We’re going to be benchmarking two similar laptops to compare the Nvidia 970M against the 1070 to see just how much better the newer Pascal based card performs, and find out if it’s worth upgrading to. First let’s discuss the other differences between these two laptops.
Both are running the same Skylake based Intel 6700HQ quad core CPU at 2.6GHz, and both also have 16GB of DDR4 RAM. Both use an SSD for the primary hard drive and are running Windows 10 with all available updates applied. At the time the benchmarks were performed both also had the latest Nvidia drivers currently available installed, which was version 373.06. All tests were done with default settings, no manual overclocking was performed.
G-Sync has also been disabled, as these laptops have 60Hz panels I didn’t want them to limit any tests to 60FPS. Alright so far the laptops are pretty similar. The main difference here is that one is running with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M, while the other has a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. We can see straight away that the specs of the 1070 are quite a bit higher, so how do they compare? Let’s find out and jump into our benchmarks. We’ll cover both real world gaming benchmarks in terms of frames per second, as well as the results of some benchmarking tools.
First we’ll start with the gaming benchmarks as these are most useful. I’ve tested GTA 5, The Witcher 3, and Shadows of Mordor on both laptops. In GTA 5 I have disabled VSync otherwise the FPS would max out at 60. I tested with FXAA on with MSAA set to x8 with a 1080p resolution. We can see that the 1070 performed more than two times better than the 970M here. In the Witcher 3 I used the Ultra preset, and disabled VSync and NVIDIA Hairworks, and again ran at the full 1080p resolution.
Again we can see that the 1070 is performing more than two times better than the 970M. In Shadows of Mordor with ultra settings at 1080p the results are similar, the 1070 is not quite doing twice the FPS but it’s still close and a significant performance difference.
Now onto the benchmarking tools, while a useful indicator note that these results are less practical compared to the real world gaming tests previously shown. In Heaven benchmark with the quality set to ultra, tessellation on extreme, and anti-aliasing on x8 at 1080p, the 1070 is miles ahead of the 970M. It’s a similar story in Valley benchmark, with the quality set to ultra and anti-aliasing on x8 at 1080p, the 1070 came out ahead by a significant amount.
The 3DMark Time Spy and Fire Strike benchmarks also tell the same story, with the 1070 getting more than twice the graphics score when compared against the 970M. Finally let’s check the temperatures of each card during the testing, we can see that both the idle and load temps were pretty close together with the 1070 being slightly hotter here, however keep in mind that the cooling implementation of each laptop will factor in here.
While the 1070 is slightly hotter, it is also performing a lot better. As expected the 1070 came out on top in all tests performing around two times better than the 970M. The results were extremely impressive for a laptop graphics card, but is it worth upgrading to? If you already have a laptop with a 970M, probably not, unless your model of laptop easily supports swapping out the graphics card which is probably unlikely.
Therefore upgrading would more likely involve buying a new Pascal based laptop, which is an expensive upgrade path and thereby hard to recommend unless having the latest hardware is important to you. On the other hand if you’re looking for a new laptop and you’re trying to decide between the 970M or the newer 1070, well I think the results here speak for themselves, you’d really want to go with the newer 1070 as it simply performs so much better while running at similar temperatures.
While the 1070 does have more horsepower, if you’re using G-Sync you’re going to be limited to the refresh rate of your display anyway. In my case both displays are 60Hz, so they can’t display more than 60FPS anyway. This is worth keeping in mind, if you are running a 970M and getting 60FPS in your favourite games on a 60Hz panel there isn’t going to be much benefit in upgrading, unless you want to run at higher settings. If you’re going to be running an external display with a higher refresh rate, then it may be another story.
At the same time, my tests show that I can easily surpass 60FPS in these games on very high settings with the 1070, meaning that I can easily enable G-Sync and maintain the smooth 60FPS rate which will actually result in the graphics card doing less work while removing screen tearing which is awesome.
I hope this post has helped you see the real world differences in performance between these two graphics cards, be sure to leave a comment on the post if you found it useful, and don’t forget to subscribe, share or bookmark for future posts like this one.