While the GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti are unapologetically high-end graphics cards with price points to match, the RTX 2070 is intended to be a more affordable mid-range option that should offer similar levels of performance to the outgoing GTX 1080 plus the same exciting but unproven features as the other RTX cards, namely real-time ray tracing (RTX) and deep learning super sampling (DLSS). In this article, we'll show you exactly what kind of performance you can expect out of the card in a wide range of recent game releases, and how the RTX 2070 compares to its closest competitors from Nvidia and AMD.

It's these performance numbers that will form the bulk of this story, but we'll also briefly cover the card's DLSS capabilities. While DLSS has yet to arrive in a shipping game, this tech could still become a crucial point of differentiation for the RTX 2070 against its nearest rival, the GTX 1080, as it has the potential to unlock considerable extra performance built into the Turing architecture.

The RTX 2070's performance will be measured against its bigger brother, the RTX 2080, plus two 10-series cards, the GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti. We'll also compare the 2070 against AMD's current top graphics card, the RX Vega 64, even though it is somewhat cheaper than Nvidia's offerings. Our testing was performed at 1440p and 4K to best show the difference between these cards, as 1080p testing is often too CPU-limited - even with a Core i7 8700K pinned to 4.7GHz. Before we get into the benchmarks, it's worth noting that the Nvidia Founders Edition cards we're testing come with a factory overclock applied, something that wasn't true of Founders Edition GTX 10-series cards. That means that the RTX cards get a small boost over their GTX brethren.

RTX_2070
The RTX 2070 may eclipse the venerable GTX 1080, thanks to its inclusion of RTX and DLSS technologies in line with impressive rasterised performance.
RTX 2080 RTX 2070 GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 Vega 64
GPU cores 2944 2304 3584 2560 4096
Giga Rays/sec 8 6 1.21 1? ?
RTX-OPS 60T (57T) 45T (42T) 12T 8T ?
VRAM 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 11GB GDDR5X 8GB GDDR5X 8GB HBM2
Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 352-bit 256-bit 2048-bit
Mem. Bandwidth 448GB/s 448GB/s 484GB/s 352GB/s 439GB/s
Base Clock 1515MHz 1410MHz 1480MHz 1607MHz 1200MHz
Boost Clock 1800MHz
(1710MHz)
1710MHz
(1620MHz)
1582MHz 1733MHz 1536MHz
TDP 225W (215W) 185W (170W) 250W 180W 295W

The table above includes the Founders Edition figures, with the reference equivalents in parentheses.

We introduced a new benchmarking system this spring, and we've used it again for our RTX 20-series results here. Rather than using static bar charts or videos with burned-in telemetry, we've built a dynamic system that allows you to watch each test scene play out with live frame-rate and frame time data from just the cards and resolutions you're interested in. Simply hit the play button on the video, then add or remove cards and resolutions using the controls to the right. Below the live feed, you'll also see more conventional bar charts summarising the average frame-rates throughout the scene. Mouse over the chart to see the actual figures, including the oft-illuminating best and worst one per cent figures. Now, let's get into the results!

Assassin's Creed Unity

In general, we expect a new generation graphics card to rival its immediate predecessor from a higher tier - so the mid-range RTX 2070 ought to provide the same level of performance as the high-end GTX 1080. In a challenging in-game cutscene from late 2014 title Assassin's Creed Unity, the RTX 2070 manages to meet those expectations with ease. At ultra high settings, the new card is six per cent faster than the GTX 1080, turning in a result of 73fps at 1440p and 37fps at 4K. These are excellent results, considering that the mammoth RTX 2080 Ti is the only card we've tested capable of averaging over 60fps at 4K.

Assassin's Creed Unity: Ultra High, FXAA

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Battlefield 1

Next up we have Battlefield 1, the latest release of the long-running multiplayer-focused shooter series. The brief tank run through no man's land produces some intermittent frame-time jumps, courtesy of randomised nearby explosions, but the trend remains clear: the RTX 2070 outperforms the GTX 1080 by a healthy 10 per cent margin at 1440p, coming closer to the GTX 1080 Ti than the GTX 1080 in performance. It's a slightly different story at 4K, with the 2070 only delivering six per cent better performance than the GTX 1080. Even so, it's still good for an average frame-rate north of 60fps at 4K - not bad for an obstensibly mid-range card!

