Avid PC gamers have surely all heard about the latest NVIDIA video cards to grace the gaming world. Both the GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 enter the field as the new frontrunners in computer graphics performance and do so with a few surprises up their sleeves — err, cooler chassis? With their release, a slew of new, updated gaming computer models should be on their way, and shoppers will be able to get around one of the most common computer shopping mistakes.
For those not so familiar with graphics card technology, and even those fairly familiar, we’re going to look at just what’s so exciting about the release of these new cards. From money to better gaming and VR, there’s a reason for every gamer to be excited, even if they have no intention of buying a GTX 1080 or 1070.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 is getting cheaper
I bet you didn’t see that coming, but it really is one of the awesome aspects of the new video card launch. The GTX 970 is by all accounts a great graphics card, and even though the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 will be a massive step up from the GTX 970, the older card will remain a powerful video card capable of high performance PC gaming for some time to come.
The GTX 970 has for some time had plenty of bang for the buck, but it’s also remained seated over the $300 price point for a while. Even if it gives great performance per dollar compared to a lot of other lower-end cards, some people just don’t have the flex in their budget to spend that much. Thanks to the GTX 1080 and 1070, the GTX 970 is finally regularly seeing prices below $300. Though a starting price point of $379 for the GTX 1070 isn’t so bad, and it will likely become the economical gamer’s choice graphics card (at least on the NVIDIA side of things), making the GTX 970 available to more people is great news, and we’ll get to why now.
More virtual reality access for everyone!
Of course the GTX 1080 and 1070 will be able to power some impressive virtual reality experiences and will easily meet the minimum GPU requirements for VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus. A lot of people will likely pounce on these cards to get their rig ready for VR. But the fact is that a GTX 970 is the entry point for VR.
Both the Oculus and HTC Vive list the GTX 970 (or AMD Radeon R9 290) as the recommended video card. Since the GTX 1080 and 1070 have helped to bump down the price of the GTX 970, VR just became more accessible to the masses. Of course the headsets themselves are still on the pricey side, but it doesn’t hurt to have the cost of the gaming rig come down a touch.
The GTX 1080 and 1070 aren’t even ridiculously expensive (for what they are)
OK, so I’m not going to say $379 is cheap or anything. But for a serious PC gamer, that’s really not a bad price to pay for what’s shaping up to be the second most powerful graphics card on the market. Considering it will be outperforming many graphics cards that cost more than twice as much, you could even say it’s a steal.
Then there’s the GTX 1080, which is by no means cheap. At $699, you could buy an entire modest gaming computer. Of course, that rig wouldn’t be putting out nearly the same visuals as a rig with a GTX 1080 in it. Still, when you compare it to another high-end graphics card, like the Titan X, it’s giving a lot more bang for the buck, so it will be a reasonably good deal for enthusiast gamers that want the best available visual experience.
The relatively low prices aren’t where the savings end though.
The energy savings are real
On top of being incredibly powerful, the GTX 1080 and 1070 are also sparing when it comes to power consumption. That might sound like the most mundane thing to get excited about, but it has some important implications.
For one, upgrading your computer to the GTX 1080 or 1070 likely will only mean swapping out your current GPU (assuming you have one) and slapping in the new one. Normally, upgrading to a big, beefy graphics card might require upgrading your power supply to ensure the card could get enough power, and it might mean investing in more fans or water cooling so you could keep the card from overheating. And that means more expenses on top of the card itself.
That all changes with the GTX 1080 and 1070. Both cards draw less power than the ones they are replacing. So on top of most likely being able to upgrade only the card itself and keep the rest of your rig intact, you might even end up with a computer that uses less electricity when it’s running, thereby saving a tad on your energy bill. Because the cards are energy efficient, there could be some impressively powerful gaming notebooks on the way, as PCGamer suggests.
The AMD Radeon RX 480
“What? That’s not even an NVIDIA Card!” You might be saying this, but it’s still exciting. Not everyone wants to fork over their lunch money for the NVIDIA cards, and some people will never go team green. But the launch of the GTX 1080 and 1070 may have encouraged AMD’s announcement of the RX 480.
Sure, the RX 480 isn’t expected to be a direct competitor with the GTX 1080 or even the 1070. It may not even be as powerful as some of AMD’s current GPUs. But where it lacks in power, it makes up the difference in price. AnandTech reported on the announcement that the RX 480 will cost only $199 at launch. This is touted as a VR-ready video card. So if NVIDIA’s launch of the GTX 1080 and 1070 just made VR more accessible, then NVIDIA may have also just made AMD make VR even more accessible with the RX 480.
Get ready gamers. Things are heating up.
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