ASUS GeForce RTX 3070 TUF Gaming review

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Final words and conclusion

Final words

We mentioned this before, but ASUS is really stepping things up with the TUF series. And the reality is that with this 500 USD card, we're battling a 1250 USD graphics card named the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti granted; it has less memory, but throughout the benchmark suite, you can see that the RTX 3070 really is battling last-gen flagship product, the RTX 2080 Ti. And that does make this product series special. With AIB products, the card becomes even faster as the ASUS model tested was, on average 1 maybe 2% faster than FE; however, it does that at sheer silence and temps sitting in the 60 degrees C range.  So therein is a lot of body to be found. My most important objection for the 3070, however, is its 8GB of graphics memory as yes, this still is a proper Ultra HD card. While you'll be fine in Full HD and Wide Quad HD at 8GB, we feel framebuffer sizes need to go up for Ultra HD. Then again, if this card had 16GB as opposed to its 8GB of GDDR6, then you could easily add close to a 150 maybe 200 USD premium on top of the 500 USD asking price, as yes graphics memory is very one of the most expensive things in that bill of materials for a manufacturer. With that in mind, a 3080 would then be the more logical choice. With that said and done, I get why NVIDIA opted for 8GB, the reasoning behind 8GB as for most games that will be sufficient and keeps that bill of materials used at that a  level we ll can embrace.


Ultimately everything and anything it's all about gaming price, performance, and, of course, rendering quality. Of course, the GeForce RTX 3070 is a product that meets all these factors properly; while we do feel the RTX 3080 offers more value for money, the RTX 3070 simply is more reachable for a bigger crowd (money-wise). This card can run games at 4K; it will serve best at WQHD and extremely GPU bound games. At Full HD, you'll be quite often bottlenecked and CPU limited as, again, this is 2080 Ti level performance. Performance-wise we can safely state that for future gaming, this is a true Quad HD graphics card that is very Ultra HD capable with the current games. But whether or not you use traditional rendering or games that can be ray-traced and manage DLSS, this combo comes together in that WQHD and UHD resolution. Battlefield V with ray-tracing and DLSS enabled, in Ultra HD now running in a ~55 FPS bracket. DX-R ray-tracing and Tensor performance; the RTX 30 series has received new Tensor and RT cores. So don't let the actual RT and Tensor core count confuse you. They're located close inside that rendering engine, they became more efficient, and that shows. If we look at an RTX 2080 with Port Royale, we will hit almost 30 FPS. The RTX 3070 passes that at over 38 FPS. Tensor cores are harder to measure, but overall from what we have seen, it's all in good balance, better than the 2000 series for sure. Overall though, the GeForce RTX 3070 starts to make sense starting at a Quad HD resolution (2560x1440) being ultra HD capable; it is that simple. Games like Red Dead Redemption 2 will make you trigger happy at close to 50 FPS in UHD resolutions with the very best graphics settings. As always, comparing apples and oranges, the performance results vary here and there as each architecture offers advantages and disadvantages in certain game render workloads. 

Compute performance

We could easily add an extra section for compute performance, as content creation remains baffling to me with the Ampere series. Not necessarily comparing 3070 to 3080 and 3090, but the step from last-gen series 20 towards series 30 has been nothing short of amazing. The RTX 3070 a good notch faster than an RTX 2080 and still faster than the RTX 2080 Ti. As you have been able to see, the content creation scene is gonna be happy with the Ampere architecture overall as well; applications like Blender and VRAY tear a new hole in performance, absolutely staggering to see and observe. What need I say and state more about performance? You have all the evidence you need in our extensive benchmark suite.

Cooling & noise levels

Depending on the airflow level inside your chassis, expect the card to sit in the 60 Degrees C range temperature-wise under hefty load conditions, which is just tremendously good for a card of this caliber. In extremely stressed conditions, we'd hit the 34 DBA marker, and that was at performance mode. The dual BIOS allows for a silent mode as well, don't bother. You will not hear this card at performance mode when built into your PC.


