Much like the next-gen consoles, building a PC or buying upgrade parts for the last four-to-five months has been tiresome for consumers. The Covid-19 pandemic and sheltering-in-place, paired with component shortages and limited supply, has made obtaining any kind of hardware virtually impossible. Despite this, Nvidia marched on with the RTX 3000 series’ launch, and experienced no shortage of controversy as a result. The reason why criticism has been this vocal is because the RTX 3000 series cards are a big jump up from the 2000 series cards, especially in the ray tracing department, which is why demand for these cards has been huge and largely unmet.
While it’s certainly been and will continue to be a pain to get one, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 ushers in the next generation of mid-range Nvidia graphics cards. In terms of performance, the RTX 3070 is a considerable improvement over every aspect of the 2070 Super. Normally it’d be a no-brainer choice to go with the 3070, especially at the same price point, but getting a 2070 Super instead isn’t that bad of a compromise. During a time where graphics cards are slim pickings, PC players really can’t go wrong with either. However, assuming graphics cards are plentiful and players have an opportunity to snag the RTX 3070 over the 2070 Super, they absolutely should.
At first glance, both the RTX 2070 Super and 3070 seem to be very similar in terms of specs, but it’s in the specifics where the true advantage lies. Both Nvidia cards have 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, with only slight differences in base and boost clock speeds. The RTX 2070 Super even has a higher base and boosted clock speed of 1605MHz and 1770MHz, respectively. The RTX 3070 tops out at 1500MHz base speed and 1730MHz boost speed, but the significant difference in graphical power comes in the difference of CUDA cores between both cards. The RTX 3070 has over twice the amount of CUDA cores for graphical processing compared to the RTX 2070 Super.
In the RTX 3070, Nvidia’s latest mid-range card has 5888 CUDA parallel processors compared to the 2070 Super’s 2560 CUDA cores. The main difference is how Nvidia’s Ampere hardware architecture, which was initially used for processing in data centers, was transposed to dedicated graphics hardware. Nvidia’s Ampere technology restructured CUDA cores can shoulder a lot more processing power, per core, compared to the previous 2070 Super’s internal hardware. Also, considering how young ray tracing tech was when the RTX 2000 cards first released in 2019, all of the new 3000 series cards (including the 3070) can handle ray tracing and DLSS much better.
In direct comparison, the RTX 3070 is about a 25-30 percent overall improvement over the RTX 2070 Super in terms of rendering benchmarks on average. In nearly every game compared together, from Grand Theft Auto 5 to Valorant to Cyberpunk 2077, Nvidia’s RTX 3070 outperformed the RTX 2070 Super. Especially at 1080p, the RTX 3070 is capable of topping out and averaging around 15-20 frames above the RTX 2070 Super. The difference in frames per second is a bit less on 1440p and true 4K, but even then, the 3070’s peak and average framerate numbers are still higher. Nvidia’s latest mid-range card is not messing around with performance at all resolutions.
Of course, the big deciding factor at this point was never meant to be an issue under any normal context: price. Nvidia’s RTX 3070 launched at a $499 MSRP, but with the severe bot scalping/reselling problems plaguing the entire PC gaming hardware market, it’s near-impossible to find a 3070 at that price. Hell, it’s hard to find a RTX 2070 Super at that price nowadays either. Most resellers are upselling the price up to at least $700, and that’s not going to change any time soon. Nvidia’s CFO Colette Kress suggested that 3000 series graphics cards, in general, will likely be limited in supply until Nvidia’s Q1 2021, meaning not until April/May of this year.
That being said, if PC gamers are looking to upgrade or build new rigs, the Nvidia RTX 3070 should absolutely be the first choice over the RTX 2070 Super. Basically every benchmark and framerate test shows Nvidia’s latest mid-range card is the clear superior option. However, money is a big quantifying factor here, despite both cards having the same MSRP. If players are willing to shell out more to resellers for the better card, then they should go for the RTX 3070 assuming they can afford inflated pricing. Players who are on a slimmer budget should absolutely opt for the RTX 2070 Super; as much as the 3070 is the better card, the price difference may not justify upgrading.