation. Without the “Ti” added to the tail end of the name, you wouldn’t know this is a different product.

You get the same blower cooler, same display output configuration, same 8-pin power connection requirement, etc.

The EVGA GTX 1070 Ti SC Black Edition uses a slightly updated version of the company’s ACX 3.0 cooler with some addition black-out styling.

The dual-fan design of the ACX 3.0 cooler is something we have a lot of experience with and have come to appreciate. Again, we are working with the same display output connectivity and feature set, but with this cooler design we should be able to run at lower temperatures, lower noise levels, and higher clock speeds, with or without overclock settings.

Now, let’s dive into what we all came to see: the benchmarks.

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