Introduction & Closer Look
Earlier on this year (May 27th, 2016), NVIDIA unveiled their latest range of graphics cards based and built on a completely new architecture; Pascal. This new 16nm production process has been poked and probed since early last year like any new architecture usually is subject to, but we finally have our first sample here at Play3r via MSI; the GTX 1070 Gaming X. Featuring 8GB of GDDR5 and not GDDR5X like the 1080 uses is sure to be a sore point with some, but cuts have to be made somewhere when distinguishing the top-end models from the models below. The GTX 1070 also features 1920 enabled shaders which puts the GTX 1080 on 2560 shaders in total.
Focusing more on the particular model on review today, the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X which encompasses MSIs new Twin Frozr VI cooler and like MSI usually do with their high-end graphics cards, a custom designed PCB; this combined into one package usually means for good and respectable overclocking figures, but we shall see later on in the review if that is the case here.
Compared with the MSI Twin Frozr VI cooler found on the previous NVIDIA Maxwell graphics cards, this particular revision doesn’t offer anything in terms of an aesthetical improvement albeit one major internal one, but I still believe the Twin Frozr coolers to be some of, if not the best-looking graphics card coolers on the market!
Touching on that “major” change from previous revisions of the cooler, MSI has made the red MSI dragon scratch marks illuminate red which should give the card an added boost inside a red themed system; it’s not going to do anyone any favours in another colour scheme, however.
The rear of the GTX 1070 Gaming X has a lovely all-black metal bespoke looking backplate which features the graphics of the MSI Gaming Dragon, this silhouettes nicely in due to its glossy look; the overall look of the backplate is however brushed, but it still looks great.
At the bottom left-hand side, we have 2 x SLI tabs which allow for users to upgrade now or in the future to multi-GPU configurations. Due to design by NVIDIA and not MSI, you can upgrade to a maximum of 2-way SLI for gaming which is more than likely what most of us would use. You can however use 3-way and 4-way SLI if you are of the benchmarking kind.
Worried about power draw with this card? Well MSI have upgraded the power in which can be supplied to the GTX 1070 Gaming X with a single 8 pin and single 6 pin; this allows for up to 300 watts of maximum of pure performance power to be pushed through the card.
One of the brand new changes which will either excite you or make you yawn is MSI’s introduction of RGB to the new range of NVIDIA cards. Back on previous iterations of the Twin Frozr VI cooler, the MSI logo would light up white when powered on and was changeable via the NVIDIA GeForce Experience program, or via the MSI Gaming App. Now with RGB functions added, the MSI Dragon App becomes more important as you do require this nifty piece of software to control the RGB colour changes, or of course, be able to turn the LEDs on or off; this includes the red dragon claw marks as previously shown.
With connections being an ever-important part of a graphics card’s functionality, I am glad that three full-size DisplayPorts 1.4 have been added, as well as a singular HDMI 2.0b compatible port for future proofing, if that is such a thing. If you want to use the included DVI port with an analogue signal, you are out of luck. It will require you to purchase an additional digital active adapter as the Pascal range of GPUs have (finally) dropped support for analogue signals.
I think from the look of the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X 8GB graphics card, the testing is going to be very interesting indeed, but before we jump into the crème de menthe of the review, let’s check the official specifications from MSI out first…