Overclocking Block on GTX 1070 Ti
NVIDIA has reportedly locked overclocking the GPU clocks on their upcoming GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, and while it definitely doesn't sit well with me as an enthusiast (NVIDIA locking their AIB partners from overclocking the GPU, making it nearly irrelevant which GTX 1070 Ti you buy doesn't incentive AIB partners to make GTX 1070 Tis), I understand it from a business perspective.
First, the business perspective. NVIDIA doesn't want to cull its GeForce GTX 1080, which would happen in a few ways. First, NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 1080 as its flagship GTX 10 series card at the time, so launching a GTX 1070 Ti that is already nearly as good as the GTX 1080 would hurt GTX 1080 sales. Even in stock form, the GTX 1070 Ti could take close blows to the performance of the GTX 1080, so overclocking it by 10-15% would definitely begin not just matching, but beating the GTX 1080.
NVIDIA can't allow a GTX 1070 Ti to beat the GTX 1080 as it means the lower number card beats the higher number card, 1070 beating 1080 doesn't sound good. This is the type of confusion it would create, and it would from a business perspective make NVIDIA look weak by releasing a tweaked GTX 1070 that beats the GTX 1080. This is a direct response to AMD's surprise with the Radeon RX Vega 56, which just so happens to beat the GTX 1060 with 9Gbps of GDDR5, and the GTX 1070. So... GTX 1070 Ti is built to completely murder the RX Vega 56, and it will.
I've spoken to a few industry sources that seem to think AMD knows its Radeon RX Vega 56 is no longer a threat, at all, to NVIDIA once their GTX 1070 Ti is released. Secondly, AMD has its hands tied behind its back with production of Vega GPUs in general. HBM2 yields aren't great right now, which is hurting AMD, but production of Vega is hurting the company more. Instability from within RTG is also worrying, with AMD CEO Lisa Su having to come in and clean up the various messes left behind by the Radeon team. There's no bias here, this is just what I'm hearing, seeing, and reporting after years of being involved in these industries.
AMD is now a sitting duck until a Vega refresh... something that can't happen until at least Feb/March 2018. NVIDIA doesn't need to release anything between now and then, all they need from here is a soft refresh of Pascal - nothing drastic, just voltage increases and maybe some tweaks to the memory used - higher clocks on GDDR5X and the introduction of GDDR6. AMD, even with the help of the super-advanced HBM2 memory, couldn't touch NVIDIA's flagship card from nearly 18 months ago, the GTX 1080.
Now consider a GTX 1070 Ti is on the horizon, and AMD couldn't beat the GTX 1080. NVIDIA is continuing to add cards to their GTX 10 series pile, which now includes:
- GTX 1050
- GTX 1050 Ti
- GTX 1060
- GTX 1060 9Gbps
- GTX 1070
- GTX 1070 Ti
- GTX 1080
- GTX 1080 Ti
AMD has the following Radeon RX Vega cards:
- RX Vega 56
- RX Vega 64
- RX Vega 64 LCE
See the difference? AMD won't have another card in that stack for a while, and even then - it'll be competing with what, the GTX 1050? No one cares about that in the real-world, although they do represent a large chunk of sales in large markets with internet cafes, etc. But, as a company striving for the very best in GPU technology... AMD aren't in the position to fight GTX 1070 Ti. So NVIDIA can get away with locking the overclocking on GTX 1070 Ti without a word from AMD, who doesn't have enough cards on the shelves or the money to burn by lowering the price of RX Vega 56 right now. Rock, hard place.
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