A couple of weeks ago Nvidia announced the new RTX 3070Ti and RTX 3080Ti graphics card, a pair of GPUs intended to plug the existing gaps between the RTX 3070 & 3080 and RTX 3080 & 3090. The 3080Ti did this fairly successfully when the embargo lifted last week, but for an MSRP widely regarded as being too high.
The RTX 3070Ti could be a different story though – a card which looks to fill a bigger void than the 3080Ti. We’ve long said that most buyers of the 3070 might be better with the 3060Ti and the price saving that comes with it. That’s not to say the 3070 isn’t a great card (it is), but in non RTX applications the 3060Ti gets really close for less money.
To give some context, the full RTX 3000 series line-up now looks a little something like this, with the 3070Ti and 3080Ti not replacing any cards, so to speak:
We can’t proceed with our review of this card without addressing the obvious challenges that currently exist in the PC market. GPU availability is the worst it has ever been and cards are selling out immediately on launch, only to be resold at extortionate prices on Ebay and Craigslist.
Huge demand from gamers and GPU miners compounds existing issues with global supply chains and silicon shortages that cumulate to create a pretty awful situation. Thankfully, there is a lot of time and money being poured in to fix these issues, but how long those fixes will take to ‘work’ is yet to be seen.
With that being said, we think its important to evaluate the performance of new cards and that also new cards continue to be released. The last thing we want to happen is to see a slowdown in innovation, as a result of supply chain and availability issues.
The RTX 3070Ti is the 7th desktop gaming GPU to be built on the latest Nvidia Ampere architecture, one that has shown itself to provide pretty superb performance gains over the last generation.
From strong improvements to straight rasterization performance, to the biggest gains in Ray Tracing led applications we’ve seem yet, Ampere has impressed. You also get support for the latest DLSS tech, a resolution scaler that has proved a really popular USP on the Nvidia side of the GPU market. DLSS is an AI backed scaler, which looks to leverage the power of machine learning to alleviate the common visual quality issues that come about with scalers.
Essentially the way DLSS works is that it gets the GPU to render the game out at say 1080p, and then use AI to upscale to 1440p – giving you the visual upside of 1440p and the FPS upside of 1080p. You can be more or less aggressive with the scaler, with Nvidia’s ‘auto’ mode giving the best results and tuning to your hardware and chosen resolution. As much as DLSS is great, it isn’t going to suddenly allow you to run Cyberpunk at 4K, 100FPS on an RTX 3060, but it does work well. You can see the exact performance upside in our testing below.
The other key piece of tech Nvidia are pioneering is Ray Tracing – a piece of technology that revaluates the way that light is dealt in games. It traces the light from the source (hence the words Ray Tracing) to see how they interact with other in game objects. This provides a big improvement in visual realism and has visually transformed a number of titles.
You can check out an RTX On /Off comparison below, using this MSI RTX 3080 Suprim X card we reviewed recently, to see the visual difference of using Ray Tracing.
|GPU||RTX 3060||RTX 3060Ti||RTX 3070||RTX 3070Ti||RTX 3080||RTX 3080Ti|
|Tensor Cores||112 (3rd Gen)||184 (3rd Gen)||184 (3rd Gen)||192 (3rd Gen)||272 (3rd Gen)||320 (3rd Gen)|
|RT Cores||28 (2nd Gen)||46 (2nd Gen)||46 (2nd Gen)||48 (2nd Gen)||68 (2nd Gen)||80 (2nd Gen)|
|GPU Boost Clock||1777MHz||1725MHz||1725MHz||1770MHz||1710MHz||1665MHz|
|Total Video Memory||12GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||6GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6X||10GB GDDR6X||12GB GDDR6X|
|Memory Bandwidth||360GB/s||448GB/s||448 GB/s||608 GB/s||760GB/s||912GB/s|
Alongside all of this fancy Ampere-specific tech, the card also features impressive on paper specifications, with more CUDA cores than the 3080 and 2080Ti, more memory bandwidth and an extra 2GB of VRAM over the 3080. Memory is an area I feel Nvidia could go a little further, something AMD have done really well, but Nvidia are likely not looking to make the 3090 redundant, which is understandable (if a little disappointing!). 12GB is going to be enough for the biggest titles out right now, which is good, but looking forward another couple of gigabytes would have been nice.
Being the Founders Edition, this card is straight from the horse’s mouth – showing Nvidia’s ideal execution of a card which is essentially their own. The 3070Ti looks visually pretty similar to the 3080 and 3080Ti, but actually uses a hybrid design of those cards and the 3070. You retain the bottom and top fan split design of the 3080 and 80Ti, but with the heatsink design of the 3070. It looks really good in my book, and slots into a sleek 2 slot form factor.
The design evidently works really well, with a max temperature of 80°c and average of around 76°c – around 5°c higher than the 3080Ti Founders Edition, with its slightly beefed up cooler.
You also get Nvidia’s new power connector, awkwardly placed in the middle of the GPU. The placement is far from ideal, but this is made worse by the adapter you currently have to use. Hopefully other brands, like MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS will adopt this and PSU manufactures will develop new cables that remove the need for adapters, but until then…
We prefaced our RTX 3080Ti review with a similar line to what I’ll say here – don’t confuse Nvidia’s Ti and Super naming designations. This card is not designed to blow you away, instead to plug a big gap that already existed in the line-up. That’s not to say it is a bad GPU, it is in fact pretty great. It plugs the performance gap we’d been hoping to see satisfied back when the 3060Ti launched and came so close to the 3070.
Where to Buy
The RTX 3070Ti is actually a pretty good buy, and more impressive for us than the 3080Ti which launched last week. It plugs the gap to the RTX 3080 really nicely, without impeding too heavily on its turf. If you want a little bit more power at 4K than what you’ll find on a 3070, then the 3070Ti is the one for you.
Gamers need Nvidia to sort demand, and quickly, because it’s a crying shame that the average gamer just can’t get their hands on one of these new, fantastic Ampere GPUs.
If you’d like to see our full range of RTX 3080Ti build videos, check out the content below: