For AMD’s CPU division this year has been excellent. The AMD Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs managed to not only shame Intel’s products by offering double the cores as their Intel counterparts, but also forced Intel to increase the cores from 2 to 4 in case of the upcoming 8th gen i3 processors. However, if you consider the GPU side, Radeon technologies to be more specific, things haven’t been going that well. Shortly after VEGA was unveiled, Radeon boss Raja Koduri took a “temporary leave” from the position and AMD CEO Lisa Su took over. It can’t be said for sure whether it was because of the fact that the long awaited VEGA GPUs failed to impress. But regardless, after months of teasing and a long, tiring campaign, when VEGA finally hit the shelves, most enthusiasts were disappointed. While the VEGA 64’s price, if you do manage to find one, at the moment, is on par with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080Ti, it’s performance sure ain’t. The VEGA 64 barely manages to keep up with the Geforce GTX 1080 and on top of that runs hot and is loud as a helicopter. Well, maybe not that loud, but still it’s loud enough.

VEGA 64’s smaller sibling the VEGA 56 seemed promising at first, priced below the GTX 1070, and beating it too in many games. It was at that moment very appealing, perhaps the best GPU for 1440p60FPS, or even midrange 4K gaming. Well, guess what, it not so appealing  anymore, courtesy of NVIDIA’s brand new GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. We’ve been hearing about this SKU for a while now. We already knew that it would fit somewhere in between the 1080 and the 1070 and it was created for the mere purpose of eradicating the VEGA 56. We also had heard rumors that the core clocks of this GPU would be locked and OCing wouldn’t be possible. Turns out that’s not quite true. Let’s talk about that in a while. We’ll go over the specifications and the other nitty gritty details first.

SPECS

The GTX 1070 Ti is based on the GP104, same as the GTX 1080 and 1070 but with 19 SMs, four more than the GTX 1070. The GTX 1080 in comparison has 20. While the GTX 1070 Ti’s additional SMs provide more shading, texturing and geometry resources, it still has the slower GDDR5 memory like the 1070 and a bandwidth of 256 GB/s. Consequently, the GTX 1070 Ti will fare better in compute-bound games thanks to the extra SMs, as opposed to bandwidth or intensive games.

It also means that as the screen resolution increases the gap between the 1080 and the 1070 Ti should increase while the 1070 should close in, since the bandwidth and memory has a more significant impact on the performance as you climb the resolution ladder. Whatever the real-world performance difference might be, the GTX 1070 Ti’s price is roughly in the middle between the 1080 and 1070. NVIDIA’s Founders Edition is priced at $449, but the official MSRP starts at that point, presumably going no higher than the low ceiling of $500 or so where GTX 1080 cards lie.

Now coming to the earlier issue of frequency locking. The 1070 Ti will still be overclockable but the board partners can’t release factory overclocked versions of the card. This is mainly since if they did, that’d render the 1080 more or less obsolete. Why then you might ask why NVIDIA had to come up with a 1070 Ti? VEGA 56!

UNDER THE HOOD

NVIDIA has essentially put the GTX 1070 Ti GPU onto a GTX 1080 board. This makes a lot of sense considering that this late-cycle card has the same GPU and 180W TDP requirements as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080. Doing so allows NVIDIA to start shipping the card without making many modifications and the board partners can do the same, especially since factory overclocking isn’t an option here.

The result? The GTX 1070 Founders Edition has the same power delivery and cooling specifications as the GTX 1080. Which is to say that it retains the same vapor chamber + blower cooling design, and the same 5+1 dual-FET power design. Similarly, that means the GTX 1070 Ti also has the same 120% power limit, and so extending the TDP to 216W. The PCB too is exactly the same as the GTX 1080.

An interesting point to note is that the GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition gets the vapor chamber cooler. The card does not carry a price premium like the other Founders Edition cards do; NVIDIA is not charging more than their partners here. As a decent cooling solution, the vapor chamber works well with the GTX 1070 Ti’s TDP and 120% power limit.

