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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 review: the typical performance upgrade spectrum

Death Stranding, Far Cry 5, Hitman 2, Assassin's Creed Odyssey.

With the RTX 3070 impressing so far, let's see how it performs in a broader range of titles - including games that weren't selected by Nvidia to demonstrate RTX 30-series cards.

On this page, we're opting for two Ubisoft games, Far Cry 5 and Assassin's Creed Odyssey, plus two new additions for autumn 2020: the sublime Death Stranding and the clinical Hitman 2. There's an even split between DX11 and DX12 here, with Ubisoft on the former and the others on the latter, allowing us to see how the RTX 3070 performs at lower resolutions with slightly older APIs.

As we mentioned before, we're using our 2020 test rig for these benchmarks. The heart of the system is a Core i9 10900K locked to an all-core turbo frequency of 5.0GHz on a ultra premium Asus Maximus 12 Extreme Z490 motherboard. This is cooled with a Corsair H110i 280mm AiO and backed with 16GB of dual-channel G.Skill Trident Z Royal DDR4 RAM at 3600MHz CL16. To keep our entire test suite installed on a single drive, we're relying on a 2TB Samsung 970 Evo Plus NVMe SSD. All of this is powered by a 1000W Corsair RM1000i PSU.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding is a game we had to include in our test suite, as it's the first of many 'strand-type' games to be developed for the personal computer. This title is also home to one of the most convincing implementations of Nvidia's DLSS AI upscaling technology, which to our eyes looks better than traditional TAA while delivering significantly higher frame-rates. Sadly, not all cards support DLSS, so we've left the feature disabled for this particular test - just know that there is far more horsepower that you can tap into here on RTX 20-series and 30-series hardware.

Let's take a look at the comparison between the RTX 3070 and its bigger brothers first - how much performance do you lose stepping down from the RTX 3090 and 3080 to the more modestly-sized 3070? The 3090 has unsurprisingly recorded the highest 4K average frame-rate of any card we tested so far, at 105fps, with the 3080 close behind at 96fps. The 3070 still manages a respectable 73fps, meaning you're getting around 75 per cent of the performance of the RTX 3080 for 70 per cent of its price - not bad.

Let's compare the 3070 to some older cards too. The RTX 3070 leads the 2070 Super by 37 per cent and the RTX 2080 by a solid 20 per cent. If we go further back, we find a 120 per cent lead for the new card over the GTX 1070 and a 77 per cent lead over the GTX 1080 - enough to justify an upgrade, I would have thought, even without taking into account the fact that DLSS could significantly more performance on top of that.

Death Stranding: Max, DX12, TAA

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 comes next, and this is a game that really runs a lot of its processing on a single thread - both in the integrated benchmark we're using for testing and actual gameplay. That means that processors that focus on a high core count tend to lose out against CPUs with faster cores, and even the bleeding-edge Core i9 10900K gets a bit CPU bottlenecked at lower resolutions. At 4K though, where we spent the bulk of our analysis time, there's still a noticeable difference between all of the graphics cards we tested. The RTX 3070 outperforms the 2070 Super by 33 per cent, a smaller margin than we've seen previously, while the RTX 2080 Ti holds a seven per cent lead over the new card. The GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 owners will see more meaningful improvements, with the RTX 3070 leading the older cards by 109 and 65 per cent, respectively. It'll be interesting to see if Far Cry 6, currently expected in February 2021, exhibits similar tendencies or incorporates a more modern design.

Far Cry 5: Ultra, DX11, TAA

Hitman 2

Hitman 2 offers both colourful locales and grimy murder holes to visit, and the integrated benchmark does a good job of showing you more of the former and less of the latter. The game is highly CPU-bound at lower resolutions, and even at 4K we see less of a difference between different graphics cards. The RTX 3070 manages 69fps at Ultra HD, a solid eight per cent behind the RTX 2080 Ti - the worst showing we've seen yet. Compared to the RTX 2070 Super, the 3070 leads the older card by 33 per cent; if we look back to the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 the margin becomes 120 and 70 per cent, respectively - fairly typical figures based on our testing thus far.

Hitman 2: Ultra, DX12, TAA

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

Assassin's Creed Odyssey's benchmark is perhaps the longest in our test suite - not because the scene itself takes a long time to play out, but because you have to go through several tedious loading screens between each run.* Regardless, the ACO results are fascinating, with the RTX 3070 just missing out on that 60fps average with a result of 52fps at 4K and the maximum 'ultra high' preset. That's still enough to outperform the RTX 2080 Ti by around three per cent, the largest advantage we've seen for the 3070 at 4K so far and one that's repeated at 1080p and 1440p to prove it's far from a one-off result.

Compared to the RTX 2070 Super and 2080, the RTX 3070 achieves a pretty solid improvement at 4K - 36 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively, for cards that cost $30 and $200 more than the RTX 3070's RRP. The GTX 1070 particularly struggles here too, allowing the RTX 3070 to claim a healthy 123 per cent lead over its grandfather.

*Another potential fly in the ointment are the variable cloud conditions in the benchmark. Annoyingly true to life, the presence of storm clouds can cause performance to drop; likewise we see a good deal of variance in lowest one per cent scores from run to run, especially at low resolutions. Therefore, it's best to look largely at the averages here, as it's easy to read too much into the other metrics.

AC Odyssey: Ultra High, DX11, TAA

Next, let's look at our final set of rasterised game benchmarks - including one classic 'banana skin' title, a recent graphical powerhouse and the first racing game to grace our benchmark suite in a long time.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Analysis