NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition Review

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition video card back side showing rtx 3070 ti label

Conclusion

Today NVIDIA has launched the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and we have reviewed the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition has an MSRP of $599. This puts the video card in a slot that was previously unoccupied by NVIDIA’s lineup.

Prior to the launch of this video card, the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition existed in the $499 price range, and the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition existed in the $699 price range. This left a wide gap between the GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080. It makes perfect sense that NVIDIA would want to fill this gap. By doing so this also means NVIDIA can now compete with AMD’s offering at $579, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 video card.

It is, therefore, no surprise to us, and should be no surprise to anyone, as to why this video card exists. The question was NVIDIA going to call it a “SUPER” or a “Ti” was also answered, NVIDIA went with “Ti” this generation, unlike the “SUPER” of the last. The other big question was of course, how fast will it end up being, and will the $100 price difference from the RTX 3070 FE make sense based on its performance? Let’s recap and find out.

Specifications

First to the specifications, this GPU die is closer in comparison to the GeForce RTX 3070 than it is to the GeForce RTX 3080. However, the Founders Edition design has been beefed up and upgraded to support a higher TDP, and provide a higher sustained GPU Boost frequency. It shares the flip fan design of the RTX 3080, but with RTX 3070 styling.

As we mentioned, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti uses the same GA104 die as the GeForce RTX 3070. Actually, it’s a variant of it, a faster and more complete variant of it. It has more CUDA Cores, more TMUs, more RT Cores, and more Tensor Cores compared to the RTX 3070. It also runs at a higher boost clock. It even uses the faster GDDR6X memory, clocked at 19GHz instead of 14GHz on the RTX 3070. This brings the memory bandwidth up to 608GB/s versus 448GB/s. It shares the same VRAM capacity of 8GB.

All of this comes with a cost, and that cost is power. The TDP has increased to 290W on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE versus 220W on the GeForce RTX 3070 FE. However, NVIDIA has made sure the thermal solution can support this. It uses the same configuration of cooling as the GeForce RTX 3080 FE but in a slightly smaller package. However, it is longer than the GeForce RTX 3070 FE.

Performance

Vs. RX 6800 Rasterized

Now we come to the important part, how did it actually perform? Well, overall, it’s a mixed bag. It didn’t quite perform as fast as we would have thought. In fact, in rasterized performance, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 had some big performance advantages that we didn’t expect. Consider the AMD Radeon RX 6800 has a $579 MSRP, less than the $599 MSRP of the new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE.

In Cyberpunk 2077 the AMD Radeon RX 6800 provided faster performance at 1440p and 4K at “Ultra” graphics preset in rasterized performance. It was 10% faster than the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE at 1440p, and for a game like Cyberpunk 2077 this means a lot. In Watch Dogs Legion the AMD Radeon RX 6800 was also faster in 1440p at “Ultra” settings. It ended up being 7% faster than the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE. It was also faster in 4K at “Ultra” settings being 5% faster.

Dirt 5 was another game where the Radeon RX 6800 just edged out the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE at 1440p. At 4K with Ray Tracing the AMD Radeon RX 6800 and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE were even in performance, exactly the same. In Horizon Zero Dawn both video cards were equal in performance at 1440p. In Red Dead Redemption 2 the AMD Radeon RX 6800 outperformed the new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE by 10% and provided the best experience at 1440p. At 4K in Red Dead Redemption 2, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 also edged out the RTX 3070 Ti FE.

Ray Tracing and DLSS

When we turn on Ray Tracing and or DLSS, this is where the tables turn. Right now, Ray Tracing performance is mostly the Achilles heel of the AMD Radeon RX 6800. In most games, Ray Tracing takes a much bigger toll on performance and it drops to unplayable levels that is hard to recuperate. NVIDIA remains to have a big advantage in Ray Tracing performance. The new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE is faster than the AMD Radeon RX 6800 at Ray Tracing, it’s just that simple.

There is only one game in our lineup where Ray Tracing is usable on the AMD Radeon RX 6800, and that is Dirt 5. Whether it is 1440p or 4K both the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE and Radeon RX 6800 can play this game at playable framerates with Ray Tracing turned on. In fact, at 1440p the RTX 3070 Ti FE is faster, but at 4K they share the exact same performance.

Turning on Ray Tracing also causes a performance drop on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE, but this is where DLSS comes in. By turning on DLSS we can mitigate this performance loss, and mostly have playable performance at 1440p with Ray Tracing on the new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE. You will absolutely need it in Metro Exodus Enhanced at 1440p in order to play at the highest graphics settings plus Ultra Ray Tracing. With DLSS enabled the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE can provide a playable and smooth 60FPS.

