Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti review: A GPU for wild times

A decent graphics card bracketed by much better options, but you'll enjoy it if you manage to snag one.

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Should you buy the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti?

We’ve said it in every graphics card review we’ve published this year, and we’ll say it again: You probably shouldn’t buy any graphics card right now. Prices are just plain ridonkulous. I’d recommend most people sit on the sidelines and stream their PC games via Nvidia’s GeForce Now service until the dust settles. While this card ostensibly costs $600, I’d expect the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti to go for several hundred dollars more than that until the crippling GPU shortage ends.

dsc01637 Brad Chacos/IDG

I’m also concerned about how the price of this class of graphics card has trended upward over the last couple of generations. The RTX 3070 Ti costs a full $150 more than the GTX 1070 Ti from two generations ago, going off retail pricing that means little in the real world today.

That said, even if the supply and demand situation weren’t so wack, we couldn’t give this GPU our full-throated recommendation. The RTX 3070 Ti is only about 5 to 10 percent faster than the vanilla 3070 that costs $100 less. We recommend most people with 1440p monitors opt for the even-cheaper $400 RTX 3060 Ti unless you’re looking for maximum performance on a 144Hz monitor. If you’re planning on playing at 4K resolution, dropping another $100 on the $700 RTX 3080 unlocks heaps more performance, along with a larger 10GB memory buffer that will almost certainly hold up better over the coming years than the RTX 3070 Ti’s 8GB capacity.

We’d recommend going with either of those options if you want to stick with Nvidia, or strongly consider the Radeon RX 6800 for $580 if you don’t mind giving up GeForce’s superior ray tracing performance and killer features like Shadowplay, NVENC encoding, and Nvidia Reflex. AMD’s high-end rival slugs it out with the 3070 Ti, winding up slightly faster in most games and picking up some additional wins at 1440p and 1080p resolutions thanks to the RDNA 2 architecture’s radical Infinity Cache. That GPU comes with a massive 16GB of GDDR6 non-X memory, so it’s much more future-proof. The $650 Radeon RX 6800 XT also comes with 16GB and is even faster, being an RTX 3080 rival.

Nvidia’s GPUs offer much better ray tracing performance and the company’s sublime DLSS 2.0 technology, however. AMD’s answer to that—FidelityFX Super Resolution—is slated to launch in some form on June 22.

dsc01649 Brad Chacos/IDG

The GeForce RTX 3070 Ti falls into a weird nether region between its siblings. In a sane world, you’d probably skip it for those better options with more clearly defined value propositions. But in a world where the ancient GTX 1650 Ti was pressed back into service and GPUs are going for up to double their MSRP, this might be the only option available to you.

Don’t despair if you wind up with this graphics card though. Product stack context aside, the RTX 3070 Ti is a great 1440p and darn-good 4K GPU. You won’t be disappointed in how it plays…for now. In a couple of years you may need to dial back some settings to avoid exceeding its 8GB memory buffer, especially at 4K resolution--there are already games where that’s the case today. Expect bulkier, tricked-out third-party cards from the likes of EVGA, Asus, MSI, etc. to handle the heat generated by all that GDDR6X memory better as well.

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At a Glance
  • Nvidia’s new $600 GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is a good graphics card for 4K and especially 1440p gaming, in a time where it's hard to acquire any GPU. If stock becomes plentiful again you have better options however.

    Pros

    • Great 1440p and good 4K gaming performance
    • Gorgeous Founders Edition design
    • Ultra-fast GDDR6x memory
    • Nvidia's excellent software/features: G-Sync, DLSS, Reflex, and more
    • Nvidia's best-in-class ray tracing, DLSS 2.0

    Cons

    • 8GB of memory may limit future 4K gaming potential
    • Founders Edition cooler isn't as effective as on other RTX 30 models, and lacks extra features
    • Most other GPUs around this price offer better value or performance
    • 12-pin power adapter is ugly
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