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SLI GTX970 G1 Gaming vs GTX980 Ti Strix OC vs GTX1070 Dual benchmarks

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#1
Greetings this wonderful after Easter time! I'd like to invite every GTX970, GTX980 Ti, GTX1070 owner or any NVIDIA fan in general to join the discussion and share your experiences!

People looking for a video card to run games at 2560X1440 res. found the right place. Perhaps some folks are looking to upgrade their GeForce GTX970 to something that can handle 120 or 144 FPS at full HD? The options are pretty obvious if we are talking about new video card from first hand retailer - GTX1070 is the card to buy right now. It's positioned at the price and performance segment that is just right for 2560x1440 res. monitors. I think most people will agree with me that GTX1080 is a bit of an overkill for 2560x1440 res. monitors considering the premium price and that it is a 4k ready video card. I expect most of you agree that GTX1060 6 GB is too weak for some of the more demanding titles at 2560x1440 res. While AMD has R9 Fury X and R9 295X2 as alternatives for 2560X1440 res. gaming, as a G-SYNC monitor owner i will stick to NVIDIA this time.

The primary point of this thread is to prove that SLI GTX970 can beat GTX1070 costing much less. Everything eventually comes to the price. I was intrigued to do this test, because recently one of the local retail shops in my country started selling brand new Zotac GTX970 AMP! Omega Core video cards for 190 EU, which is 30 EU cheaper than the cheapest GTX1060 3 GB you could get. This is a great value since i have proven that GTX970 is equal to GTX1060 3 GB in this thread. Having this in mind an idea poped: what if SLI GTX970 could beat the cheapest GTX1070 you could find? The cheapest stock GTX1070 with a custom cooler costs 405 EU, but the fact of the matter is that you can buy two used custom GTX970 OC video cards for 300 EU this time around from second hand retailers; and so i bought two GTX970 video cards for 300 EU - Zotac GTX970 AMP! Omega Core and Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming, as well Asus GTX1070 Dual, that costs 445 EU. I have slightly overclocked the Zotac GTX970 AMP! Omega Core to equally match the Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming, so in practice for this benchmark i have two GTX970 G1 Gaming cards.

The second objective of this thread is to prove that factory overclocked GTX980 Ti can beat or at the very least tie a stock GTX1070. This itchy idea came from the original techpowerup GTX1070 review, in which a stock GTX1070 proved to be 13,5 % faster than a stock GTX980 Ti. I was, frankly speaking, displeased, and thought no way the stock GTX1070 can beat my Asus GTX980 Ti Strix OC, and that comes to play today. I could find a used custom GTX980 Ti for 300 EU these days and that means it competes directly with two GTX970 cards to dethrone the more expensive GTX1070.

For this test i have selected 25 games, but i found out that 5 of them were not supporting SLI at all: Company of Heroes 2, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Arma 3 Apex, Ashes of the Singularity (DX11) and Rainbow Six Siege, therefore to be FAIR, i, obviously have not included them in this benchmark and only included games, supporting at least some noticeable scaling.

BENCHMARK HARDWARE & DRIVERS

Intel Core i7 5775C 4 GHz
Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming 3
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 2X8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz C8
Samsung Evo 500 GB SSD (all games are installed in it)
Windows 7 Pro X64 (updates installed)
NVIDIA Forceware 378.66








I tested all the games with Corsair Vengeance Pro 2400 MHz C11 DDR3 and found no difference in performance, so don't talk about "low RAM speed BS please".

I had a lot of trouble finishing this benchmark at the planned time (a month ago) and i could not update the drivers to newest as something that worked with one card did not work with another later, so by the time i fixed the problem new drivers would appear and i had no time to redo all the stuff again. Please understand that.

Here are the contenders

Gigabyte GeForce GTX970 G1 Gaming

Zotac GeForce GTX970 AMP! Omega Core

Asus GeForce GTX980 Ti Strix OC

Asus GeForce GTX1070 Dual

As techpowerup proved that stock GTX1070 is somewhat faster than stock SLI GTX970 and stock GTX980 Ti, i have no intention of repeating that again despite a lot of different games in my rig. My goal is to satisfy the curiosity of many people who have custom factory overclocked GTX970 and GTX980 Ti video cards and wonder if it is worth the effort to replace them with the cheapest GTX1070 they can afford. I think i've said this clear enough. Sure, one can buy Asus GTX1070 Strix OC for 540 EU, which, i think would beat my Asus GTX980 Ti Strix OC, but at that price point it does not matter how much faster it would be...

