Back when I reviewed the EVGA GTX 1070 I waxed poetic about how awesome that graphics card was. It has been a major contributor in a lot of the gaming and computer tech reviews I’ve done until recently, but things have changed dramatically since the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti came out. The bar had officially risen into the stratosphere earlier this year and expectations are feverish for the newest GTX 1070 Ti to become a feasible alternative to that aloof flagship.
But it’s quite a time to be an PC enthusiast as EVGA unleashes their GeForce GTX 1070 Ti SC GAMING Black Edition graphics card. At $469, it’s one of their more basic iterations of the newly released 1070 Ti models, slotting below the beefier FTW2, FTW ULTRA, and the always coveted liquid-cooled SC Hybrid. The bells and whistles are kept to a absolute minimum, but the performance proposition is the real draw here. Besides, all the RGB lighting in the world doesn’t change the fact that you’re getting the best 1440p gaming option short of an actual GTX 1080 right now.
Not Entirely for Show
Cards of this caliber are meant to do a couple of things well: play video games flawlessly at mainstream resolutions and be less ostentatious in external features. The 1070 Ti SC Black respectfully does both in a two-slot body with a typical 8-pin PCIe connector, aided by the perquisite and trademark ACX 3.0 cooling that keeps temperatures better regulated. The styling is adequately aggressive like the rest of the brand family with bold riveted angles and an illuminated logo that sits on the top-facing side of the card. Unfortunately, the butch treatment doesn’t extend to the rear with a cooling plate, this is omitted for a more bare-bones look. This element won’t vibe aesthetically if you desire some added flair and/or protection for your GPU.
The SC version of the GTX 1070 Ti predictably has three DisplayPort 1.4a ports and one HDMI 2.0 port, along with a dual-link DVI port for legacy displays — of course, you’ll want to stick with modern connectivity as you get 4K/UHD resolution, Nvidia G-Sync adaptive refresh technology for compatible monitors, and HDR10 color enhancement. This GPU also supports SLI, like all the other intermediate Nvidia-based boards.
The technical specifications are also in line with the OEM GTX 1070 Ti from Nvidia, so it is one of the more basic offerings available. The SC Black Edition doesn’t stray from standard clock figures before overclocking with 8GB GDDR5 memory, along with a base clock of 1,607MHz and 1,683MHz boost under moderate load. Everything else is also the same with the GP104 GPU and 244.3GT/s Texture Fill Rate, although the CUDA count is much closer to regular GTX 1080 at 2432.
EVGA’s Precision X software is a popular staple among users who want a simplified power bump but not keen on overdoing it. They’ve updated this suite and aptly renamed it Precision XOC where you can actively see all the relevant information in an easy-to-read window whether you want to do some mild overclocking or just monitoring the inner working of your card. Anything relevant to the GTX 1070 Ti is on the table, feel free to customize fan speeds and voltage curves or play with the memory clock to whatever suits your needs, as most tweaks do work on the fly. This particular GPU comes with a “one click scan” function that can overclock the card for you after testing optimal variables.
You’re probably wondering how the GTX 1070 Ti stacks up. To find out I put the EVGA SC Black Edition into our hand-built system ran by an Intel Core i7-6700 CPU, Gigabyte GA-Z170X motherboard, 32GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 RAM, and a Corsair CX750 PSU. I have also taken the liberty of borrowing equivalent cards within firing range of testing.
Between the GTX 1070 Ti competitors, it quickly became apparent that the EVGA and MSI models performed almost equal to each other within single digits of benchmark scores. So much that you’re simply paying more for the superficial features that come on the MSI. Both cards are definitely in their element when it comes to raw 1440p/144Hz gaming, but merely scrapes by when settings are turned up to 4K for majority of current titles.
Another confirmation is how close the numbers were against the GTX 1080, many people speculated that these cards are more related to each other than originally thought, and there seems to be anecdotal evidence to back those claims up. Meanwhile, the Radeon VEGA 56 was last in all categories and I wasn’t surprised by this one either, the criticisms of lesser components designed to compensate for cost appear to be valid here.
I didn’t benchmark the overclocking capabilities of the GTX 1070 Ti as I prefer to grade each GPU on its stock credentials. But, I can tell you that the SC Black Edition is collected when you turn things up a notch. Thanks to streamlining in the Precision XOC desktop app (which requires you register the serial number) you can literally enter the necessary parameters, walk away for a few minutes while the system produces a decent overclock tweak. After rebooting the numbers were bumped up to an maximum of 1,957MHz before settling down to 1,888MHz via GPU Boost. Manual adjustment produced higher figures at 2,009MHz before I wisely backed off. Coincidentally, this is identical to the MSI which is a pricier card.
With the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti SC GAMING Black Edition I learned two things: this rightfully inherits the original GTX 1070’s mantle, and this has to exist because AMD’s Radeon Vega graphic cards just came out. Yes, the outward flair on this example is lacking but it doesn’t disappoint in straightforwardness either. However, there’s another problem that could hurt the GTX 1070 Ti and it’s the cryptocurrency bubble — Bitcoin/Ethereum miners are driving up the prices on these cards to ridiculous levels as we speak, and that makes recommending this entry a “first come, first serve” basis.
Knowing this, I strongly suggest you pick this one up ASAP if you’re after a serious gaming card. Who knows when this will be available again.