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Why the RTX 3070 Might Be The Best Deal In GPU History
The 20-series of GPUs from Nvidia made major waves with unprecedented new hardware aimed at making fast machine learning and real-time ray tracing possible. They were also expensive and not much more powerful at pure rasterization 3D graphics compared to the Pascal cards that came before. Still, enthusiasts ate up the cards and Nvidia released a bewildering array of refreshes in the form of Super and Ti cards. The release of the specifications for next-generation gaming consoles were a little worrying for the PC crowd however. Both the offerings from Sony and Microsoft were in the ballpark of the RTX 2080 to 2080 Ti. Cards that cost between $700 and $1200. With these consoles selling as entire systems for $500, it seemed like a gulf had opened when it game to price versus performance for gamers. Then Nvidia dropped a bomb in the form of its 30-series Ampere card. The RTX 3070 in particular might represent the greatest deal in GPUs since the 8800GT.
The Juicy Specifications And Price
The RTX 3070 offers 5888 CUDA cores, more than an RTX Titan, along with 8GB of 256-bit GDDR6. Not the GDDR6X of the 3080 or 3090 mind you, so raw memory bandwidth and capacity might be the biggest cuts. Still, in practical terms the 3070 promises performance better than a 2080Ti. A card that was selling for $1200 right up to the moment that Nvidia announced its new line of products. That is, quite frankly, an insane leap in price-to-performance ratios. Not to mention a hard blow for anyone who bought a new 2080Ti shortly before the 3070 was announced!
A Revelatory Gaming Card?
For gamers the 3070 is undoubtedly a card that was sent from heaven. Assuming that your CPU is still up to the task, itís a $500 drop-in upgrade that will send the consoles running for the hills. While it might seem more or less on par with them from a raw rasterized 3D performance standpoint, that doesnít take into account itís massive amount of additional ray tracing grunt and machine learning power. Adding new technologies such as DLSS upscaling to the mix. We donít think itís a major coincidence that the 3070 is priced at the same MSRP as both new consoles!
Pascal Is Obsolete!
If you currently have a 20-series card however, itís not yet crucial to upgrade. Owners of vanilla 2060 and 2070 cards are perhaps the exception here, but itís not as if the higher cards in the range were lacking in horsepower. They were just expensive. Since youíve already spent the money, that doesnít really factor into the equation anymore. If you are using ANY Pascal card, even a Titan, this is a massive upgrade for a relatively small amount of cash. Itís finally time for Pascal owners to let go if their 1060s, 70s and really all the rest of them.
Should You Consider It For Professional Use?
Itís no secret that Nvidiaís mainstream gaming cards find a lot of professional use. If you were using a 1080-class consumer GPU for your professional work, the 3070 would be a cheap and effective upgrade. However, for desktop users you might as well go for the 3080 card with itís fast GDDR6X RAM and 10GB of capacity. The 3070 is just a little too cut down to double as a cheap workstation card. If you were using a Titan card before, then the RTX 3090 is a much better choice as well. It's $1000 less than a Titan RTX, much, much faster and has 24GB of RAM just as the Titan did.
If youíre a laptop user, then the upcoming 3070-based laptops promise to be a fantastic deal and a much better balance of power and weight than the 3080. Of course, we need to wait until real consumer models with these chips launch to make a final decision.
As always, if your work requires the type of certification and support you only get with Quadro cards, youíre still out of luck and will have to wait a while for Ampere-based Qaudros.
What Does This Mean For 20-series Cards?
As mentioned above, current owners of 2060 Super and up cards donít have to be too hasty to dump them. However, the used 20-series market is about to explode. We expect 2080Ti cards to be available used for less than the $500 asking price of a new 2080. Weíre already seeing major price cuts on laptops featuring chips like the 2060 and 2070. As long as you keep the prices of the new cards in mind and they offer enough performance, thereís bound to be some staggering bargains on the horizon. The most staggering bargain however, is still the 3070 itself.