Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 1070 Review – Raw Gaming Power

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Gigabyte is a widely recognized name in PC Gaming and Hardware. Over the years, the brand achieved its status as one of the most reliable and quality manufacturers, and continues to maintain that standard moving forward with new products. I have previously owned a Gigabyte Radeon HD6850 and the product earned my respect after a consistent 4-year use. The card has never proven to be faulty and provided great stability for my system at the time, paired with a motherboard by Gigabyte as well. But all nice things come to an end some time, and the 1GB old card was simply outdated by the time it hit 2014 and 2 years further.

Moving forward with the new PC built from the ground up, it was important to get the parts that will provide the best stability and performance. At the time of building, back in August 2016, the new Pascal cards by Nvidia have been released to world markets and quickly gained wide attention. At the time, I followed a lot of media news on the new cards and observed how the GTX 1080, 1070, 1060 and later on the 1050 were released to positive feedback. Thus I knew that to achieve best performance and future-proofing, it would take one of these Pascal cards to do the job well. Buying soon after release wasn’t the smartest decision, but prices haven’t changed around much since then.

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Which card to pick up then? The GTX 1070 was crowned by many tech and review sites to be the best price-to-performance ratio, even if the 1060 is more of a budget options. The GTX 1080 was way out of my price range, especially considering that Canadian prices we’re $200+ on top of the US market (so that factored, a GTX 1080 was $1000 and upwards). The GTX 1070 was still quite expensive, however it not only looked like the best value proposition for the performance you get, but also proved to be one over the time I’ve had the new build. The GeForce GTX 1070 is the best value for your money card and packs in a whopping 8GB of video memory to make the product last well for years, in addition to the amount of streaming power it already has. As far as manufacturers went, a lot of choices were appealing, and for the time being I seriously considered getting an Asus Strix. However, after some more research, the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 1070 caught my eye.

In my experience, Gigabyte offers some of the best performance components on the market, and doesn’t skip out on stability either. So after doing some further research, the G1 Gaming GTX 1070 became my GPU choice. Aside from reliability that I’ve come to experience from the brand, Gigabyte additionally offers some of the highest clock speeds on their graphics cards, and the OC clock on the G1 1070 is faster than any of the Asus Strix or MSI models. This makes this version of GTX 1070 even faster with headroom for higher clock speeds to further increase performance. On top of that, the GPU looks very stylish and offers solid 3 Windforce fans. Gigabyte may lose to Asus Strix or MSI Twin Frozr in terms of cooling performance, but it is up there with the crowd. With all that said, its time to actually discuss the facts on the GTX 1070 G1 Gaming by Gigabyte.

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Out of the box, this graphics card looks quite stylish. Its packaged well so it does take time to get to the sweet spot, but product protection is way more important if you’re spending $600-700 on a GPU. The G1 Gaming shares its design language with the less powerful GTX 1070 Windforce and the GTX 1070 mini-ATX, but this model is the one of largest out of Gigabyte’s 1070 line-up, only outclassed by the heavy reinforced Gigabyte GTX 1070 Extreme.  The GPU comes in more compact than the competing Asus Strix, which gives the G1 Gaming advantage in both speeds and accessibility. Still, 3 cooling fans on a card mean it’s quite massive and heavy, which requires care for installation. But with that said, the Gigabyte’s GTX 1070 flagship doesn’t weight an awful lot to damage the motherboard or the PCI-e slot it rests in. I found no reason to provide any additional support for the graphics card inside my case and over the time it’s been there so far, there is no indication that the weight of the 1070 can damage the PCI-e connection port. Gigabyte has stuck to their preferred design, with an all-around black PCB with some orange accents. The accents form an “X” over the middle fan and although the overall picture can look simplistic, the design is still very attractive. Not everyone will agree on that and it’s a design that doesn’t appeal to everyone, but Gigabyte does a great job of making the card look simplistic, but good.

