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Review: MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X in SLI

by Tarinder Sandhu on 13 July 2016, 14:00

Tags: MSI, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac4ac

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Introduction

What to do when you have a chunk of change burning a hole in your pocket and, as it just so happens, you want truly premium graphics performance for the PC? Nice problem to have. We'd steer most enthusiasts towards the £600-plus GeForce GTX 1080, a GPU that offers close to the gold standard of a 4K resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and image quality all the way up to 11. Yet you can, potentially, do better by adding a couple of hundred pounds to your budget. How? Trust in SLI multi-GPU and lasso a couple of GeForce GTX 1070 cards together. The extra outlay will increase graphics spend to around £850, but should crash through that 4K60 barrier with ease. That's the theory, anyway.

MSI has upped its graphics game of late enough for it to be amongst the very best at producing partner GeForce 10-series cards. The Gaming X line, in particular, strikes an enviable balance between speed, features and price.

Appreciating that we hadn't given Pascal the SLI makeover, MSI sent in a second card for some multi-GPU fun. Ensconced in our test system with ease and connected to its graphics partner in crime through a new high-bandwidth SLI bridge, we set about finding how SLI shapes up in 2016. The results are interesting, to say the least, especially if you have a mind to play games with the DX12 API, so read on to find out what we discovered in some head-scratching testing.

Test setup

GPU Comparisons

 
GPU
Memory
Miscellaneous
Cores
Base
(MHz)
Boost
(MHz)
Size
(MB)
Clock
(MHz)
Bus
(bits)
Power Config
Driver
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X
2,560
1,683
1,823
8,192
10,008
256
8+6
368.39
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
2,560
1,607
1,734
8,192
10,008
256
8
368.39
Palit GeForce GTX 1070 GameRock PE
1,920
1,671
1,873
8,192
8,508
256
8
368.39
2x MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X
1,920
1,582
1,772
8,192
8,008
256
8+6
368.39
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X
1,920
1,582
1,772
8,192
8,008
256
8+6
368.39
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition
1,920
1,506
1,683
8,192
8,008
256
8
368.39
Palit GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream
2,816
1,152
1,241
6,144
7,012
384
8+6
368.39
MSI GeForce GTX 980 Gaming 4G
2,048
1,216
1,317
4,096
7,012
256
8+8
368.39
Gainward GeForce GTX 970 Phoenix
1,664
1,152
1,304
4,096
7,012
256
6+6
368.39
Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury X
4,096
-
1,050
4,096
1,000
4,096
8+8
16.6.1
Sapphire Radeon R9 390 Nitro
2,560
-
1,010
8,192
6,000
512
8+8
16.6.1
AMD Radeon RX 480
2,304
1,120
1,266
8,192
8,000
256
6
16.6.2

HEXUS Graphics Test Bench

Hardware Components Product Page
Processor Intel Core i7-6700K (overclocked to 4.4GHz) intel.com
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-D15S noctua.at
Motherboard Asus Z170 Pro asus.com
Memory Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4-2400 crucial.com
Power Supply be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850W bequiet.com
Primary Storage 256GB Samsung 950 Pro samsung.com
Secondary Storage 512GB SK hynix Canvas SC300 skhynix.com
Chassis Fractal Design Define R5 Windowed fractal-design.com
Monitor Philips Brilliance 4K Ultra HD LED (288P6LJEB/00) philips.co.uk
Operating system Windows 10 (64-bit) microsoft.com

Benchmark Suite

Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark Fire Strike, Fire Strike Extreme and Fire Strike Ultra
Gaming Benchmarks and Settings
Dirt Rally 4xMSAA, Ultra Quality
Doom TSSAA (8TX), Ultra Quality
Fallout 4 TAA, Ultra Quality
Hitman DX12, SMAA, Maximum Quality
Rise of the Tomb Raider DX12, FXAA, Very High Quality
Tom Clancy's The Division FXAA, Ultra Quality
General Benchmarks
Power Consumption To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record system-wide mains power draw both when idle and while playing Dirt Rally.
Temperature To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record GPU core temperature both when idle and while playing Dirt Rally.
Noise A PCE-318 meter is used to record noise levels when idle and while playing Dirt Rally.

Notes

To minimise the impact of any CPU bottlenecks, our test platform is configured with a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700K processor overclocked to 4.4GHz across all cores and 32GB of Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 memory set to run at 2,400MHz using the built-in XMP profile.

For our high-end benchmark suite, we have an array of games tested at FHD (1,920x1,080), QHD (2,560x1,440) and 4K UHD (3,840x2,160) resolutions. Where applicable, any vendor-specific enhancements such as PhysX and TressFX are disabled to help even the playing field. In-game benchmark results are recorded as minimum and average frames per second.