We are smack dab in the middle of the latest generation of graphics cards, and Nvidia has another for consumers in the Nvidia RTX 4070. Retailing for $599 – for the Founders Edition (FE) – this new card is Nvidia’s attempt to fully replace the last-generation RTX 3080.
I’ve used the Nvidia RTX 4070 as my daily driver graphics card for the better part of the last three weeks. But rather than spend time running traditional benchmarks in games and various software, I care more about it working how I need. Can it play the games at the settings I like? What about video rendering? How about development work? There are so many ways to judge a graphics card that doing a one-size-fits-all test just doesn’t make sense anymore.
With that said, let’s take a look at the brand-new RTX 4070.
What is the RTX 4070?
Like the other FE cards from Nvidia this generation, the RTX 4070 is a great-looking card. This run of FE designs has been my favorite in some time from Nvidia. The card is drastically smaller than the RTX 4090 and RTX 4070 Ti, but remains identical to the RTX 3080. Like the Intel Arc A750, it’s a nice-looking card in your machine that feels like it belongs.
Installation is simple enough using two PCIe 8-pin cables from your power supply (PSU) into the proprietary adapter Nvidia includes. Nvidia recommends a minimum of a 650W PSU, but I always suggest going a little bit higher than the recommended amount. In fact, most modern gaming PCs should have a 750W or better PSU. But, that’s just a suggestion from this single writer.
Gaming On The RTX 4070?
Obviously, the main reason anyone buys a new GPU is for better gaming performance. With the RTX 4070, you’re definitely going to get an improvement. Though, it does depend on what you’re upgrading from. If you have gone a couple of generations without an upgrade, then this could be a great choice.
Games like Forza Horizon 5 and F1 22 look and play fantastic with frame rates well over 120FPS at 1440p. Jumping to 4K, the results are less impressive and, to be honest, not worth talking much about because that’s not what this card is targeting. And, as I said, I’m not focusing so much on benchmarks as opposed to day-to-day performance.
Frame rate is what a lot of people focus on when it comes to their GPUs. If you are going to run your games in 1440p or 1080p, you want to get the best framerate possible. With the RTX 4070, you’re going to get solid numbers. Most games you play will hit well into the mid-100s at 1440p with no problem. For those Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players, you’re going to hit over 300FPS at 1440p with no issue. So good luck trying to blame your terrible play on your frame rates.
Then there is upscaling and frame generation. From Nvidia’s perspective, it seems as though DLSS 3 is how the newer cards are “beating” the prior generation as well as competing current-gen options. That’s all well and good, but until DLSS 3 because a standard available option in all games, it’s tough to view it as a major feature of the card. Right now it’s available in over 100 games, but it needs to become available in all new titles moving forward and even more legacy games.
There’s also the issue of input latency. Using DLSS 3 increases the latency a bit that even with Nvidia Reflex, you don’t get it fully back to where it is without it. Now, admittedly, most players won’t even notice it enough to care because of the boost in frame rates from the feature. However, there will be some of you that will question if it’s even worth keeping on.
When playing games like Forza Horizon 5, Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and Total War, among others, it’s impressive just how quiet the GPU remains. I’m one of those people who want my machine as quiet and cool as possible. Even under the heaviest gaming load, I’d prefer my PC to not sound like a jet engine ready for takeoff.
Wattage-wise, you won’t touch max TGP or have to worry about it if you have a good enough PSU. Hell, I found it pulling in roughly 175W-185W on average no matter the game. So, yeah, don’t worry about power usage.
Another great thing is just how stable the card is. When it comes to drivers, there’s no question that Nvidia has the best early-adopter support for its cards. Not a single crash or hiccup in the time I’ve used the card reminds me of why Nvidia has been on top for so long.
One last thing with gaming and general performance. If you are someone who likes to overclock, I wouldn’t bother. You aren’t going to get enough of a performance boost without putting it in extremely unsteady and unsafe settings.
If you want to jump into the new generation of Nvidia graphics cards for productivity benefits, the RTX 4070 won’t be a bad option. If you are a creator of any sort who needs to do any sort of rendering, you’re going to be happy with the results.
With Nvidia cards, you also get access to features like Nvidia Studio, Broadcast, Canvas, and Omniverse.
Rendering 1440p120FPS videos (I use VEGAS PRO for my videos) was done in half the time from anything I had prior that isn’t an RTX 4090 or RTX 4070 Ti. Even rendering my projects from Adobe After Effects saw a nearly 2.5x boost from when I was running an older AMD GPU.
The best part, to me, about the new generation is the AV1 encoding. H.264 encoding was good, but AV1 blows it out of the water. It uses less bitrate to produce smoother and higher-quality results. For streamers, this will help you produce much higher-quality live content for your viewers than ever. I honestly can’t talk enough about how much I’ve loved testing AV1 encoding over the past few months, and I know it’s only going to get better from here.
Is The Nvidia RTX 4070 Worth Buying?
At $599, the RTX 4070 still isn’t a cheap piece of hardware. However, it currently sits as the best deal Nvidia has going right now with its GPU lineup. Whether that’s because the company’s other 40-series GPUs are so overpriced is a debate for another time.
What I can say is that this is a card that feels (mostly) worth the cost. Performance at 1440p is great, DLSS 3 continues to be a nice addition (if the game adds it), and the productivity boosts will have you creating content quicker than ever. It’s also a very quiet card and its size is perfect for small form-factor builds.
I say mostly worth the cost because I don’t like how much the 4070 price jumped (~20%) compared to the 3070. Nvidia can say it’s because the new card competes with the 3080, but that’s not how consumers look at this. They will look at a 4070 and compare it to a 3070, and question why the price-to-performance increase is nearly 1:1.
If you have a 3070 Ti or better Nvidia GPU or even an AMD 6800 XT or better, I’d say spend your money elsewhere like upgrading your RAM or even your CPU/Motherboard. The other reason is if you really want 4K graphics. It can handle plenty of games at 4K, but the RTX 3080 still outperforms it in that area along with every other card above it.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy if you have a graphics card that is four-seven years old. Wait if you have something from the last generation or newer.
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