For this test I’ve made two sets of benchmarks:

1. 2560x1440, all settings max, no anti-aliasing
2. 2560x1440, all settings max, custom anti-aliasing

The final average FPS performance summary will be based upon no anti-aliasing results. AA benchmark has been done additionally just to see how much stress does custom AA put on the video cards, but in many cases custom AA makes the game below enjoyable or simply unplayable.

What more to say, let's begin the show.


ALAN WAKE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE



There is no option to disable AA in this game. SLI scaling is 83 %, which just enough to lead the graph. Enabling 8X MSAA keeps results in similar fashion and the performance drop is not crucial.

ALIEN ISOLATION





SLI scaling of 80 % is just what SLI GTX970 need to confidently lead the graph. The strange SM T1X AA does not hurt performance and keeps results almost intact.

ASSASSIN'S CREED SYNDICATE





SLI scaling of 70 % is what makes the difference from non playable GTX970 to playable SLI GTX970, and that is also enough to beat GTX980 Ti and GTX1070; however, 4X MSAA bashes all the cards so hard, that you wished for GTX1080.

BATTLEFIELD 1





SLI scaling is 65 % and that is enough to lead the graph once more. AA options are limited and do not hurt performance very much, but what they do is bring down SLI GTX970 performance below GTX980 Ti and GTX1070.

CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS 3





SLI scaling is 57 %, which is not enough to beat GTX980 Ti. Notice that the minimal FPS of SLI GTX970 tend to be low when compared to the other cards, but maximum FPS seem to be highest - this is a pattern that is common with all NVIDIA SLI cards, since the days when GF 9800GX2 VS GF GTX280 were benchmarked and you will see this pattern with SLI GTX970 in several more games. AA in this game was broken or "something like that" - i just could not get it stable with all the contenders and i will not bother to explain.

CRYSIS 3





SLI scaling is 68 %, which ties SLI GTX970 to GTX980 Ti. Low minimal FPS and high maximum FPS - a classic feature of NVIDIA SLI cards in demanding games like Crysis. Enabling 4X SMAA does not help SLI GTX970 any further as the minimal FPS is now seriously crippled.

DYING LIGHT





SLI scaling is 87 %, which is enough to lead the graph and the minimal FPS are stable too. Enabling unknown AA favors GTX980 Ti above the rest, but the general performance does not suffer much.

DOOM





Doom has got the worst SLI scaling of 32 %, so no wonder how come SLI GTX970 are in the bottom. SMAA 1TX does not hurt performance at all.

DRAGON AGE INQUISITION




SLI scaling is a massive 80 %, which is a confident win for SLI GTX970. Enabling 4X MSAA crushes the performance of all cards, but keeps the game playable.

FAR CRY 4




SLI scaling is an overwhelming 93 % - it is the difference between non playable and playable. In fact SLI works so well that GTX980 Ti and GTX1070 seem to be totally crushed in Far Cry 4. Enabling NVIDIA based 4X TXAA almost ties SLI GTX970 with GTX980 Ti and GTX1070.

LEFT 4 DEAD 2





In order to keep the contenders draw below 300 FPS i had to turn on 8X MSAA. SLI scaling is 87 %, which accounts for SLI GTX970 winning the graph. If you have plans for those 240 Hz monitors, SLI GTX970 might be a good choice to play L4D2. Even though this is a 2009 game, it was being updated till the the end of 2016 and remains an extremely popular multiplayer coop game to this day, therefore it is still relevant to be included in the benchmark.

MAD MAX FURY ROAD




SLI scaling is 89 %, therefore SLI GTX970 lead the graph. Unknown AA does not hurt performance that much.

