RTX 3070 Ti review: Nvidia leaves the GPU fast lane (for now)


In a normal GPU marketplace, Nvidia’s new GPU—the RTX 3070 Ti—would land either as a welcome jump or a power-per-watt disappointment. In the chip-shortage squeeze of 2021, however, both its biggest successes and shortcomings may slip by without much fanfare.

The company’s RTX 3070 launched eight months ago at an MSRP of $499, and it did so at an incredibly efficient power-to-performance ratio. There’s simply no better 220 W GPU on the market, as the RTX 3070 noticeably pulled ahead of the 200 W RTX 3060 Ti and AMD’s 230 W RX 6700XT. That efficiency, unsurprisingly, isn’t repeated with the new model released this week: the RTX 3070 Ti. This device’s MSRP jumps 20 percent (to “$599,” but mind the scare quotes), and its TDP screams ahead at 32 percent. We’ve been here before, of course. “Ti”-branded Nvidia cards aren’t usually as power-efficient as their namesakes, and that’s fine, especially if a mild $100 price jump yields a solid increase in performance.

But the RTX 3070 Ti spec sheet doesn’t see Nvidia charge ahead in ways that might match the jump in wattage. And while the 3070 Ti’s performance mostly increases across the board, the gains aren’t in any way a revolution. That may be less about Nvidia’s design prowess and more about squeezing this thing between the impressive duo of the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 ($699) on an MSRP basis.

This new card’s performance, unfortunately, doesn’t land as evenly between those two GPUs.

Commonly around seven percent faster

The new GPU’s spec-sheet increases include an upgrade in VRAM technology from the 3070’s GDDR6 to GDDR6X, and there are memory-spec upgrades to match—particularly a 26 percent jump in memory bandwidth. That’s otherwise the same amount of VRAM as the 3070 (8GB). Meanwhile, the rest of the spec sheet is mostly a mild increase compared to the 3070 Ti’s predecessor card. CUDA cores, texture units, tensor cores, and RT cores all increase an identical 4.16 percent over the RTX 3070. Boost clocks increase slightly less than that, and ROPs remain static.

Depending on the test, my RTX 3070 Ti review hardware can jump ahead as much as 14 percent over its older namesake, which is great (and likely the headline that Nvidia would prefer). But those gains are outliers. Just as often, test results land almost tied. The most common result is the 3070 Ti winning at closer to a seven percent increase over the 3070. The good news for the Ti, at least, is its more stable frame rates, as evidenced by the below benchmarks’ solid “one percent low” stats.

The 3070 Ti is decidedly different from last week’s RTX 3080 Ti, which had no problem proving itself to be an across-the-board upgrade over the cheaper RTX 3080. I measured the gains in those tests at 10 percent and up—though, again, the MSRP gap between those two cards was much higher ($500). And speaking of which: the RTX 3080 stomps far ahead of the RTX 3070 Ti, as the below charts make abundantly clear.

The 3070 Ti’s average gain count over the 3070 applies whether ray tracing and DLSS are in the picture or not, with Cyberpunk 2077‘s version 1.2 standing out as an exception. In my custom benchmark of that CD Projekt Red title (which sees me walking forward for 60 seconds through the game’s first bustling, open-air zone), I have recorded gains close to 40 percent over the RTX 3070, whether with DLSS on or off. Thanks to Cyberpunk 2077‘s notoriously buggy state, I do not recommend that GPU shoppers pin their ray-tracing performance hopes on that benchmark result. However, it does line up with my ability to run the game at a DLSS-boosted 1440p resolution, with ray tracing set to near-max, while enjoying surprisingly crisp imagery at 60 fps. Using the same “automatic” DLSS upscale to 1440p with the base RTX 3070 is slightly less stable and noticeably blurrier.



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