Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Gaming OC Review 21

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Gaming OC Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Gaming OC is currently available for around $1200.
  • Excellent 1440p performance
  • Most titles are very playable at 4K, too
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • No loss in efficiency from factory OC
  • Idle fan stop
  • Quiet (quiet mode BIOS)
  • Good temperatures (default BIOS)
  • Very low memory temperatures
  • Faster GDDR6X memory
  • Second-generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • Dual BIOS
  • Adjustable RGB lighting
  • DLSS improved
  • NVIDIA Reflex low-latency technology
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • Actual market pricing much higher than MSRP
  • Worse price/performance than RTX 3070
  • Huge increase in power consumption over RTX 3070 non-Ti
  • Default BIOS fan settings a tad bit loud
With the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, NVIDIA is pushing their Ampere x70 lineup forward to better compete with AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT and RX 6800 non-XT. To achieve their goal, NVIDIA is using the same GA104 GPU as on the RTX 3070, but with all its 6,144 cores enabled. The GeForce RTX 3070 non-Ti has 5,888 cores active, a 4% difference, which by itself isn't big enough to justify a new SKU. That's why NVIDIA switched the memory chips from GDDR6 to GDDR6X, which improves memory bandwidth by 35%.

Memory size on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti has remained at 8 GB, probably because the only other feasible option is 16 GB, which would have increased cost significantly without major performance improvements. The underlying reason is that the VRAM capacity is tied to the memory bus width on the card. In theory, a 12 GB 192-bit design like the RTX 3060 is possible, but the performance loss from the narrower memory bus would more than negate any gains from the larger memory buffer. On the other hand, AMD is offering 16 GB VRAM on the Radeon RX 6800, so NVIDIA achieving parity would have certainly had a psychological effect. Personally, I'm not a fan of going all out on VRAM size, none of our benchmarks show any noteworthy performance issues arising from 8 GB VRAM capacity. Actually, it seems likely DirectStorage, a technology that was first pioneered on the new consoles, will reduce VRAM pressure by optimizing the disk to GPU memory path.

Gigabyte's GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Gaming OC is the company's "middle" RTX 3070 Ti custom-design. It comes factory-overclocked to a rated boost frequency of 1830 MHz, which is roughly in the middle of what's currently available in terms of custom designs from all manufacturers. Averaged over our 22-game-strong test suite at 1440p resolution, the Gigabyte Gaming OC is 2% faster than the Founders Edition, and 7% ahead of the RTX 3070 non-Ti. I have to say I expected a bigger improvement from the RTX 3070 Ti, especially considering the investment by NVIDIA: full GA104 GPU, GDDR6X, new PCBs, and completely new cooler design for the FE. Compared to the Radeon RX 6800, the gap shrinks to only 2%; at 4K, the Gigabyte RTX 3070 Ti can match the Radeon RX 6800 non-XT. The GeForce RTX 3080 is 13% faster than the Gigabyte card, and the newly released RTX 3080 Ti is 21% faster. Last generation's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti flagship is 11% behind the RTX 3070 Ti, and the difference to the RTX 2070 Super is 30%.

With those performance numbers, the RTX 3070 Ti is the perfect choice for the huge 1440p gamer crowd, but the card also has enough muscle to drive many titles at 4K 60 FPS, especially if you are willing to dial down settings a little bit. The RTX 3070 Ti is also a great choice for 1080p Full HD if you want to drive a high-refresh-rate monitor with 120 or 144 Hz. For just 1080p at 60 Hz, it's overkill unless next-generation titles go overboard with their hardware requirements, which is highly unlikely. Raytracing performance of the RTX 3070 Ti is better than the Radeon RX 6800 because NVIDIA executes more raytracing functions in hardware and is on their second-generation of the technology. Differences vary between titles, though. The new consoles are built using AMD RDNA2 technology, so going forward, game developers may invest more resources into optimizing RT for AMD's architecture, or they simply dial down the RT effects to reduce the performance hit, which is what happened recently with Resident Evil 7.

We've seen various iterations of the current Gigabyte "Gaming OC" cooler design in previous reviews: on RX 6700 XT Gaming OC, RX 6900 XT Gaming OC, RTX 3060 Ti Gaming OC and RTX 3070 Gaming OC. While the design language is the same, using various shades of gray with metal-colored highlights, the RTX 3070 Ti Gaming OC uses a new style, being less tall, but longer and designed to let air flow through the card. Nearly all RTX 3070 Ti designs, including the NVIDIA Founders Edition, have the power connectors in the middle of the card, which makes cable routing complicated. Gigabyte, on the other hand, placed the power plugs on a separate module, so they're positioned in the traditional top-right corner spot—I like.

The heatsink base uses a large copper plate, unlike the direct-touch heatpipes on some other Gaming OC coolers. This approach definitely helps reduce memory temperatures, which are the best of all RTX 3070 Ti cards we've reviewed so far. GPU temperature is good, too, reaching only 68°C under load, which is the second-best result of all RTX 3070 Ti cards I tested. Noise levels aren't that impressive, though; 39 dBA roughly matches the NVIDIA Founders Edition. Not bad, but it could be better. Gigabyte's Gaming OC comes with a dual BIOS, which lets you activate a "Silent" mode easily. Noise levels are now MUCH better. With 32 dBA in quiet mode, the card is the second-quietest RTX 3070 Ti in our test group. Even though Gigabyte's cooler isn't the strongest thermal solution, Gigabyte was very smart with the settings of the quiet BIOS. While other vendors dial down only the fan speed, Gigabyte reduced the power limit, too. This does cost one or two percent performance, something you'll never notice, but is the secret sauce to achieving a large reduction in fan noise without compromising temperatures too much. Lower power consumption means less heat output, which gives the cooler more room to breathe. I also like that there's a big difference between the default and quiet BIOS, so you actually have a meaningful choice. With Ampere, NVIDIA introduced idle fan stop on their Founders Edition, which makes fan stop a mandatory capability for custom designs, too. In idle, during desktop work, internet browsing, and light gaming, the card will turn off its fans completely for the perfect noise-free experience.

In my RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition review, I talked a lot about the increased power consumption of RTX 3070 Ti and the reasons behind it. The bottom line is that the RTX 3070 Ti is not nearly as energy efficient as the RTX 3070 non-Ti, and can't match AMD's Radeons, either. Usually, you'd expect factory overclocked custom designs to lose some additional energy efficiency due to higher clock speeds and possible voltage increases. This isn't the case with the Gigabyte Gaming OC. The card offers 2% higher performance and consumes 2% more power, resulting in the same energy efficiency as the NVIDIA Founders Edition. Congrats to Gigabyte for making smart improvements on their card that don't cost any efficiency—other RTX 3070 Tis we've tested don't do so well here.

NVIDIA has announced a $600 price point for the RTX 3070 Ti, which is $100 higher than the RTX 3070 and hard to justify given what we're seeing in terms of performance, power, heat, and noise. Current market conditions being what they are, such price points are of course completely irrelevant. In recent days, we've seen card prices come down a little bit, I updated the prices in this review today. The RTX 3070 Ti is now sold at around $1150 and the Gigabyte Gaming OC goes for $1200. The $50 increase is fairly reasonable since you're getting a very decent cooler with very well thought out fan and power settings. The dual-BIOS feature really gives you options, and power connector placement is better than on other cards. The factory overclock alone can't justify much of a price increase, 2% is worth $25, even at a $1200 base price. When looking at price/performance, strong competition comes from the RTX 3070, which is around $1050—considerably cheaper, but only marginally slower. The RTX 3070 is also more energy-efficient than the RTX 3070 Ti. AMD's Radeon RX 6800 non-XT goes for $1200 at the moment, which is very similar to the RTX 3070 Ti, with similar performance, too, much better energy efficiency, but slower raytracing. If you can live with lower overall performance, but better price/performance, the RX 6700 XT at "only" $800 could be an option, or just wait a bit longer. It seems the crypto bubble is nearing its end, and the GPU supply situation is improving a bit, too.
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