In the previous paragraph, I already mentioned this; your heat output and energy consumption are always closely related to each other as (graphics) processors and heat can be perceived as a 1:1 state; 100 Watts in (consumption) often equals 100 Watts of heat as output. This is the basis of TDP. NVIDIA is listing their TGP at 220 Watts, which is okay for a graphics card in the year 2020, and certainly a lot better than the RTX 3080 and 3090 in that sub 350W domain. I want to remark here, as, throughout this review, I have been comparing the performance of the 3070 towards the 2080 Ti. With a TGP of 320W for the 2080 Ti, the 220W for the 3070 is absolutely impressive. That's 100 watts less for more or the same performance levels. The TUF has only little more power allowance at defaults; we measure the power draw at gaming load to be roughly 230 Watt. 

Coil whine

This GeForce RTX 3070 exhibits deficient levels of coil squeal. Is it annoying? No. It's at a level you can hear it. In a closed chassis, that noise would fade away in the background. However, with an open chassis, you can hear coil whine/squeal. Graphics cards all make this in some form, especially at high framerates; this can be perceived.


NVIDIA is pricing the GeForce RTX 3070 at USD 499. The good news is that that is a third of the price of the RTX 3090, while in most scenarios, you are at half the performance. We do expect AIB cards to be more expensive, as that is a trend as of late.  We'll have to wait and see how that pans out, though, as everything is dependant on the actual volume availability of these cards.


Tweaking Ampere GPUs has been a bit of a challenge. Sometimes puzzling, other times easy. The tweaks on the clock frequency and memory run fine, but the performance was often lower than defaults. There is new safety protection active on memory, which will prevent the card from crashing when clocked too far; it, however, will drop in performance. For the RTX 3070 series, we'd expect you to add and reach 500~1000 MHz+ with a steady 15 to 16 Gbps of effective bandwidth. Of course, increase the power limiter to the max, so your GPU gets (even) more energy budget, and then the GPU clock can be increased anywhere from +50 to +125 MHz. Why this huge differential, you might wonder? Well, results will vary per board, brand, and even card due to cooling (GDDR6X/GPU/VRM), but also ASIC quality. I will say this, though, frequency matters LESS these days. Even if the GPU could do 2000~2100 MHz, your power limiter will be the decisive and dominant factor, lowering that clock frequency to meets its assigned power budget. The TUF card has quite a modest power allowance at default, crank that notch open, tweak, and we're back at an extra 7% extra performance, which is good.


Where the 3080 and 3090 sit at a price level that no one can or is willing to afford, the sub 500 USD price bracket we feel is where it begins (but still a lot of money). Overall the RTX 3070 series cannibalizes the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti domain and territory. So from that perspective, you quite honestly just cannot go wrong here. The predicament at launch, as said, will be actual availability. And if you do not buy through Nvidia or an NVIDIA assigned e-tailer, the prices will go up due to shortages. Is the price higher than, say, 550 USD? Then you, as a consumer, should absolutely refuse that, seriously. Don't buy at prices over 500~500 USD; WAIT until there is volume availability as retailers and etailers will otherwise rip that wallet of your empty. That said and done, there's little to report otherwise that is negative about the graphics card; super performance combined with fitting cooling and acoustics is what you'll get. And next to that, it's just a nice looking graphics card, isn't it?. Now we can argue about the nature and choice of an 8GB GDDR6 framebuffer, but in most use cases, it's enough, and we understand the choice made here; NVIDIA needs to keep that bill of materials healthy, as otherwise, this 499 USD card would have easily been 650 USD based on that 16GB decision. With future games in mind, this will turn out to become a WQHD (2560x1440) resolution card, and with current games, you can quite easily play Ultra HD games; in that domain, it shines whether that is using shading (regular rendered games) or when using hybrid ray-tracing + DLSS as that combo will offer a very decent performance.

TUF specific then what to say about it. I like where ASUS is heading with this branding; the past few years, TUF has never managed to impress me. It's with the recent RTX series where they seem to have reinvented that branding, offering a good design, great cooling, and impressive acoustics. All that with a dual BIOS (and a silent mode you just won't need). We can tell that ASUS tried to stay within a 235 Watt power budget, keeping the overall performance a tiny bit closer to the reference FE performance. This will vary a bit per vendor, really, but in your tweaking tool of choice, just add a bit more power allowance, and you're there with the competition performance-wise.  The TUF Gaming series will tick all the right boxes; you probably do not want to invest in a more expensive OC model, as the differential in-between the normal and OC model will be marginal at best. If ASUS manages to offer this card in that 500 USD range, hey, it is wholeheartedly recommended as we cannot find anything wrong with it.

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- Hilbert, LOAD"*",8,1.



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