MSI always offers a wide range of quality non-reference graphics cards. However, MSI’s product range is even larger than it is in domestic retail chains. Some models are released for the Asian market, including the GeForce GTX 1070 Duke and GeForce GTX 1080 Duke. Recently, these cards have appeared on sale with us, so it’s interesting to take a look at their capabilities. In this review, we are implementing two tasks: we will study the features of the MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Duke and compare the GeForce GTX 1070 with the GeForce GTX 1080. Senior NVIDIA video adapters based on the GP104 chip have not been brought together in our reviews for a long time. Let’s see what their potential is in new games, and whether the GeForce GTX 1070 can catch up with its older comrade due to its overclocking.
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 8G Duke
The video adapter in question comes in a medium-sized box. Hieroglyphs are actively used in the design, which, given the initial regional orientation, is not surprising. The equipment is simple, among the accessories there is a disk with software and a small instruction booklet.
The MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Duke looks original against the background of its comrades. A large cooler with three fans is used for cooling, while all other MSI video adapters use a two-fan system.
Cooling is covered with a black curved case. In terms of design, everything is not as pathetic as MSI Gaming with more tricky contours and a striking design. But the dimensions inspire respect, it is felt that this is a high-level product with powerful high-quality cooling.
On the side of the case there is an inscription DUKE with variable backlighting.
The reverse side of the board is protected by a metal plate, which stiffens the structure and prevents the textolite from bending under the weight of the cooler.
In the corner there are two additional power connectors — 6 and 8 pins. They are deployed with latches upwards, which simplifies connection and does not require additional space at the bottom.
Let’s take a closer look at the cooling system. It is quite different from the Twin Frozr VI cooler in MSI Gaming’s line of current video adapters. Before us is a two-section radiator with three heat pipes that stretch along the plane of the board. Partly reminiscent of the cooler from the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070. There are only three heat pipes, but two of them are very large in diameter. Contact with the surface of the graphics chip is carried out through a large area instead of direct partial contact with ASUS.
One of the sections is slightly raised relative to the base, which is due to the location of high capacitors in this part of the board. On the front side, two brackets for mounting an external casing with fans are screwed onto the radiator.
For airflow, three 90 mm fans from Power Logic with the PLD09210S12HH marking are used. The curved blade shape is recognizable for the Propeller Blade fans that were ubiquitous in MSI’s top products a few years ago.
The board is covered by a large plate that removes heat from the power components of the power unit and memory chips. This radiator acts as an additional rigidity element, forming a «sandwich» with a board and a reinforcing plate covering the back side.
The PCB uses the same design as the Gaming, so we see a complete copy of the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G and MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G.
The GPU power system has eight phases, the memory is powered by a two-phase stabilizer.
The GP104-200-A1 graphics chip operates 1920 stream processors with 120 texture units.
Eight gigabytes of memory is provided by eight Samsung K4G80325FB-HC25 chips.
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Duke runs at higher frequencies. The base frequency is 1607 MHz instead of the recommended 1506 MHz, the Boost Clock has been increased from 1683 MHz to 1797 MHz, the effective memory frequency is 8100 MHz.
During operation on an open bench and an indoor temperature of 24 °C, the graphics chip warmed up to 64–68 °C. This is illustrated below with screenshots of monitoring parameters when testing in Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands and Armored Warfare: Project Armata. The fans spun up to 1100-1300 rpm, while the noise was minimal. The real Boost frequency is at the level of 1936-1949 MHz with short-term peak bursts up to 1987-2000 MHz.
Temperature and noise characteristics do not differ much from other top versions of the GeForce GTX 1070. But it should be noted that the structurally similar ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card operates at higher speeds.
In overclocking, stability was achieved by increasing the base frequency to 1742 MHz.
Boost was at 2088 MHz with occasional drops up to 2076 MHz and peaks above 2126 MHz. The memory worked at frequencies up to 4548 MHz. This combination of frequencies was maintained with an increase in the power limit and without increasing the voltage. The fan speed was manually set at 1600 rpm, which provided heating at the initial level and even a little lower.
The video card has the ability to increase the voltage software, but it was not possible to get a real increase from this — overclocking increased slightly, but there were problems with stability. And we have repeatedly noted that for current NVIDIA solutions based on 16-nm Pascal chips, the frequency ceiling is around 2.1 GHz, and we have already reached it. Moreover, the final frequency configuration turned out to be the highest among the previously tested GeForce GTX 1070.
It is possible to pass individual 3D tests at even higher frequencies, but the video card will not be able to handle long-term operation in this mode. So, we managed to pass the tough 3DMark Time Spy test with Boost at 1239 MHz (base value 1747 MHz, peak 1759 MHz) and a memory frequency of 9622 MHz.
Let’s compare the performance of the MSI Duke at factory frequencies and overclocked with the ordinary version of the GeForce GTX 1070. At the time of our first tests, there were not enough materials on the Founders Edition reference models. We used frequency correction, in which we received Boost at the level of 1848-1860 MHz. Now, after reading the reviews of the GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition, it is clear that the core frequency drops below 1800 MHz under gaming load. And we tried to achieve a similar level of performance by lowering the base frequency so that Boost stayed within the 1785-1823 MHz range. The algorithm of our replacement GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition is illustrated below.