Feature Articles

Preview: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI benchmarked

By Koh Wanzi - 10 Jun 2016

Preview: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 SLI benchmarked

Two cards, twice the power?

NVIDIA only officially supports two-way SLI now. (Image Source: NVIDIA)

Back in May, we published an article with some preliminary performance numbers we obtained from running a two-way NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 SLI setup. As it turns out, you can look forward to quite a decent performance boost if you snag two pieces of NVIDIA’s new flagship, but it varies quite widely from game to game (as is usually the case with multi-GPU configurations).

This time, we managed to get our crummy paws on two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070s. In fact, the GeForce GTX 1070 might be a more interesting card to examine in SLI than the 1080. At US$449 for the Founders Edition, it is quite a bit cheaper than its bigger brother, while still offering more than enough performance for the vast majority of gamers (basically anyone who doesn’t need to have the absolute best).

This means that you could get the GeForce GTX 1070 first – also saving money in the process – and theoretically still stand to gain a sick performance boost if you decide to add a second card later on.

We also managed to obtain one of the new three-slot NVIDIA SLI HB bridges and the WHQL-certified 368.39 driver which officially supports the GeForce GTX 1070, so the performance numbers here should be a fairly accurate representation of what to expect. As we mentioned before, the new SLI HB bridges are required to maximize performance in more demanding scenarios.



Test Setup

We used the same test rig as we did in our review. The specifications are as follow:

  • Intel Core i7-5960X
  • ASUS X99-Pro (Intel X99 chipset) motherboard
  • 2 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2133 (Auto timings: CAS 15-15-15-36)
  • Samsung SSD 840 Pro 256GB SATA 6Gbps solid state drive (OS + benchmark + games)
  • Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps hard drive (general storage)
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • Intel INF



Performance findings

The GeForce GTX 1070 in SLI actually seems to scale better at more demanding settings, which was similar to what we observed with the 1080. For instance, the cards enabled a 43 percent increase in performance in the 1080p 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, but this widened to an 83 percent improvement in the 4K Fire Strike Ultra test. Similarly, in Tom Clancy’s The Division, the two GeForce GTX 1070s posted a 38 percent improvement at the least demanding settings (1080p, High) and a 52 percent jump in our most taxing benchmark (1600p, Ultra).

In Ashes of the Singularity (DirectX 12 mode), the two cards likewise displayed middling – and pretty much insignificant – improvements at 1080p and High settings. However, things start to get better as we crank the resolution and settings up. At 1600p and Crazy settings, there was a respectable 63 percent increase from a single GeForce GTX 1070. One thing to note is that AotS currently doesn’t support SLI in DirectX 11 mode. As of now, the only way to take advantage of both GPUs is to disable SLI in the NVIDIA Control Panel, and then check the option to enable multiple GPUs in the game itself while in DirectX 12 mode.

What we’ve conducted so far is hardly a complete SLI review, but there are some key takeaways.

  • First off, you’ll benefit the most from SLI if you intend to game at 4K resolutions. If you just have a regular 1080p screen, you’re better off putting your money elsewhere. After all, a single GeForce GTX 1070 is pretty capable of handling any game at 1080p (1600p even).
  • Secondly, adding a second card is hardly going to double your performance, so it’s important to bear this in mind before considering an SLI setup. It also depends on the games you play, as performance can vary quite widely between titles.
  • Finally, it’s also clear that support for SLI on the handful of titles that can run in DirectX 12 mode is quite limited. Other than AotS, this includes games like Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider. For now at least, the benefits of SLI are restricted to DirectX 11 games – with the exception of AotS.

And while these preliminary benchmarks probably don't provide enough fodder for us to make a proper recommendation on whether or not to go the SLI route, at least you know what not to get (as in, not that dual-Fiji card please).

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.