Nvidia just announced the GeForce RTX 3070 and other GPUs that use the new Ampere architecture, and the great news is that pricing hasn't radically changed from the current RTX 20-series Super cards. The RTX 3070 will pick up where the RTX 2070 Super left off, at the $499 price point. What's more, it should offer better performance than the RTX 2080 Ti. Ampere has arrived, and it's going to kick some butt over in the best graphics cards and GPU hierarchy. And if you have more money to spend, there's always the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090. Here's what we know about the RTX 3070.
Update: We now have final specs, die size, and more for the GA104 and RTX 3070. We've updated and corrected the text in light of the new details.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 At A Glance:
- 8GB GDDR6 at 14 Gbps
- Double the CUDA cores: 5888 and 20.4 TFLOPS
- Samsung 8nm part is 1.9X more efficient than Turing
- Release Date: October 15, 2020
- Price: starting at $499
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3070|
|Process (nm)||Samsung 8N|
|Die Size (mm^2)||392.5|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1730|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||14|
|Tensor TFLOPS FP16 (sparsity)||81 (163)|
|Launch Date||October 2020|
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Features
We've covered the underlying Ampere architecture in detail elsewhere. Here, the focus is specifically on the upcoming GeForce RTX 3070. We were afraid of what Nvidia might do with pricing, and we were excited to see what it would do with performance enhancing features. The fears, it turns out, were mostly unfounded, and the specs are mouthwatering.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 will continue as the 'mainstream high-end' offering, priced at $499. That's a big step up from the old GTX 970's $330 price point, but not too much worse than the GTX 1070's initial $449 launch price. Whether we'll be able to buy RTX 3070 cards at $500 any time in 2020 is debatable of course. Prepare yourself for some price gouging if you want one sooner than later.
The main GPU core now packs a whopping 5888 CUDA cores. That's far more than the outgoing RTX 2080 Ti, and with higher clockspeeds it should end up delivering better performance. For less than half the price. You may now commence to party.
It's not just the shader cores getting a substantial boost in performance. The RT cores are 1.7 time as potent as in the previous generation, which means that for ray tracing calculations the 3070 still delivers slightly more performance (40 RT TFLOPS) than the RTX 2080 Ti (34 RT TFLOPS). The 3rd gen Tensor cores meanwhile are twice as fast per core as the Turing Tensor cores, plus sparsity support potentially doubles performance, so FP16 performance ends up being 163 TFLOPS. That's about 50% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, and over 2.5 times the Tensor performance of the RTX 2070.
Memory speed is going to make things a bit interesting. Nvidia claims the RTX 3070 will be faster than an RTX 2080 Ti, but we suspect there will be plenty of situations where that's not true. That's because the 3070 sticks with 14Gbps GDDR6, the same memory speed used in the RTX 20-series, so the 2080 Ti has more memory and more bandwidth. It also means the gap between the 3070 and 3080 is quite large: 3080 has nearly 50% more cores, 50% more computational performance, and 70% more memory bandwidth. From a performance perspective, it just might be worth ponying up for the 3080 this round.
The RTX 3070 uses the GA104 chip, a trimmed down version of the Ampere architecture that has 6 GPC clusters of 8 SMs each. It's moderately smaller than GA102 but still packs 17.4 billion transistors into a 393mm square die size. As a point of comparison, that's nearly as many transistors as the 2080 Ti (18.6 billion), in a bit more than half the area. Or put another way, it's 30% more transistors than the 2070 Super in 28% less area.
One important aspect of the RTX 3070 is that, unlike the RTX 3090, it keeps with a relatively tame power rating of just 220W. Sure, that's more than the 2070's 175W, but it basically matches the 2070 Super's 215W TDP.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Performance
The combination of more shader cores, faster RT cores, and faster Tensor cores should prove very potent. Nvidia provided the above slide during the Ampere reveal on September 1, but didn't specify which GPUs were used. Regardless, the raw numbers suggest RTX 3070 is going to be a great upgrade over anyone still using a Pascal GTX 10-series (or earlier) GPU.
Performance is going to be interesting on this card. Less memory than the 3080/3090, far less memory bandwidth, and compute probably ends up a bit of a wash compared to the 2080 Ti.
Theoretically, RTX 3070 has 43% more FP32 compute power than the RTX 2080 Ti, but as we covered in the Ampere architecture, a good chunk of the FP32/INT cores will end up being used on INT workloads. Still, it has 18% more ray tracing performance, and it does that while using 12% less power, at less than half the cost. With games like Cyberpunk 2077 set to double down on the use of ray tracing effects, having at least an RTX 3070 is probably a good idea.
Something else to look forward to is even better DLSS. As in, 8K DLSS using upsampled 4K content. Okay, you probably aren't going to buy a $500 GPU to power a $3000+ TV, but you theoretically could. Maybe. More likely, 4K (and 5K) gaming using DLSS will now easily break the 60 fps barrier. The 2080 Ti can already do that, so an even faster GPU will potentially be great if you happen to have a 4K 120Hz display.
GeForce RTX 3070 Release Date
Nvidia says the GeForce RTX 3070 will be available in October 15. We don't know if that will be the Founders Edition, or FE as well as partner cards, but we suspect the latter. We also suspect most third party cards will come with at least modest overclocks and cost more, so $500 is basically the minimum price. Of course, actually finding cards on the launch date for the launch price is another matter entirely.
Historically speaking, popular new AMD and Nvidia GPUs often sell out 'immediately' for the first month or two, and price gouging is common. Our best advice if you really want to buy an RTX 3070 is to pre-order, but at the same time we don't like pre-ordering anything.
Wait for the reviews to arrive, verify that performance and everything else works as expected, and then click the buy button. Or more likely, wait for it to be in stock so you can click the buy button.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070: The Bottom Line
We don't have actual hard performance data yet, and we won't until some time around October 15. Everything on paper makes the GeForce RTX 3070 look like an easy recommendation, but the proof is in the proverbial benchmarking of the pudding. Or something like that. Performance has increased substantially over the previous generation 2070/2070 Super cards, and price has remained the same.
If you've been skeptical of ray tracing, and whether it's even necessary for games, now it really doesn't matter. You can get higher ray tracing performance than Nvidia's first generation hardware, and at the same time you'll get a major boost in performance for traditional rendering modes. That's our expectation at least; stay tuned for the full review next month.
We understand why a lot of people skipped the Turing generation of GPUs. They were expensive, and not really that much faster than Pascal. Besides, if you already bought a GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti, there wasn't a real need to upgrade. Skipping a generation in hardware — and skipping the first generation of any new technology — is rarely a bad idea. But now, based on what we've seen of the specs, features, and pricing? This is going to be a very tasty card.
Nvidia has thrown down the gauntlet with the GeForce RTX 3070. What remains to be seen is whether AMD can match or even beat Nvidia when it comes to the next generation GPUs. Big Navi might end up being just as 'big' as Ampere. We should know more by the time these cards launch in October.