EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 FTW3 Ultra review: Frigid, silent, and built to overclock

A phenomenal custom cooler and abundant overclocking-friendly features.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

Our test system

Our dedicated graphics card test system is a couple of years old, but it's packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($300 on Amazon) overclocked to 5GHz all cores
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($105 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($355 on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($352 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($70 each on Amazon)

We’re comparing the $610 EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 FTW3 Ultra against Nvidia’s $500 GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition, of course. We’re also including Nvidia’s $800 GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition, $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, $800 RTX 2080 Founders Edition, and $500 RTX 2070 Founders Edition, as well as AMD’s $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT, which matched or even beat the RTX 2070’s performance in many games despite starting at $100 less. For comparison against a wider array of GPUs, check out our Nvidia RTX 3070 FE review.

dsc01231 Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA RTX 3070 FTW3 Ultra in our test system.

We test a variety of games spanning various engines, genres, and graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, and Vulkan). Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or DLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, along with any other vendor-specific technologies like FidelityFX. We’ve also enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.

Let’s go.

EVGA GeForce RTX 3070 FTW3 Ultra gaming benchmarks

The 90MHz factory overclock applied to EVGA’s FTW3 Ultra grants it a slight performance boost in most games over Nvidia’s stock-clocked RTX 3070 Founders Edition, so we’re going to present these benchmarks without commentary. If you want deeper analysis of how the RTX 3070 stacks up against its RTX 2070 predecessor and the RTX 2080 Ti it goes blow-for-blow with, once again, check out our exhaustive Nvidia RTX 3070 FE review.

EVGA’s overclock provided surprisingly significant performance gains in a few specific scenarios that are worth highlighting, however. The FTW3 is substantially faster than Nvidia’s Founders Edition in in Gears Tactics at 1080p resolution, and in Rainbow Six Siege at all resolutions.

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yep, PlayStation exclusives are coming to the PC now. Horizon Zero Dawn hit Steam with some performance issues, but the most egregious ones have been mostly cleared up thanks to hard work from the developers, and the game topped the sales charts for weeks after its release. It also seems to respond somewhat to PCIe 4.0 scaling, which will make this an interesting inclusion when we shift to a PCIe 4.0-based system in the future.

Horizon Zero Dawn runs on Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine, the same engine that powers Death Stranding. Ambient Occlusion can still offer iffy results if set to Ultra, so we test with that setting at Medium. Every other visual option is maxed out.

hzd Brad Chacos/IDG

Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics puts it own brutal, fast-paced spin on the XCOM-like genre. This Unreal Engine 4-powered game was built from the ground up for DirectX 12, and we love being able to work a tactics-style game into our benchmarking suite. Better yet, the game comes with a plethora of graphics options for PC snobs. More games should devote such loving care to explaining what flipping all these visual knobs mean. You can’t use the presets to benchmark Gears Tactics, as it intelligently scales to work best on your installed hardware, meaning that “Ultra” on one graphics card can load different settings than “Ultra” on a weaker card. We manually set all options to their highest possible settings.

gears tactics 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

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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