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HomeReviewNVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition review: Mainstream Ada Lovelace has arrived

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition review: Mainstream Ada Lovelace has arrived

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition review: Mainstream Ada Lovelace has arrived

Note: This review was first published on 12 April 2023.

A 'value-class' Ada Lovelace GPU arrives

NVIDIA's much-anticipated GeForce RTX 4070 release aims to make its next-gen GPU – or current-gen now – based on the Ada Lovelace architecture more budget-friendly, and it certainly delivers. At US$599, the GeForce RTX 4070 is a solid 25 per cent cheaper than its Ti sibling, although it's predicted to be about 20 per cent slower in return. Nevertheless, with the same 12GB VRAM as the 4070 Ti, the newRTX 4070 has become an equally compelling choice.

Just like the RTX 4070 Ti, the standard 4070 model is built on the AD104 silicon, but with a scaled-down configuration of 5888 CUDA cores, which is about 23 per cent fewer than the Ti version. It also has lesser texture units and ROP units thanits Ti sibling. The base clock is also lowered to 1920MHz, a 17 per cent drop, while the boost clock only sees a 5 per cent reduction.

Note the single 12VHPWR connector used on the FE edition.

Memory-wise, NVIDIA has stuck with the same 21Gbps GDDR6X on a 192-bit wide bus, resulting in a 504GB/s bandwidth, identical to the RTX 4070 Ti. As previously mentioned, the RTX 4070 still packs 12GB VRAM, now deemed the minimum for a non-entry-level performance GPU and so makes the prospects of 1440p gaming and even 4K much better.

This time for the RTX 4070, NVIDIA has also introduced a Founders Edition, which was absent for the 4070 Ti. Sporting a total graphics power rating of 200W, the green company has crafted a dual-slot card. The RTX 4070 may appear small next to the colossal 4090, 4080, and 4070 Ti cards, but it's actually quite standard when compared to previous generations, bearing a striking resemblance to the RTX 3070 Founders Edition in size and weight.

For power, the Founders Edition of the RTX 4070 features a single 12VHPWR connector and comes with a dual 8-pin adapter. However, unlike the earlier RTX 40 series cards, NVIDIA allows its AIB partners to opt for the more conventional 8-pin connector if they prefer, which will also come as good news for system integrators and PC enthusiasts.

GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs compared
GeForceGraphics Card RTX4090 FE RTX 4080 FE RTX 4070 Ti (ROG Strix) RTX 4070 FE
GPU Ada Lovelace (AD102) Ada Lovelace (AD103) Ada Lovelace (AD104) Ada Lovelace (AD104)

Process

4nm (TSMC)

4nm (TSMC)

4nm (TSMC)

5nm (TSMC)

Transistors 76 billion 45 billion 35.8 billion 35.8 billion
Streaming Multi-processors (SM) 128 76 60 46
CUDA cores 16384 9728 7680 5888
Tensor Cores 512(Gen 4) 304(Gen 4) 240(Gen 4) 184(Gen 4)
RT Cores 128(Gen 3) 76(Gen 3) 60(Gen 3) 46(Gen 3)
GPU base / boost clocks (MHz) 2230 / 2520 2205 / 2505 2310 / 2760 1920 / 2475
Memory 24GB GDDR6X 16GB GDDR6X 12GB GDDR6X 12 GDDR6X
Memory bus width 384-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit
Memory bandwidth 1,018GB/s 716.8GB/s 504.2GB/s 504.2GB/s
Interface PCIe 4.0
TDP 450W 320W 285W 200W
Price (at launch) US$1,599 US$1,199 US$799 US$599

Performance benchmarks

For benchmarks, our graphics card test rig comes with the following specifications:

Intel 12th Gen Core i9-12900K CPUROG Maximus Z690 HeroSamsung 980 Pro 1TB SSDKingston Fury 32GB DDR5Windows 11 Home 64-bitASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ 4K Gaming Monitor

Apart from the three existing RTX 40 series cards, I have also compared the 4070 with the previous-gen RTX 30 series cards. This will give us some clarity on how the 4070 performs gen-to-gen against its predecessor, the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition. I have also included AMD's flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX to add some spice into the competition.

Gaming

At 1080p, the RTX 4070's performance pretty much matches up to its more powerfulRTX 40 series siblings, except in RTS games like Total War: Three Kingdoms, where the GPU has to render tons of units in the battle map. With such games, a higher-end GPU will be more beneficial, and even more so at higher resolutions.

At 1440p and 4K, we see the RTX 4070's performance tapering off compared to the more powerful cards but that is to be expected. But let's compare it to the cards below it: And here we can see the RTX 4070 besting not only its predecessor, the RTX 3070, but also the RTX 3070 Ti.

Playing games at 4K, with all visual and ray-tracing settings turned on, is a little extreme with the RTX 4070. You really need the monstrous RTX 4090 for that sort of gaming experience. But NVIDIA's little super-sampling cheat that I absolutely love, DLSS, makes that a little more possible with cards below the RTX 4090.

The latest DLSS 3.0 offers better performance in games like Cyberpunk that supports it, but as most mainstream games today only support up to DLSS 2.0, I benchmarked the same game using this setting (and with all visual and ray tracing settings turned on as well) as a gauge to how the RTX 4070 compares with the other cards and the result isn't too promising. You will need to either switch on DLSS 3.0 (for games that support it), or stick to resolutions below 4K.

In all fairness, the RTX 4070 was never meant to fly at 4K with full visual settings turned on anyway.

Content Creation

It's not just games where the RTX 4070 surpasses its RTX 30 series predecessors. For content creations, the GPU is a marked upgrade to not just the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3070, but in Adobe Premiere Pro, the RTX 4070 is only just a hair behind the RTX 3080 Ti.

Power and Temperature

We have known for a while now that in terms of power efficiency, the RTX 40 series cards are just better at performance-to-watts when compared to the previous GPU generation. The chart above is a testament to the superiority of the Ada Lovelace architecture compared to the RTX 30 series' Ampere.

What's interesting is this: The RTX 4090 FE has a higher power draw than the RTX 3090 FE, but we have to remember that its performance blows the latter out of the water in almost all of our game benchmarks. The RTX 4070 on the other hand, not only beats the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3070, but did so while running at a much lower power output.

It's very impressive, if you think about it.

Thoughts and opinions

NVIDIA has positioned the GeForce RTX 4070 as a graphics card focused on 1440p gaming, yet it's also adept at handling certain 4K situations, provided you temper your expectations. In a separate benchmark not mentioned earlier, the card attained 69fps in Cyberpunk, complete with maxed-out graphics, "ultra" ray tracing settings, and DLSS 3.0 activated. Although capable of 4K, the RTX 4070 shines brightest as a 1440p gaming card.

The RTX 4070 Founders Edition also features an efficient cooling system and relatively modest power demands (NVIDIA recommends a 650W PSU), ensuring our energy bills won't go through the roof.

In my opinion, at US$599, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 is the first graphics card of its generation to deliver truly excellent value. Boasting impressive performance, achieving around 50 to 60 per cent of the RTX 4090 but at close to one-third the launch price, the RTX 4070 ensures gamers won't miss out on a top-tier gaming experience because of a tight budget. Considering the RTX 4070's outstanding capabilities, I'm genuinely eager to find out what the RTX 4060 (and RTX 4060 Ti, perhaps) have to offer when NVIDIA eventually unveils it.

Stay tuned to our separate analysis on how the GeForce RTX 4070 fairs in our local pricing landscape once AIB partners release local pricing and availability information.

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