Who Needs a 1070 and what’s out there?
So, you want to play all the newest games at 60 fps on ultra-high settings? Got multiple 1440 screens or want ultra-settings at 4K? then maybe look for the 1080 or the newest 1080ti. But if we’re talking HD at 1080p, or even WQHD 1440p, then the GTX 1070 is perfect for you. But what brand?
Out of all the brands, GIGABYTE, ASUS, MSI, ZOTAC, EVGA and PNY, and more, it’s tough to sort through hundreds of them all and find the best mix of performance, reliability, and cost. But that’s what I’m here for. ZOTAC, ASUS, and MSI made my top three. ASUS has some solid cards and they also produce motherboards, sound cards, and more if you wanted a matching build. MSI’s GTX 1070 X is a beautiful card and well-made too. Ultimately, however, ZOTAC takes the cake for the best lineup of 1070’s.
ZOTAC is Quietly Becoming a Graphics Card King
My personal experiences with ZOTAC are what keep this brand near the top in my mind. ZOTAC isn’t the best-known brand, but they have been on the rise with their affordable but powerful options. They also have a growing reputation of reliability and make some of the most powerful overclocked versions of the 1070 cards.
But before you just google “ZOTAC 1070” and buy the first option, you need to know what specific card you need for your build. Do you want the biggest beast of the 1070 that stands above the rest? Or do you have a micro motherboard or cramped case? Well let’s look at the two ends of the spectrum from ZOTAC.
For the tiny but mighty systems: ZOTAC 1070 Mini
I am still rocking the 970 from ZOTAC and I chose it because I had a small case and ZOTAC’s offering packed the biggest punch while just barely squeezing into my case. I’ve recently built an entirely new PC but I decided to keep the 970 as it still gets close to ultra-settings on my beautiful 1440 monitor while staying relatively quiet despite its advancing age.
The ZOTAC 1070 mini is no different. the 8.27-inch-long card isn’t the shortest, but it’s close. It somehow finds room for two fans and even gets a minuscule bump in clock speed over the founder’s edition with a 1518 MHz compared to the stock of 1506. No lighting or anything fancy, but it runs cool and quiet and still has a wide assortment of outputs to choose from.
For the cramped or forgotten cases: ZOTAC GeForce Founder’s Edition
To cut to the chase, this is the base blower version that is nearly identical among the different brands, with slight differences in specific parts. ZOTAC gets the edge here as their offering is among the cheaper offers at $379 and still has an offer of a free game code worth $59, not to mention solid reliability.
You may want the founder’s edition simply because it is a proven design. It gives stock speeds out of the box but will be reliable. Most importantly, however, is the blower design. Rather than having multiple fans blowing air from inside the case all over the card, blower cards have one fan that sucks air from in the case, through the card’s heatsinks, and out of the back of your PC’s case. This keeps a constant and stable airflow through the card and it doesn’t care if you have a cramped case. Additionally, the heat from your graphics card all gets blown out, so it doesn’t heat up your other components. It can also survive a hefty layer of dust if you just can’t remember to clean your case, but please try to remember, dust can still be the death of your CPU, so please clean your case.
For the best of the 1070’s: ZOTAC AMP! Extreme
Although the title for the best individual card will always be up for debate, the AMP Extreme is certainly up there as a true beast of a graphics card. This has a few more cons than the other options that are important to note.
First, it is truly a brick at over a foot long and almost six inches thick so you need a big case and wide open slots on your motherboard meaning you might not have room for extras like sound or networking cards. The reliability dips a bit but this is due to the cutting-edge performance boost as they truly push this card to the max. ZOTAC customer service seems to have a reliable replacement service just in case.
What you do get with this brick of a card is some of the fastest clock speeds at the 1632MHz base and boosted to 1835. Despite the power boost, the three fans keep the card quite cool, they even have extra notches to grab more air than a standard fan. The fans only turn on when you need them so the card is dead quiet with light gaming.
Finally, the AMP Extreme has some nifty lighting options to add some flair. Yellow stripes along the top of the card with the “push the limit” slogan may not be your style, but that doesn’t make this card any less powerful as you are really pushing the limit of what a GTX 1070 can do.
Personally, I finally have a massive case and my 970 looks tiny. When I upgrade, I may get ZOTAC’s AMP Extreme 1070, or I might just wait to get one of ZOTAC’s versions of the insanely powerful 1080ti for some smooth 4K gaming bliss.
Setting up a new build? Thinking about making the jump to 4K gaming? Then be sure to check out our view on how the 1070’s handle 4K HERE.