Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition Review: Taking on Turing's Best at $499

Fast and efficient, the RTX 3070 basically matches the previous gen 2080 Ti at less than half the cost.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE
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Okay, let's move on to the more meaningful tests for the RTX 3070. While the card can certainly still handle 4K at playable framerates, like the RTX 2080 Ti, there are going to be plenty of situations where you'll have to tune and tweak the settings to get a smooth 60 fps. 1440p gaming, on the other hand, shouldn't pose any problem to the card. 

9 Game Average

Nvidia says the 3070 is faster than the 2080 Ti, but that's only in select games. At 1440p ultra, it's more like a tie — there was only one game in our test suite where the 3070 won by more than a hair. Still, even matching the 2080 Ti is no mean feat, especially considering the price difference. Of course, now 2080 Ti cards will likely fall to much lower prices on places like eBay, but historically speaking, Nvidia's new architectures tend to improve with time, so the 3070 could end up being a bit faster than the 2080 Ti down the road.

That's interesting to see, considering the rather large memory bandwidth deficit. Overclocking doesn't make much of a difference either, so perhaps the 3070 is mostly held back by the GPU and not the GDDR6 memory. Regardless, this is a good showing for the Ampere architecture. It's as fast as the previous generation 260W TDP card while using 40W less power. And it costs $500, which means plenty of gamers can actually afford it, whereas the $1000-$1200 pricing of the 2080 Ti was out of reach for most people.

Borderlands 3

There's not much to say about the individual games. Borderlands 3 reaches very playable framerates of 85 fps at 1440p ultra and 153 fps at 1440p medium. Compared to the RTX 2070, it runs 50-65 percent faster — or 35-45 percent faster than the 2070 Super. Not that you'd really need to upgrade from either of those GPUs just yet. However, if you're sitting two generations back, the 3070 is now more than twice as fast as the 1070 and basically double the performance of the Vega 56. 

The Division 2

The Division 2 puts the 2080 Ti ahead of the 3070 at all settings, but never by much. At 1440p, 2080 Ti is about 3-5 percent faster than 3070. Meanwhile, the 3070 is 30-35 percent ahead of the 2070 Super, 40-55 percent ahead of the 2070, and 110-135 percent ahead of the GTX 1070. Vega 56 definitely widened the gap relative to the 1070 over time, so the 3070 is 'only' 60-90 percent ahead of Vega 56. 

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is getting a bit old, and it definitely hits some CPU limits at 1080p. That starts to fade away at 1440p ultra, but 1440p medium showed relatively weak minimum fps on the overclocked 3070 for some reason. Anyway, we're looking forward to Far Cry 6 next year, so we won't spend any more time analyzing this 2.5 years old game. 

Final Fantasy XIV

This is another older game that hits pretty high framerates, and it's one of the few instances where even the stock 3070 leads the 2080 Ti. By less than half of a percent, of course, so it's basically just a tie. This is a less demanding game, so the gaps between the various GPUs aren't quite as large here. We'll be switching to something else (Horizon Zero Dawn, probably) in the near future. 

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 is the biggest lead we saw for the 3070 over the 2080 Ti, to the tune of up to four percent at 1440p. It's not much, but it's something. It's another game we're looking to retire from our GPU tests, mainly because of how much of a pain the Microsoft Store is to deal with. Project CARS 3 is the likely replacement, which we'll hit in our bonus games below. 

Metro Exodus

We didn't enable ray tracing or DLSS (1.0) for Metro Exodus, but it's still a very demanding game — we'll check ray tracing and DLSS performance in the bonus round. The 3070 still runs very well at 1440p ultra and enabling RT and DLSS should still result in 60 fps gameplay, but the 2080 Ti ends up being 3-5 percent faster yet again. Elsewhere, the 3070 again leads the 2070 Super by around 30 percent, and is up to twice as fast as the GTX 1070. 

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 runs into CPU bottlenecks with the fastest GPUs, even at 1440p medium, but pushing up to ultra settings spreads things out. While the 3070 leads at 1440p medium, the 2080 Ti ends up five percent faster at 1440p ultra. The 3070 also leads the 2070 by 50 percent, and is close to 2.5 times as fast as the GTX 1070 here. Note that we test using the Vulkan API, which tends to perform best for both AMD and Nvidia GPUs. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Like Metro, we've tested without RT or DLSS enabled for our primary benchmarks. We'll have RT + DLSS results below in the bonus gaming section. At the highest preset, the 3070 cranks out 115 fps, just a bit behind the 2080 Ti yet again. Do keep in mind that the 2080 Ti FE has a 90 MHz factory overclock, but then so did most other 2080 Ti cards — not many people were willing to pay that much money only to get a stock-clocked card, it seems. 

Strange Brigade

Last, we have Strange Brigade, another game where we use the Vulkan API. It's pretty light compared to some of the other games in our suite, and the 3070 pushes well beyond the 144 fps mark that you'd want for a higher refresh rate 1440p display. Performance is again a bit behind the 2080 Ti, but well ahead of the 2070 Super and more than double the GTX 1070 and Vega 56. 

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Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • mikeymyke
    Wow quite late on the review, just like the other reviews.
  • tupoun
    Hello, please stop these 1.000,- € cards present as 499,- $ GPUs. Thank you.
  • thusinutz
    Did this post time travel a from a period where we naively believe that a 3070 could be bought for usd 500? I'll keep my 1070 for perpetuity. Thanks.
  • Krotow
    Please don't irritate people with 500$ price for 3070. It was never true. Think 1000$ and above now.

    Lack of RGB is giant bonus for anyone who want his PC being hidden and silent under table.
  • thusinutz
    Krotow said:
    Please don't irritate people with 500$ price for 3070. It was never true. Think 1000$ and above now.

    Lack of RGB is giant bonus for anyone who want his PC being hidden and silent under table.
    I created an account just to complain about this LOL
  • etre
    Well, maybe keep the price out of the title, like is a salient point.
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    The initial GPU review posts, which all went up on the appropriate launch dates (as in, not one second late on any of them) were all a single monolithic page. There are reasons behind that, but the short summary is that the managing editors at Tom's Hardware are now redirecting the original URL into the new paginated version. The text and charts have not changed, on any of the reviews. It's just a change in the presentation. The original review was posted at https://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3070-founders-edition-review and the new version with pages is at https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3070-founders-edition-review -- which is why the comments reset. (You can still read the original comments in the old forum thread if you want:

  • Krotow
    Ironically initial reviews with old MSRP prices appeared on most painful moment in GPU purchasing history ever :)
  • ctn.gooners
    Just logging into to complain the horrible availability of this card on Best Buy. Their ordering system doesn't work and just being screwed by scalpers.

    Best Buy needs to honor orders base in the time it was ordered rather than releasing them.

    And shame on Nvidia. Horrible company to allow it
  • Crazzy Crisis
    I hate to break it to the people in the comments but the MSRP for the 3070 is still $499. You can buy one at that price, albeit with infamously extreme difficulty. Use Hotstock and keep an eye on stores that are not Ebay for stock. Literally just bought a 3070 on 1/6/21 for MSRP after 3 weeks of waiting. On Best Buy, which another comment was complaining was facilitating bots to instantly sweep up everything.

    Stop being so dramatic, it's just a graphics card. It will not change your life. If you want to complain about paying $1000 bucks to scalpers, go for it. But you paid the idiot tax and put money in their pocket. Do not assume the rest of us need to as well.