Are you ready for the closest GPU battle this generation so far, with both of these kicking out almost 500 FPS in Rainbow Six Siege? The big problem is only one of them comes close to hitting 60 FPS in Cyberpunk. Today, I’m pitting two of the most powerful mid-tier contenders against each other in a showdown that’s sure to leave you at the edge of your seat. In one corner, we have the RTX 4070, the latest and greatest from Nvidia on the mid-tier front. In the other corner, we have the RTX 3080, a fan favorite among gamers and content creators.
The question is when you pit them against each other in the benchmarks, who will come out on top? Who will be worth the compromises, and for sure as hell, who’s going to be worth the cost?
Let’s start by taking a closer look at the RTX 4070. This, again, is the latest and greatest offering from Team Green. Now, Nvidia expected this to be a game-changer for gamers and content creators alike. Now, don’t get me wrong, the RTX 4070 is a solid card. The problem is the price is pretty damn mushy.
Next up, we have the RTX 3080. Yes, as a generation old, it’s been around for a while, but it’s proven to be the best choice among gamers and content creators. That’s because it offers great performance and is definitely known to handle even the most demanding of games. It also doesn’t hurt that the used market is currently making these more and more affordable every single day, at least for now. Now, it’s important to note the RTX 3080 is a generation old again, but it was never intended to be a mid-tier card. The problem is, due to shortages, the price skyrocketed. The price fall it has now become, unfortunately. Right now, the closest competitor for a mid-tier card against the 4070 is Nvidia, which is not releasing anything in that price bracket other than this, and AMD is apparently lost and not found yet.
The almighty question is how do they actually stack up against each other, at least on paper? I’ll put the specs on the screen for you guys, but it’s important to note a couple of things. Yes, the 3080 does have more CUDA cores, but they are one generation old. VRAM again, the 3080 appears to lose 10 gigabytes, and the 4070 has 12. They are both GDDR6. Furthermore, clock speed looks at the 3080 slacking, but it is important to note the 30 series was well known to easily clock past two gigahertz on its own without any manual overclocking. Where the 3000 series 3080 comes back into play is it does have more RT cores and Tensor cores. Yes, they’re a generation older, but there’s a little bit of muscle behind all those cores.
The 4070 does swing back by being more efficient and helping that cost factor a little bit by being a 200-watt card, whereas the RTX 3080 was a 320-watt card per Nvidia spec.
I’ve taken both these GPUs and put them on my average gamer’s test bench, ran a series of tests, and now we’re going to see how they stack up against each other head to head. Now, some of these results may not surprise you, but what will surprise you is coming up after the benchmarks.
As you can see from the benchmarks, both these GPUs perform very, very well. They’re both solid choices at 1080p and 1440p. They’re equal, neck and neck. The 3080 takes the lead in 4k with about ten more performances. That’s likely due to the fact that it has a lot more CUDA cores, even though they’re one generation old.
Where this starts to get interesting is when you start looking at ray tracing. Now, yes, I do a lot of testing in ray tracing. I’m not going to give you a bunch of graphs because I don’t want to keep you guys here forever.
I’m going to summarize it as best as possible. Now, for ray tracing, they traded blows in all the tests. Literally, they were at the maximum gap that I measured, 10 FPS apart. Most of them were two to five. Where that, again, comes into play is the fact that this has more RT cores, but this keeps up because it has newer RT cores. Now, whether you love it or hate it, DLSS does play a massive role in this, especially DLSS 3 with FrameGen. If you turn on FrameGen, this basically gets turned into a 3090 competitor, and yes, 3090, not 3080. It even kisses the heels of a 4080 at times. Pending the 4080 is not also using DLSS. This is something the 3080 cannot do, even with DLSS 2 in performance mode. Now, I ran all my tests at balance.
When deciding between these two cards, performance isn’t the only thing you need to think about. You should consider price, availability, and compatibility for whatever software or games you intend to play. So, which one’s going to be right for you? Now, if you’re okay with the used market, the 3080 looks good, but pending availability holds up at today’s price. Now, if you want to buy new, whether it’s because you want a warranty or the latest features, the 4070 option does carry a lot more weight to it.
So here’s that curveball I was telling you about. If you don’t give two squats about ray tracing, you want FPS; don’t buy either of them. Buy a Radeon 6900 or 6950 XT. Remember that cards, or the 6900 and 6950, were designed to compete with the 3090s, not these two. Oh, and that is before you turn on FSR.