The build of the G1 1070 is standard when it comes to graphics cards, with a reinforced frame, a visible heatsink and the triple cooling fans. The GPU is reinforced from the bottom by a metal plate to provide excellent protection. You get what you pay for with this one and the quality ends up being very good. No components are left on the outside and the Pascal chip rests under the heatsink with additional protection from the bottom. Under the fans, the G1 1070 exposes its heatsink that runs the length of the entire card. The heatsink is in turn covered by a plastic shell that forms most of the visual design, and 3 Windforce fans are integrated into it. Gigabyte’s fan technology may not be the most efficient, but smaller fan size means shorter product length and none of my games sent it over above 60°C in temperature readings. The G1 Gaming GTX 1070 offers great clock speeds compared to the rest of the market, which isn’t to say other manufacturers are bad. But this card can simply go higher in speeds and its something to look out for when future-proofing a gaming system. The base clock of 1.62 GHz is more than sufficient for running demanding games and tasks, but can be taken further up to 1.82 GHz which outperforms the MSI and Asus cards in many instances. Memory clocks in at 8008 MHz and runs along the 256-bit bandwidth bus. I haven’t had the chance to do rigorous testing with the product, but its standard clock speeds out of the box are sufficient to run all modern games maxxed out at 1080p.

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The G1 Gaming GTX 1070 performs very well under stress, and there wasn’t a time when I couldn’t maxx out any game I wanted. Aside from really high-end features (think GTA 5’s Advanced Graphics Options) and poorly-optimized game, there isn’t anything the GTX 1070 can’t handle. With whopping 8GB of VRAM similar to the GTX 1080 makes GTX 1070 future-proof for a long time. The lack of GDDR5X memory type present in the 1080 doesn’t make the GTX 1070 any worse, and realistically, far few games need any more than 4GB of video memory onboard. Some of the results were very impressive, and I found myself enjoying my games much more than in the past. The GTX 1070 is known to handle well under 1440p, although my experience at the moment limits it to 1080p gaming, but aside from 4k the GPU usually has no troubles keeping up 60 fps or above.

Some game tests (1080p 60Hz Monitor used):

  • Doom (2016) – All presets Ultra: 130 fps
  • Grand Theft Auto 5 – All presets Ultra minus the Advanced Graphics Options: 60 fps
  • No Man’s Sky – All presets Ultra: 60 fps
  • Ashes of the Singularity – All presets Ultra, DX12: 50-60 fps
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – All presets Ultra, no VXAO, SMAA x4: 60 fps
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – All presets Ultra minus Nvidia Hairworks: 60 fps

As seen above, the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 1070  has absolutely no issues running some of the most demanding games at steady 60 fps, although it’s just the Ashes of the Singularity game that pushes it further. Doom easily hits 130 fps which I was very impressed by, and that factor contributes a lot to the pacing and enjoyment of the game. Very few games are unable to hit the 60 fps mark, and all it takes is usually some simple graphics tweaking to get things back in order. Keep in mind these tests are done on factory clock and memory speeds as I currently see no reason to push it further. The GTX 1070 is already good to last 3-4 years moving forward, and is certified to be VR-Ready by Nvidia. Despite its power capacity, the GTX 1070 is also made to be very efficient and runs quietly all of the time. The only noise I could hear from the computer when playing demanding games was the CPU fan. Additionally, the cooling fans don’t spin at all when working on non-gaming tasks and the graphics card barely gains temperature over that period. This will certainly save you some dollars on the electric bill when you don’t do gaming.

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Gigabyte offers many of the same features in its G1 Gaming GTX 1070 that other manufacturers have, and although it won’t stand out as anything particularly innovative, the card is enough to satisfy a wide variety of setups. The card supports a 6+2 power phase design, which is mostly standard in the latest products and serves to provide stability when powered on. The G1 Gaming GTX 1070 needs a full 8-pin power connector to feed it energy, although the standard 1070 known to require less than a 500W power supply to run. Still, it’s always better to be safe and add the extra watts to go with recommended manufacturer specs. On the side to face the rear of the case, Gigabyte’s GTX 1070 features a multitude of port connectors, going as far as being one of the few companies to still offer DVI for video output. The DVI connector really has to be used as the last option as it won’t provide impressive results, and those buying a Pascal card most likely already have a monitor of no more than a few years or are planning to buy one. The traditional HDMI is included along with the 3 DisplayPort inputs, which can be configured to a triple-monitor setup. The G1 Gaming GTX 1070 can simultaneously support up to 4 monitors even, although it won’t deliver best performance at high-res triple monitor settings. As the latest improvement in image technology, DisplayPort 1.4 supports high resolutions up to 5K and forward, while the HDMI 2.0 is configured at 4K 60fps display output, which is very neat. But if the need arises, those 3 DisplayPort inputs are always there. To mention the last feature, Gigabyte includes 16.8M color customizable RBG lighting on the side, although I haven’t found its effects to extend beyond highlighting the Gigabyte logo.

