MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edn.
Value and performance combined
Nvidia has taken a new route with its reference cards. In the past, when they released a new graphics card, they’d initially ship out reference cards for the first few months, until their thirdparty manufacturers could roll out their own stock in volume. However, with the GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080, they’ve replaced this with “Founders Edition” cards, which will be around for the full life span of the product. Using a custom Nvidia cooler, thirdparty manufacturers are free to sell them as well, but they’re all identical. So, an MSI Founders Edition 1070 is absolutely identical to a Gigabyte Founders Edition 1070.
Strangely, these cards are a little more expensive than their third-party counterparts overseas – except here in Australia. The MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition is one of the cheapest GeForce GTX 1070 cards on the market, at around $120 less than other GeForce GTX 1070 cards, yet it’s built to such a high quality the price difference makes little sense.
The main difference to other cards is the absolutely stunning Nvidia cooler. This aluminium angled cooler is, in our opinion, the best looking cooler on the market, and it’s damn quiet, coming in at 44dB. As a reference design, it doesn’t come factory overclocked, with a stock base speed of 1506MHz and boost clock of 1683MHz. Nvidia claims that despite the price being slightly higher, it’s also not handselecting the best chips for these – they’re identical to other GeForce GTX 1070s. Yet we managed to get the boost speed up to 1930MHz, making it just as fast as more expensive, preoverclocked GeForce GTX 770s. Note that we didn’t run our benchmarks in OC mode, though, as we’d handoverclocked this, which wasn’t really fair to the other cards.
This also means it has the stock video outputs – triple DisplayPort 1.4 and a single HDMI 2.0 port. There’s also one 8-pin power plug, and the total TDP of the card is a mere 150W. Another bonus of the reference design is that this thing isn’t covered in coloured lights. Call us old and boring, but we think the RGB fad is just a tiny bit tacky.
Despite the lower price, this card comes with a full 8GB of GDDR5X memory, though it’s slightly downclocked from its big brother to 8Gbps. As you’ll see, though, the performance is still blistering. Instead of the 20 SMs (these are the building blocks that contain the CUDA cores and Texture Units) of the GeForce GTX 1080, it only has 15 but, again, the performance drop isn’t as high as we had anticipated.
As the cheapest GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition on the market, MSI has delivered all of the power of the more expensive units in a beautifully built package. It might require a little more effort to extract the maximum overclock potential out of it, but when you’re getting much of the power of a GeForce GTX 1080 for almost half the price, we can easily deal with that comparatively small issue.
Incredible value Beautiful build quality Excellent performance Identical to every other GeForce GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition