It is not always about getting the best of the best installed on your computer. Probably because the best is the most expensive. The average enthusiast is not interested in paying $1500 for flagship NVIDIA or the $1000 flagship AMD GPU.
Most enthusiasts are looking for the best bang for the buck. The RTX 3070 and RX 6800 are exactly what most gamers have been searching for.
However, it seems like a lot of PC gamers are aiming towards the green side. It makes sense though. The 3070 offers better ray-tracing performance and has DLSS. With DLSS turned on in games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Death Stranding, and Control, you can gain a huge FPS boost without losing any kind of graphical fidelity.
So, unless AMD releases something that can compete against NVIDIA’s AI upscaling technology, DLSS, you should be looking to buy an RTX 3070.
But, with so many different variations of the GPU on the market, you may have trouble making the right decision.
With this list of the best RTX 3070 graphics cards, you should be able to decide whether to buy from ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, Zotac, EVGA, or other AIB manufacturers.
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MSI RTX 3070 GAMING X TRIO
Interface: 3 x Display Port (1.4a), 1 x HDMI (2.1)
Boost core clock – 1830 MHz
Dimensions: L: 323 x W: 140 x H:56 mm
- Zero RPM mode up to 60 °C
- Rarely over 70°C with the stock fan curve
- Good boost clock
- Cheap RGB LED strip
Whether you buy low-end GPUs or high-end GPUs from MSI, the end result is always the same. You will be satisfied with the product. Sure, MSI doesn’t often come out with any groundbreaking ideas or amazing designs, but at least they stay consistent.
Either way, getting your hands on the right RTX 3070 AIB variant is going to prove difficult with so many alternatives on the market. But, out of the bunch, the RTX 3070 GAMING X TRIO is a definite contender for best overall. This thing delivers in (almost) every aspect.
The RTX 3070 was released with an official MSRP of $559.99 which is $60 more than the Founders Edition. For an xx70 that is quite the price hike, but after the ridiculous pricing of the RTX 2000 series, anything is expected. Sixty dollars extra is not awful, but it isn’t great either. A final opinion can be formed after checking out what the competitors have to offer.
The GAMING X TRIO takes the triple-fan standard with an all-black plastic shroud. There are a few silver elements added on the front, around the fans, but all-in-all, the whole look is quite simple and straightforward.
On the side, we get a logo and MSI written right next to it. Both of these have RGB lighting. Right next to it, there’s a white GEFORCE RTX sticker. This does not light up.
Above the two logos, you see along white and translucent plastic strip This too has RGB lighting. Unfortunately, it seems like MSI went cheap on the LEDs because there’s not enough light to make the entire plastic strip shine seamless. The separate LEDs behind the white plastic are noticeable.
For a card that costs $560, this shouldn’t be unacceptable.
On the top (or back) there is a graphene backplate. I would prefer the backplate to be made out of aluminum or some other metal, but supposedly this graphene plate can help with heat dissipation. Removing the backplate shows thermal pads to help with the dissipation.
Performance and Overclocking Capabilities
On MSI’s official product page, specifications show a core clock boost of 1830 MHz. This is almost 100 MHz faster than the Founders Edition. Even with the price premium in mind, that sounds like a good factory overclock.
However, from various sources and benchmarks, the GAMING X TRIO is seen boosting to about 1950 MHz. This is quite impressive, but they may not be any user overclocking.
Fortunately, many users of this GPU have reported that they have successfully pushed the core clock from 1950 MHz up to 2040 or even 2050 MHz. That is a considerable improvement although it will not be as impressive with in-game performance.
With custom overclocking, expect an FPS boost of around 3% to 5%.
Until now, the GAMING X TRIO RTX 3070 seems like a great choice. But, are the fans and the heatsink good enough to withstand 245 W of power consumption? That’s about 20 W more than the 3070 FE.
A lot of reviews and users report that this MSI GPU rarely gets over 65 °C. That is pretty good considering how powerful the 3070 is. The GDDR6 memory, the PCB, and the VRMs run cool on this MSI. The PCB averages around 49 °C What’s even better is that the fans spin up only when the GPU die reaches a temperature over 60°C. And when they do, they are pretty silent. Overall, the GAMING X TRIO 3070 has great thermals and cooling.
ASUS RTX 3070 TUF GAMING
Interface: 3 x DisplayPort (1.4), 2 x HDMI (2.1)
OC Mode – 1845 MHz (Boost Clock)
Gaming Mode – 1815 MHz (Boost Clock)
Dimensions: L: 299 x W: 126 x H:51
- Solid overclocking capabilities
- Two HDMI 2.1 ports
- Aluminum backplate, but no heat dissipation
- Bad choice for RGB enthusiasts
The Strix models from ASUS have always ranked in the top three in terms of cooling and performance. But, the Strix models also come with a big price premium. If you prefer ASUS and you want the best bang for your buck, there are some more affordable variants available. The ASUS RTX 3070 TUF GAMING.
In the past, the entire TUF GAMING lineup wasn’t exactly impressive. Back when AMD’s 5700XT was released, the TUF GPUs had awful thermals and cooling. This was quickly revised after a few months.
That is not a great sign, but ASUS have redeemed themselves and are finally making a comeback with their cheaper variants. Let’s see whether TUF can keep up with the X TRIO.
Original pricing for the RTX 3070 TUF GAMING was $550. That’s about $50 above the MSRP of the Founders Edition card. That’s also $10 less than the MSI variant. This is to be expected and there probably will not be any other custom AIB card on this performance level that is cheaper. It is safe to say that ASUS hit the sweet spot.
But, the price is good only if the graphics card performs as well as it should.
