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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition review: The end of the 1080p gaming era

By Aaron Yip - 31 Oct 2020

Introduction

Note: This review was first published on 27 Oct 2020.

 

A petite-looking Ampere card

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series trinity is finally complete with the launch of the RTX 3070 Founders Edition – the company’s most affordable Ampere GPU (rumours of a RTX 3060 / 3060 Ti notwithstanding). If 4K gaming with ray tracing isn’t a pursuit you are after, then there’s a lot going for the more accessible US$499 RTX 3070 Founders Edition card than its more powerful siblings, the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090.

Now I’m sure you’re very much curious about the RTX 3070’s performance. How fast is it and is it a worthy alternative to your existing RTX 20 Series cards?

While sharing the same design DNA with the RTX 3080 Founders Edition, the RTX 3070 Founders Edition sports a slightly different cooling system.

The RTX 3070 Founders Edition is a lot more petite compared to the RTX 3080 Founders Edition, but is actually still slightly longer than the previous RTX 2070 Founders Edition.

But first let’s talk about the card itself because while it sports the same design DNA as the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 Founders Edition cards, the new card has some noticeable differences. For one, it sports a slightly different cooling design. Due to the shorter PCB on the card, it does not feature the same push-pull cooling system. Instead, the RTX 3070 Founders Edition adopts a more traditional cooling system where a dual-fan system cools the heatsinks (interestingly, the bottom fan blows cool air through that part of the heatsink).

The RTX 3070 Founders Edition's bottom fan pushes air towards the heatsink, rather than 'pulling' it out like the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 Founders Edition's.

The unmistakable 12-pin power connector.

It also uses the same single 12-pin power connector but that is now placed in a typical top-facing position, unlike the angled position seen in its more powerful siblings. Apart from that, the RTX 3070 Founders Edition boasts the same impeccable build quality and the enclosed, one-piece block design really feels better made than most custom cards on the market.

Adding to that, the RTX 3070 Founders Edition’s relatively diminutive size makes it a great fit for a power and compact build. The 2-slot Founders Edition card is much more compact than its more powerful siblings, measuring just 242mm long. For display outputs, it features a single HDMI 2.1 and three DisplayPort 1.4a outputs.

It will be interesting to see if partners' cards will add on an additional HDMI cable, like the ASUS TUF RTX 3080 card.

Finally, the GeForce RTX 3070 is based on the GA104 GPU, a scaled down version of the GA102 GPU used in the higher end 3080 and 3090 cards. The card itself features a 1,500MHz base clock and 1,730MHz boost clock, and is paired with 8GB of GDDR6 memory rather than the faster and more expensive GDDR6X.

Now let’s check out how the card performs, shall we?

9.0
  • Performance 9
  • Features 8
  • Value 9
The Good
Excellent price point
Great performance for 1440p gaming
Solid build
Form factor suitable for powerful compact rigs
The Bad
Requires cable adapter
Supply expected to be very limited at launch
Average ray tracing performance
Not exactly future proofed