Earlier this week, Nvidia finally announced its RTX 30-series graphics cards following much anticipation and speculation. Featuring vastly improved performance, these GPUs aim to make 4K gaming standard across its entire Ampere-based lineup. With 4K displays penetrating the market more than ever, the 30-series comes at the perfect time.
The higher end RTX 3090 even promises 8K/60fps capabilities when it hits stores September 24 at $1,499. Set for release September 17 at $699, the flagship RTX 3080 plans on delivering performance that doubles the RTX 2080. However, the RTX 3070 looks like a sweeter deal when let loose in October — and could be a viable alternative to the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles for PC gamers willing to spend more.
Retailing for $499, the entry level GPU offering 8GB GDDR6 video memory can also outperform the $799 RTX 2080 Ti, according to Nvidia. Though solid 4K/60fps performance will vary depending on system requirements, the RTX 3070 should be more than enough for 1440p/60fps, and could end up being the GPU to buy for most PC gamers.
Where Nvidia beats PS5 and Xbox Series X
With next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft promising 4K/60 fps through graphics architecture modeled after AMD’s upcoming RDNA 2 chipset, Nvidia continues to stay one-step ahead of their rivals. Released two years ago, the RTX 2080 Ti already eclipses teraflop numbers offered on the PS5 (10.28 TFlops) and Xbox Series X (12 TFlops) at 14.2 teraflops. The RTX 3070 manages to outperform that at nearly $300 cheaper.
Building a gaming rig powerful enough to take on those next-gen consoles can cost a pretty penny. With the RTX 3070, Nvidia just made the barrier for entry a bit easier. As a matter of fact, it’s theoretically possible to build a suitable rig for a little over $1,000. Upgrading an existing rig should be even cheaper.
It doesn’t hurt that the year’s biggest upcoming games like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion will all add to the growing amount of titles supporting ray-tracing. Taking things further, Nvidia also announced battle royale king Fortnite would be the first Unreal Engine game to feature the rendering technology.
At the present moment, Xbox Series X lacks a true exclusive killer app considering Halo Infinite has been pushed back well into next year. On top of that, all first party Xbox games including the next Forza Motorsport, Fable, Psychonauts 2, Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, State of Decay 3 and more are coming to PC — and will be included in Xbox Game Pass. That doesn’t even count nearly all third-party games hitting both Xbox Series X and PC simultaneously as well. From the looks of things, Microsoft isn’t concerned about how individuals play games as long as they are playing.
On the other hand, Sony’s PS5 has Spider Man: Miles Morales launching this holiday with Ratchet & Clank Rift Apart due sometime within the console’s release window. Both games are looking to be single-player focused titles that likely won’t offer more than 20-plus hours at a possible $70 price point. Next-gen titles that really show off what these consoles are capable of, like Horizon: Forbidden West or Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, are still a few years off.
A better PC gaming value
Similar to the RTX 2080 Ti, Nvidia recommends a 650 Watt power supply unit for the 3070. Those who already have one are in luck. Everyone else can find a quality power supply unit online for around $100. By the time AMD and Intel announce their next CPUs, their 8-core predecessors should be much cheaper as well. Other components like storage and ram can also be found for under $100. Whether an individual wants to build on top of an existing rig or create one from scratch, Nvidia has made the most important and expensive component more economically feasible.
In a time where Covid-19 has given the United States historic unemployment numbers (opens in new tab), the inexpensive pricing makes a lot of sense. Interestingly enough, the current pandemic has potentially set the PC market for record sales. According to research and consulting firm Jon Peddie Research, the entry-level PC category is forecasted to grow 21.7% or $3.6 billion. The report also mentioned an uptick in racing simulation builds including “premium audio, racing wheels, racing seats and other elements” due to television networks broadcasting sim racing events.
Before all eyes turn to next-gen consoles featuring tech from AMD, Nvidia has laid down the gauntlet in the GPU race. This fall’s rumored AMD Big Navi GPU is shaping up to be pretty powerful in its own right, especially if Sony and Microsoft are opting to use the RDNA 2 architecture it's based on. But if you’re looking to enjoy many of the benefits of PS5 and Xbox Series X on your PC, the Nvidia RTX 3070 is looking like the GPU to get.