GeForce RTX 3070 vs. Radeon RX 6700 XT

Time for another of our mega-game benchmarks with 45 titles, in which the Radeon RX 6700 XT is compared directly with the GeForce RTX 3070, the closest competitor in terms of price, at least based on the mythical RRP.

When we tested the Radeon RX 6700 XT on day one, we found that it was about 4% slower than the RTX 3070 in a 14-game example. We collected this data using our older Ryzen 9 3950X test system. But now we have an even more robust set of 45 games running on a Ryzen 9 5950X, along with the latest display drivers that have brought the RTX 3070 some nice wins in titles like Godfall, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Dirt 5.

Unfortunately, although performance has improved in some games, availability has not improved as both GPUs are almost always sold out. With inventory clearly out of everyone's control, this comparison serves as a guide for those researching what to buy once supply can meet or exceed demand.

If you are patient enough, there is always an option to get your hands on one of these GPUs. At some point things will get better, and if so, this comparative check will help answer the question of which of the two GPUs to buy. So let's go through the specs of the test system and jump into the benchmarks.

Our Ryzen 9 5950X test system was equipped with 32 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 dual-rank memory. Both the GeForce and Radeon GPUs are Gigabyte Gaming OC graphics cards. Note, however, that in both cases we've clocked them to match the RTX 3070 and RX 6700 XT reference specs with no overclocking. We use the GeForce Game Ready Driver 465.89 and Adrenalin 2020 Edition 21.3.2. Smart Access Memory has not been activated and always does, unless otherwise stated.

First, we're going to look at half a dozen of the more interesting games individually in terms of test results, and then jump into breakdown charts to summarize all of the benchmark data.

Benchmarks

Starting with Apex Legends, we find that the RTX 3070 is up to 22% faster at 1080p, which is a sizable margin. It's worth noting that the 6700 XT averaged 162 fps with high quality settings. The frame rates for both products are more than sufficient for competitive quality settings. However, if you're looking for maximum performance in Apex, the GeForce is better off.

The RTX 3070 was also 19% faster at 1440p and for those using the high quality settings, the 113 to 135 fps difference can be seen with a high refresh rate monitor.

Performance adjusted more evenly in CoD Warzone as the RTX 3070 was ~ 3% faster at 1080p and 8% faster at 1440p. The margin opens up to 12% in favor of the GeForce at 4K, although I suspect few gamers will be targeting 4K with these GPUs.

Fortnite has always strongly favored Nvidia, although AMD has made some progress here. Compared to the RTX 3070, however, the 6700 XT was a bit slower, lagging 14% at 1080p, 17% at 1440p, and 20% behind at 4K.

Assuming you have a relatively modern CPU that isn't under heavy load when playing Fortnite, the RTX 3070 performs significantly better than the 6700 XT in this title (aside from the DLSS / RT conversation).

The performance in Hitman 2 is very similar on both GPUs. The RTX 3070 was again faster in all three resolutions tested, although we see a relatively small performance advantage of 6%.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is strongly tied to the CPU with 1080p. As a result, both the 6700 XT and RTX 3070 offer roughly the same performance.

This changes at 1440p though, the 1% low result is still CPU limited, but the average frame rate is much higher now with the RTX 3070. A 23% increase in performance is significant. That margin is increased by 4K to 26%, even though none of the GPUs are capable of delivering playable performance at 4K.

Borderlands 3 is the first game where the 6700 XT is significantly faster than the RTX 3070. The Radeon GPU was 12% faster at 1080p, then 13% faster at 1440p, before falling to a 7% lead at 4K. A win here for AMD and the performance boost at 1440p will be noticed for those who play Borderlands 3.

The frame rates are also competitive in Cyberpunk 2077 (before enabling DLSS). The RTX 3070 and 6700 XT offer nearly identical performance at 1080p and 1440p, with the GeForce GPU lagging behind by a 17% advantage at 4K. However, as with Flight Simulator 2020, the performance at 4K was not playable with these settings.

Control is a terrible scenario for AMD and that's mainly because it's an Nvidia sponsored game that introduced RTX features. AMD wasn't able to tweak for this, and as a result, the RTX 3070 was significantly faster at 1080p with a massive margin of 28%, then 31% faster at 1440p, and 38% faster at 4K.

We find that the performance in Red Dead Redemption 2 is very competitive as these two GPUs are not separated from each other at 1080p and 1440p. As usual, the RTX 3070 enjoys a performance advantage at 4K, which is reduced by 9% to an average of 51 fps.

The Outer Worlds is based on Unreal Engine 4 and, as is so often the case with games with this very popular game engine, the results swing strongly in favor of Nvidia. Here the RTX 3070 was 17% faster at 1080p, 29% faster at 1440p and 28% faster at 4K. As with Control, this is another wipeout for AMD.

Although the RTX 3070's performance in Assassin's Creed Valhalla has improved since our last review, the 6700 XT still enjoys a performance advantage here. We expect a gain of 18% at 1080p for AMD and 10% at 1440p. At 4K, however, the RTX 3070 has a slight upper hand.

If we move on to F1 2020, we see pretty competitive performance across the three resolutions we tested. The RTX 3070 was 4% faster at 1080p, 8% faster at 1440p, and 9% faster at 4K. Perhaps most importantly, with the GeForce GPU, we get 15 to 20% more and 1% less performance.

Forza Horizon 4 made it back into our benchmark suite thanks to its migration from Windows Store to Steam. For a long time this game heavily favored AMD GPUs, but Nvidia has looked at performance, and now we're looking at a situation where the RTX 3070 is a fair bit faster than the 6700 XT and at 1080p, 14 at 15 % Lead wins% at 1440p and 15% at 4K, so pretty consistent scaling there.

