NVIDIA is one of the leading names when it comes to graphics processing units (GPUs), or graphics cards. Its top piece of hardware is currently the GTX 1080, which was released in May 2016. Its younger, slightly-less-powerful sibling, the GTX 1070, was released a month later.
If you're in the market for a new high-end GPU, you may be wondering whether you should get the GTX 1080 or the GTX 1070. To make an informed decision and get the most bang for your buck, you must first look at what each GPU is designed for, and then pit price against performance.
What do you need in a GPU?
Before we get into price points and performance specs to see which GPU offers the best value, it's useful to get an idea of what you plan on using the GPU for. If you're looking at either of these graphics cards, you no doubt have a decent processor and ample RAM for high-end gaming, but at what resolution?
If you want quality 4K gaming without having to lower in-game video settings to the point where it's almost not worth playing, grab the powerful GTX 1080 no matter the price difference. Likewise, if you plan on doing a lot of GPU-intensive tasks, such as video editing, go for the bigger sibling.
If intensive GPU tasks aren't on your plate and you don't mind gaming at 1080p or 1440p, the GTX 1070 should do you just fine. It will be able to run all current games at high settings at this resolution, and it will even be able to power your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
Specs and benchmarks
To get a better idea of the GPU that offers the best value, you need to take a look at each GPU's specs and benchmarks.
As you can see, the GTX 1080 takes the cake in almost all areas where specs differ, except for the power it consumes. Tom's Hardware did a number of benchmark tests on the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, and they provide a better idea of how each GPU performs when it comes to some popular games.
Playing Witcher 3 on the Highest preset at 1440p with a GTX 1080, for example, got an average of about 95FPS, while the GTX 1070, at the same resolution, resulted in an average of about 73FPS. At 4K, the GTX 1080 achieved an average of about 53FPS, while the GTX 1070 hit an average of about 40FPS.
Likewise, running The Division on its Very High preset at 1440p resulted in an average of about 75FPS from the GTX 1080, and the GTX 1070 averaged about 60FPS. At 4K, the GTX 1080 averaged about 43FPS, while the GTX 1070 came in at about 37FPS.
Which GPU should you buy?
Prices vary depending on which retailer you go with, but you can expect to pay somewhere around $600 for a GTX 1080 and about $400 for a GTX 1070. If you're looking for a GPU for 1080p or 1440p gaming, the GTX 1070 can tidily handle either task. If VR is your bag, the GTX 1070 is also a great choice, because you're probably looking to save some money after dropping hundreds on a headset.
For these reasons, it's the GTX 1070 that offers the best value in most scenarios. Still, if you're looking for the best experience for 4K gaming or if you're editing a lot of video, you'll want to grab the GTX 1080.
More GPU questions answered
If all of this GPU talk has piqued your interest, and you want to know more about graphics cards, check out our guide to everything you need to know about GPUs.
Also, if you don't think the GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 is right for you, have a look at our list of the best graphics card options for plenty more insight on graphics cards.
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Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.