A question as old as time (or at least the early 2000s). Is it time to ditch your old graphics card for a new one? How about the shiny new Nvidia RTX 4070?
Hopefully after reading this article, you should have a good idea if the RTX 4070 is a worthy upgrade as we explore the features, performance, and benefits of this new GPU.
Reign Sentry Core MKIV featuring the new RTX 4070
The RTX 4070 is the latest release from Nvidia’s 40 series, built on the Ada Lovelace architecture and designed as a mid-range offering for PC gaming and general content creation. The Ada architecture itself provides some impressive, raw performance gains over the previous generation, which can be seen with the 4070 being comparable to the older, higher-end RTX 3080 of the previous generation. The new architecture also features increased ray tracing performance and benefits from the Ada-exclusive DLSS 3, which uses AI to dramatically boost gaming performance even further.
So in theory the RTX 4070 should be a decent card right? Well, it is (as we’ll explore further), but for a supposedly mid-range card, the price could throw some people off - which at the time of writing is around £580 😬.
So let’s take a deeper dive and find out if the RTX 4070 is the right card for you.
We'll be benchmarking the RTX 4070 ourselves soon, but look at any of the early independent benchmarks of the RTX 4070 and you’ll see some decent numbers. At a resolution of 1080 and ultra quality settings, you’ll see this card easily pushing past 100 FPS in most games and even pushing past 300 FPS in the more competitive focused titles, such as Apex Legends, Valorant, Overwatch and League. This is comparable to the last gen RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti, as well as the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT – all cards which cost at least £300+ more.
1440 at ultra quality settings also looks good, with a lot of games running comfortably at 100+ FPS, but even with the most demanding games still performing at a playable 60+ FPS. It’s only when we get to 4K that you’ll see performance issues in some games, but even then the less demanding ones still perform decently.
Of course each game is different and performance will vary depending on other factors, such as your CPU and memory, but overall you can expect to see some impressive FPS with most games at 1080 or 1440 resolutions. This is ideal for most people who still game at 1080 (at least according to the Steam hardware survey) and with 1440 being the second most popular choice, the RTX 4070 should be more than enough for most PC gamers.
Though it should be noted that not all of this performance is just raw power. One of the main features of the 4070 is its ability to use DLSS 3, an upgrade over the AI image upscaling tech of DLSS 2.
Basically, DLSS lets you play the game at a lower resolution and then an AI upscaler renders frames with increased detail at large resolutions. This usually results in a crisp image at higher resolutions and a bump in performance, and can even look better than the game being rendered in the native resolution with traditional anti-aliasing (Death Stranding is a great example of this).
Image courtesy of Wccftech
However DLSS isn’t perfect and some games implement it better than others. One of the main issues can be image ghosting, artifacts or blurriness, but DLSS tech has massively improved over the last few years, and DLSS 3 is the biggest leap yet.
Not only does DLSS 3 upscale images like DLSS 2, but it also inserts artificially generated frames in between the actual rendered frames. This boosts performance even further and can double, or even triple the FPS in supported games. This can come at the cost of input lag, but Nvidia’s Reflex tech can easily remedy this.
Really the biggest drawback to DLSS 3 is that currently, only a small number of games support this feature. Although just like DLSS 2, support for DLSS 3 should increase over time.
Another improvement with Ada Lovelace that the RTX 4070 benefits from is increased ray tracing performance. Ray tracing can greatly enhance the lighting, shadow and reflections in games, but has traditionally incurred a fairly dramatic performance hit. With the Nvidia 40 series of cards, ray tracing performance has seen some improvement thanks to Shader Execution Reordering, which Nvidia claims can improve ray tracing performance by about 25%.
You might have seen VRAM mentioned a lot lately in PC gaming news. It seems people don’t have enough, and games just need more and more. But what even is VRAM?
VRAM is a type of memory used by GPUs to store data related to a game’s textures, models, shaders and other graphical assets. VRAM is essential in rendering the frames that you see while playing a game and bad things tend to happen when that VRAM runs out of space. At best you’ll get some weird graphical glitches and at worst, the game will crash.
