Nvidia’s new RTX 3070 graphics card is here, but how does it compare against the RTX 2070 from last generation, or going back even further, the GTX 1070? I’ve compared all 3 in games at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p resolutions, as well as content creator workloads to show you the differences.
Let’s start with the spec differences, all three have 8gb of memory, but that’s basically where the similarities end. As you’d expect, the newer cards are specced higher. The 3070 has the same $500 USD MSRP as the 2070 before it, however both were more expensive at launch than the 1070, and not to mention you can pick up a second hand 1070 for under $200 these days.
Test PC Setup
This is the system that I’m using to test all three GPUs in, thanks to Steve at Hardware Unboxed for lending me a 2070. Anyway let’s get right into it by seeing how 11 games compare on these three GPUs.
I’ve tested Microsoft Flight Simulator in the Sydney landing challenge. Just at a glance, the 3070 appears to be offering big gains here, granted it wasn’t even able to run the game at 30 FPS with max settings at 4K. At all resolutions, the 3070 was reaching more than 2x the average FPS of the 1070, while the 3070 was almost 50% faster than the 2070 at 1440p. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool. The difference between the 2070 and 3070 is far larger than the 1070 and 2070, Turing really wasn’t offering that much of a performance uplift for the money, especially compared to the new 3000 series Ampere options. At 4K, the 3070 was 83% faster than the 2070, or 172% faster than the 1070. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode by running through the same mission. The 3070 was the only card that was capable of surpassing 60 FPS at 4K with ultra settings, it was reaching more than double the average frame rate of the 1070, or about 50% faster than the 2070. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games built in benchmark. Again pretty big gains on offer from the RTX 3070, which was more than double the frame rate of the 1070 at 1440p and 4K. The 3070 was also the only option capable of offering 60 FPS at 4K again, a nice result given I’m using the highest setting preset available. Control sees a similar pattern, and while I’d say 4K was playable on the 3070, it’s not able to reach 60 FPS here, at least with the high setting preset, granted DLSS could help. Things are much better at lower resolutions, the 2070 wasn’t capable of 60 FPS at 1440p while the 3070 blasted past it with a 57% higher average frame rate. Frame rates improve a little in most cases with RTX set to high and DLSS enabled. I haven’t bothered testing the GTX 1070 with ray tracing as it doesn’t have the proper hardware for it. In any case, the margins between the 2070 and 3070 are similar to with RTX off. I’ve tested Metro Exodus with the game's benchmark tool. The 1% lows weren’t changing as much when compared to other titles tested, however there are still big boosts to average FPS with the higher graphics cards. The 3070 was 55% faster in average FPS at 1440p when compared with the 2070, while the 3070 was 105% faster than the 1070. Death Stranding saw below average improvements with the higher graphics cards, but regardless we’re clearly seeing some nice gains here with the 3070. At 4K the 3070 was reaching 53% higher average FPS when compared to the 2070, and more than double the frame rate of the 1070, a common pattern. The Witcher 3 had one of the smallest differences out of all 11 games tested. The 1070 was still offering a playable experience at 1440p with ultra settings, while the 2070 was needed at 4K to pass the 60 FPS sweet spot. Like most of the other games covered, the gap between the 3070 and 2070 is larger compared to the differences between the 1070 and 2070. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark, and this test had the smallest difference between all three graphics cards at all three resolutions. Even so, even the 1% lows from the 3070 beat the average FPS from the 2070, and then same deal for the 2070 when comparing it to the 1070. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode. Yet again, pretty big improvements on offer from the 3070, which was hitting 114% higher average frame rate at 1440p when compared to the 1070, or 55% higher when compared to the 2070. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the games benchmark tool with Vulkan. This test had one of the biggest improvements with the 3070 out of the 11 games covered, but realistically even the 1070 is still offering fairly high frame rates at 1080p and 1440p.
These are the differences in all titles tested between the RTX 3070 and GTX 1070 at 1080p. The 3070 was 107% faster, or more than twice the frame rate on average, quite impressive given 1080p typically isn’t as heavy on the GPU. This is illustrated as we step up to higher resolutions, at 1440p the 3070 now has a 119% lead on average over the 1070, with some games like Control and Red Dead Redemption 2 reaching 150% higher average FPS. At 4K where the GPUs are really doing the heavy lifting, the 3070 was now 131% ahead of the 1070. Even the titles with the smallest differences like Assassin’s Creed were still reaching more than 2x the average FPS of the 1070.
When we look at how the 2070 now instead compares against the 3070, at 1080p it’s almost 47% faster on average, so still quite a decent lead even if it doesn’t look as impressive as the 2x boosts noted earlier. At 1440p the 3070 is now 53% faster in average frame rate when compared to the 2070, then finally at 4K the 3070 is now almost 59% faster. The 3070 is certainly capable of 4K, but given it’s still got 8 gig of VRAM, to me it seems like it’s going to be kind of borderline for future titles at 4K.
It might be worth looking at something else like Nvidia’s RTX 3080 or Radeon’s new 6000 series if you do need more memory.
More performance is also requiring more power draw. Note that these are total values from the wall for the entire system including the overclocked 10900K and not for the GPUs alone. The 2070 system wasn’t using much more than the 1070, while the 3070 was drawing more power comparatively. Despite using more power, the performance gains are able to offset this, so the 3070 is still offering the best performance per watt in the games that I’ve tested, regardless of the resolution used. Given the 3070 costs the same as the 2070 on release, it makes sense that the 3070 is offering better value.
Content Creation Benchmarks
It’s not all just about gaming though, let’s also check out some content creator workloads and see what the differences are there. I’ve tested DaVinci Resolve with the Puget Systems benchmark, and although the 3070 was again scoring the best, it was only reaching a score 8% above the 2070, though the 3070 was 52% higher than the 1070. It could just be the case that Resolve isn’t fully Optimized for Ampere yet. It was a different story in the V-Ray benchmark though, the results were now more in line with what we were seeing in the games, with the 3070 scoring 205% higher than the 1070, or 107% higher than the 2070, so still more than double the score. Blender was tested with the Open Data Benchmark with the BMW and Classroom tests using CUDA. There were again nice improvements with the 3070 here too, it seems that the CUDA core boost is helping out here as it was completing the Classroom test 240% faster than the 2070, and over 300% faster than the 1070, impressive stuff.
So both in and out of games, the 3070 is offering nice gains over the 2070, and given it launched at the same MSRP, today the 3070 is the easy pick, unless maybe you can find a nice deal on a second hand 2070 and you’re fine without having warranty. The 1070 is definitely still offering a playable experience in most games at 1080p and 1440p resolutions, even with higher setting levels, plus you can always just lower the settings a bit...
But yeah, the 3070 is still offering large gains over the 1070, so if you’ve for $500 it could be a good pick. $500 is a fair bit of money for a graphics card though, if you’ve already got a 2070 and you can sell it for a good price it might even be worthwhile as the 3070 is able to offer significant performance gains, that said the 2070 is definitely still more than capable today, but still the 3070 could be a good upgrade path.