Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition review: Blistering performance gets $700 cheaper

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition graphics card delivers performance on par with last generation's flagship for $700 less, but compromises on memory capacity.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein: Youngblood isn’t the most fun game in the world unless you can play cooperatively with a buddy, but it’s a fearless experiment—and an absolute technical showcase. Running on the Vulkan API, Youngblood achieves blistering frame rates, and it supports all sorts of cutting-edge technologies like ray tracing, DLSS 2.0, HDR, GPU culling, asynchronous computing, and Nvidia’s Content Adaptive Shading. The game includes a built-in benchmark with two different scenes; we tested Lab X.

wolfenstein Brad Chacos/IDG

This is the first game that clearly prefers the RTX 2080 Ti’s Turing architecture. Each Turing core has dedicated FP32 and integer pipelines. In Ampere, each core has a dedicated FP32 pipeline, and a second pipeline that can be used for either shading or integer (compute) tasks. That design lets Ampere generally perform better at higher resolutions that can tap those FP32 pipelines more fully. But in games that lean heavily on GPU compute tasks—like Youngblood—it can take some performance off the top, because if the second pipeline is being used to perform integer tasks, it can’t be used for rendering. As a result, the RTX 3070 is 12 percent slower at 4K and 8 percent slower at 1440p, though the cards draw equal at 1080p It’s worth noting that Wolfenstein hits very, very high frame rates at all three resolutions, though.

Compared to the RTX 2070, the RTX 3070 is 47 percent faster at 4K, and 41 percent faster at 1440p.

Metro Exodus

One of the best games of 2019, Metro Exodus is one of the best-looking games around, too. The latest version of the 4A Engine provides incredibly luscious, ultra-detailed visuals, with one of the most stunning real-time ray tracing implementations released yet. We test in DirectX 12 mode with ray tracing, Hairworks, and DLSS disabled for our basic benchmarks.

metro exodus Brad Chacos/IDG

Again, the RTX 3070 can’t quite match the RTX 2080 Ti’s pace here, though it’s effectively identical from a practical standpoint. The 2080 Ti is 8 percent faster at 4K, and 6 percent faster at 1440p and 1080p. That’s only a few frames per second in real life, and your eyes won’t see the difference.

You’ll feel the upgrade from an RTX 2070, though. The RTX 3070 is 53 percent faster at 4K and 1440p resolutions, and 50 percent faster at 1080p. Notably, the RTX 2070 manages 54 frames per second at 1440p, while the RTX 3070 hits 52fps at 4K. That’s a great gen-on-gen upgrade.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands is back! Gearbox’s game defaults to DX12, so we do as well. It gives us a glimpse at the ultra-popular Unreal Engine 4’s performance in a traditional shooter.

borderlands 3 Brad Chacos/IDG

The RTX 3070 indeed bests the 2080 Ti here, though it’s by a scant frame at all three resolutions. You can witness the effect of Ampere and Turing’s different GPU configurations when you compare it against the RTX 2070, though, as this game takes heavy advantage of async compute. Nvidia’s new card is 47 percent faster at 4K, a whopping 64 percent faster at 1440p, and 59 percent faster at 1080p.

Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test using the Vulkan renderer, which is faster than DX12.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

The RTX 3070 is slower than the RTX 2080 Ti here, but only just. It’s 3 percent slower at 4K and 1080p, and 5 percent slower at 1440p. Again, your eyes wouldn’t see the scant few frames separating the two in the real world. Compared to the 2070, the RTX 3070 is 56 percent faster at 4K resolution, 52 percent faster at 1440p, and 48 percent faster at 1080p.

Total War: Troy

The latest game in the popular Total War saga, Troy was given away free for its first 24 hours on the Epic Games Store, moving over 7.5 million copies before it went on proper sale. Total War: Troy is built using a modified version of the Total War: Warhammer 2 engine, and this DX11 title looks stunning for a turn-based strategy game. We test the more intensive battle benchmark.

total war troy Brad Chacos/IDG

Once again, the RTX 3070 falls behind the RTX 2080 Ti’s pace but delivers the same essential playing experience. It’s 5 percent slower at 4K by the numbers, but in reality, that’s just 2.4  frames per second less in a scenario already running well under the hallowed 60-fps mark. It’s 8 percent slower at 1440p, and 5 percent slower at 1080p.

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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