Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super: A tussle for the mid-range throne

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super
(Image credit: Nvidia)

The RTX 3080 may have shown up to dethrone every other mainstream graphics card out there, but not everyone wants to pay that kind of royal pricing. That’s where the RTX 3070 comes in. It’s the cheaper sibling, but may be the more compelling choice for many who aren’t too concerned with 4K gaming. But, it comes into a space that’s occupied by the excellent RTX 2070 Super

And now that Black Friday deals are rapidly approaching, finding a graphics card in this price space is incredibly important. After all, 'tis the season to be saving, so you may as well get a graphics card that can keep up with the best PC games that will come out this holiday season. 

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super: Price

It’s tricky to evaluate the RTX 3070 and 2070 Super on their price at this point, as both cards have the same price on paper. The RTX 3070 will cost $499 (£469, about AU$700), meanwhile the RTX 2070 Super has a retail price of $499 (about £395, AU$720). Making matters even more muddled, the RTX 2070 Super isn’t selling for reasonable prices right now, as a quick look around the market shows no shortage of models selling for upwards of $700. 

We hope it goes without saying, but do not buy an RTX 2070 Super for over retail price right now. If anything, we should see sales on the older graphics card that drop it below retail price. We’d assume that as retailer inventory evens out, the RTX 2070 Super will be priced somewhere slightly below the new RTX 3070.

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super: Specs

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super

(Image credit: Future)

In a lot of ways, the RTX 3070 and 2070 Super look like they’d be a fairly even matchup. Both feature 8GB GDDR6 VRAM (that’s right, the 3070 didn’t get the same upgrade to GDDR6X that the rest of the Ampere family did). The 2070 Super even ekes out a lead in clock speeds with a 1,605MHz base and 1,770MHz boost to stay ahead of the RTX 3070’s 1,500MHz base and 1,730MHz boost clocks. 

But, then we take a look at the CUDA cores. With 5,888 CUDA cores, the RTX 3070 has more than double that of the 2070 Super at 2,560. Some of that may come down to the way that Nvidia has restructured its CUDA cores to include dedicated FP32 cores and additional cores that can tackle either INT32 or FP32, but FP32 cores will tend to carry more of the load in gaming and graphics, so a lead there is to the RTX 3070’s advantage.

The RTX 3070 also features newer RT (Ray Tracing) and Tensor cores, which should make features like ray-tracing and DLSS more capable on the new card. And, unlike the 3070’s bigger siblings, this new card only has a 220W TGP (Total Graphics Power), so it’s on an even footing with its predecessor in that regard.

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super: Performance

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super

(Image credit: Nvidia)

In every single benchmark we threw at the RTX 2070 Super and the RTX 3070, the latter came out ahead. Whether it was synthetic benchmarks or games at 1080p, 1440p, or 4K, the RTX 3070 invariably beats its predecessor.

In our benchmark suite of Time Spy Ultra, Fire Strike Extreme, and Port Royal, the RTX 3070 had an average lead of 38.9% over the RTX 2070 Super. This actually proved to be close to the performance lead it maintains in 4K gaming as well, where it saw a 38.2% advantage in average fps (frames-per-second) at 4K across a range of games from Metro Exodus to GTA:V. 

The performance difference shrinks as resolution gets lower, but it never gets too narrow. In our 1440p benchmarks, the RTX 3070 still maintains 31% higher average fps over the 2070 Super. That drops to a 22.5% advantage in 1080p, which is still nothing to overlook (the only benchmark the RTX 3070 lost was in Far Cry 5 at 1080p). 

The lead in 1080p and 1440p is perhaps more important, as neither card can quite hit a constant 60 fps at 4K with maxed out settings. And, it’s a nice perk for the RTX 3070 to be able to get those performance leads while also running cooler and drawing no more power than the 2070 Super.

Nvidia RTX 3070 vs RTX 2070 Super: Which should you buy?

Assuming you see the RTX 3070 and RTX 2070 Super at the same price, you should absolutely choose the RTX 3070. It’s performance uplift is significant, and it could show an even more significant advantage as newer games implement DLSS, ray tracing, and eventually Microsoft DirectStorage. So, unless you see the RTX 2070 Super available for significantly less (20-25% less) than the 3070, we’d recommend going with the newer card.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.