Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 vs GTX 1070 vs AMD Radeon RX 480

GPU Architecture, Performance and Pricing compared

BY AMIT BARAN ROY   |   The world of gaming is in a stage of gross evolution. With the passing of every year, gaming is revolutionized both in the terms of gameplay and platform. The year of 2016 has seen some splendid high end games with more to come. Not only that, with the likes of HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Playstation VR all launching this year, there is going to be high levels of Virtual Reality and 4K gaming round the corner. Having said that, such high end gaming and VR headsets was in urgent need of high end computer graphics card to support them. Looking at this scenario, the giant GPU company, Nvidia has made the perfect launch this year. The release of Geforce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards in May has fulfilled the required performance boost that was needed for 2016 gaming. What’s more, their rivals AMD was not ready to sit back who surprised the entire world with the release of their Radeon RX 480 cards that gave a huge performance boost at a lot cheaper price. All these three newly released cards are VR certified with new architecture and GDDR5 technology. Now, the biggest dilemma for a common man is which one to go for. Here we have tried to compare all these three cards based on their performance and price which would definitely help you to have a clearer mind.

NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080

The GTX 1080 is Nvidia’s latest Pascal architecture based high end GPU card which is all set to take on the VR and 4K gaming coming later this year. Billions have been spent by the company to get the perfect architecture along with the design and its undoubtedly one of the best card available in the market right now. It provides upto 3X performance boost as compared to its predecessor GTX 980. Let us have a look at the specs:-

  • GPU Architecture:- Pascal
  • CUDA Cores:- 2560
  • Frame buffer:- 8 GB GDDR5X
  • Memory Speed:- 10 Gbps
  • Boost Clock Relative:- 1.4x
  • Boost Clock Actual:- 1733 MHz

  • View full specs.

Talking about the hardware, the biggest change made by Nvidia is the shift of architecture to Pascal for the GTX 1080 from Maxwell which was relevant in the previous series. The Pascal technology uses a more compact manufacturing process- 16 nm as compared to 28 nm. This helps in a larger integration of transistors on the SOC resulting in a boost in performance and efficiency with a much lesser effect on power consumption reducing the noise and heat in turn. Thus, its interesting to note that the number of CUDA cores has increased from 2048 in GTX 980 to 2560 in the GTX 1080 boosting the base clock from 1,126 MHz to 1,607 MHz with only a 15W increment in power consumption (165W to 180W). Moreover, as compared to the GTX 980, memory has increased from 4GB to 8GB with a memory clock increment of 3000 MHz (10,000 MHz as compared to 7000 MHz). Also, the GTX 1080 uses the GDDR5X technology and altogether there is a 43% bandwidth capacity boost which means the card can handle more high end graphical data than the GTX 980. A good point about this card is that its very silent in normal use and emits minimal heat. It can handle heavy VR titles easily and can support multi-monitor setups without any trouble. GTX 1080 is available for $804.98 at Amazon.com, £639.99 at Amazon.co.uk and at Rs. 63,520.00 at Amazon.in.

NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070

Though Nvidia went full guns blazing on publicizing the GTX 1080 card, they haven’t completely overlooked their GTX 1070 version which is believed to be a successor to the GTX 970 card. I personally feel that the GTX 1070 has definite advantages if you’re looking for a high end card and also wanting to stay in your budget. Even GTX 1070 uses Nvidia’s new Pascal architecture which is an improvement over the Maxwell architecture as said above. The card houses 1920 CUDA cores at a modest power supply of 150W which is lesser than the GTX 1080 but a definite improvement over the GTX 970’s 1664 CUDA cores. The CUDA cores are responsible for the bulk of graphical processing and such increment proves a definite boost in performance. Lets have a look at the specs below:-

  • GPU Architecture:- Pascal
  • CUDA Cores:- 1920
  • Frame buffer:- 8 GB GDDR5
  • Memory Speed:- 8 Gbps
  • Boost Clock Relative:- 1.4x
  • Boost Clock Actual:- 1683 MHz

  • View full specs.

One of the great advantage of the Pascal architecture is its Asynchronous computing feature. AMD has been using it for few generations while Nvidia’s version of Async compute is known as ‘Pre-emption’ which is a bit different. Async computing allows simultaneous graphical and computing tasks, whereas, Nvidia’s technique of Pre-emption will allow the GPU to prioritise which tasks to process. The GTX 1070 has GDDR5 technology. Now many people will find it as a drawback as compared to the GDDR5X technology of GTX 1080. But trust me, its not considering the price of the card (mentioned below). Moreover, it hardly affects the level of gaming as the 8 GB of GDDR5 with 8000 MHz memory clock and 256 GB/sec memory bandwidth is decent enough for most games. What’s more, the GTX 1070’s base clock is boosted to 1506 MHz which is a bit lower to the 1080’s 1607 MHz but a huge improvement over GTX 970’s 1050 MHz. This high performance cost effective graphics card is available for $559.99 at Amazon.com, £380.19 at Amazon.co.uk and for Rs. 41,300 at Amazon.in. You can view the full comparison between GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 here.

NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1070

AMD Radeon RX 480

After Nvidia revealed its powerful GTX 1080 and 1070 cards in May, it didn’t take much time for AMD to stupefy the world with its unexpected announcement of Radeon RX 480 card in June. AMD’s Raja Koduri unveiled the RX 480 which is unbelievably an excellent graphics card for an extremely low price. This card is the one to go for if you are having a tight budget. But do keep in mind that though the RX 480 is a powerful card but it would take more than two RX 480’s to beat the GTX 1080. Yes, I know that Raja Koduri said on stage while unveiling the RX 480 that a pair of them could easily beat the GTX 1080 but after a lot of testing, it has been found that a pair of RX 480’s can hardly meet the performance of GTX 1070. The performance may get very close to the GTX 1080 for a specific game with specific graphics settings with a new set of drivers. Having said that, it is surely a great card at the given price. Lets have a look at the specs:-

  • GPU Architecture:- GCN 4 “Polaris”
  • Stream Processors:- 2304
  • Frame buffer:- 8 GB GDDR5
  • Memory Speed:- 7 Gbps or higher
  • Base Clock Speed:- 1120 MHz
  • Boost Clock Speed:- 1266 MHz

  • View full specs.

The Radeon RX 480 uses the GCN (Graphics Core Next) 4 architecture codenamed ‘Polaris’ (previously it used GCN 3 architecture). Compared to the Nvidia’s pascal architecture, it uses a denser manufacturing process with 14nm chips that allows for a high performance at a minimal power consumption of 150W. Though its better than Nvidia’s 16nm process but direct comparisons cannot be made yet due to AMD’s lack of rival cards against the GTX 1070 and 1080.

Currently, the RX 480 is the best bet against Nvidia's GTX 970 with performance much better than that at an exceedingly low budget. The RX 480 uses 2,304 Stream Processors as against GTX 1080’s 2,560 CUDA cores. It runs at a base clock of 1,120 MHz which is much lesser than the GTX 1070 and 1080 but definitely better than GTX 970’s 1,050 MHz. It has over 7Gbps of effective memory speed and 224+ GB/sec of memory bandwidth which is high enough for decent gaming. There are two variants of RX 480 available with GDDR5 technology. One with 4GB RAM and memory speed of 7 Gbps and other with 8GB RAM and memory speed of 8 Gbps. Both the variants uses AMD’s asynchronous computing technique to process both graphical and computing tasks simultaneously. The 8 GB model is available for $300 at Amazon.com, £260.74 at Amazon.co.uk and for Rs. 29,999 at Amazon.in.

At a Glance

Specs GTX 1080 GTX 1070 RX 480
CUDA cores/ Stream Processors 2560 1920 2304
Base Clock (MHz) 1607 1506 1120
Boost Clock (MHz) 1733 1683 1266
Memory Speed 10 Gbps 8 Gbps 7 Gbps or higher
Memory Config. 8 GB GDDR5X 8 GB GDDR5 4/8 GB GDDR5
Memory Interface Width 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit
Memory Bandwidth(GB/sec) 320 256 224 or higher
Power Consumption 180W 150W 150W
Price $804.98
Rs. 63,520.00
Rs. 41,300
Rs. 29,999

Verdict:- The Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080 is undoubtedly the most powerful GPU out in the market at a justifiable price. If you want to have a full blown rig ready for the upcoming VR and 4K gaming season and want to have an exceptional gameplay experience, surely GTX 1080 is the card for you. Whereas, if you have a bit tight budget but still want to spend enough for a high end gaming GPU, the GTX 1070 is for you. Frankly speaking, there won’t be too much a difference in gaming experience with the GTX 1070 when compared to the GTX 1080 card. So, this card can be a good choice for you for atleast the next two years. Finally, for those budget minded gamers who are not willing to spend high and having a tight budget, but still want to have a good enough gaming experience must go for the AMD Radeon RX 480 GPU. It won’t be as powerful as the other two cards mentioned above but can be a much better card when compared to the GTX 970. Though gamers must be aware of the fact that at times AMD cards fall into trouble with certain games, but at such cheap price as that of RX 480, one should not have second thoughts about it.

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