If you consider the design of the STRIX models, you will notice that ASUS prefers a strong and industrial design style most of the time. Jagged edges, metal accents, bolts, screws, etc. A lot of RGB too.
This time around though, the TUF is much simpler. The RGB lighting is also minimal.
On the front (or bottom), again we see the standard triple-fan setup. All the three fans are the same size and black. The shroud around the fans is black/grey. There are no additional elements or accents.
It’s not complicated at all which is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you are into a more modern and simplistic style.
The only RGB can be found on the side coming from the TUF logo and a small line/slit under it.
On the back, there is an aluminum backplate. That is always nice to see, but it doesn’t have any direct contact with the PCB which means it is not used as a heat spreader.
Performance and Overclocking Capabilities
Out of the box, ASUS claims a boosted core clock of 1815 MHz. If you want to push the TUF for a bit more FPS, you may want to enable the OC Mode to an extra 30 MHz more.
Several benchmarks and users report a higher boost clock than that. In GPU demanding games, the TUF can comfortably sit at around 1890 MHz. This shows potential for an ever better OC.
You would think that one of the cheaper variants of the RTX 3070 wouldn’t be able to withstand any additional power and temperature for a faster core clock, but benchmarks show that the TUF can easily pass the 2.0 GHz mark. With enough tweaking, 2030 MHz is possible. Your mileage may vary though.
The power consumption of the RTX 3070 TUF GAMING is very similar to the GAMING X TRIO, averaging around 240-245 W on heavy loads.
Since this is an overall smaller GPU than the MSI variant, worse thermals are expected, but that is not the case here. Even with a smaller heatsink, ASUS has successfully delivered appropriate cooling.
Even on heavy loads, the temperature of the GPU die doesn’t go above 65 °C. In fact, it averages around 62 °C. The PCB is even lower than that. Only 54 °C. The VRMs and the GDDR6 memory also manage to stay cool during heavy gaming.
The GAMING X TRIO does perform better, but the TUF is very close.
GIGABYTE RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G
Interface: 2 x DisplayPort (1.4), 2 x HDMI (2.1)
Boost core clock – 1815 MHz
Dimensions: L: 286 x W: 115 x H:51
- Can easily go over the 2100 MHz OC limit
- Good thermals even with a higher OC
- Small in size
- Dull visual appearance
If you are ever considering whether you should get a Gigabyte GPU, there are a few things you should know about their previous AIB models.
Throughout the past several AMD and NVIDIA releases (GTX 1000, RTX 2000, RX 500, and RX 5000 series) Gigabyte has delivered both adequate cooling and solid performance in both the lower-end and higher-end segment.
For the RTX 3000 (and RX 6000) series, you should expect the same kind of results. The RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G in terms of pricing can be found between the cheaper and premium models. So, let’s see how it fares against the TUF and X TRIO.
The original price for the RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G is $570. This does not seem very promising considering the $560 MSRP of the X TRIO and the even lower MSRP of the TUF GAMING. A few dozen dollars difference may not seem like a lot, but if that small price increase is not justified, no one should be or will be buying Gigabyte.
Let’s delve deeper into the design, performance, and thermals to see exactly why it is $70 over the Founders Edition.
For those extra few dollars, there is no reason to expect anything groundbreaking in terms of visual appearance. And that’s exactly the case. The RTX 3070 GAMING OC is quite similar to the TUF GAMING. Simple, with the usual triple-fan setup.
However, the whole concept seems a bit flat and dull even if you are into simplicity. The TUF GAMING executes that same kind of style much better.
The card also lacks a bit of RGB lighting too. The only “shiny” thing on this card is the Gigabyte logo on the side.
The backplate does have a more interesting appearance, especially with it being metal (probably aluminum). Unfortunately, like the TUF, there are no thermal pads to create contact between the backplate and the PCB.
Overall, the card looks good, but it is definitely not a leader in this segment.
Performance and Overclocking Capabilities
If you were disappointed by some of the information above, you will be glad to hear that this Gigabyte card does not disappoint when it comes to power, performance, and overclocking.
Several reviews report that the power draw for this graphics card is a bit higher than the alternatives, but there is a good reason why. Even though the official specifications show a boost core clock of only 1815 MHz, this GPU easily jumps up and stabilizes between 2000 and 2050 MHz.
That is pretty impressive. Additionally, it is possible to push the RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G even further through MSI Afterburner. Even though the power limit is already at max, it is possible to gain another 50 or even 100 MHz.
Keep in mind, to get the maximum power limit and best factory boost clocks, you will need to switch to the OC Bios.
Naturally, with a higher power limit and a higher factory overclock, this GPU is going to produce a lot more heat and that is definitely noticeable.
Where the TUF and X TRIO rarely went over 65 °C, the GAMING OC 8G quickly reached an average temperature of 70 °C. That is quite a lot more, but considering the performance you would get out of that extra heat, it doesn’t look too bad.
The Best RTX 3070s – Which One Is For You?
All of these three variants of NVIDIA’s RTX 3070 perform well in every aspect while also coming at a fair price. Worst case scenario, people need to pay $70 over the Founders Edition.
At the end of the day, finding any NVIDIA FE card is usually impossible. In other words, all of these three cards are a great deal.
But, which one of these is the best graphics card for you?
The MSI RTX 3070 GAMING X TRIO is the Best Overall option because of the impressive thermals, good boost clocks, and design. The card is great in almost every aspect.
The ASUS RTX 3070 TUF GAMING gets the Best Value award. The TUF is just as good as the X TRIO. Saving ten dollars might not be a lot of money, but you could invest it for a slightly better motherboard or even RAM.
The GIGABYTE RTX 3070 GAMING OC 8G is not getting any special awards this time, but that does not make it a bad card.
Every single one of these three graphics cards would be a solid choice.