MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio Review 28

MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio Review


Value and Conclusion

  • The MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio will retail for $560.
  • Good price/performance ratio
  • Faster than RTX 2080 Ti
  • Perfect for 1440p with raytracing
  • Capable of 4K in many games
  • Extremely quiet
  • Very low temperatures
  • Idle fan-stop
  • Energy efficiency improved over RTX 3080/3090
  • Power limit increased
  • Adjustable RGB lighting
  • 2nd generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • DLSS improved
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • New GeForce Features: Reflex, Broadcast, G-SYNC 360, and RTX-IO
  • 8 nanometer production process
  • Large cost increase over MSRP
  • Only small power limit increase
  • Factory overclock could be bigger
  • Manual power limit adjustment range is too small
  • Runs in power limit all the time
  • Memory not overclocked
  • Overclocking more complicated due to power limit
Today, we have five RTX 3070 custom design reviews for you: ASUS RTX 3070 TUF Gaming OC, EVGA RTX 3070 FTW3 Ultra, Gigabyte RTX 3070 Gaming OC, MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio, Zotac RTX 3070 Twin Edge OC, and of course the RTX 3070 Founders Edition review from two days ago, which has additional technical details on NVIDIA's latest card.

The GeForce RTX 3070 offers uncompromising performance for 1440p gaming and even lets you run 4K in many titles, especially if you are willing to reduce details settings a bit. What also made waves during the initial launch is the competitive $500 MSRP, which is also the price point for NVIDIA's Founders Edition. It not only impresses with looks, but also runs very quietly and introduces the highly sought after fan-stop capability, which sets the bar high for custom designs.

The MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio comes with a factory overclock of +105 MHz, which is the highest of all the cards we're reviewing today. Average GPU frequency in gaming is 1960 MHz, a 4.1% improvement over the RT 3070 Founders Edition. This turns into a real-life performance gain of 2–3 % depending on the resolution. On average, at 1440p, we see the Gaming X 2% ahead of the RTX 3070 FE, 3% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti, or 53% faster than the RTX 2070, which is pretty nice. The RTX 3080 is 20% faster, at 30% higher pricing.

With those performance numbers, RTX 3070 is the perfect choice for the huge 1440p gamer crowd, but the card also has enough muscle to run many titles at 4K 60 FPS, especially if you are willing to dial down settings a little bit. The RTX 3070 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 60 Hz, it's overkill unless next-gen titles go overboard with their hardware requirements, which is highly unlikely.

MSI has always delivered excellent coolers in the past, and the RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio is no exception. Actually, the card looks identical to the RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio at first glance. Under the hood, the heatsink and heatpipe configuration is different though, and the PCB is a new design with a 9+2 VRM configuration for the RTX 3070. The MSI heatsink is quite overbuilt and works very well, reaching outstanding temperatures of just 64°C under load, which is among the best of the RTX 3070 cards tested today. Noise levels are also spectacular, just 28 dBA is whisper quiet, previously unthinkable for a card with RTX 2080 Ti performance. While other cards offer a dual-BIOS feature, I rather prefer a BIOS that's properly balanced for both temperature and noise, which MSI has achieved. On their RTX 3080/3090, they offer an optional "low temperature" BIOS download, which isn't necessary here as temperatures are very low already with the default BIOS. NVIDIA has introduced fan stop on their Founders Edition with Ampere, which means all board partners are expected to adopt this crucial feature, too. Outside of gaming, the fans on the MSI Gaming X will shut off completely for the perfect noise-free experience.

With 240 W, typical power consumption is a bit higher than the 220 W of the NVIDIA Founders Edition, but you get additional performance in return because of the factory overclock. What I find surprising is that idle power draw is quite high with 16 W, possibly due to the RGB lighting or changes in VRM configuration. For gaming, MSI has increased their power limit from 220 W to 240 W, which is not enough for a card that's positioned like the Gaming X Trio. I have no idea why MSI chose such a conservative value since the VRM can easily take much more power and the cooler is more than capable. The manual power adjustment range tops out at only 250 W, a tiny 10 W increase, not good enough. EVGA offers up to 300 W for the same value, which will definitely make their card more interesting to the overclockers.

There isn't much to report for overclocking. OC potential was roughly in the middle of our test group, mostly held back by the power limit, but the differences between all our cards are relatively small anyway. Memory OC is very impressive, reaching over 2100 MHz, up over 20% from the default 1750 MHz. Just like on all other recent NVIDIA cards, the power limiter will complicate overclocking because you can no longer dial in a specific maximum frequency and have to do additional testing to really ensure proper stability. Memory OC is slightly simpler, as memory stability issues show immediately and not only by lowered performance, like on the GDDR6X.

According to MSI, the RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio will retail for $560, which is quite a big cost increase. Sure, you get an amazing cooler and a few percent higher performance; however, I'm still not sold. A more reasonable price would be around $540, I'd say. The NVIDIA Founders Edition is a really good card with a great cooler, and it's just $500. On the other hand, supply of the FE might be limited, and it could sell out very quickly, forcing gamers to look at more expensive SKUs—it happened with the 3080 and 3090 just weeks ago. AMD has just announced the Radeon RX 6800 at a $580 price point and promised performance that looks very impressive, similar to what the RTX 3070 offers, so I'm expecting considerable changes on pricing in this segment very soon.
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