Overall, the G1 Gaming GTX 1070 by Gigabyte is a very impressive card and an excellent offer for budget-oriented gamers. It might not be the least expensive in the Pascal line-up, but delivers the best performance-to-price ratio. Gigabyte maintains its high level of quality with this product, and the GPU is very nicely built. The reinforced bottom provides protection and necessary stability, but the product isn’t heavy enough to break the PCI-e slot. Through extensive gaming sessions and trying out a variety of titles, the GTX 1070 never disappointed. Most modern games run on Ultra presets @60fps, and it’s usually the most advanced graphics technologies that can bring the card down to its knees. Still, the level of detail possible to achieve with this GPU significantly improves the enjoyment of playing a game. To sweeten the deal, Gigabyte offers a multitude of neat features on top of the standard Pascal chip, including faster clock speeds, reinforced build and automated cooling fan control. As one of the best variants of the GTX 1070 available to buy on the market, this Gigabyte G1 Gaming GPU delivers on all expectations and provides a lot of performance along with some neat features. Nvidia GTX 1070 remains one of the best cards available on the market for its price, and Gigabyte just further extends the appeal with its brand-specific features.

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Corsair Carbide Spec Alpha ATX Case Review – Aggressive Gaming Contender

Corsair Carbide Spec-Alpha is one of the best gaming cases you can buy on the market today, especially if you’re shopping for the looks. This case looks really aggressive and edgy, and I really dug that as a great gaming case, so I went out to buy one of these. I sure wasn’t disappointed by it or its size or its performance, but what I would advise is see what kind of look or budget you need, because this is an ATX case that sits in the middle between high end mid towers and cheap budget options. But nonetheless, the quality is exceptionally good and Corsair delivers on this case.

One of the first things a potential PC builder has to look at is obviously the computer case. It is the centre point of all the parts picking, as one has to ensure that everything fits in. The Corsair Carbide Spec-Alpha is a standard mid-tower ATX case, with a lot of inner space that is slightly restricted by the edgy outside panels, but nonetheless provides everything you would ever need.

Outer design:
– Smooth & quality plastic panels
– Visible grill for dust filtering
– Plastic stands to elevate case slightly above floor
– Red/Black colour palette is really great
– Lots of edges and the overall look is aggressive
– Left side clear panel for showing off parts

The case easily fits all of these components:
– ATX motherboard
– 3 Hard Drives, 4 SSDs
– Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX1070 Graphics (which I will add is quite a big card with 3 cooling fans)
– Any Power Supply
– Large CPU Cooler

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Some remarks on the above mentioned list:
– When it comes to graphics cards, Spec Alpha will fit anything you throw at it. I can’t speak for graphics cards that come with water blocks or an all-in-one gpu cooling solution as I don’t deal with these kinds of builds, but any blower card easily fits. Spec Alpha has no problem fitting my Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX1070 card and would easily fit an Asus GTX1070/1080 Strix. These 2 are the biggest sized cards on the market when it comes to graphics and the case has no problem fitting both. It would even work in SLI but most likely the hard drive cage will have to go.
– The case can accommodate a tall cooler, and while I personally use a mid-sized cooler, this would work just fine for larger ones but it would really be worth paying careful attention to the dimensions of both products.
– There are no SSD cages included in this case, and at least one would have been nice. In this regard, you have 2 options: either buy an SSD bay from Amazon and they are not that expensive, or you can mount 2 SSDs on the sides of the inner panel, which I found actually to be a nice touch in both inner look and practicality, even though it is a little bit fiddly as during installation you need both side panels off.
– Power Supply has proven to be a bit of an issue with this case, and this is the only downside I can point out in terms of the products that fit. With the Spec-Alpha, I really recommend getting a semi-modular or a fully-modular power supply. There is little space available in between the PSU and the Hard Drive Cage, and not much free space up top either because the graphics card sits just above the disk cage. Because I have reused my power supply from the old computer, which was not modular, I ended up with a large heap of wires on the case’s floor that are absolutely useless, and worse yet, barely clear the graphics blower space and potentially obstruct the air flow. So the best idea here is getting a semi-modular or fully modular power supply.

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With the cable management space, there isn’t much to complain about. Depending on the cables length from the power supply, you may either be able to fit the cables behind the middle side panel, or you won’t. But still, the case allows for a good degree of cable management and you usually won’t end up with your system looking ugly. All of the inner cables that come when the case ships are a decent length to connect these to proper motherboard ports and don’t take up too much space.

Some features of the case:
– Nice plastic legs that elevate it above the floor to reduce dust
– Side clear plastic panel to showcase all of the components
– 3 Cooling Fans Included plus space for 2 more Cooling Fans or 1 Double Radiator up top if you can hook that up to the motherboard
– Front-facing power button, USB ports and etc. USB ports would have been more convenient up top, but not a big issue
– All outside panels are completely removeable during the installation
– Nice RGB Backlight of the 2 frontal fans
– Really good airflow. Depends on your particular setup, but mine doesn’t have much of an issue even though the fans are just a little bit loud

Clearance Issues:
– Space in between the power supply and hard drive cage is very small and better go with anything but a non-modular power supply
– Motherboard CPU Connectors. Note: this would not apply to every kind of build but it happened in my personal case. I ran into a big pain in the head issue of connecting the CPU headers from the power supply to the motherboard. With the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 6 motherboard, it took me a while to get the connectors in place because they were in a very tight spot in between the CPU cooler and the top of the case. It took me a while to be able to slot those connectors in place and I almost messed up the case in the process. This is something that would entirely depend on the particular motherboard and may not apply in your situation.
– Hard Drive cage had to be removed during the installation parts. I find that the hard drive cage inside the case causes quite a lot of obstruction when installing the motherboard, so I took that out. Thankfully, it is a painless process, just don’t mess up the screws when putting everything together, but I would definitely recommend to get that out for time being because once its gone, so much free space opens up.

Clearance issues for these 3 particular situations are the only problems I have been able to find with the Corsair Spec-Alpha. Otherwise, the case is excellent, but I would also point out that the design won’t necessarily appeal to everybody. Thankfully, the Corsair Spec Alpha offers many colour options to create the ultimate gaming rig.

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There are 5 colour choices available in total, and models don’t differentiate in price depending on the visual style. Corsair Spec-Alpha comes in: black & red; white & red; black & silver; white & blue (not shown above), and finally, the black & yellow. This is a nice colour selection and it is always nice to see a case have more than one option. With Corsair Spec-Alpha, it is incredibly satisfying to match all the inner components to the particular colour style. Franky, this is exactly what I recommend – you really want to match all of the colours in this case. For example, in a white & blue case you want to have a motherboard with blue and white components, and vice versa for all colour options. In either case, the colour options are very satisfying and the case stands out on the market regardless.

Pros:
– Lots of space available
– Really nice looking case (design won’t appeal to everyone but I certainly love how it shows that the computer is first and foremost a gaming machine.
– Fits my massive Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 1070 graphics card. Would easily fit Asus Strix also
– Fits a big cooler
– Allows for a good degree of cable management
– RGB Back light on frontal cooling fans
– Plastic legs that elevate the case bottom above floor for dust protection
– User manual is straightforward and it is easy to install all components into it
– A lot of space for many storage devices

Cons (they are quite minor despite long sentences):
– Some clearance issues that have been outlined previously
– Front-facing USB ports are a pain when you’re trying to connect something. Every single time I have to get off my chair and walk around my l-shaped desk which is not ideal
– Neither pre-installed disk drive nor 5.25″ bays for something like this to be installed. Although at this point, most gamers either download games online through Steam and such services or buy an external DVD drive so not a big issue
– Some motherboards I/O shields are a pain to install but aren’t they always

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In the overall picture, the Corsair Spec Alpha is a great computer case in every respect. Despite some of the outlined issues, it is top quality engineered and very easy to work with. User manual provides basic information on where to install everything, which should be enough even for those not too well versed with computers. None of the issues do enough to bring the overall experience down. This is hands down one of the best gaming cases and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Even if it is set under a table, this case begs for the neatest cable management and extra RGB lighting. As a gamer, that is exactly what I want to do. And maybe not in buying extra RGB strips, but buying a modular power supply for neater cable management. With this case, any gaming machine would stand out and be feature-complete. Corsair Carbide Spec Alpha is a top quality product and its features completely justify the price tag.