METRO LAST LIGHT REDUX



SLI scaling of 54 % i consider good, but not enough to beat GTX1070 or GTX980 Ti. This 2014 updated game for some reason has got only one type of AA - super sampling, which is the most punishing. That being said, enabling just 2X SSAA absolutely crushes all the cards to half of their no AA performance! SLI GTX970 start showing their typical low minimal FPS and high maximum FPS pattern. But the most disappointing is GTX1070!

MIDDLE EARTH SHADOW OF MORDOR



SLI scaling is 82 % - great! Another typical picture - SLI GTX970 beat GTX980 Ti, GTX980 Ti beats GTX1070. And of course SLI GTX970 low minimal FPS and high maximum FPS.

MIRROR'S EDGE CATALYST



SLI scaling is 90 % - excellent! Another crushing victory for SLI GTX970. Enabling Post 3 AA in the config file does not hurt performance too much. There are no AA options in the game menu.

PROJECT CARS




SLI scaling is 62 %, which is just enough for SLI GTX970 to lead the graph. Enabling SMAA to high preset moderately drops FPS as well as drops SLI GTX970 performance below GTX980 Ti and GTX1070.

RISE OF TOMB RAIDER




SLI scaling is 64 %. This is a mighty victory for GTX980 Ti and the minimal FPS of SLI GTX970 look weak when compared to GTX980 Ti and GTX1070; however, the minimal FPS of SLI GTX970 are still much better than those of single GTX970. Enabling 2X SSAA ties the minimal FPS of all cards to the same level and surprisingly enough, makes SLI GTX970 the victor. Unlike in Metro Redux, 2X SSAA is not that punishing.

THIEF



This game is just not optimized properly or CPU bound - whatever! I will not use this game in my benchmarks again! SLI scaling is an underwhelming 30 %, but much worse is the fact that single GTX970 is almost as good as GTX1070... Enabling SSAA to high preset drops the performance very lightly when compared even with the Rise of Tomb Raider.

WATCH DOGS 2



SLI scaling is 52 % - not quite enough to beat GTX1070 and GTX980 Ti. Funny thing - all settings are set to the highest possible and the game demands 5500 MB VRAM, yet SLI GTX970, which have only 3500 MB GDDR5 running on 224 bit bus, and 500 MB GDDR5 running on 32 bit bus do not seem to be far away from GTX1070 8000 MB GDDR5. If SLI scaling had been anywhere as good as in Far Cry 4, i believe SLI GTX970 would crush GTX1070 even with their VRAM shortage. Enabling SMAA and 2X MSAA absolutely annihilates all the cards! So this is indeed the most lagging game i have ever tested! Only after i made the benchmarks i found out that temporal filtering greatly increases performance. It was turned off during this test.

WITCHER 3 WILD HUNT




SLI GTX970 scaling is an awesome 84 % and so SLI GTX970 outperform GTX980 Ti and GTX1070. Enabling AA, and the very demanding NVIDIA Hairworks feature with it's own AA changes the picture - now GTX980 Ti confidently leads the graph above 60 FPS with all settings maximum and Hairworks ON, high preset with 4X AA. What a beast GTX980 Ti is for this game! GTX1070 is as disappointing as ever.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

AVERAGE FPS PERFORMANCE SUMMARY



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, SLI GTX970 have been honorably redeemed! SLI scaling of 70 % in 20 games seems like a good deal for 300 EU. SLI GTX970 were 9 % faster than GTX1070! Having in mind the cheapest GTX1070 is 400 EU, it's a no brainier to get SLI GTX970 instead.

When it comes to GTX980 Ti, it's obvious that even a factory overclocked video card can easily defeat a stock GTX1070 as Asus GTX980 Ti Strix OC was 6 % faster than Asus GTX1070 Dual and outperformed it in every single game. If you still have doubt in the huge potential of GTX980 Ti then watch this video, in which a custom overclocked GTX980 Ti beats a factory overclocked Gigabyte GTX1070 G1 Gaming! This makes for a conclusion that a slightly overclocked GTX980 Ti can match the stock GTX1070 and a good manual overclock on GTX980 Ti can beat the best factory overclocked GTX1070.

