GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G
Product Page: gigabyte.com/Graphics-Card/GV-N3070GAMING-OC-8GD/
It only took a couple of years, but the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
’s reign as the undisputed performance king has come to an end. Last month’s release of the GeForce RTX 3080
made sure of that, with the new flagship graphics tech from NVIDIA proving to be a 4K powerhouse no matter what we threw at it. But, perhaps the bigger story was the faster-than-2080-Ti performance that NVIDIA teased for the GeForce RTX 3070
as part of the RTX 30 series reveal. The more affordable $499 USD younger sibling to the bigger flagship - performing at a level that up until now warranted a Golden Ticket.
As per our full review
of the Founder’s Edition a few days ago, the results are clear - like-for-like or better performance in most games when the new GeForce RTX 3070 is put up against the RTX 2080 Ti. Comparing it to its actual predecessor, the RTX 2070, didn’t really come up in our coverage on the account of this impressive showing.
Now, where the story gets a little more interesting is with the release of new partner cards from the likes of GIGABYTE (and Zotac
) - where more traditional twin or triple-fan designs are paired with time tested power delivery and cooling methods. And OC tweaking software to build on the out-of-the-box factory overclocking. That is taking the reference clock speeds found in NVIDIA’s Founder’s Edition and pushing that RTX 2080 Ti-like performance even further.
In the case of the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G
that much is certain, where across gaming and titles where ray-tracing and other advanced RTX features were enabled - outside of a few “basically the same” results - the GIGABYTE RTX 3070 performs exceptionally well.
And stays quiet and cool while doing so.
From Turing to Ampere
The below is a summary of the RTX 30 Series technology, applicable to all RTX 3070 models. An Ampere primer if you will.
The next generation of gaming across PC and consoles, in terms of AAA high-end titles, will be driven by resolution, frame-rate, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing. The latter is already here thanks to NVIDIA’s Turing line of graphics cards, first brought to the scene in 2018 with the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The original ‘RTX On’, the 20 series of GPUs from NVIDIA made that tech-dream of real-time ray-tracing a reality.
In order to make that possible, additional hardware in the form of RT Cores were brought into the picture to take some of the taxing light rays bouncing around a scene computation off the GPU processors, NVIDIA’s CUDA Cores. To ensure that games were, well, playable, Tensor Cores were also introduced -- leveraging NVIDIA’s expertise in the field of AI to drive rendering with DLSS.
Across standard gaming and titles where ray-tracing and other advanced RTX features were enabled - outside of a couple of “basically the same” results - the GIGABYTE RTX 3070 performs exceptionally well.
Ray-tracing was groundbreaking in 2018 but it took a while to take off. Thanks to a string of releases though, the results are well and truly here. Remedy’s Control with RTX On and DLSS 2.0 is without a doubt one of the most impressive visual feats we’ve seen in a long time. And with Cyberpunk 2077
and Watch Dogs: Legion
, both featuring RTX and DLSS support, to quote pop group Yazz - ‘The Only Way Is Up’
This is where Ampere comes in, the architecture that powers NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series. Think of it as the second generation of RTX – the PlayStation 2 to the original PlayStation. Ampere features second generation RT Cores (NVIDIA’s dedicated ray-tracing hardware) and third-generation Tensor Cores (the AI stuff that makes DLSS the perfect match for hardware intensive ray-tracing in addition to simply boosting performance).
Then there’s the new custom Samsung 8nm process and the re-designed board that radically re-designs the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) to effectively double the concurrent calculations and what have you. To get technical we’re talking about FP32 and INT32 operations, two things that are, err, things. In the end Ampere is all about the future -- resolution, frame-rate, AI-rendering, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing using smart design that features forward thinking innovations like DLSS.
And really, that might just be NVIDIA’s secret weapon - AI-based rendering that offers a sizable bump in performance to present an image that is more often than not more detailed than its native resolution counterpart. Throw in some new advances like NVIDIA Reflex for improved latency in competitive titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone, and RTx Broadcast for content creators and it’s clear that GeForce in 2020 is about more than hardware grunt.
Of Numbers and Heat Sinks
Before we get into the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC’s faster clock speeds it's worth noting that in going this route GIGABYTE has essentially created a beast of an RTX 3070, we’re talking the company’s well-known WINDFORCE Cooling System where three fans sit on top of the GPU spinning in alternate directions. In addition to that there’s some RGB flourishes to remind you that you are indeed a PC Gamer in the year 2020.
This OC model also features an impressively sturdy design that includes a full-metal backplate. In fact the overall build quality here is excellent and in terms of RTX 3070 cards this is what you’d call a premium model.
GIGABYTE has essentially created a beast of an RTX 3070.
