by Rob Williams on November 3, 2020 in Graphics & Displays
With NVIDIA’s new $499 GeForce RTX 3070 in-hand, we’re taking a look at gaming performance across a wide-range of games, including some sporting ray tracing features. NVIDIA promises a card that goes up against last-gen’s $1,199 RTX 2080 Ti, and overall, it delivers on that.
To take a look at the RTX 3070 from a power and temperatures perspective, we rely on both rendering and gaming workloads to push the GPU. For rendering, we use the Classroom 2.8 project in Blender, and for gaming, we use UL’s Fire Strike Ultra. Both tests are run for ten minutes, with their maximum wattage and temperatures reported. The power test is total system power pulled from the wall, using a Kill-a-Watt meter.
As we saw with both the RTX 3080 and 3090, both our render and gaming stress-tests draws about the same amount of power out of the RTX 3070 – which is to say, about 300W total platform. For a card that can deliver 4K/60 pretty easily in modern games, that’s pretty admirable. While the 3070 doesn’t definitively beat out the 2080 Ti in all cases, it does manage to come extremely close for about 50W less.
With regards to temperatures, all of these GPUs are keeping well within their top-end limits, but it’s still nice to see powerful GPUs run cool. The RTX 3070 does well with that in gaming, when compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, shaving 9°C off. We don’t intimately test noise because the environment doesn’t allow for it, but at max load, we can easily say that the RTX 3070 is much quieter than the RTX 2080 Ti Founder Edition – mostly because the Ti can sometimes burst its fan to a noticeable degree at random times.
There are many angles to look at the RTX 3070 from, but ultimately, what NVIDIA has delivered here is undoubtedly impressive. We’ve seen some folks in the community express their discontent due to the fact that the 3070 doesn’t definitively topple the 2080 Ti, but the fact is, we’re seeing a new $499 GPU that wages a successful battle for close to parity with last-gen’s $1,199 offering.
An even more important comparison might be between the RTX 2070 SUPER and RTX 3070 – the battle of last-gen $499 GPU vs. current-gen $499 GPU. In that match-up, NVIDIA’s latest proved to deliver anywhere between 30~45% better FPS, and we’re not talking about synthetic tests, but real gaming tests. Add to that the fact that the Ampere generation brings even better ray tracing performance, we’re happy to see what NVIDIA’s brought to the table here.
As it stands today, NVIDIA is offering a ton of horsepower for the current-gen $499 price, and if you care at all about ray tracing, it seems likely that RTX GPUs are going to be the go-to for the next little while from either a performance or support standpoint. While AMD is going to be offering full DXR ray tracing support with its new Radeons, most of the games released so far have been developed with RTX in mind, so we’d expect it to take a while before games are updated for better AMD support. And better support should definitely come, considering the new consoles exclusively use Radeon.
If you’re not glued to one vendor or another, it may be worth waiting to see what AMD has in store with its launch in a few weeks, since its Radeon RX 6800 is set to do fierce battle with the RTX 3070. That assumes you’ll even be able to find the 3070 in stock before then, because as you probably expected, those that hit the shelves fly right off of them again moments later. It’s unfortunate, especially since we’re in the midst of an exciting gaming season. Speaking of, if you’re interested in Watch Dogs: Legion performance, we included the RTX 3070 in our performance article from last week.
When the new Radeons get here, we’ll be able to form much better impressions of the current stack from both vendors, but as it stands today, NVIDIA is offering a compelling option with the 3070. It’s great for high-FPS 1440p and can deliver smooth 4K performance if you’re willing to sacrifice the occasional high graphics setting.