Finally, given the identical-to-1080 board design, the rest of the specifications should not come as a surprise. The 10.5″ card requires a single PCIe 8-pin power connector for additional power, which combined with the 75W of the PCIe slot, gives the complete card more than enough power for its 180W TDP. Meanwhile on the display side of matters, the GTX 1070 Ti has 3x DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0b port, and 1 DL-DVI-D port. The GTX 1070 Ti also does support SLI, like all Pascal cards from the GTX 1070 and up.

Benchmarks

Battlefield 1

In Battlefield 1, the 1070 Ti either beats the VEGA 56 or levels with it. The 1070 on the other hand is roughly 10-12 % slower than the Ti. On the other hand the 1080 is 5-10% faster than the Ti, depending on the resolution. Here, the higher resolutions favor the VEGA cards while the 1070 Ti seems like the optimal solution for 1440p60FPS or 120Hz @ 1080p.

ASHES OF THE SINGULARITY

The Radeon cards don’t seem to be doing too well here. The 1070 Ti beats both the VEGA cards, and is 12 and almost 20 fps faster than the VEGA 56 at 1440p and 1080p, respectively. Not a very encouraging result for AMD. The GTX 1080 meanwhile is just 3 fps faster than the 1070 Ti here. The GTX 1070 performs the same as the VEGA 56. Seems like compute/shader performance is a major factor in this game

DOOM

The VEGA GPUs seem to run well on this Vulkan based shooter. The 1070 Ti is either on par or edges out ahead of the VEGA 56. The 1070 is way slower here, while the GTX 1080 isn’t that far ahead of the Ti.

GHOST RECON WILDLANDS

A rather poor showing by the AMD cards here. They are pretty much left in the dust in this one, especially at lower resolutions. The 1070 Ti is evenly placed between the GTX 1070 and the 1080 here.

DEUS EX MANKIND DIVIDED

This is one game in which the VEGA 56 just manages to beat the GTX 1070 Ti. All the AMD cards perform rather well here.

GRAND THEFT AUTO V

Here again, except at 4K, the Radeon cards are utterly defeated. The 1070 Ti sits comfortable in between the GTX 1070 and the 1080.

TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER

And yet again, the VEGA 56 is plenty slower than the 1070 Ti. The Ti comes real close to the GTX 1080 and is 6-12 fps faster than the 1070, the gap shortening as you increase the resolution.

Power, Temperature, & Noise

The 1070 Ti is sandwiched between the GTX 1070 and the 1080 in terms of nose levels, while the VEGA cards as I said earlier are unbearably loud.

While the VEGA 56 is an absolute monster both in terms of power and heat, the VEGA 56 fares relatively better, right behind the GTX 1080 Ti, although it’s not really admirable given the performance differences. Once again , the 1070 Ti sits nicely between the its GP104 brethren.

Overclocking

Amid rumors that the GTX 1070 Ti would be frequency locked, NVIDIA made it clear that it would be a decent overclocker. Let’s seen how it fares.

Pretty much in-line with other Pascal cards. The overclocking capability of the GTX 1070 Ti isn’t something you can brag about, but free performance is always welcome, even if it is a mere 10%. As for noise, temps and power consumption there wasn’t any major change. Just as much as you’d expect, 5-10% approx in all three departments, give or take.

Conclusion

Almost everyone was certain that the GTX 1080 Ti was the last card of NVIDIA’s 10 series lineup. There was no competition in the enthusiast segment (and the Polaris cards were driven more or less extinct thanks to ethereum miners). But that’s exactly what changed in the recent couple of months. While the VEGA 64 raised eyebrows, due to lackluster performance, in addition to unreasonable thermals and power consumption, and yes, the miner treatment didn’t really help, the VEGA 56 seemed like an able competitor. That is no longer the case, however. The GeForce GTX 1070 Ti pretty much annihilates the VEGA 56 in almost every test and in some cases even matches up to the VEGA 64 and its big brother the GTX 1080. All in all, this is a win-win for NVIDIA. Team green seems to have concluded this year with another surprise, and doesn’t look like AMD will an answer for it anytime soon.

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