NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 are tempting, but which is best for you?

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The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is the GPU you should be opting for if you primarily want to game at 1440p. Yes, the RTX 3070 can handle 4K gaming, but the RTX 3080 is far better cut out for 4K. The lower $500 cost of the RTX 3070 also makes it a much easier buy for most people.

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Pros

  • More affordable than the RTX 3080
  • Can still push 4K
  • Crushes QHD gaming
  • Ray tracing and DLSS

Cons

  • Not as powerful as the RTX 3080
  • Only 8GB VRAM

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is the right GPU if you want to primarily game at 4K. Yes, it will easily handle 1440p, but it’s not seeing its full potential. If you don’t plan on stepping up to 4K, the elevated price compared to the RTX 3070 doesn’t make much sense for most people.

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Pros

  • Better for 4K gaming
  • Ray tracing and DLSS
  • 10GB VRAM

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Overkill for 1440p

NVIDIA RTX 3070 vs. RTX 3080 tech specs

These two Ampere graphics cards (GPU) are from the same NVIDIA RTX 30-series, landing with the same set of major features, including ray tracing and DLSS. However, price and performance disparities make them ideal for different users. Let’s take a look first at the specs that make up these cards that both inhabit our list of best graphics card options.

NVIDIA RTX 3070 NVIDIA RTX 3080
CUDA cores 5,888 8,704
Base clock 1,500MHz 1,440MHz
Boost clock 1,725MHz 1,710MHz
GPU GA104 GA102
Memory 8GB GDDR6X 10GB GDDR6X
Memory bus 256-bit 320-bit
Memory clock 14Gbps 19Gbps
Memory bandwidth 448GB/s 760GB/s
RT cores 46 68
Tensor cores 184 272
Transistors 17.4 billion 28.3 billion
Node Samsung 8nm Samsung 8nm
Architecture Ampere Ampere
TDP 220W 320W
Ports HDMI 2.1
Three DisplayPort 1.4a
HDMI 2.1
Three DisplayPort 1.4a

NVIDIA RTX 3070 vs. RTX 3080 4K performance

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central

From the raw specs listed above, it’s clear the RTX 3080 is a strong performer and the superior option out of the two GPUs. It has more memory that’s faster and has a larger bus, it has more CUDA cores, more RT cores for ray tracing, and it has more tensor cores. It also demands a TDP of 320W, which is 100W more than the RTX 3070. If you are opting for the RTX 3080, be sure you have a PSU that can handle the increased draw. NVIDIA recommends a 750W PSU, and we’ve collected some of the best PSUs for the RTX 3080 to help you find what’s right.

The NVIDIA RTX 3080‘s specs make it a great GPU for 4K gaming. In our testing, it was able to hit well above 60 frames-per-second (FPS) in six of nine games played at 4K, with only the most intensive dropping it down to around the 60 FPS mark. Turning in-game settings down from their maximum got games like Control to hit the 60 FPS sweet spot.

Take a look at how the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 compare when gaming at 4K with in-game settings cranked up.

Game RTX 3080 (avg. fps) RTX 3070 (avg. fps) RTX 2080 (avg. fps)
Microsoft Flight Simulator 42 32 28
Control 52 39 28
Death Stranding 101 74 58
Far Cry New Dawn 102 81 65
Gears 5 78 59 46
Metro Exodus 98 74 56
Red Dead Redemption 2 82 63 48
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 75 58 44
Total War Saga: Troy 61 45 36

It’s clear from these numbers that the RTX 3070 can handle its own at 4K in certain games. However, it’s still not going to be the GPU for 4K going forward. If you have a 4K monitor with a 60Hz refresh rate or better and want to play modern games without sacrificing quality, the RTX 3080 remains the right GPU for you. That’s especially true if you’re looking to future-proof for years to come. Just note that it’s going to cost, in general, about $200 more than the RTX 3070.

NVIDIA RTX 3070 vs. RTX 3080 1440p performance

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review

Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central

Looking at 1440p performance tells a different story. Yes, the RTX 3080 will absolutely crush 1440p, but so will the RTX 3070 at $200 less. If you plan on sticking with QHD for a few years to come, the cheaper card makes a lot more sense. It still brings ray-tracing capabilities and DLSS technology for a performance boost, and it can dabble with 4K if you really need to push things up to the higher resolution.

Following are average FPS numbers from the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 at 1440p with in-game settings maxed out.

Game RTX 3080 (avg. fps) RTX 3070 (avg. fps) RTX 2080 (avg. fps)
Microsoft Flight Simulator 48 47 42
Control 98 77 61
Death Stranding 164 135 102
Far Cry New Dawn 144 136 118
Gears 5 125 102 78
Metro Exodus 174 136 105
Red Dead Redemption 2 129 102 82
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 130 107 84
Total War Saga: Troy 105 82 67

As you can see by the numbers above, $200 more for the RTX 3080 doesn’t get you a huge boost to performance at 1440p. The RTX 3070 is going to deliver a quality QHD experience, and as long as you don’t want to seriously dabble with 4K, it’s likely going to be the better card for most people.

The RTX 3070 is the right GPU for 1440p gaming

If you plan on sticking primarily with a quality 1440p gaming experience, the RTX 3070 is far more affordable and performs close to the RTX 3080. This is no doubt going to be a very popular GPU for a lot of gamers, though availability is still poor.

Best For 1440p Gaming



NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

Less money, lots of power

The RTX 3070 might not quite match the RTX 3080 at 1440p, but it also costs $200 less. If you’re not planning on investing heavily in 4K, this is likely the right card for you.

The RTX 3080 is the proper card for 4K gamers

The RTX 3070 can handle 4K gaming at acceptable frame rates, but if you’re going all-in with the boosted resolution, you probably want to spend the extra money on the RTX 3080. It should also last longer into the future, but availability is also poor.

More Power For 4K



NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

NVIDIA’s flagship card

You’re going to pay more for the RTX 3080, but it’s the right investment if you’re going all-in with 4K gaming.

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