In just a few more days, NVIDIA's recently announced GeForce GTX 1070 Ti will release to retail, and so will embargoes on reviews, which will finally give consumers a chance to digest the new card's performance in comparison to other GeForce 10-series cards. NVIDIA's hardware partners are also ready with benchmarks to share. ASUS, for example, put together a couple of slides that highlight its Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti card's performance in OC mode.
There are a couple of things to digest here. We will get to the numbers in a moment, but first let's talk about overclocking. It was rumored prior to the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti unveiling that NVIDIA would lock the GPU on these cards to prevent overclocking. That turned out not to be the case, and NVIDIA even bragged about designing the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti with overclocking in mind, when it announced the new card.
The odd thing about the launch, however, is that the initial cards unveiled by NVIDIA's hardware partners all advertised reference clockspeeds, including all four SKUs from EVGA and Zotac's three models, even its three-fan GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Amp Extreme. It appeared that NVIDIA was restricting its partners from overclocking GeForce GTX 1070 Ti cards from the factory, and ASUS has seemingly confirmed that when announcing its own models.
"Out of the box, all GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics cards run at the same stock clocks. However, we’ve been testing GPUs internally to see how comfortable they are at higher frequencies. The chips with the best overclocking potential are reserved for a special 'A8G' version of the ROG Strix 1070 Ti. Regardless of which card you choose, our GPU Tweak II software makes overclocking easy for beginners and veterans alike. OC Mode increases the GPU Boost clock with a single click, while extensive manual controls enable serious tuning," ASUS says.
In other words, NVIDIA's hardware partners are not allowed to overclock the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, but users can. NVIDIA's partners are getting around this by releasing binned models with overclocking headroom. The folks at Overclock3D got their hands on one, along with some slides from ASUS that detail the performance of the Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti when overclocked, but have since pulled them down.
ASUS ROG's Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti A8G model has 1,607MHz base clock and 1,683MHz boost clock, same as NVIDIA's reference blueprint, but should be able to hit a boost clock of 1,759MHz. That is the suggestion from ASUS, anyway. And at that overclocked frequency, ASUS says its card can must a few extra frames per second. The above graphs exaggerate the performance gain—just a 2.3 fps bump in Doom and a 0.9 fps increase in Gears of War 4 at Ultra settings, both at 4K—but there is untapped performance for users brave enough to go get it.
There are bigger gains to be had in synthetic benchmarks. In 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme, ASUS ROG claims its Strix GeForce GTX 1070 Ti A8G scores 9,153 with an overclocked boost clockspeed, versus 8,985 by a reference card (or sticking with reference specs).
We suspect other manufacturers will follow suit with their own overclocked performance claims. It is unfortunate that NVIDIA seems to be preventing its partners from overclocking cards from the factory, leaving it up to the consumer to wade through the SKUs to find models that have been binned for higher clocks. But at least the GPU is not actually locked.
The GeForce GTX 1070 Ti hits retail this Thursday, November 2.