Battlefield 1: Ultra, TAA

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Crysis 3

Five years on, Crysis 3 is still a tough challenge for any PC at very high settings with expensive SMAA T2X anti-aliasing. The RTX 2080 Ti was the first card to crack a 60fps average at 4K, with the 2080 only managing 53fps. The 2070 takes another step back, hitting 43fps at 4K - that's 18 per cent behind the 2080 and 36 per cent behind the 2080 Ti. Still, the new card manages to out-perform the GTX 1080 by the slimmest of margins, keeping its winning streak alive.

Crysis 3: Very High, SMAA T2X

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Far Cry Primal

The RTX 2070 continues in 2015 release Far Cry Primal, where it scores seven to eight per cent higher on average than the GTX 1080, with a mean average of 87fps at 1440p and 47fps at 4K. With a good G-Sync monitor or a few settings tweaks, that's more than playable at 4K. The RTX 2070 also outperforms the Vega 64 here by a few frames per second, despite the AMD card's overperformance in this particular benchmark.

Far Cry Primal: Ultra, SMAA

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Ghost Recon Wildlands is the most challenging game in our current benchmark suite, but the mid-range RTX 2070 card still manages to head off the GTX 1080. On average, the 2070 turns in 51fps at 1440p and 32fps at 4K, both of which are five per cent ahead of the higher-tier last-gen card. That 4K result doesn't sound great, but it's worth keeping in mind that even the mighty RTX 2080 Ti scores only 47fps in this test!

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Ultra, TAA

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The penultimate Tomb Raider release on PC, 2016's Rise of the Tomb Raider provides a reasonable test of modern graphics cards despite being a poor facsimile of actual in-game performance. The GTX 1080 and RTX 2070 are neck and neck here, with the RTX 2070 scoring 95fps and the GTX 1080 94fps on average at 1440p. It's a similar story at 4K for the 2070 and 1080, at 50fps and 49fps, respectively.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: Very High, SMAA

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

This year's Lara Croft outing includes an even more challenging benchmark that's also more representative of actual gameplay, making it a much more helpful test to run. Shadow of the Tomb Raider also promises both RTX and DLSS support, both of which could be big draws for RTX 2070 owners in the future. Right now, all we can do is look at traditional performance metrics - and here the RTX 2070 acquits itself well. Averages of 72fps at 1440p and 38fps at 4K mean that the RTX 2070 sits almost exactly between the GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Highest, TAA

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

The Witcher 3

The RTX 2070 reprises its role as the midpoint between the GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti in a slightly older title, 2015's The Witcher 3. In our horse-bound tour of the game's city streets, the RTX 2070 is able to deliver a comfortable 95fps at 1440p and 51fps at 4K - a few settings tweaks away from a perfect 4K/60! Meanwhile, the RTX 2080 is able to hit that target with no settings changes required, while the 2080 Ti has some breathing room at an average of 77fps. Just don't turn on Hairworks, which even on a next-gen Nvidia card still brings an absolute ludicruous performance penalty.

Witcher 3: Ultra, Post-AA, No Hairworks

  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • Vega 64
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein 2 is another recent addition to our benchmark suite, providing an excellent showcase of the id Tech 6 engine and a tough test for any graphics card. At 4K, the RTX 2070 manages to deliver over 60fps on average, just ahead of the GTX 1080. The RTX 2070 is still the baby of the new RTX cards though, with its average frame-rate 23 per cent behind the RTX 2080 and 37 per cent behind the RTX 2080 Ti.

Wolfenstein 2 Vulkan: Uber, TSSAA 8X

  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080

DLSS vs TAA: Final Fantasy 15

We'll conclude with a look at how this card supports deep learning super sampling (DLSS), as we initially only looked at DLSS performance on the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti. Thankfully, DLSS works just as well on the 2070 as it does on the higher-end RTX cards, boosting performance in this Final Fantasy 15 demo by almost 40 per cent when switching from TAA to DLSS. In fact, with DLSS enabled, the RTX 2070 comes within striking distance of the RTX 2080 Ti with traditional TAA. That's a pretty impressive result; once DLSS finally starts appearing on shipping titles, it could be an absolute game-changer for the RTX series in general and the diminutive RTX 2070 in particular!

Final Fantasy 15 Demo: TAA vs DLSS

  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Ti

With game performance summarised and our short look at DLSS concluded, that's the end of the article. For more details on this exciting new card from Nvidia, check out our full RTX 2070 review or our RTX 2070 video review on YouTube.

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2.

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