Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Windforce review: This $500 graphics card is a solid value

With the Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce delivering such strong performance at $500, there's little reason to spend more on an RTX 2070 graphics card unless you're looking for specific extra features.

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Our test system

Our dedicated graphics card test system is 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 ($360 on Amazon)
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($120 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard ($260 on Amazon)
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($416 for 32GB on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($180 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow ($170 on Amazon)
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($100 on Amazon)

We’re comparing the Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce ($500 on Amazon) against the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition ($600 at Best Buy and GeForce.com) and EVGA RTX 2070 XC ($550 on Newegg). We’re also showing how it compares against the step-up GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition ($799 at Best Buy or GeForce.com) and last generation’s GeForce GTX 1070 Founders Edition, GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, and PNY GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. We’ve also included results from the Radeon RX Vega 64 reference card, AMD’s GTX 1080 rival.

Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets, with VSync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled, and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enabled to push these high-end cards to their limits. If anything differs from that, we’ll mention it.

The RTX 2070’s performance is firmly established at this point, and while the Gigabyte Windforce version isn’t overclocked, it still hangs close to the Nvidia Founders Edition and EVGA RTX 2070 XC, even though they ship mildly faster from the factory. Because of that, we’ll be showing our gaming benchmarks without any additional meta-commentary until the conclusion of this piece.

Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce performance benchmarks

Strange Brigade

Let’s kick things off with Strange Brigade ($50 on Humble), a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blast 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 with async compute off.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider ($60 on Humble) concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous—even the state-of-the-art GeForce RTX 2080 Ti barely manages to average 60 fps with all the bells and whistles turned on at 4K resolution. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with that. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider.

shadow of the tomb raider Brad Chacos/IDG

Far Cry 5

Finally, a DirectX 11 game! Far Cry 5 ($60 on Humble) is powered by Ubisoft’s long-established Dunia engine. It’s just as gorgeous as its predecessors, and even more fun.

far cry 5 Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • With the Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce delivering such strong performance at $500, there's little reason to spend more on an RTX 2070 graphics card unless you're looking for specific features.

    Pros

    • Great 1440p and entry-level 4K gaming performance
    • RT and tensor cores for ray tracing, DLSS, and more
    • Custom Windforce cooler is better than Nvidia's Founders Edition
    • Actually achieves $500 MSRP price
    • Similar performance to pricier RTX 2070 options

    Cons

    • Ray tracing and DLSS not available in games yet
    • Plastic shroud and fans
    • Lacks fancy extra features
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