Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
Price: $429.99 http://galaxstore.net/GALAX-GeForce-GTX-1070-EXOC-SNPR-BLACK-8GB_p_114.html
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Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper Introduction:
Today I will be looking at a high-end custom-built GTX 1070 from a company called Galax. The company puts together several product lines, including video cards and DRAM products. As we have seen previously, the only card out that comes close to the performance results delivered by NVIDIA's Pascal-based GTX 1080 is well... the GTX 1070. So the expectations are pretty high for this factory-overclocked video card. Galax has several different lines for its video cards, but this one is from the EXOC line. The EXOC is shorthand for Extreme Overclocked, while the Sniper name is mostly targeted at the FPS gamer in us all. The Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper comes from the factory built on a custom PCB with 8GB of GDDR5 memory and a boosted core clock speed of up to 1784MHz. Available in both white and black, the EXOC Sniper features a unique RGB LED lighting assembly for some added wow factor. Available for $429 USD, this GTX 1070 from Galax looks like it should deliver better-than-average performance. Let's see if it does indeed do that!
Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper Closer Look:
With a name like EXOC Sniper, you had to know that the package graphics would have a set of scope crosshairs front and center. That's exactly what we have, superimposed over the head of a shadowy figure. Across the front of the black background, you get the product name and the highlights of the NVIDIA ecosystem that this card is able to address. The back side talks about the card being powered by the most advanced GPU ever built in NVIDIA's 16nm FinFET Pascal architecture. Additionally you can see the contents of the package listed at the bottom left and laid out below. Inside the package, the EXOC Sniper is packed tightly in an open-cell foam shell. The accessory package includes a setup guide, user's manual, driver and software disk, and a pair of dual 4-pin Molex to PEG 6- and 8-pin power adapters. Not a robust bundle, but it is what will get you gaming in a worst case scenario.
The Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper comes in both basic black and white, with black being the one I received. From the front, you can see the pair of 100mm fans used to provide the cooling airflow to the card. These fans light up in a bright red when the card is powered on. But thats not all the LED lighting goodness on this card. Galax uses its Silent Extreme Technology to only cycle the fans on once the GPU core temperature reaches 45 ºC. The back side has a robust backplate that keeps the card from becoming a flexible flyer with the large dual-heatpipe cooling solution up front. If you notice the clear lexan around the top and left hand side of the card sandwiched between the back plate and custom PCB, then you can guess what comes next. This is the visual portion of the RGB lighting assembly of the card that is controlled with Galax's Xtreme Tuner Plus utility. The side view of the card shows the true size of the cooling solution and it's easy to see that this card is a two-slot graphics solution. Like all current video cards, the Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper is built to run in a 16x PCIe 3.0 slot.
Display connectivity consists of a trio DisplayPort 1.2 certified, 1.3, and 1.4 ready ports; a single HDMI 2.0b port; and a single dual-link DVI port, which support up to four independent displays at one time with six connector nodes. By using this configuration, the card supports 4K displays at 120Hz, 5K displays at 60Hz, and 8K displays at 60Hz by using a pair of cables. Pascal GPUs officially support PlayReady 3.0 (SL3000) and hardware level support of HEVC decode. The I/O panel is well ventilated to exhasut as much of the card's thermal load outside of the chassis as possible. The design reminds me of a bunch of umbrellas.
NVIDIA's Founders Edition cards used a single 8-pin power connection, while Galax uses a 6-pin and 8-pin PEG power connections, allowing you a maximum of 300 watts into the GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper. Interesting to say the least, as the rating for the card comes in at just 150 watts. Even so, you can easily get by with a 500+ watt power supply to meet your power needs.
NVIDIA's SLI multi-GPU solution is supported on the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. Two cards is the preferred solution, although three- and four-card solutions are supported, but not recommended. To improve bandwidth between GPUs, NVIDIA has linked the two SLI bridge connections on the PCB to work in a high bandwidth mode to handle the data throughput with the Pascal architecture. To handle this bandwidth, NVIDIA has put together a trio of SLI bridges supporting 2, 3, and 4-Way configurations. That being said, the best solution for VR gaming is a three-card solution with a pair of GPUs handling the graphics, and the third card handling the audio and async compute.
The Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper comes apart fairly quickly by pulling six screws out of the back plate; the four around the GP104 core and two that hold down the aluminum VRM heat sink. The RGB LED board is held on to the backplate with both screws and a strip of double-sided tape that acts to minimize any vibration-related noise. The RGB LED asseembly wraps around the top and tail-end of the card and causes the back plate to sit a quarter of an inch proud of the back side of the custom built PCB. This added space created some fitment issues with my Maximus VIII Extreme, with contact being made against the I/O shield and Q-DIMM Sockets for the DDR4 memory. The custom-built and optimized PCB is black to match the black theme of the EXOC Sniper Black card from Galax. A 5+2 phase power supply is used along with optimized trace layouts to improve current flow through the PCB.
Part of the package put together by Galax is a large dual-heatpipe cooling solution that uses a pair of 100mm fans to push air through the heatsink and over the custom PCB and VRM heatsink. The fans on the card are lit with red LEDs and are programmed to start spining when the GPU temperature reachs 45 ºC. The large nickel-plated heatpipes snake around the card and pick up the thermal load from the copper contact plate over the core. To eliminate vibration, there are isolation dampeners strategically placed along the bottom of the aluminum fin array. I found that I did not have any vibration-related noise on this card from 0-2200RPM on the 100mm fans. The 8GB of GDDR5 memory is cooled with the thermal load being carried through some thick thermal pads attached to the base plate.
The heart of the Galax GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper is NVIDIA's 16nm FinFET Pascal GP104 graphics computing cores. The GTX 1070 uses four Graphics Processing Clusters of 20 Pascal Streaming Multi-processors and eight 32-bit memory controllers. In the GP104 iteration of the Pascal architecture, each GPC ships with a dedicated raster engine and five SMs. Each SM contains 128 CUDA cores, 256 KB of register file capacity, a 96 KB shared memory unit, 48 KB of total L1 cache storage, and eight texture units with a Simultaneous Multi-Projection Engine being incorporated into the Polymorph engine. The GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper has a CUDA core count of 1920 CUDA cores, 120 texture units, and 64 ROPs. Baseline clock speeds for the GP104 core on the GTX 1070 EXOC Sniper is 1594MHz, with a GPU boost clock of 1784MHz, although it may run higher depending on the power and thermal operating conditions. The Galax GTX 1070 gets 8GB of really fast GDDR5 memory running at 8000MHz through a 256-bit bus. A total of 7.2 billion transistors are packed into a 314 mm² die area. The node shrunk to a 16nm FinFET design allows NVIDIA to pack more hardware in a smaller package that should help with keeping the core running cool with the robust cooling package on the card.
Stripped bare, we can see everything that makes up this card from Galax. Ultimately, how it performs in-game is what really counts. Let's see how well it does by comparison to the current crop of cards from AMD and NVIDIA.