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Nvidia RTX 2070 Super vs 3070 – how big is the generational gap?


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When looking for your new best graphics cards you don’t always have to be after the newest generation. So this time we take a look at the RTX 2070 Super vs 3070 to see if you have to buy new for good performance. 

The 2070 Super came out in July 2019 so it is on the older side of the selection. As the 3070 is from the current new generation of GPUs. With the 3070 coming along just a year and a bit later in October 2020. Not the longest time between them as the Super is a refresh of the older 20 series.

ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER Advanced Overclocked

Pros

Great in-game performance

Cons

Few RTX-enabled games to enjoy

Asus Logo

ASUS ROG Strix NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Gaming

ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 3070

Pros

Excellent aesthetic design

Cons

On the higher end of the price spectrum

Architecture

There is a generational difference between the two graphics cards. The 20 series utilizing the Turing architecture is still based on TSMCs 12nm process. Whereas the new 30 series is an Ampere build that is built with Samsungs 8nm process.

RTX 3070 Gaming Trio power

In particular, the TU104 die in 2070 is a 545mm2 chip with 13.6 billion transistors. The GA104 processor in the 3070 is a 392mm2 chip with 17.4 billion transistors. Meaning the new gen is able to improve how packed the die is and fit more into the same space. 

Specifications

RTX 2070 Super RTX 3070
GPU TU104-410-A1 GA104-300-A1
Shaders 2560 5888
RT cores 40 46
TMUs 160 184
Memory 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6
Base clock 1605 MHz 1500 MHz
Boost clock 1770 MHz 1725 MHz
Memory clock 14 Gbps 14 Gbps
Card bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 4.0 x16
Memory bandwidth 448..0 GB/s 448.0 GB/s
TDP 215 W 220 W

Specifications tell us the core differences between these two graphics cards. They give us a basic understanding of what to expect between the two that sets them apart. Comparing 2070 Super vs 3070 also shows the core differences between the generations. So we take a look at the core specifications and what they entail.

Card bus

A key generational difference between the two is the bus interface of the GPUs. The interface is between the GPU and a motherboard. It determines the maximum speed allowed for the connection between the connecting components.

Between PCI generations there is usually a doubling of speed. So between gen 3 and 4, there is a doubling of speed. It’s the 3070 that gains the advantage of this new iteration. This means it can have a maximum throughput of 31.508 GB/s. Whereas 2070 with PCI 3.0 can only manage to achieve 15.74 GB/s.

Overall this means the 3070 can transmit more data without lag or delay. Although neither of them may achieve the full use of the interface so it shouldn’t cause too many problems.

RTX 3070 Gaming Trio close back

GPU cores

The cores are what make up the GPU die itself. Sections of the chip that are specialized in working through the numbers and generating their parts. In particular, we take a look at shaders, RT cores, and TMUs. Which are focused on shows and shading, real-time tracing, and imaging from bitmaps. Combined they create the graphics you see on your display.

Shader units are a big difference, with the 3070 more than double what 2070 has to offer. Whereas the RTs and TMUs are only increased by 15%. So likely stemming from the changed architecture and smaller process. Together likely leads to some differences in processing graphics.

VRAM

Video memory is a frame buffer and pixel store for creating graphics and ensuring smooth framerates. An important factor for every more demanding games and higher resolutions. The larger pixel counts require larger storage spaces for working well.

Comparing the 2070 Super vs 3070 nothing has changed in between the generations. They both utilize the same setup in terms of memory. They have 8GB of GDDR6 with the same bus and clock rate. Leading to no differences in throughput or performance difference in terms of VRAM.

Clock rate

GPU clock speed is a specification determined by the cycle rate of the silicon. It is a specification of how quickly the die card can process instructions and create graphics. Although not the only factor determining the performance of a GPU it can be an indicator and often is pushed further via overclocking.

RTX 3070 Gaming Trio RTX

In our comparison, the clock rates can be a bit surprising. It’s the 2070 Super that has a much higher base clock, at 1605 MHz compared to the 3070s 1500 MHz. As well as at the boost clock, although the difference is not as large this time 2070 does still take the lead. It has a boost of 1770 MHz, whereas the 3070 only 1725. Giving the advantage to the older card.

TDP

The thermal design power of a card is the maximum amount of energy a GPU will consume at max usage. It gives an idea of how much it will cost to run and how much heat the card will produce, as a lot of is converted when used. So there isn’t much difference between the two graphics cards, with 5W more in the new generation it isn’t a big factor. Both will need similar amounts of cooling although mostly down to AIBs.

2070 Super vs 3070 performance

Using 3dmarks benchmarks as a basis we can take a look at what the graphical scores both cards achieve. Give us a look at what kind of performance difference there is between the two. With these two there is a significant difference, the 2070 super achieves a score of 10,147 with a price to performance of 20. Whereas the 3070 manages 13,679 with a price to performance ratio of 27. Showing a great improvement with the newer generation if it converts.

It does translate into gaming performance. With the 3070 achieving an average of around 15% higher FPS than 2070 in gaming performance. Along with a 31% higher speed, it does take a great lead-in performance. So taking a clear lead over the other makes it easily a better choice.

RTX3070GAMINGTRIO 5

Price comparison

An important factor for some of us and making sure we get our money’s worth, we look at what the GPUs cost. In terms of launch price, they both have the same launch price of $499 (£395/£450), although slightly higher in the UK. Showing for the same cost you can get a difference in performance.

However, during the current market where GPUs are expensive with the shortage, it may not be possible to get a card at that price. And looking at the market it is clear it is unlikely with both nearly at double the price of MSRP. $900 currently for a 2070 Super, and $1000 for a 3070. In the UK you can get them for cheaper but the newer gen is still more expensive. You can find a 2070 Super for £592 and 3070 for £672.

GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB

Gigabyte 2070 Super

Cons

Few RTX-enabled games to enjoy

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio

MSI gaming x trio RTX 3070 1

Pros

Stylish, gaming aesthetics

Strong materials and build design

High-end cooling solution

Conclusion

In general, 2070 Super vs 3070 is quite similar. However, the new generation does give the advantage to the 3070 with improved architecture. Which gives it improved performance and makes it the superior choice. However, price and availability may be hard for both, the 3070 is usually more expensive even with the same MSRP so it will depend on your budget if it is worth it. Or if you have time you can wait for Intel ARC Alchemist GPUs or even the next-gen with RTX 4000 series cards for more choice and availability.

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