In Cyberpunk 2077 with Quality DLSS enabled you get a very playable 67FPS at 1440p with “Medium” Ray Tracing and the highest game settings on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE. In Watch Dogs Legion you get 56FPS with DLSS on at 144op with “Ultra” Ray Tracing. Wolfenstein Youngblood provides very high 177FPS with Ray Tracing and DLSS at 1440p. DLSS can also help non-Ray Tracing performance. Turning on DLSS at 4K in Cyberpunk 2077 allows you to play at “Ultra” settings at 51FPS on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE. Other games, turn on DLSS at 4K and you should get playable performance on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti.

Vs. GeForce RTX 3070 FE

Beyond the Radeon RX 6800, we also need to know how much performance it really does improve over the GeForce RTX 3070 FE. This is where the numbers may sound disappointing. At 1440p the range of performance advantage we experienced (including rasterized, Ray Tracing and DLSS) was between 5%-12% faster than the GeForce RTX 3070 FE. A lot of the time we saw between 6-7%. That is just not as much as we were hoping for, and seems a little underwhelming. At 4K we are looking between 5%-13%, which is about the same. It was more common to have it around the 6-7% mark, with above 10% being rare.

VRAM

The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti should have more VRAM, period. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti really is screaming to have a higher VRAM capacity, instead of the 8GB it has now, which is the same as the RTX 3070. We feel that ultimately this video card is being held back by its VRAM capacity and that it has more potential, but is bottlenecked by this fact. Certain cards need and should have more VRAM, this is one of them.

Consider the AMD Radeon RX 6800 is cheaper, $579, and has 16GB of VRAM onboard. Consider the $329 GeForce RTX 3060 has 12GB of VRAM on board. The $329 GeForce RTX 3060 has more VRAM than the brand new $599 GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. This was a chance to really make a competitive card to the AMD Radeon RX 6800. Yet, it’s held back.

It just doesn’t make sense.

Before the fact that it uses GDDR6X is brought up, yes, that is great. GDDR6X allows higher memory frequencies, and thus a higher memory bandwidth on the 256-bit memory bus. This is great, and we love the higher memory bandwidth. However, that cannot make up for the physical difference in VRAM capacity.

Power and Temps

Let’s talk just a little about power before we move on. The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE consumes a lot of it. The GDDR6X memory is notoriously known for high power consumption. This increases board power, but we also saw a high GPU chip power draw. The problem simply comes down to this, it’s pulling 28-32% more power than a GeForce RTX 3070 FE, but only providing a performance benefit of 6-10% at best. Something sounds, out of balance there. We will give props to the cooling however, the design is a nice hybrid of RTX 3080 cooling and RTX 3070 style design. It seems to keep the GPU adequately cooled while gaming without throwing out a lot of noise. Custom partner cards will of course have custom coolers.

Final Points

We were excited to dive into testing the new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition with an MSRP of $599. At the conclusion of our testing, we felt the performance was left wanting. Being priced to compete with AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 we would have expected it to do better by comparison in apples-to-apples performance.

In our testing it was the AMD Radeon RX 6800 that seemed to shine through in non-Ray Traced, non-DLSS performance, as the better value compared by MSRP. The Radeon RX 6800 seems to be faster in rasterized performance, and provides twice the amount of VRAM. This was not the conclusion we would have expected. If you take into account DLSS, the tables turn of course, in the games that support DLSS, DLSS is going to provide better performance than the RX 6800 if you opt to use it.

What it looks like to us, according to our testing and the data that you see in this review, is that the new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition is a better GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition competitor. In our testing, this was the video card that either matched or beat the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE. The GeForce RTX 3070 was much slower. DLSS also seemed to be faster on the RTX 3070 Ti FE compared to the RTX 2080 Ti FE.

The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE is a video card that launched with an MSRP of $999 or $1,199 for the Founders Edition. So here is a card now, that is only $599 (the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE) that can provide the same or better gameplay experience as a card that was twice as much less than two years ago. That’s actually more exciting, if you look at the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE from that perspective. Granted, even the RTX 2080 Ti had more VRAM with 11GB.

Wrapping it up, we feel the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti could have, and should have, been more. At the very least, a larger framebuffer (VRAM capacity) to compete with the $579 AMD Radeon RX 6800. As it stands now, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE is a video card that is 20% more expensive than the GeForce RTX 3070 FE, but offers 6-10% performance improvement compared to the RTX 3070 FE (and this is with DLSS compared.) We absolutely have no problem with NVIDIA fulfilling the gap they had between the GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080, it needed to happen. The question is, was this enough?

Discussion

Brent Justicehttps://www.thefpsreview.com
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming https://www.youtube.com/c/JusticeGamingChannel You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice https://kit.co/BrentJustice

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