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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Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2020 benchmark at 4K for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else. We note the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter, which measures the power consumption of our entire test system. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

This isn’t a worst-case test; we removed the Core i7 8700K’s overclock and specifically chose a GPU-bound game running at a GPU-bound resolution to gauge performance when the graphics card is sweating hard. If you’re playing a game that also hammers the CPU, you could see higher overall system power draws. Consider yourself warned.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

For all the complaints about the RTX 30-series being power hungry, Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 draws considerably less power than the RTX 2080 Ti that it rivals in gaming performance. It requires a bit more juice than the RTX 2070 did, though.

We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2020 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

Nothing to complain about here. The slightly altered RTX 3070 Founders Edition design keeps the GPU at a frigid 72 degrees under an extended load, which compares favorably against well-designed cooling solutions we’ve seen on custom cards in the past. It’s a lot cooler than the (much more powerful) RTX 3080 Founders Edition. That said, while the RTX 3080 FE was very quiet, the much smaller RTX 3070 Founders Edition sounds like your average graphics card. It’s not loud, but it’s definitely not silent.

Next page: Should you buy the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition?

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.

    Pros

    • 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

    Cons

    • 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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