It all comes down to this; the RTX 3070 or the RTX 3080. But which GPU to choose?
Nvidia’s new 30-series GPUs represent the first major performance leap in graphics technology in at least half a decade.
To hear Nvidia’s own claims, the flagship RTX 3080 roughly doubles the performance of the outgoing RTX 2080. The RTX 3070, meanwhile, reportedly outperforms the reigning 2080 Ti at a fraction of the price.
However, most PC owners don’t upgrade their hardware with every generation, which makes Nvidia’s comparisons a bit abstract. So what should someone buy in the market for a new GPU when faced with the decision between the Nvidia RTX 3080 and the RTX 3070?
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Nvidia 30-series GPUs: what do the specs tell us?
Although the datasheet never gives us an overview, we can use it in this case to make some preliminary observations.
First of all, the RTX 30 series of GPUs are based on a new 7nm manufacturing process, which allowed Nvidia to cram even more transistors onto the GPU. As a result, the RTX 3080 has more than double the number of processing cores compared to its predecessor.
However, a major drawback of the RTX 3080 is its increased power consumption. This is especially important when compared to the RTX 2080, which had 30% lower thermal design power (TDP). If you are upgrading to an older system, this increased power consumption means that your existing power supply may not be good enough for the RTX 3080.
The price, meanwhile, remains unchanged between the two generations, which is a massive selling point for the RTX 3080. If Nvidia’s performance regarding the RTX 3080 is true, you are essentially getting two 2080s for the price of one. of this generation. This is precisely why there is still so much hype about the 30 Series GPUs, months after their launch.
How do the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 stack up?
By far the best way to prove the viability of a GPU is to see how well it performs in its main application: gaming. The following benchmarks come from the comparison of Tom’s Hardware of both cards, at 1080p and 1440p resolutions.
Unless an upgrade from the previous generation, these numbers should satisfy just about anyone looking for a new GPU.
The RTX 3080 is 8-21% faster than the RTX 3070 on average. However, when looking at individual games, this gap can widen even further. At 2560 × 1440 in The Division 2, the RTX 3080 returns an average of 111 FPS – a 35 percent jump from the 3070’s passable 82 FPS.
Depending on the games you play, that performance gap may justify splurging on the RTX 3080. If you’re willing to sacrifice some graphics fidelity, the RTX 3070 might not be a bad choice either.
However, there are more shades to choose from between the 3080 and the 3070 – mostly around the rest of the hardware in your system.
RTX 3080 vs RTX 3070: Which one should you buy?
If you are one of the 67% of users who still use a 1080p class screen, there is only one way to describe the RTX 3080: Overkill. As you can see from the graphics above, the performance difference between the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080 is tiny.
This is because at lower resolutions like 1080p, the GPU is just too powerful compared to the other components in your build, like the CPU. Even with AMD’s line of Ryzen processors making impressive year-over-year gains, they’re not fast enough to keep up with the RTX 3080 at 1080p.
If you choose to run an RTX 3080 at lower resolutions, chances are it will only be used at a fraction of its full potential. While the performance margin is useful in future games, it’s probably not worth spending the extra money, especially when the RTX 3070 exists.
However, that claim quickly transforms when you introduce higher resolution screens and virtual reality games. Over the past few years, 1440p and 4K resolution displays have become increasingly affordable and accessible to the average gamer. Many of them are even capable of high refresh rates, up to 165Hz.
If you own a 1440p 144Hz display or are looking to purchase one in the future, the RTX 3080 may be the best choice for you. Although it costs a lot more than the RTX 3070, it will offer a staggering performance upgrade and should outlast its little brother.
The same goes for demanding applications such as virtual reality games and video editing. In the case of the former, the latest VR headsets from Valve and Oculus have internal display resolutions much higher than most monitors.
This means that your GPU will definitely see high usage figures while playing new VR games such as Half-Life: Alyx and Star Wars: Squadrons.
RTX 30 Series: New GPU Features and Tips
The RTX 30 series has a few more tricks up its sleeve that just aren’t found on previous generation GPUs.
This includes Nvidia Reflex, a feature that Nvidia says will reduce system latency to improve your reaction time in competitive multiplayer games. While Reflex will eventually be backported to Nvidia’s 900 series GPUs, the feature would work best on newer hardware.
While reviews have come to mixed conclusions about the effectiveness of Nvidia Reflex, it’s a feature worth activating because it comes with a small performance penalty.
If you’re serious about competitive gaming, the functionality may even be worth upgrading. Nvidia will also gladly sell you its GSync Ultimate monitors for an added benefit, but you can also get a standard GSync compatible monitor as they are cheaper and more readily available.
Other benefits include the use of streaming tools such as Nvidia Broadcast and RTX Voice, which use machine learning techniques to improve audio and video quality. These features are also useful outside of gaming apps, given that meetings and conferences have been brought online over the past year.
Whether these characteristics are convincing or not is a matter of personal preference. However, s an overall package, it is undeniable that the RTX 3070 and 3080 GPUs represent a gigantic advance over previous generations.