Ever heard the saying “good things come to those who wait”? Well, that’s how buying a graphics card typically works and boy did it ever pay off this time. Meet the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Superclocked GAMING ACX 3.0, a powerhouse that exceeds the previous generation GTX 980 and beyond.
Indeed, the GeForce GTX 1070 in general is aspirational power turned into reality. Taking the flagship formula and applying it into something a lot more attainable, for a rational amount of dough. Granted, first-time DIY builders might have to empty their pockets for the privilege, but this card has few weaknesses among its many great features.
Within the Family
Let’s not waste time: This is a full-sized module that sports unique touches, deriving from a NVIDIA reference design that trades the stock HSF cooling for a proprietary ACX 3.0 type. A dual fan setup that once again incorporates double ball bearings for each unit, essentially an open-air customized PCB engineered for efficiency and reduced noise.
The quality is solid with a front that’s fitted with riveted aluminum pieces seemingly for a quasi-industrial look, while a miniature plaque bearing the GPU name is proudly adorned on top. Turn it around and you’ll see that EVGA has refreshed the rear cooling plate for something more streamlined, with very little garnish aside from four meshed vents and etched white LED logo to help offset memory and MOSFET temperature.
Connectivity is standard with a dual-link DVI (for some reason), a single HDMI (version 2.0b/HDCP 2.2), and three DisplayPort (version 1.4). Of course you’ll also have the ability to pair multiple GPUs together by way of SLI implementation, enhancing processing power twofold. For futureproofing, 4K/UHD resolution, Nvidia G-Sync adaptive refresh technology, and HDR (high dynamic range) which utilizes the trillion color Rec. 2020 (BT.2020) space up to a 12-bit Chroma subsampling depth.
The GTX 1070 SC bumps up the default specifications incremental notches for intermediate gaming desktops. The 8,008MHz clock goes unchanged, however the core speeds are bumped up to 1,594MHz and a boost of 1,786MHz, or roughly a 6% increase. Gains are nice no matter how minimal but the main components appear to be untouched, notably the doubled 8GB GDDR5 graphic memory, 256.5 GB/s bandwidth, 1920 CUDA Cores, and a texture fill rate of 191.2GT/s.
We utilized 3DMark for comprehensive testing and found nothing short of the obvious ballpark figures. The GTX 1070 SC is formidable and rightfully finds itself right underneath Nvidia’s current higher-end choices, notably the enthusiast GeForce GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition (OEM) and well below the pascal-generation GeForce GTX Titan X. Unsurprisingly, we found that this card outclasses the AMD flagship Radeon RX 480 8GB and even went beyond the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX Titan X.
Those Numbers don’t lie either. With the 3DMark Fire Strike test, which is intended for straightforward runtimes at preset resolutions and DirectX 11 features, we ran the card in regular (Full HD), Extreme (Quad HD), and Ultra (4K/UHD). Our final point benchmarks were largely consistent and placed the GTX 1070 in high-performance credentials, respectively scoring 16,014 (FHD), 8,495 (QHD), and a 4,683 (UHD).
It was also the same for the Time Spy test, which stresses components and cooling efficiency. We found the GTX 1070 held its own at 99.3% while core frequency between individual runs remained at 1,969MHz, with a steady temperature of 68°F and stupefying quiet at 32.3db.
And now to the fun part, which is gaming and the graphical splendor that comes with a beefier GPU. Since Grand Theft Auto V finally made its way to PC, it has been a priority of mine to play it as god intended: In 4K. My thoughts on the latest pixel resolution has been decidedly mixed, ranging from prolonged lack of proper standardization, to a misrepresented consumer campaign which has been discussed in relative detail. What is hard to dispute is that with the right content and sharp eyesight, there is a difference.
Technically, visuals look fantastic and exceed even the more popular PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions by a large margin, running at a stellar average of 159 frames per second (86 FPS minimum) on 1920×1080 and 64 FPS (49 FPS minimum) when maxed out at UHD 3840×2160. It also helps that it was an amazing game beforehand, being released in spring last year.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was our benchmark medium as Lara’s latest is populated with lush environments, challenging puzzles, and clashes of action thrown in for good measure. The game itself is somewhat predictable and we found the numbers mirroring expectations at 125 FPS average (77 FPS minimum) when paired to a high-refresh 1080p display. Take things up to 4K and the intensity creeps (albeit very little) to an acceptable average of 58 FPS (36 FPS minimum).
Our take: ROTTR is better with a 144Hz monitor or at 1440p. For silky-smooth performance though, many will need to reduce a couple of quality settings to gain the possible benefits of 4K/60Hz.
Lastly, we had DOOM (2016) on deck, for a refreshingly blunt and engaging reboot of the classic first-person shooter. Since we really can’t sing enough praises about this game, we came away surprised on how well the GTX 1070 handled the action on default with the GeForce Experience.
Optimization appears to be key as the 1080p numbers were clocked at 143 FPS, 98 FPS for 1440p, and a surprisingly compliant 51 FPS for 4K on default. DOOM was the benchmark wild card and was damn impressive, with light modification within high image quality (Nightmare quality was too taxing at higher resolutions) we managed very agreeable figures, 161 FPS (1080p), 122 FPS (1440p), 54-60 FPS (4K/UHD).
Conclusion: The New GPU Standard
The prior generation of Nvidia graphic cards had a lot to offer but left many unfulfilled promises, they weren’t horrible but it was apparent that the market was caught in a transitional gap. Not anymore with the GeForce GTX 1070 Superclocked GAMING ACX 3.0 GPU now that EVGA made an ideal candidate for proper benchmark gaming and nearly everything involving 4K UHD for advanced HTPC builds.
Despite carrying a premium price ($449.99 MSRP), right now — and ultimately — the GTX 1070 is a definitive Editors’ Choice pick.