NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition Review - Disruptive Price-Performance 172

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition Review - Disruptive Price-Performance

Circuit Board Analysis »

Packaging

Package Front
Package Back


The Card


From left to right: RTX 2070, RTX 3070, RTX 2070 Super, RTX 2080 Ti, RX 5700 XT, RTX 3080.

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back
Graphics Card Front Angled

The GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition looks like an Ampere card, no doubt. NVIDIA created a completely new design language for this new series—black, gray and silver, all very matte, give the product an ultra high quality look and feel. This is one of the best-looking graphics cards ever, in my opinion. On the back, you'll find a metal backplate. Note how the backplate has no cutout for the GPU mounting springs, which creates a large continuous surface, making for a more industrial look.

Graphics Card Dimensions

Dimensions of the card are 24 x 11 cm.

Graphics Card Height
Graphics Card Back Angled

Installation requires two slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include three standard DisplayPort 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1. Interestingly, the USB-C port for VR headsets, which NVIDIA introduced on Turing Founders Editions, has been removed—guess it didn't take off as planned. The DisplayPort 1.4a outputs support Display Stream Compression (DSC) 1.2a, which lets you connect 4K displays at 120 Hz and 8K displays at 60 Hz. Ampere can drive two 8K displays at 60 Hz with just one cable per display.

Ampere is the first GPU to support HDMI 2.1, which increases bandwidth to 48 Gbps to support higher resolutions, like 4K144 and 8K30, with a single cable. With DSC, this goes up to 4K240 and 8K120. NVIDIA's new NVENC/NVDEC video engine is optimized to handle video tasks with minimal CPU load. The highlight here is added support for AV1 decode. Just like on Turing, you may also decode MPEG-2, VC1, VP8, VP9, H.264, and H.265 natively, at up to 8K@12-bit.

The encoder is identical to Turing. It supports H.264, H.265, and lossless at up to 8K@10-bit.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

Just like the RTX 3080 and 3090 Founders Edition, the RTX 3070 FE uses the new NVIDIA 12-pin power input. This connector has been talked about a lot recently, it's basically a much more compact solution to provide a lot of power for the card. The 12-pin carries up to 300 W of power, the equivalent of two 8-pin PCIe power cables. On the RTX 3070, NVIDIA doesn't need that much power, so the adapter cable uses only a single 8-pin. Total available power is 225 W (150 W from the 12-pin + 75 W from the PCIe slot). With every Founders Edition, NVIDIA includes a 8-pin to 12-pin adapter cable, so you're good to go and don't need any special adapters.

On the closeup of the 12-pin adapter, you can see how only half its pins are populated. This ensures that on a RTX 3080/3090, this adapter will not work, as those cards require power on all pins.

I'm not happy with the placement of the 12-pin, though. It's right in the middle of the card and goes straight upwards, which makes cable management a pain. I really wonder why NVIDIA didn't position it better, the card is short enough to even place it on the back.

Multi-GPU Area

The GeForce RTX 3070 does not support SLI. Only the RTX 3090 has very limit SLI support.

Teardown


Disassembly of the RTX 3070 Founders Edition is much easier than the RTX 3080 or 3090. The only "gotcha" besides needing proper Torx screwdrivers is the two delicate flat ribbon cables I marked in the picture above. You fold up the little black tab on the far side of the cable before carefully pulling out the cable, ideally with some pliers. With that done, fold the tabs back, so they are secure and can't be damaged while handling the PCB.

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

NVIDIA's thermal solution combines a large copper base with four heatpipes. Also note the thermal pads, which provide cooling for the memory chips and VRM circuitry.


The backplate is made out of metal and protects the card against damage during installation and handling. It comes with a small thermal pad that soaks up a little bit of heat from the memory VRM on the other side of the PCB.
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