The problem is, VRAM usage in games just keeps increasing and people are finding older and newer graphics cards unable to play some of the latest releases. Even if your card can get a decent framerate, the game might simply use too much VRAM and crash in the middle of gameplay.
The good news is that the RTX 4070 comes equipped with 12GB of VRAM, which should handle most games without issue at 1080 or 1440, although increasingly 12GB may be seen as the new bare minimum. For example, the newly released Resident Evil 4 remake can use more than 15GB of VRAM on the highest settings, but disabling features such as ray tracing or lowering the resolution can help reduce this usage. This just means that when you’re playing around with the graphic settings, you’ll want to keep VRAM usage to under 12GB.
No doubt you’ve seen the memes surrounding the RTX 4090 and the absolute chunk of a graphics card it is. I think it’s fair to say that when your GPU is bigger than most modern consoles and needs a stand to stay up, those memes are well deserved.
Installing an RTX 4090 - circa 2022
Fortunately the RTX 4070 is a bit more reserved in its size, with the Founders edition only coming in at a length of 244mm and a width of 112mm, taking up 2-slots, which isn’t that much bigger than the classic GTX 1080 Ti. This means that it’s a viable card for smaller PC cases and you won’t have to fret too much about fitting it into an existing system.
Another thing to consider is that the RTX 4070 is a lot more power efficient than previous cards, regularly running below 200 TGP and only requiring a 650 watt power supply. This is great for older systems, though like all Nvidia 40 series cards, you’ll need to use the included two 8-Pin PCIe power adapter for an older PSU.
If you’re still rocking an Nvidia 10 or 20 series card then it’s definitely worth considering. The GTX 10 series is completely outdated and will struggle to run modern games, lacking support for DLSS and ray tracing. Whereas even compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, the RTX 4070 offers significant performance gains – around 50 FPS in a lot of games.
Where it gets a bit muddy is if you already own a RTX 30 series card. The RTX 4070 offers similar performance to the RTX 3080 and even the RTX 3080 Ti in some cases. Though if you’re running an RTX 3050 or RTX 3060 then the RTX 4070 would be a small, but noticeable upgrade, especially if you plan on playing games that support DLSS 3 and ray tracing.
The main thing that lets down the RTX 4070 is its pricing. Unfortunately, pricing on all graphics cards have increased and this seems to be a trend Nvidia is continuing. Though remember that the RTX 4070 is still a lot cheaper than the previous generation high-end RTX 30 series cards, while offering equivalent performance, lower power consumption and DLSS 3.
Even when compared to the RTX 4070 Ti, the RTX 4070 is still at least £200 cheaper without too much of a performance loss in a lot of games (though if you’re already pushing 200 FPS, does that really matter?).
The way I see it, the RTX 4070 represents the cheapest entry into the RTX 40 series to date, while offering everything you need to play games at 1080 or 1440 resolutions and more. DLSS 3 may not be a game-changing feature, especially with only a handful of games supporting it, but it’s a very welcome feature in those games that do – and this support is only going to increase.
So if you’ve been waiting for a good budget option from Nvidia, well the RTX 4070 isn’t quite it, however, if you can stretch that budget a bit further then the RTX 4070 is an excellent upgrade, especially coming from the RTX 20 series or older.
On a final note, if you’re looking for a completely new system, already built for the RTX 4070, then we’ve got you covered!
Both the Reign Sentry Core MKIV and the Reign Sentry Pro MKIV are Reign Gaming PCs designed to take advantage of the RTX 4070, pairing it with 32GB of DDR 5 memory and a super-fast 500GB SSD.
If you’re an AMD fan then the Reign Sentry Core MKIV is for you, equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 7600 processor.
However if you’re team Intel, then the Reign Sentry Pro MKIV sports a 13th Gen Intel Core i5-13600KF processor.
Posted in Reign Gaming
Published on 21 Apr 2023
Last updated on 21 Apr 2023