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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
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

As we did on the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 reviews, we've run a bunch of additional benchmarks at 4K and maxed out settings, with ray tracing and DLSS enabled where applicable. Well, except for 3DMark Port Royal, which runs at 1440p by default, but who's counting? We're only testing a subset of GPUs here, basically RTX 2080 and above — AMD GPUs can't run these same benchmarks in many cases since they don't support ray tracing or DLSS yet, and they're not going to support DLSS ever, most likely.

That's a big problem, actually, as DLSS 2.x really does work well and makes Nvidia's RTX cards far more capable of running many games at higher resolutions. Is 4K with DLSS the same as 4K native? No. But if 4K DLSS looks similar and performs much better, it's the clearly superior choice that most gamers would want to use. Even if AMD's RX 6800 XT and other Big Navi GPUs can match the RTX 3080 in standard performance metrics, not having a comparable alternative to DLSS 2.x is going to be a concern.

There may only be 20 or so games with DLSS right now, but Unreal Engine 4 has apparently made it quite easy to switch on DLSS — there are a few demos we're looking at here that use Unreal Engine, and even the solo developer effort Pumpkin Jack managed to enable ray-traced shadows, reflections, diffuse lighting, and DLSS thanks to Unreal Engine. Considering how many games use variants of Unreal Engine, we'll likely see even more DLSS enabled games in the coming years. 

15 Game Average

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE

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Looking at the combined results of all 15 games/benchmarks, the results are very close to what we saw with our primary test suite. The RTX 3070 ends up 28 percent faster than the RTX 2080 FE, and one percent slower than the RTX 2080 Ti. It's also 25 percent slower than the RTX 3080 and 34 percent slower than the RTX 3090. Average fps is just above 60 for the 15 tests, but individual results will definitely dip below that mark in some games. 

3DMark Port Royal

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE

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We're going in alphabetical order, so 3DMark Port Royal is the first in our list of bonus 'games.' It's quite demanding, averaging just 38 fps at native 1440p rendering, and the 3070 is about 29 percent slower than the 3080 here. It's also 8 percent slower than the 2080 Ti, which is a larger gap than we've seen in any actual games. 

Battlefield V

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE

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Battlefield V was the first game to release with ray tracing and DLSS support. RT is only used for reflections, and this is DLSS 1.0 — meaning you can't even use DLSS with higher-end Nvidia GPUs at less than 4K. Still, we enabled ultra ray tracing and DLSS, and that's enough to average 64 fps on the 3070. Like Port Royal, the 3070 is about 25 percent slower than the 3080 and 7 percent slower than the 2080 Ti, and it's only 15 percent faster than the RTX 2080. 

Bright Memory

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE

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Bright Memory Infinite is a benchmark for a game that's currently in development. I have no idea what the game is about, but it looks absolutely amazing. There are multi-bounce reflections, refractions, caustics, and more at the highest settings, and even with DLSS in performance mode (4x upscaling from 1080p), the RTX 3070 only manages 38 fps. Using the high preset doesn't help much, but the good news is that the game supports DLSS 2.0, so running at 1440p with 4x upscaling ends up being a far better result. Interestingly, while the 3070 is 28 percent behind the 3080, it's also 17 percent faster than the 2080 Ti at maxed-out settings. Considering the number of RT effects being used, future games may also favor the 30-series by a wider margin. 

Boundary

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It's a different developer, but Boundary otherwise has a lot in common with Bright Memory Infinite. Both use Unreal Engine, support a bunch of RT effects, DLSS 2.0, and will eventually be full games on Steam. Maybe. I'd say Bright Memory Infinite currently looks better, or at least the benchmark does, but we'll have to see what the final games are like — and if they're available in English (both devs are Chinese). As for performance, Boundary is perhaps slightly more demanding, depending on the settings used. With DLSS in performance mode, the 3070 averages 39 fps, but minimums are only 23 fps. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) doesn't support DLSS and only uses ray tracing for shadows. It makes a difference, but it tends to be less noticeable than some of the other RT options. Also, it still drops performance quite a bit. In our benchmark sequence, which uses the single player mode, performance is just a bit shy of 60 fps. In multiplayer, especially frantic shootouts, performance can be quite a bit lower. Most competitive players will turn down a lot of the effects in this game, though playing at 1440p or 1080p should also boost framerates a lot. 

Control

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Up to now, Control remains the best implementation of ray tracing and DLSS effects in a shipping game. It has reflections and transparent reflections, diffuse lighting, and ambient occlusion. We tested in both DLSS Quality (1440p) and DLSS Performance (1080p) modes. The 3070 comes out slightly ahead of the 2080 Ti in both cases, and is about 35 percent faster than the RTX 2080. 

Crysis Remastered

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Can it run Crysis Remastered? At 4K with maxed out settings, including ray tracing, the answer is no — your PC cannot handle it. Even the RTX 3090 gets just 41 fps with ray tracing enabled, while the 3070 manages a rather pathetic showing of 24 fps, and that's still faster than the 2080 Ti. Crysis Remastered lives up to its progenitor's legacy, though I'm not convinced the ray tracing effects even look that good. It's also using some weird hybrid ray tracing solution that runs on top of DirectX 11. Even without ray tracing, the 3070 plugs along at 47 fps, just 1 fps behind the 2080 Ti. If you want to play Crysis Remastered with RT enabled, plan on running at 1440p or 1080p. 

Doom Eternal

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Sort of the opposite end of the spectrum from Crysis, Doom Eternal rips and tears along at an impressive 115 fps on the 3070. This is also a game that tends to like memory bandwidth, so it's no surprise that the 2080 Ti ends up 12 percent faster than the 3070. The 3070 does beat the 2080 FE by 37 percent, at least. 

Death Stranding

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Sorry, Death Stranding, no all-caps for you! But DLSS in Quality mode looks and runs great. The 3070 gets over 100 fps, and even the 2080 gets 86 fps. Norman Reedus would be proud of the little guy (little relative to the 3090 at least). 

Flight Simulator

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Microsoft Flight Simulator is another game that likes lots of VRAM, so the 2080 Ti posts a larger lead over the 3070 again. The 3070, meanwhile, is only 13 percent faster than the RTX 2080 this time. Also, it can't break 30 fps in our test sequence, which consists of the autopilot bringing in a plane for a landing at my local airport. This is a brute of a game to run at ultra settings, needless to say. 

Horizon Zero Dawn

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There are no fancy RT or DLSS effects in Horizon Zero Dawn, but it does look quite nice. The 3070 and 2080 Ti are basically tied in average fps, but the 3070 has lower minimum fps — probably due to having 8GB VRAM instead of 11GB. A few tweaks should get 4K performance above 60 fps. 

Metro Exodus

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Metro Exodus was already demanding without enabling its ray traced global illumination. Even with DLSS enabled (DLSS 1.0, sadly — I'd love to see 4A Games release a patch that supports DLSS 2.1 instead!), the 3070 only manages 45 fps, about 6 percent behind the 2080 Ti. 

Project Cars 3

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We looked at Project CARS 3 at launch, and we'll probably replace Forza Horizon 4 with the game in the near future. It's newer and more demanding, though it's missing a few features like TAA. It's also one of the games where the 3070 comes out a few percent ahead of the 2080 Ti for a change. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

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The shadows in Shadow of the Tomb Raider don't really look that much better with ray tracing, but it was at least a somewhat clever marketing schtick. Performance takes a pretty big hit, even with DLSS 1.0 enabled, and the 2080 Ti again gets a relatively large win over the 3070. 

Wolfenstein Youngblood

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Last on our list, we have Wolfenstein Youngblood, another game that uses the Vulkan API and the only game we're testing that uses VulkanRT. Performance is very high, even with DLSS in quality mode, and the 3070 comes out ahead of the 2080 Ti by 6 percent — and 9 percent with DLSS performance mode. 

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  • mikeymyke
    Wow quite late on the review, just like the other reviews.
    Reply
  • tupoun
    Hello, please stop these 1.000,- € cards present as 499,- $ GPUs. Thank you.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • etre
    Well, maybe keep the price out of the title, like is a salient point.
    Reply
  • 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:

    https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/nvidia-geforce-rtx-3070-founders-edition-review-taking-on-turings-best-at-499.3657278/
    Reply
  • Krotow
    Ironically initial reviews with old MSRP prices appeared on most painful moment in GPU purchasing history ever :)
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply