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Hands On: EVGA 1070 Hybrid

It’s all about the 1080 Ti these days, but let’s not forget the not-so-humble 1070. Right in that sweet spot of high-end but not SO high-end to be cost prohibitive, the 1070 is a powerful GPU that shouldn’t be underestimated.

EVGA has a ton of 1070s out and about, but only two that are liquid cooled. They claim the liquid cooling makes a substantial difference, but is it worth the extra cost? After all, the cheapest 1070 EVGA offers is $389, whereas this higher-end model costs $60 more.

Are you really getting enough additional performance to justify that price difference? Let’s find out.

You can pick up the EVGA Hybrid 1070 here for $450.

Riveting Looks

The first thing we noticed about this card is the similarity to the last gen NVIDIA reference design, as opposed to the batwing angled look of the Pascal Founders Edition cards. With the exception of some cool looking rivets and a bit of chrome metal plating, it’s quite close. That’s not a bad thing, just something to know as EVGA usually goes all out with blinging their cards, as is the case with this top of the line 1060.

We criticized that same 1060 for not having a backplate, but luckily that isn’t the case here. Most of the 1070s in this EVGA line do, which is excellent for sturdiness, looks, and some extra heat distribution.

The entry level blower 1070 looks identical (minus the cooling or back plate), but the clock speeds are significantly less. The rest of the 1070 line embraces the steampunk aesthetic of their GTX line, and it’s a good look.

As for I/O, it’s got pretty much what you would expect. Three DisplayPort outputs, one HDMI 2.0, and a DVI. Considering it’s being marketed as VR ready, it’s too bad EVGA didn't put in a forward-facing HDMI port for running an HDMI cable through the front of the case.

Too Cool for School

Let’s talk cooling. EVGA has focused a great deal of their attention (and marketing) on talking up this closed loop system.

The good news is that installation is pretty straightforward. There isn’t any custom tubing or filing necessary, and there shouldn’t be any maintenance necessary. A high-maintenance card this is not, which can be the case for some liquid cooling systems.

A dedicated memory cooling plate makes direct contact with the water cooling block, keeping GPU temperatures low – certainly lower than fans alone. The radiator and 120mm fan are attached via sleeved tubing.

And let’s not forget the blower fan on the card itself.

We found that this closed system does work quite well, and noise levels were significantly decreased from that of a 1070 utilizing only fans. 

Performance Art

The EVGA 1070 Hybrid is just behind the clock rates and phase count of the next version up the line, the 1070 Hybrid FTW. That means 1,595MHz base clock and a 1,784MHz boost clock. It’s powered by an eight pin connector.

So how about performance?

The Fire Strike score before overclocking was pretty much what we expected at 14,144. We wanted to push it a little harder, so we decided to stress this card a bit.

Using the GPUZ render test, we stressed the 1070 for four minutes, and barely reached 35C. Then we busted out the Furmark GPU stress test to push it a little harder, and it got up to 39C after another four minutes. It held steady at that temperature for ten minutes.

Keep in mind, we were running these benchmarks in an open test bench, so obviously temps might be a bit higher in a closed case. Those are solid numbers, but we wanted to see how far we could go.

After all, what’s the point of liquid cooling if you’re not trying to push higher?

We started off with small overclocks of 50MHz using the EVGA Precision Tool software. Things were nice and stable, so we kept going until we finally found the sweet spot of stable performance without crashing.

We ended up with a final overclocked speed of 2164MHz, with a full difference of 569MHz from out of the box 1595MHz. 

That’s pretty substantial.

It’s impossible to attribute that entirely to the lower temps from the liquid cooling, and your mileage may vary as is the nature of overclocks, but we’re very happy with the results.

The final Fire Strike score after overclocking was 14,826.

The EVGA 1070 Hybrid was virtually silent, as to be expected from a closed liquid cooling system, and we got a serious overclock. Pretty much exactly what EVGA promised was delivered: high performance and low temps.

We were still at a fairly low temperature and probably could have pushed it even further by messing with voltages, but we’re quite happy with the speed and stability we got here.

For those of you who want to have a really good time, this card does support SLI, and the not-too-thick blower fan design means that running more than one FTW Hybrid for super performance is very much an option.

To Hybrid or Not To Hybrid?

Within the EVGA 1070 lineup, there is a great deal of variation. It seems like they created a 1070 for everyone and their grandma.

The truth is, this liquid cooled 1070 might be overkill for a casual gamer. If you’re looking for good 1080p performance and some VR action, a fan cooled 1070 will probably be sufficient. If you’re an enthusiast interested in overclocking and high frames but don’t want to go all out for a 1080 or 1080 Ti, this Hybrid solution could be just the ticket.

If temperatures in your graphics card are a concern for you, then you’ve come to the right place. Though more expensive, the EVGA 1070 Hybrid really does seem to keep the GPU cooler than a lot of the 1070 competition even under a heavy load, making it an easy recommendation for those of you with builds that run hot or loud.

There’s also a Hybrid cooled version of the 1080 from EVGA for those of you who want more CUDA cores.