WHILE all the console folks have been getting extremely excited over the Sony PlayStation 5 and the Microsoft Xbox Series X, PC Gamers also have something to get excited about – a new generation of graphics cards.
Like the next-gen consoles, the RTX 3000 series cards are in incredibly short supply – the RTX 3080, for example, is almost completely unobtainable (despite months of asking different PRs and suppliers, I have been utterly unable to source one for review).
I’ve covered the many features of the 3000-series cards previously (and they’re also on the main Nvidia site for the cards) so won’t re-hash them here; they cards have been out long enough and there’s been enough buzz around them for it to be a safe assumption you know about their Raytracing (RTX) and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) capabilities and so on.
I haven’t overclocked or fiddled with my Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 FE beyond adjusting the fan settings in MSI Afterburner (mor on that a bit later); I figured most of our readers are just going to plug it straight into their PC and get on with the gaming, so that’s the approach I’ve taken as well.
Installing and setting up the RTX 3070 is exactly the same as any other 3D card; it uses a PCIe slot and requires a minimum 650W power supply, which is probably less than what most people are running anyway.
There are two fans on the unit and operating temperatures in my PC were around 35-41 degrees at idle (depending on ambient temperature), and maxed out around 86-88 degrees when running Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Red Dead Redemption II at 1440p with all graphics settings at ultra/high.
This higher end reading is still below max operating temperature (93 degrees) and it’s worth noting I live in Queensland, and there’s no airconditioning in my office, so I wasn’t overly stressing. I did, however, use MSI Afterburner to adjust the fan profile so the card’s fans basically cranked up to 100% as soon as the temperature got above 65 degrees Celsius.
Naturally I put the card through its paces with 3DMark too, where it scored an impressive 13,297 in the Time Spy DirectX 12 demo too – confirming this really is a solid and capable 3D card.
But enough about the techie specs. What’s like for gaming?
Amazing, in a word.
The performance increase over my RTX 2060 is like night and day. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla was really struggling to break 35 frames per second at 1440p on medium-high settings with an RTX 2060; with the RTX 3070 it was running 60+ frames per second at 1440p on high-ultra settings without any hassles at all.
Watch Dogs: Legion returned similarly excellent results, running at more than 70fps on ultra/high with DLSS and medium RTX in 1440p.
The results across the board were outstanding in 1080p, too – lower temperatures (around 68-69 degrees), high framerates, everything you could want in your gaming.
The short, plain English version is that if you are gaming in 1080p, this is an incredible card which will let you run almost anything you like with all the settings maxed out, and you’ll also get raytracing too.
The card also puts affordable 1440p gaming within reach as well too, delivering excellent results for a not insane price, providing an excellent opportunity to move up graphics-wise.
At time of writing, another major factor the RTX 3070 has going is you can actually buy them in Australia, unlike the 3080 which (as was mentioned earlier) is still in chronically short supply
If you’re still running a 1000-series card or an RTX 2060, the RTX 3070 is a massive step up and absolutely worth investing in, especially if you’re not looking to get into 4K gaming.
Having finally had a chance to use the RTX 3070 myself, in a regular gaming environment, I can absolutely understand why the new cards are so sought after – there’s a lot of power and performance here, at a considerably lower cost than the previous generation of RTX card.
While I haven’t yet had a chance to compare the RTX 3070 with the RTX 3080, I can absolutely confirm the 3070 is a noticeable and worthwhile improvement over the RTX 2060 and if you’re looking to upgrade but aren’t made of money, it’s an excellent and highly recommended choice.