Review: MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X in SLI

  • 3 min read
  • Jul 14, 2016

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

GPUMemoryMiscellaneous
CoresBase
(MHz)
Boost
(MHz)
Size
(MB)
Clock
(MHz)
Bus
(bits)
Power ConfigDriver
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 2,5601,6831,8238,19210,0082568+6368.39
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition2,5601,6071,7348,19210,0082568368.39
Palit GeForce GTX 1070 GameRock PE1,9201,6711,8738,1928,5082568368.39
2x MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X1,9201,5821,7728,1928,0082568+6368.39
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X1,9201,5821,7728,1928,0082568+6368.39
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition1,9201,5061,6838,1928,0082568368.39
Palit GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream2,8161,1521,2416,1447,0123848+6368.39
MSI GeForce GTX 980 Gaming 4G2,0481,2161,3174,0967,0122568+8368.39
Gainward GeForce GTX 970 Phoenix1,6641,1521,3044,0967,0122566+6368.39
Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury X4,0961,0504,0961,0004,0968+816.6.1
Sapphire Radeon R9 390 Nitro2,5601,0108,1926,0005128+816.6.1
AMD Radeon RX 4802,3041,1201,2668,1928,000256616.6.2

 

HEXUS Graphics Test Bench

Hardware ComponentsProduct Page
ProcessorIntel Core i7-6700K (overclocked to 4.4GHz)intel.com
CPU CoolerNoctua NH-D15Snoctua.at
MotherboardAsus Z170 Proasus.com
MemoryCrucial Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4-2400crucial.com
Power Supplybe quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850Wbequiet.com
Primary Storage256GB Samsung 950 Prosamsung.com
Secondary Storage512GB SK hynix Canvas SC300skhynix.com
ChassisFractal Design Define R5 Windowedfractal-design.com
MonitorPhilips Brilliance 4K Ultra HD LED (288P6LJEB/00)philips.co.uk
Operating systemWindows 10 (64-bit)microsoft.com

 

Benchmark Suite

Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMarkFire Strike, Fire Strike Extreme and Fire Strike Ultra
Gaming Benchmarks and Settings
Dirt Rally4xMSAA, Ultra Quality
DoomTSSAA (8TX), Ultra Quality
Fallout 4TAA, Ultra Quality
HitmanDX12, SMAA, Maximum Quality
Rise of the Tomb RaiderDX12, FXAA, Very High Quality
Tom Clancy’s The DivisionFXAA, Ultra Quality
General Benchmarks
Power ConsumptionTo emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record system-wide mains power draw both when idle and while playing Dirt Rally.
TemperatureTo emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record GPU core temperature both when idle and while playing Dirt Rally.
NoiseA 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 (1,920×1,080), QHD (2,560×1,440) and 4K UHD (3,840×2,160) 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.

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