The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition was launched on June 9th, 2021 with an MSRP of $599. This upgrade over the GeForce RTX 3070 allows the full die to be revealed. However, the performance difference was smaller than we anticipated. What was revealed to us was how much better the $579 AMD Radeon RX 6800 actually compared. The new GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE was underperforming that video card, despite the AMD video card being cheaper by MSRP.
Therefore, we needed to overclock the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE in order to see how much headroom it had. In this review today we have looked at the performance of the overclocked GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition. We have compared it with a GeForce RTX 3070 FE to see how much performance gain we receive over the GeForce RTX 3070 FE. We have also included the AMD Radeon RX 6800 to see if overclocking the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE can make it more comparable. In addition, we included a GeForce RTX 3080 FE so that we could see how close the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE gets to it when it’s overclocked.
Overclocking the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE
Using EVGA Precision X1 overclocking the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE went without a hitch. It was just as easy and doable as any other GeForce RTX Founders Edition video card. We were able to increase the Power Target and Fan Speeds, including GPU Core clock and memory overclock. We were able to raise the Power Target up 10% from 100 to 110. This is actually higher than we expected to push to the Power Target. For comparison, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition can increase its Power Target by 14% and the GeForce RTX 3070 FE can increase its Power Target by 9%. We were also able to increase the fan speeds.
Our final overclock turned out to be +130 which set the GPU Boost to 1900MHz. In our real-world GPU Clock frequency testing, we found that this resulted in around 2055MHz. This is quite a bit higher than the default 1884MHz frequency we experienced by default. Already, even at default, the 1884MHz frequency was well above the quoted spec of 1770MHz frequency. GPU Boost is doing its thing for sure. At 2055MHz we experience a 9% GPU Clock frequency overclock.
In our testing, we actually managed to boost it just a little higher for about 5 minutes of gaming before it crashed. Was actually saw as high as 2070MHz while gaming, but Cyberpunk 2077 would crash after 5 minutes of gameplay. This is really high clock frequency headroom. We didn’t expect that the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU would be able to clock that on frequency, especially considering it has more CUDA Cores than the GeForce RTX 3070. Perhaps improvements in die maturity? Or maybe we just got lucky and got a really good die. As always, overclocking varies by GPU. What we receive, you may not.
In regards to memory overclocking, this is where you need to be careful on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. It uses GDDR6X memory, the same as the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FE. What we found out with the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FE is that overclocking the memory consumes a lot of board power. This board power pushes the video card over the TDP and limits our GPU clock speed overclock potential. We know GDDR6X is a hog on power consumption. Therefore, the same is true with the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE.
We need to actually keep the memory overclock low, so we can raise the GPU clock speed higher, or to its maximum potential. For this video card, engine/GPU clock speed affects performance more than raising the memory frequency for games. Therefore we need to prioritize the GPU clock speed over the memory frequency. Technically we could overclock the memory up to 21GHz, versus 19GHz, but we actually got lower GPU clock speeds overclocked when doing this. By keeping the memory at a lower 20GHz, versus 19GHz, we can maximize the GPU clock speed to its potential on this particular video card. Therefore, that is what we did. At 20GHz it increased the memory bandwidth up to 640GB/s versus 608GB/s.
Performance was an issue we had with the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE, at default speeds. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 gave it a good thrashing in rasterization performance, without Ray Tracing or DLSS. We ended our review concluding the Radeon RX 6800 was the better value. Overclocking the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE seems to have been the kick it needed.
By overclocking the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE we saw average performance increases of 7-8% in games. This was usually enough to put it on par, or just over the AMD Radeon RX 6800 in rasterization performance. In addition, we saw much larger gains over the GeForce RTX 3070 FE now. We saw gains as much as 14 or 15% over the GeForce RTX 3070 FE. This is pretty significant, and what we would expect out of a “Ti” product. The overclock is what this video card needed to be competitive and offer a good medium between the GeForce RTX 3070 FE and GeForce RTX 3080 FE.
Speaking of the GeForce RTX 3080 FE, we also looked at how close to performance the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE comes to the GeForce RTX 3080 FE when it is overclocked. The truth is, it can come very close to its performance. We saw performance fall about 6-13% or 14% slower than the GeForce RTX 3080 FE. That’s close. In fact, in Horizon Zero Dawn at 1440p the overclocked GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE was only 6% slower than the GeForce RTX 3080 FE. That makes the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE a much better value than the GeForce RTX 3080 FE for 144op standard gaming.
Overclocking the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition is just what this video card needed. The Founders Edition RTX 3070 Ti overclocked beyond our expectations. It was a very good overclocker, there was more headroom left in the GPU than we would have thought. It overclocked higher than we would have thought. This lead to a substantial enough performance jump that in some situations means it provides a better value than the GeForce RTX 3080 FE for standard 1440p gaming.
With a GeForce RTX 3080 FE having an MSRP of $699, the cheaper $599 GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE overclocked is a more appealing offer at 1440p. It can come within 10-15% of the performance of the GeForce RTX 3080 FE when overclocked. When you combine features like DLSS into the mix, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti FE overclocked is plenty fast for 1440p gaming, and actually a better deal than the RTX 3080 FE if you are gaming at 1440p.
When we throw the Radeon RX 6800 into the mix, we still feel the Radeon RX 6800 is more competitive at rasterization performance. If you are playing without Ray Tracing, or your game does not support DLSS, the Radeon RX 6800 is a better value. If you are playing with Ray Tracing, however, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is going to be a lot faster. In addition, it supports DLSS, and in games that have support for DLSS, it’s going to be the better option.
We look forward to looking at custom add-in-board partner video cards to see how they overclock and if they can do it cool and quiet.