Finnaly, if you are looking for a summary chart to see which games support SLI and which do not, take a look at this great article that i have found:

http://www.babeltechreviews.com/sad-state-crossfire-sli-today/3/

If you are plaining a new setup, go for GTX1070 or a used GTX980 Ti. But if you already have a GTX970 and a SLI compatible motherboard, then definitely get a second GTX970!
 
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#2
Thread editing finished. This post can be deleted now :)
 
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#3
Great testing, and great scaling for the 970! However, I am inclined to think the minor win of SLI'd 970's is not quite worth it compared to a single 980Ti, unless you already have dual 970. And an overclocked 1070 will win too, I assume?
 

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#4
I am inclined to think the minor win of SLI'd 970's is not quite worth it compared to a single 980Ti
You are right, I don't know what I've been drinking before my post lol!! (deleted..)
Better have a GTX1070 or GTX980Ti !! ;)
 
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#5
Great testing, and great scaling for the 970! However, I am inclined to think the minor win of SLI'd 970's is not quite worth it compared to a single 980Ti, unless you already have dual 970. And an overclocked 1070 will win too, I assume?
Absolutely yes. There is no way i would keep SLI GTX970 over GTX980 Ti for the same price. The difference is small (6 %) and there are games i play those do not support SLI. I would keep GTX1070 too, just not the Asus GTX1070 Dual - it's a poor overclocker and does not reach GTX980 Ti Strix OC performance level even when overclocked to the maximum 1760 MHz boost clock (does not go higher) - that is not enough to beat GTX980 Ti Strix OC.

GTX980 Ti Strix OC, on the other hand, can be pushed as hell far further - to a whooping 1550 MHz boost clock! This would annihilate both GTX1070 Dual OC and SLI GTX970 G1. On the other hand Asus GTX1070 Strix OC can be pushed over 2 GHz boost clock, and it would certainly be on top, but the price is ridiculous. I missed the change to get one for 370 EU.. I had to settle with much slower Asus GTX1070 Dual.

Of course i did not pay full price for GTX1070 either, i bought it "a little bit used" 100 EU cheaper than in store.
 
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#6
But is nice to see how good can be 970 SLI and since u got them cheap,thats great deal. :)

I wouldn sell them,keep them,OC more.
 
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#7
Actually didn't realize that the 980 TI strix can push more fps than GTX 1070. how come is that? What does the dual mean with the 1070? I first thought it's a dual card or something but i guess it's an reference card?
Kinda shocked how the 980 ti performed. I was 100% sure that 1070 and 1080 can easily surpass the 980 Ti without much effort. Well i was wrong.

BTW. It is a great review. it shows the SLI and single cards and gives a lot information :) THANKS A LOT :D
 
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#8
Actually didn't realize that the 980 TI strix can push more fps than GTX 1070. how come is that? What does the dual mean with the 1070?:D
It's a stock Asus GTX1070 with custom dual fan cooler - that's why it is "Dual". It's nowhere as good as Asus GTX980 Ti Strix OC, which i will keep for my main PC, and i will keep Zotac GTX970 AMP! for my secondary PC.

But is nice to see how good can be 970 SLI and since u got them cheap,thats great deal. :)

I wouldn sell them,keep them,OC more.
I will sell the Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming (the GPU is too long for my secondary Antec 300 case) and Asus GTX1070 Dual (simply disappointed in performance and not much OC headroom).
 

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#9
Actually didn't realize that the 980 TI strix can push more fps than GTX 1070. how come is that? What does the dual mean with the 1070? I first thought it's a dual card or something but i guess it's an reference card?
Kinda shocked how the 980 ti performed. I was 100% sure that 1070 and 1080 can easily surpass the 980 Ti without much effort. Well i was wrong.

BTW. It is a great review. it shows the SLI and single cards and gives a lot information :) THANKS A LOT :D
Where have you been the past year LOL! Sleeping in a cave? :p:kookoo::D

A good 1070 is as good as a 980Ti, they perform basically the same as most people knew by now since the first 1070 non-reference reviews.
 
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#10
Here, the price of two new GTX970's is $450, while one GTX1070 is hovering around $400. Personally, I'd rather have a single card solution even if it's slightly less performance.

Nice work in any case!
 
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#11
Wow, thanks for all the work and nice presentation!

I'm skeptical of the 2x970s because I don't believe 3.5+ GB of vram is going to reliably manage that resolution, resulting in microstutters. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Also, if it is all about the money, 2x970s will suck a fair few $ more in electricity if your computer is on a lot. Resale is another consideration, and the 970s may win there, but with the added hassle of selling two of them. Plus no SLI in some games.

I'd be leaning towards the 1070 for value. In the US you can buy new ones for $350 and I haven't seen 980 Ti any cheaper. Used ones typically go for that.
 
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#12
I'm not familiar with the Asus DUAL 1070 but according to the benches done here the Gaming X beat the SLI 970s at all resolutions but it may be partly due to the 970s were reference and not overclocked. Here's the Performance Summary for the 1070 Gaming X

 

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#13
I'm not familiar with the Asus DUAL 1070 but according to the benches done here the Gaming X beat the SLI 970s at all resolutions but it may be partly due to the 970s were reference and not overclocked. Here's the Performance Summary for the 1070 Gaming X

I'm all good with my MSI GTX1070 Gaming X....:D
 

FreedomEclipse

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#14
970s might be cheaper but the 3.5GB hurts for newer/modern games at 1440p -- One of the main reasons why i side graded to a 1070. There was more dedicated ram. Not saying every game will max out 3.5GB but even BF1 maxed out at 1440p uses about 4GB or just under.
 
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#15
But is nice to see how good can be 970 SLI and since u got them cheap,thats great deal. :)

I wouldn sell them,keep them,OC more.
Here, the price of two new GTX970's is $450, while one GTX1070 is hovering around $400. Personally, I'd rather have a single card solution even if it's slightly less performance.

Nice work in any case!
So there are still GTX970 on sale from first hand retailers? What is the warranty status? 225 $ seems too much i would think. But i would still probably recommend GTX970 OC over GTX1060 3 GB, nevermind the power draw.


It's nowhere as good as Asus GTX980 Ti Strix OC
Performance is not everything. When i said "nowhere as good", i also meant that GTX980 Ti Strix OC model is much more quiet and runs less hot than GTX1070 Dual model. The only downside is the power consumption. Perhaps in the future i will have the chance to compare GTX1070 Strix OC to GTX980 Ti Strix OC - i would definitely update the thread in that case!
 
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#16
I'm skeptical of the 2x970s because I don't believe 3.5+ GB of vram is going to reliably manage that resolution, resulting in microstutters. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Yes. A G-SYNC monitor solves this problem, but thank you for pointing this out! Indeed for those who have regular monitors, the stuttering and delayed frame times might result in unpleasant experiences. So that is another + for GTX1070. However, in my experience 3.5 GB RAM for SLI GTX970 manages 1440p just great with some very few exceptions. R9 Fury X manages this job just great with it's 4 GB RAM, all be it with a much stronger memory bus based on different RAM architecture, but it does tie GTX1070 8 GB in some games even in 4K:


I'm not familiar with the Asus DUAL 1070 but according to the benches done here the Gaming X beat the SLI 970s at all resolutions but it may be partly due to the 970s were reference and not overclocked. Here's the Performance Summary for the 1070 Gaming X
Yes indeed, MSI GTX1070 Gaming X is 75 MHz faster than Asus GTX1070 Dual in boost mode and those SLI GTX970 were stock versions (150 MHz slower than GTX970 G1 Gaming in boost mode), so wonders here :D
 
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#17
If you want more data on this, I have a 2560 x 1440 monitor myself.

Only difference is my two 980Tis both have custom BIOS on them.
 
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#18
I see your point on value Art, not so much on future readiness. With so many games starting to require high VRAM for max textures anymore, the 970s 3.5 VRAM is not going to cut it.

The benches I'm most interested in lately are how well the 1080 Ti will compare to top of the line Vega, but I want to see them tested on Dx12 and Vulkan. Especially Vulkan, because I feel it's the API with the most potential.

I'd also like to see how the Ryzen 6 and 8 core chips will compare to Intel's Coffee Lake 6 (and if they make a budget platform 8). Of course that won't be possible to see for some time though.
 
