I have no clue why PC Gamer says “GeForce RTX 4070s starting at around $600 are a dead set bargain,” why PCWorld says it’s a “highly efficient 1440p gaming” card, or why TechRadar tells that “the GPU you’ve been waiting for is finally here.” It’s not. Wait longer. And it’s not efficient. It’s only powerful.
I’m going to unpack all that’s wrong in my RTX 4070 review below. It includes all that’s good also, by the way.
RTX 4070 benchmarks & specs
- 5888 CUDA Cores
- 2.48 GHz
- 12GB VRAM
- DLSS 3.0
- 200W TDP
- $599 MSRP
Nvidia’s RTX 4070 launched on April 13, 2023. It’s a powerful GPU with a 1920 MHz base clock and a 2475 MHz boost clock. At 200W TDP and a $600 price point, there are a few better options for a 12GB VRAM card.
For the first time, Nvidia has used the smallest die size for their 70 card and has not added more CUDA cores generation-over-generation (RTX 4070 has the same CUDA cores as RTX 3070). In terms of sheer performance, the RTX 4070 is inferior to RTX 3080 and AMD RX 6800 XT.
Unless you want a gain of 20-30 FPS over an RTX 3070 (and an ever smaller one at 1440p and 4K), this is a card to stay away from.
All isn’t bad, however.
- The RTX 4070 is a newer generation card and has better optimizations and driver support.
- The whole 40 series offers better thermals and power consumption performance compared to the RTX 30 series or the AMD RX 6000 series GPUs.
- RTX 4070 supports AV1 encoding.
Even with all that, the GPU is not a good fit for most gamers.
Generation-on-generation increase in performance has to dwarf the increase in price points. It’s only expected, especially in any tech industry. Let’s see how the RTX 4070 fares.
It’s 25-30% better than the RTX 3070. And it’s also 20% more expensive. That’s really not economical anymore and Nvidia needs to lower their prices with these new GPU releases. In Europe, the €669 MSRP of the RTX 4070 is too close to the RTX 3080’s €699. It’s been 2 years since the 3080’s release with barely any price-to-performance increase.
Sure, it’s the cheapest 40 series Nvidia card right now, but not cost-effective.
If we compare MSRPs, it’s only $100 cheaper than the $700 RTX 3080 (though the 3080 sells for waaaay above that). Remember the good old days of Maxwell and Pascal? We got significantly better performances for very small price increases. That’s all changed starting the RTX 20, the 30, and now the RTX 40 series.
This is downright exploitation of consumers who want a new graphics card and the sooner Nvidia lowers its prices, the sooner it can truly claim to deserve its “market leader” tag.
It’s a fact that roughly speaking, the number of transistors that could be packed in a sq. mm. of die doubles every second year. This means even if nothing else changes or improves, with better engineering, chip manufacturers can effectively double (at least in pure clock speed terms) the performance of the same die in 2 years. How is it then we’re still paying the same amounts of money, pretty much, for the same number of transistors (RTX 3070 and 4070 both have the same number of CUDA cores)?
Certainly, there’s the issue of silicon shortage. Also, engineering a next-generation product is not child’s play and expenses are only going up, not down. But it begs the question, is that all? Or is there intentional price inflation that Nvidia is doing only to milk the cash cow and in turn, hurt the gamer?
RTX 4070 vs. RTX 3080 vs. RX 6800 XT
LTT did some testing and found the RTX 3080 to be 2% better in performance than the RTX 4070 on average (with exceptions) and the RX 6800 XT to be 9% better (1440p).
At this point, DLSS and better ray tracing are the only two things keeping Nvidia afloat—Which should not be the case for a market leader.
RTX 3080 vs. RTX 4070
If you’re comparing the RTX 4070 to the RTX 3080 then sure, the 4070 is a better deal as it’s cheaper for mostly comparable performance. Plus, you get a newer generation GPU.
Whereas the RTX 4070 is selling for $600-650, the RTX 3080 is at least a $1,000 investment (best case scenario).
But any legit RTX 3080 vs. 4070 comparison will not fail to note that it’s only “comparable” performance. In most AAA titles, the RTX 4070 performs worse than the RTX 3080. Sure, the 3080 is a god of a GPU that’s also much more expensive but this is really unexpected.
One thing where the RTX 4070 wins vs. RTX 3080 is power consumption. It draws significantly less power than RTX 3080 and helps you save on your electricity bills and avoid transient power spikes (or manage them better). This is not an RTX 4070 thing but a 40 series thing—Nvidia has improved the thermal design across the board.
Does that mean you can overclock it for huge FPS gains? No. The most you can manage in a practical gaming PC is a 150-180 MHz improvement. That’s less than a 5% in-game FPS improvement, whereas completely unnoticeable in many titles.
RTX 4070 vs. AMD RX 6800 XT
The AMD 6800 XT is better in terms of pricing. The MSI Gaming RX 6800 XT, for example, is selling for $500. The RX 6800 XT is a much better deal even if you go with a $550 card for 9-10% more performance.
At $600, the AMD RX 6950 XT is a much better value with 16GB VRAM and higher speed. The $500 6800 XT is 10% better already. Undervolt either of these AMD cards and you’re looking at much better power consumption for pretty much the same performance.
The RTX 4070 also wins against the RX 6800 XT in power consumption. The RX 6800 XT is even more power-hungry than the RTX 3080 and the 4070’s gains are further magnified here.
Don’t buy the RTX 4070. There are silver linings but this card is simply not worth it. Wait more or go for another one.
Trust me, you’ll regret it moments after the purchase.
The RX 6800 is a remarkably better option that sweeps the RTX 4070 off its feet. If it wasn’t for DLSS + ray tracing, the Nvidia RTX 4070 would hardly have anything better to offer competitively.