GeForce RTX 3070 Ti founder edition review

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Final words and conclusion

Final words

I mentioned this last week in the 3080 Ti reviews, and I'll say it again in the 3070 Ti reviews; it is a bizarre time to write reviews on graphics cards with the shortages and insane price hikes. Really what the market needs are affordable, high-performing graphics cards that sit well under the 500 USD marker. The RTX 3070 Ti does not even fall into that category. We're looking at a card that is perhaps 5 to 10% faster than the RTX 3070, yet NVIDIA once again hiked pricing with another 100 bucks. Personally, I think that is an insult to the consumers for something aimed at the WQHD domain. The good news is that this card series and newer NVIDIA SKUs are all hash-rate limited, preventing cryptocurrency miners to dominate sales. The reality however is also that NVIDIA can only fabricate only a certain number of GPUs, and they'll still need to make the call on how much allocation ends up at gamers, and how much is intended for other markets. We hope NVIDIA will make wise decisions priority-wise because if the trend continues then the PC gaming market is bound to die off as what software houses will invest in PC gaming if that market is on a sharp decline? 


Realistically, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti is slightly better than I anticipated at first when the specs arrived, whilst the card sees only a negligible increase in shading cores, the main benefit is the memory type. GDDR6X over DDR6 is making a difference as the card is a bit bandwidth limited for the GPU to do its thing with.  The actual volume size of the VRAM partition however is very questionable for a 599 USD graphics card. Up to 2560x1440 you'll be fine even with raytracing and DLSS activated, at Ultra HD however you will be bound to run into limitations a bit faster. But in all fairness, this card is aimed at the 2560x1440 domain, so up to that resolution, you'll be really loving the performance that this card reproduces for you. This card can run games at WQHD quite easily even with raytracing and a DLSS combo; it will serve you well at that resolution. The closest product from the competition would be the Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT. NVIDIA however offers faster raytracing performance and offers you the option to put that into 6th gear with DLSS. 




Cooling & noise levels

I am still a fan of the new cooling design (pun intended), it works and looks awesome. Seen from last-gen it has made the product 'overall' quieter. In extremely stressed conditions, we did hit 37~38 dBA though it took a while for the card to get there (warms up slowly); still, even that is considered a normal acoustic level. Depending on the airflow level inside your chassis, expect the card to sit in the 75, maybe closer to 80 Degrees C range temperature-wise under hefty load conditions (depending on the airflow in your chassis). As FLIR imaging shows, the card shows only minor heat bleeding. Overall, we're very comfortable with what we observe.


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 290 Watts, the amount of power the GPU and major components use. We measure the graphics card based on TBP, total board power as you'd easily forget that fans spinning and RGB also draw power. As such in peak load conditions we're hovering at a close to 300 Watt state for typical power draw with peaks. Ampere does peak / spike a little more every now and then in power consumption.

Coil whine

Much like the 3080 and 3090, the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti does exhibit coil squeal. Is it annoying? 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 Ti at USD 599, and I'm afraid that's just too much for a graphic card that shows marginally better performance. Sometimes a few percent, be overall roughly 5 to 10% seen from the year-old RTX 3070. Add to that the current state of the market. Please 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. We can say so little about pricing these days.


Overall we can state that all cards, and really it doesn't matter which brand that will be, can get you an extra 5% performance once tweaked. This is calculated by NVIDIA, with small margins here and there based on ASIC and memory quality. For the RTX 3070 Ti series, we'd expect you to add and reach 500~1000 MHz on the memory subsystem (Gbps / effective bandwidth). One of the most important settings you can tweak is the power limiter, set it to the max, so your GPU gets more energy budget, then the GPU clock can be increased anywhere from +50 to +175 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, and 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 3070 Ti might be a bit of a wolf in sheep's clothing. The extra GDDR6X memory bandwidth boosts games that require a lot of fillrate, the shading intensive games however hardly benefit from the additional 256 Shading cores. Add to that a price increase of 100 USD with still that same 8GB of graphics memory, well it all feels a little dull and overpriced. When you blindly stare at the marginal increase of 256 Shader cores you might feel indifferent in the fact that the product would not make enough difference. NVIDIA did make the right call to move the GDDR6X though limited it to 8GB only. The overall performance is there as the older 3070 memory was somewhat bandwidth limited. We're just not sure it makes a substantial enough differential. It turns out that the reconfigured product yields suitable numbers, especially in the WQHD resolution domain where this card is targeted at. 8GB however is going to become more troublesome in Ultra HD, albeit that's still a relativistic statement to make as this card is not aimed at that monitor resolution. 

Competition-wise, overall AMD will win in the lower resolutions (Full HD) thanks to their extensive L3 buffer. However, when it comes to brute force muscle power, NVIDIA takes the lead in rasterized shading performance when the resolution goes up. NVIDIA also is faster overall with Raytracing performance and of course the implementation of DLSS that will support that raytracing even further in performance. For raytracing, it's still hard to find enough games with properly raytraced reflections, but that's what you should be after and the numbers will grow in the future. As an overall package of hard- and software the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti performs well on all fronts, performance, cooling, and acoustics. The big question will remain to be availability and its unreasonable pricing. As a desktop gaming graphics card, this product is satisfying and gratifying and definitely a recommended product the pricing, however, is totally wrong. If NVIDIA would have kept the card at 499 USD, this conclusion would have been vastly different. 

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

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