And going OC means this flows onto the power requirements, with the GIGABYTE GAMING OC upping the Founder’s Edition single 8-pin connector up to an 8-pin plus 6-pin joint. No doubt this is done to better support the increased clock speeds and give a little more headroom for those wanting to push those MHz even further.
GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G
- Architecture (GPU): Ampere
- CUDA Cores: 5888
- RT Cores: 46
- Tensor Cores: 184
- GPU Boost Clock: 1815 MHz
- Memory Capacity: 8GB GDDR6
- Memory Interface: 256-bit
- Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s
- TDP: 220W
As mentioned in our review of the Founder’s Edition there is one area where the RTX 3070 design feels a tad out-of-step, and that is by featuring 8GB of memory or VRAM. With the Geforce RTX 3080 featuring 10GB of incredibly fast GDDR6X the regular (and still speedy) GDDR6 might fall short in 4K performance in the future - cases where 16GB or even 11GB (as seen in the RTX 2080 Ti) would better suit.
A beastlier version of the RTX 3070, this GIGABYTE model is larger than the Founder’s Edition, and on that front even with the smaller overall board-size it’s reminiscent of an RTX 2080. Except that you know, it’s performance beats that of the RTX 2080 Ti, with a lower price-point, form factor, and less overall power usage. It's the over-achieving middle child, which makes it such a fascinating release. Something that becomes abundantly clear once you fire up that first title.
Here’s a look at the RTX 3070 running the games in 4K with detail settings dialled up to 11 on the following setup.
- GPU: GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
- Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 UNIFY
- Memory: HyperX FURY DDR4 RGB (32GB at 3600 MHz)
The RTX 3070 isn’t a “no sacrifices made” 4K 60fps card, and on that front in more visually intensive titles settings will need to be adjusted to hit that target. But with the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC’s factory overclock (and additional headroom) the performance here provides a more visible bump over the RTX 2080 Ti from the get go. On average we found it to be 7% faster across 4K gaming. Which is certainly noticeable.
Titles where performance bumps hit a 10-13% improvement over the 2080 Ti include Forza Horizon 4, DOOM Eternal, Gears Tactics, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Horizon Zero Dawn. Which, yeah, is an impressive list. With this GIGABYTE OC model, you get out-of-the-box 100fps DOOM Eternal action and simply stunning 4K Death Stranding at over 100fps with DLSS enabled.
Running through the same games at 1440p and 1080p, we see a similarly impressive showing. Though it’s worth noting that 1080p kind of feels redundant even with the RTX 3070 - you’d really want a high refresh-rate 1440p display at a minimum for this level of performance.
That said there are some Ampere surprises here, the gains in 1440p are overall less than the gains seen in 4K - which is a little strange. Maybe we’re starting to see 1440p bottlenecks when it comes to GPU performance and what game engines are capable of. The other surprise we found was the slightly slower but almost the same performance seen in Gears 5 compared to the RTX 2080 Ti. A DirectX 12 title we would have put money on as performing better on the RTX 3070.
Ray Tracing and DLSS
Ampere’s ray-tracing is better than the Turing-based RTX 20 series, but the real story here is that with DLSS technology maturing to Version 2.0 over the past year we’re seeing higher frame-rates in higher-resolution with ray-tracing enabled on the new RTX 30 series.
Here it’s safe to say that the GIGABYTE RTX 3070 is tailor-made for 60fps ray-tracing at 1440p. And sure with G-Sync the performance we saw across Minecraft with RTX and Metro Exodus was definitely playable in 4K - the 30fps option just feels, well, wrong. The 78.6fps seen in Control with DLSS in 1440p though is impressive to be sure, especially with how crisp and detailed the game looks with DLSS enabled.
As we’ve stated in the past (and multiple times in this review already) DLSS might just be NVIDIA's secret weapon - as good as or better picture quality than native resolution, and a massive bump in performance.
With GIGABYTE’s own Aorus Engine and OC Scan tools we were able to push the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC even further than the numbers seen above with clock speeds peaking at over 2GHz. The result, just about 10% better performance than the RTX 2080 Ti in most tests - which is downright awesome to see. Also awesome, the quiet cooling where we consistently saw temps hover in the upper 60-degree range without ever actually hearing the fans kick into overdrive.
This GIGABYTE RTX 3070 cements NVIDIA’s new Ampere range as a great choice for uncompromised PC gaming.
In the end the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC is a great RTX 3070, one that features a more traditional two-slot size and high-end triple fan design. As the performance shows, it does indeed outperform the RTX 2080 Ti, it’s a 1440p powerhouse and a bit of a 4K beast too. This GIGABYTE RTX 3070 cements NVIDIA’s new Ampere range as a great choice for uncompromised PC gaming. And if you plan on picking up Cyberpunk 2077 in December, well that game’s ray-tracing and DLSS visuals will no doubt prove to be just another day in the neon-lit sun for the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 GAMING OC.