Almost identical frame rates in Doom Eternal and this time it was the Radeon GPU that got a lead of just 5% at 4K. Usually it's the other way around, but I believe the 6700 XT has a slight performance advantage here due to the larger VRAM buffer. Doom Eternal uses up to 9 GB of VRAM at 4 KB, so overflowing into system memory will result in a slight performance hit for the RTX 3070.

At 1080p and 1440p, the frame rates are excessively high so margins don't really matter there, but luckily they both delivered the same experience.

Speaking of VRAM, I wanted to include these Ghost Recon Breakpoint results with the highest quality preset that is not the maximum preset that is referred to as "ultimate". These results look a little different at first glance, as they are neck to neck at 1080p and the GeForce GPU moves forward at 1440p. At 4K, after all, it's the 6700 XT that delivers more than twice the performance.

This is a great example of what happens when you run out of VRAM. The RTX 3070's 8 GB buffer is overloaded as the game requires 9.5 GB of memory at this setting. As a result, game assets flow into system memory over the PCI Express bus much more slowly than local VRAM.

The simple solution here, of course, is to reduce the requirements on VRAM, for example by reducing the texture size. The game will likely require only minor tweaks to solve the problem, but you will be cutting down the graphics to get the game to run at a satisfactory level. Which leaves us wondering how long it will be before this becomes the standard practice for users with 8GB graphics cards.

Lastly, we have Kingdom Come Deliverance. We wanted to review these results because when we tested the RX 6800 series we found that AMD Big Navi GPUs had performance issues when playing games with CryEngine like this one.

For example, the RX 6800 was limited to 71 fps at 1080p and 65 fps at 1440p. Fortunately, AMD seems to have fixed these issues as the 6700 XT can now render an average of 109 fps at 1080p and 84 fps at 1440p. It's still slower than the RTX 3070, but performance is better than expected.

Performance summary

The Radeon 6700 XT and the GeForce RTX 3070 fit together in 16 of the 45 games tested. Instead of spending an enormous amount of your time going through the other 30 graphs, here is a summary of the results at 1080p and 1440p.

At 1080p, we see in the 45 games tested that the 6700 XT is on average 4% slower than the RTX 3070, which is exactly what we found in our first test using a selected 14-game example. Of the 45 games, there were roughly a dozen where the 6700 XT was 10% or more slower. Control and Apex legends could be considered outliers in this data.

However, if you remove the results from Control and Apex Legends, the 6700 XT is still 4% slower on average. That's still close enough to call for a technical draw. However, if you're an avid Fortnite or Apex Legends gamer, you might want to use the RTX 3070, but if you're into Battlefield V, the 6700 XT might be a better choice.

Now the distance increases by 1440p. It's far from significant overall, but here the 6700 XT is 8% slower on average. In 17 of the games tested, it was 10% or more slower. Basically, the RTX 3070 is not only the faster product for 1440p games, but also the cheaper product, therefore not an ideal situation for AMD.

What we learned

There you have it. For those of you who want to see how the Radeon RX 6700 XT and GeForce RTX 3070 compare in a wide variety of games, you have your answer. Things haven't changed much since our initial reviews. The 6700 XT performed slightly worse at 1440p, but ultimately doesn't change our conclusion.

If you've had the luxury of buying either a GPU at or near the MSRP, which one should you get? Our choice would be the GeForce RTX 3070.

It's just that I'm a Fortnite gamer and the GeForce GPU is already faster before you even enable DLSS, which makes it an obvious choice to me. I also only play multiplayer games and usually go for competitive quality settings so storage space isn't an issue.

We also like the higher quality recording when using NVENC. It's a little improvement in recording, but it's better, and when you're streaming, it's a lot better.

The Radeon RX 6700 XT is still a solid graphics card and should continue to exist in the future thanks to the 12 GB VRAM buffer. There are a few examples where with 8GB of VRAM you can run out of memory, although there are still few. You can easily get away with 8GB of image storage right now, but whether that will be the case in a year or two remains to be seen. I'm a little doubtful, at least for those looking for maximum visual representation in the game.

As mentioned earlier, the Radeon 6700 XT could be a more compelling choice if the RTX 3070's prices are undercut. However, given the current situation and GPU demand, it simply doesn't make sense for AMD to take such steps. In a scenario where we go back to MSRP prices, the price for the 6700 XT wouldn't have to be more than $ 400 – the same price as the 5700 XT – to become my top pick in this shootout .

Support for ray tracing continues to mature, but as you probably know by now, I don't care. It's still an additional feature of the GeForce RTX series that might interest you. DLSS support is also rather limited. However, if you can use them in the games you play, the performance benefits can be significant.

One last thing to note. While I prefer the RTX 3070 to the 6700 XT, the RX 6800 is going to be an interesting proposition at $ 580. That's 16% more than the 3070, but that extra $ 80 gives you double the VRAM. For those looking to keep their graphics card for more than 2 years, the extra VRAM is likely to come into play, provided you play the latest titles at the maximum graphics. It's also 11% faster at 1440p, according to our tests, and even without DLSS, you'll see well over 144 fps in a game like Fortnite.

Back to our two-way comparison, while the 6700 XT offers more VRAM and is said to be a bit cheaper, it doesn't convince enough given the inferior coding support, weaker overall performance, and the current lack of a DLSS competitor. And that's really all I have to say about it.

Purchasing links:
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT on Amazon
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 on Amazon
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 9 5950X on Amazon
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5600X on Amazon

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