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#19
I saw a dozen of Zotac 980's and 970's, on the cheap, and they're slowly trickling down the used market. But I am concerned about them being future proof even for 1080p. Plus I can't run SLI on my motherboard as it is B350 based.

The cards still run pretty great though. They're not for me as I am inclined to run games heavily modded which can bring any GPU down on their knees, I imagine I can fill out 4GB of VRAM easily at 1080p with 2K textures, 4K for terrain and some post-processing. A GTX 1060 3GB (the hold-over card I run, until I can get my hands on something more powerful) already struggles at 900p on Skyrim Special Edition at Ultra with a few mods and extra post-processing, but to be quite frank the game still uses very horrible textures.

Some games have really ugly, compressed and unoptimized textures, they manage to eat through VRAM pretty fast especially when going past 1080p.

A single, used 980Ti still is pretty attractive, but they're extremely rare to appear in the used market in my country.

Very interesting tests, I like seeing how previous gen cards do against the latest.
 
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#20
I think most people will agree with me that GTX1080 is a bit of an overkill for 2560x1440 res. monitors considering the premium price and that it is a 4k ready video card.
For me the GTX 1080 is a high FPS / high Hz 1440p or ultrawide card, not 4K. 4K is still kinda irrelevant, at least for me, because it's limited to 60 Hz. And 60 Hz? Well no thanks.

The review is nicely done, but I still don't like SLI. It's annoying because it's not gueranteed to work, sometimes it's working and has less than optimal performance (like proven here again) and it produces a lot of heat/consumes a lot of power.
That said, I would still go for 980 Ti or 1070 even if it's more expensive.
 
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#21
Excellent review and one that really does interest me as I have been wanting to run SLi 970's for some time now so I can make use of my 1440P Monitor. Its good to see that SLi still work for alot of games. Got a cheap 970 I can have? lol

Here in Aussie Land you can pick up a second hand 970 for around $200-$250, where as a 980 Ti is still around $450-$500, so getting a second 970 is for me the best option. I see so many people here selling there 980 Ti's for a 1070 and I just shake my head, noobs lol.

Please msg me each time when you have done a new review like this, that for me is great :)
 
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#22
Where have you been the past year LOL! Sleeping in a cave? :p:kookoo::D

A good 1070 is as good as a 980Ti, they perform basically the same as most people knew by now since the first 1070 non-reference reviews.
Honestly I always thought that the 1070 is better. Not sure why. Not in a cave but I wasn't going to buy any of those anyway so I wasn't checking the performance. Besides got other stuff take care of. :) Anyway that's a surprise slight for me :)
 
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#24
Honestly I always thought that the 1070 is better. Not sure why. Not in a cave but I wasn't going to buy any of those anyway so I wasn't checking the performance. Besides got other stuff take care of. :) Anyway that's a surprise slight for me :)
thats mainly because reviews on new gpus always make performance comparisons with older cards set at reference speeds.. a new 1070 at whatever its factory overclocked speed is plus any reviewers added overclock will always get put along side a 980TI clocked at the nvidia reference clock which can be around 20 % slower than the average factory 980TI clock speeds.. more so with the later offerings..

this does paint a false picture and make newer generation cards seem better then what they really are.. a 1080 will out perform a 980TI but a 1070 will not.. on average they are about the same..

as for sli.. my pair of 980TI cards will out perform the latest generation 1080TI providing the software scales reasonably well.. it does seem the trend is for more and more game writers not to bother.. i have never had problems running sli only in the sense that it sometimes dosnt show the benefits it should do because of poor scaling..

i have thought about flogging my 980TI cards on ebay and buying a 1080TI but so far i havnt bothered.. to be hoenst i think i would be disappointed if i did..

trog
 
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#25
I have noticed this as well, my two 290X are on par with a reference 1080 when CF works.

SLI GTX970 were 16 % faster than GTX1070! Having in mind the cheapest GTX1070 is 400 EU, it's a no brainier to get SLI GTX970 instead.
This however, is wrong, the average performance difference between the 1070 and 970SLI in your test is:
170 / 156 = 1,0897 approximately 1,09
the 970 SLI solution is therefore 9 % faster than a 1070, wile a 1070 is 56% faster than a 970, and 970 SLI is 70% faster than a single 970