Is it worth it?
The Nvidia RTX 3070 is a remarkable graphics card that delivers on its promise of providing 4K 60 fps high-fidelity gameplay in modern titles. It isn’t perfect though. It draws 240W of power under full load which generates a considerable amount of heat. In addition to cooling (within your case, not the card itself) and comfort concerns, VRAM capacity is still at a mere 8 GB. That’s half of what the competing AMD Radeon cards offer, and 8 GB could prove to be a bottleneck in future games when played at 4K.
The RTX 3070 arguably comes with some great features that improve gaming performance and fidelity though, even if some feel far from mature. DLSS is decent, but full-fledged ray tracing continues to remain an illusive prize. The RTX 3070 manages ray tracing with impressive results in a select few titles like Control, though. With that said, our opinion is that ray tracing is not something this card should be specifically purchased for. The 4K and 1440p gaming performance are what make the Nvidia RTX 3070 an attractive buy. If you want ray tracing too, go with the RTX 3080 or better.
The glaring problem of course is availability, which everyone is aware of at this point. Getting one of these graphics cards is no easy feat, and the option to choose a particular model will be a luxury many won’t have. The $500 USD MSRP is also a point of contention, as only the first wave of these cards seemed to come close to that price point. AIB model cards are priced much higher now, and scalper prices degrade MSRP further, with the RTX 3070 selling for two to three times its price on eBay and other online stores.
The gaming performance of the RTX 3070 is worth a small premium though when compared to the previous generation of Nvidia graphics cards. Even at, say, $700 USD, an AIB model with a huge cooler comes off as a steal versus the previous generation’s RTX 2080 Ti at nearly twice the price for some models. What the RTX 3070 is worth will vary from person to person. It does feel a bit overhyped though and is not worth paying more than twice its value for. If you completely lack a graphics card at the moment, have cash to spend, and want to game at high resolutions, then by all means.
However, if your intent is to improve your 1080p experience or stick to a sane budget, you might think twice about upgrading now if you have a decent older generation graphics card. For instance, the GTX 1080 still provides an admirable level of performance at 1080p, and there are plenty of games that run decent at near-4K resolutions on older cards like that one. You won’t be able to crank the settings up as high, and some games like Cyberpunk 2077 will run exceptionally worse, but don’t frustrate yourself endlessly over trying to track down something like an RTX 3070 right now. Availability within the overall graphics card market could improve in the months ahead.
Here’s what to know. We expect more Nvidia RTX 30 Series Ti models to come out in June. In addition to that, it’s been confirmed that LHR models will refresh the lineup to deal with Ethereum cryptominers. Meanwhile, AMD is still pumping out its own graphics cards and CEO Lisa Su expects supply to improve in the second half of this year. That could be due to improving yields and/or more volume.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Intel is teasing its own Xe HPG discrete graphics cards. One employee has even suggested the launch is “right around the corner.” With so much demand left unaddressed, it’s no surprise that companies are working to get more graphics cards to the market while all sales are practically guaranteed. In this regard, a little more patience may be worth it if you want more choices and better pricing when you go about upgrading to the level of gaming performance provided by the Nvidia RTX 3070 or something like it.