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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 vs. RTX 2070: Should you upgrade?

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is the new hot GPU recommendation that delivers an insane value proposition. It comes in at the same price that the RTX 2070 did but offers a much better price-to-performance ratio. NVIDIA has managed to offer a significantly higher value for the same price in the span of one generation. If you're thinking about an upgrade from the RTX 2070, you should absolutely consider the RTX 3070.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 vs. RTX 2070 specs

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 has significant hardware improvements over the RTX 2070. The big difference comes from the generational gap in manufacturing improvements. The RTX 3070 has an Ampere GA102 chip, made with Samsung's 8nm process. On the other hand, the RTX 2070 housed the Turing TU 106, which used the 12nm TSMC process. This is a significant difference because the shift in manufacturing means that the transistor count went from 10.8 billion in the RTX 2070 to 17.4 billion in the RTX 3080. Take a look at the specifications of the two cards.

CategoryNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
Shader (CUDA) Cores58882304
Core Clock1500MHz1410MHz
Boost Clock1730MHz1620MHz
Memory8GB GDDR6
256-bit bus width
8 GB GDDR6
256-bit bus width
Memory Clock14Gbps14Gbps
Memory Bandwidth448GB/s448GB/s
RT Cores4636
Tensor Cores184288
Transistors17.4 billion10.8 billion
NodeSamsung 8nmTSMC 12nm FFN
ArchitectureAmpereTuring
TDP220W175 W
Ports1 x HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.0b
3 x DisplayPort 1.4
1 x USB C
Power Connector1 x 12-pin
1 x PCIe 8-pin converter included
1 x 8 pin

The manufacturing process upgrade, as well as other hardware changes that come with the Ampere architecture, means that the RTX 3070 outperforms the RTX 2070 with some substantial margins.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 vs. RTX 2070 real-world performance

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

Our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review put the new card to the test. We also compared it with the RTX 2080, the elder sibling of the RTX 2070, and the RTX 3070 turned out to be the clear winner. So it's not surprising that the RTX 3070 beats the RTX 2070 with even bigger margins, offering solid FPS gains, even with RTX enabled. Take a look at some FPS comparisons, courtesy of Jarrod'sTech.

GameRTX 3070 (avg. FPS, 1440p)RTX 2070 (avg. FPS, 1440p)RTX 3070 (avg. FPS, 4K)RTX 2070 (avg. FPS, 4K)
Microsoft Flight Simulator46312919
Metro Exodus99645938
Rainbow Six Siege27617314085
Control (RTX On)86554729
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare111716640
Red Dead Redemption 2109647038
Assassin's Creed: Odessey74525135
Shadow of the Tomb Raider113746139

The RTX 2070 is not a bad card by any means. It was actually the card to get last year if you wanted good performance without spending too much. The same is the case with the RTX 3070 now, except that the 3070 is way more capable and beats the RTX 2070 in performance across the board.

At 1440p, the RTX 2070 can barely hit 60 FPS in the more intensive titles, while the RTX 3070 goes past it and can even hit 144 FPS with some adjustments. Ray tracing improvements at 1440p are also apparent, with the RTX 3070 pushing the RT performance into frame rates that we can call acceptable.

Our review called the RTX 3070 the ideal card for 1440p and noted that it delivers some reliable performance at 4K. The performance you get with the RTX 3070 is more pronounced when compared with the RTX 2070, which struggles at 4K. The RTX 3070 is a solid 4K 60 FPS performer and won't make you tune down many settings to get acceptable performance.

So should you upgrade to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 from RTX 2070?

Yes! The jump from RTX 2070 to RTX 3070 is only a single-generation upgrade, but NVIDIA has managed to pack in a ton of extra performance at the same starting price. The RTX 3070 will make your gaming experience noticeably better and is definitely the ideal upgrade for most PC gamers, including RTX 2070 owners.

The RTX 3070, however, is suffering from stock and pricing issues right now. The demand is humongous, and the manufacturing facilities are already operating at full capacity. The limited supply has also created a pricing issue with the RTX 3070, with some sellers pricing 3070 cards at two to three times the actual retail prices.

You can certainly time your purchase just right, and grab an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 at an acceptable price, but it's not easy. Paying the inflated price for an RTX 3070 takes away from the insane value that the card provides at its retail price tag. An upgrade from the RTX 2070 doesn't make sense if you're overpaying, so make sure you're not.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 also consumes a bit more power than the RTX 2070, 45W, to be exact. Depending upon which power supply you have, you may need an upgrade to accommodate the RTX 3070. Another thing to remember is that the rest of your hardware, especially the CPU, can limit the performance of your brand new RTX 3070. So make sure your parts are powerful enough to handle an upgrade to it.

If you're covered on all these bases, then upgrading to the RTX 3070 from the RTX 2070 makes sense, especially if you're looking to play more at 1440p and 4K resolutions.