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.

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F1 2020

The latest in a long line of successful racing games, F1 2020 is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options, making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the latest version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine, complete with support for DX12 and Nvidia’s DLSS technology. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies on and DLSS off.

f1 2020 Brad Chacos/IDG

Here, the RTX 3070 is 3 percent—and just 3 frames—behind the RTX 2080 Ti at 4K, but the tables turn at 1440p and 1080p. The two cards tie at 1440p, while the RTX 3070 pulls ahead by a full 14 percent at 1080p.

The RTX 2070 is 58 percent slower than the RTX 3070 at 4K and 1440p, and 48 percent slower at 1080p.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with DX12. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider and includes optional real-time ray tracing and DLSS features.

sotr Brad Chacos/IDG

The RTX 3070 is technically slower than the RTX 2080 Ti but it’s a functional tie, with the two cards within 5 percent and a handful of frames of each other.

Nvidia’s new card keeps a large lead over its predecessor. The RTX 3070 is 53 percent faster at 4K, 49 percent faster at 1440p, and 21 percent faster at 1080p than the RTX 2070. The 1080p difference could have been even larger, but the RTX 3070 is bumping against the upper limits of the game engine, which won’t push much beyond 135 fps on our system in any circumstance.

Grand Theft Auto V

This DX11 game isn’t really a visual barn-burner like the (somewhat wonky) Red Dead Redemption 2, but it still tops the Steam charts day in and day out, so we deem it more worthy of testing. RDR2 will melt your graphics card, sure, but GTA V remains so popular years after launch that upgraded versions of it will be available on the next-generation consoles. That’s staying power.

We test Grand Theft Auto V with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gtav Brad Chacos/IDG

Like in Borderlands, the RTX 3070 technically wins here, but it’s a functional tie, with only a frame or so’s difference between all three major resolutions. At 1440p and 1080p, all of the high-end cards are pushing GTA V as fast as it can go, so the 4K results show the most separation. Versus the RTX 2070, the RTX 3070 is 47 percent faster at 4K and 13 percent faster at 1440p.

Rainbow Six Siege

Like GTA V, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege still dominates the Steam charts years after its launch, and it’ll be getting a visual upgrade for the next-gen consoles. The developers have poured a ton of work into the game’s AnvilNext engine over the years, eventually rolling out a Vulkan version of the game that we use to test. By default, the game lowers the render scaling to increase frame rates, but we set it to 100 percent to benchmark native rendering performance on graphics cards. Even still, frame rates soar.

rb6 Brad Chacos/IDG

The RTX 3070 falls a few frames behind the RTX 2080 Ti at 4K and 1440p, but both cards deliver functionally the same results. The RTX 2080 Ti pulls ahead a bit more at 1080p, where it’s 8 percent faster.

Nvidia’s new card is 51 percent faster than the RTX 2070 at 4K, 47 percent faster at 1440p, and 25 percent faster at 1080p.

That’s it for traditional gaming benchmarks. Now let’s take a peek at how the GeForce RTX 3070 performs with real time ray tracing enabled.

Next page: RTX 3070 ray tracing performance

At a Glance
  • The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition delivers performance on a par with last generation's flagship for $700 less, but compromises on memory capacity. It's a great graphics card for 4K or high-refresh-rate gaming.


    • Excellent 4K and 1440p gaming
    • As fast as RTX 2080 Ti for $700 less
    • Cool, reasonably quiet custom cooling
    • Ray tracing at 1440p and (sometimes) 4K
    • HDMI 2.1, AV1 encoding, PCIe 4.0, 8K/30fps capture
    • Nvidia software: Reflex, G-Sync, Shadowplay, Broadcast, RTX IO


    • 8GB of memory doesn't feel future-proof for 4K gaming
    • Not as quiet as other RTX 30 Founders Edition GPUs, some custom cards
    • 12-pin power adapter is ugly
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