It's time for a GPU shootout to see how the GeForce RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800 compare by comparing them against each other in 41 games. That's a lot of games to test and more than twice what we recorded for both graphics cards in our first test.
From today's perspective, the availability for new GeForce and Radeon GPUs is not particularly high, although the situation is gradually improving for the RTX 3070 in particular, as we found a few models in stock at the time of writing. The hope is that availability for the RTX 3070, RX 6800, and other next-gen GPUs will improve enough early next year that both are relatively easy to purchase.
If so, today we're going to find out which ones we think you should buy. For testing purposes, we updated our GPU benchmarking rig and moved from the 3950X to the newer Ryzen 9 5950X. However, we will stick with the dual-rank memory DDR4-3200 CL14, as it is significantly faster than the single-rank DDR4-3800 memory. We haven't enabled technology like SAM (Smart Access Memory) to allow a fair comparison and so we always test unless otherwise stated.
|Price (RRP)||$ 500||$ 580|
|Release date||Oct. 2020||November 2020|
|process||Samsung 8N||TSMC N7|
|Die size (mm2)||392.5||519|
|Core clock frequency||1500/1730 MHz||1815/2105 MHz|
|Storage capacity||8 GB||16 GIGABYTE|
|Storage speed||14 Gbit / s||16 Gbit / s|
|Bus type / bandwidth||256 bit / 448 GB / s||256 bit / 512 GB / s|
|TGP||220 watts||250 watts|
The GeForce side represents the RTX 3070 Founders Edition graphics card, while the Radeon GPU is represented by the AMD reference card, both of which are in stock without overclocking. It should be noted that the Radeon RX 6800 is the more expensive offering at MSRP at $ 580, compared to the RTX 3070's list price of $ 500.
It is planned to provide 1080p, 1440p and 4K benchmark data. We'll go through roughly half of the individually tested games before jumping into breakdown charts to summarize all of the data we've collected.
First, let's look at the performance of Battlefield V. We used this title a lot for graphics testing but then dropped it off our suite of benchmarks mostly due to EA's stupid 5 hardware change lock that makes testing a real problem. Believe it or not, the means to do this is to buy five times each game on EAs Origin. In the future, we'll therefore limit EA titles to comparing two or three graphics cards with one another.
We have tested BFV with DX12 as well, but many of you keep reporting frame time issues. They claim DX11 is much more fluid. That's why we used this for this test. For those of you who are aiming for a maximum frame rate of 1080p with high image quality at the same time, the RX 6800 offers just over 30% more frames.
The margin at 1440p stays the same. Here the Radeon GPU was 32% faster with an average of 173 fps. However, if we move to the highest resolution tested, 4K, the margin is reduced to 20%, which is still a win for the red team. It's worth noting that the Radeon 6800 costs 16% more, so the margin isn't as impressive as it seems. Hence, we'll go through the rest of the graphs with those price differences in mind.
Moving on to Hitman 2, we find that the Radeon RX 6800 is far less impressive in that title, and while it still manages to beat the RTX 3070 in all of the resolutions tested, the margins are lower than the price premium. For example, the Radeon GPU was only 4% faster at 1080p, 5% faster at 1440p, and 11% faster at 4K. When the resolution scales and we're more tied to the GPU, the RX 6800 performs better, but even the 11% margin at 4K isn't particularly impressive.
Borderlands 3 shows more impressive borders for the Radeon. Here the RX 6800 outperforms the 3070 at 1080p and 1440p by 27% and achieves an average of 128 and 95 fps with the ultra-quality preset. At 4K, the RX 6800 is 23% ahead of the RTX 3070 and achieves an average of 44 fps up to 54 fps, which means a solid increase in performance.
Next up is Fortnite Performance, a game that didn't do that well on Radeon GPUs. AMD has made an effort to improve the performance in this title. As you can see, the RX 6800 series is very competitive, beating the 3070 by 17% at 1080p, 20% at 1440p, and 21% at 4K. However, given the price difference, those margins hardly make the GeForce GPU a bad choice.
In Apex Legends, we see very similar performance on both GPUs. The RX 6800 is only 6% faster at 1080p, 3% faster at 1440p and up to 5% faster at 4K. The margins in this title are narrow, which makes the GeForce a more attractive option.
PUBG is another game that, like Fortnite, hasn't been particularly good for AMD in the past. Given that the Radeon 6800 comes with a price premium, just matching the RTX 3070 is not a good result.
After Battle Royale games, we have a little-known game called Cyberpunk 2077, so you might have heard of it.
At 1080p, we find that the Radeon RX 6800 is 8% faster and then 10% faster at 1440p, while we are looking at identical performance at 4K. Now you can enable DLSS with the RTX 3070 for higher performance, which we will discuss in more detail later in this article.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare appears to be showing a huge increase in performance for the RX 6800 over the RTX 3070. All three resolutions increase performance by about 20%, which means that the scaling is very consistent between these two GPUs. Since the RX 6800 costs ~ 16% more but delivers around 20% more performance, it is the better value here, albeit not by a significant margin.
The Witcher 3 is now a 5 year old game. With the maximum visual quality settings, the Radeon is 13% faster at 1080p, 6% faster at 1440p, and only 4% faster at 4K. So it is again a situation in which the difference in performance cannot offset the price premium.
Control is another game where these AMD and Nvidia GPUs appear to be evenly matched. However, this title supports DLSS 2.0 so you can easily increase the performance of the RTX 3070, making it a no-contest.
We tested Red Dead Redemption 2 in-game (as opposed to using the built-in benchmark) and as you can see the RX 6800 was 14% faster at 1080p, although we wonder if we run into some kind of system limitation that isn't is GPU-related, as this leeway opens up considerably at 1440p. Here the Radeon was 23% faster, but then there is only a 10% margin in favor of the Radeon GPU at 4K, although this is not uncommon as the amp architecture is often better used at higher resolutions.
The RX 6800 fights in the outer worlds. The performance is by no means bad, but unlike other games where it usually outperforms the RTX 3070, here it can at best keep up with the GeForce GPU. Historically, this hasn't been a great title for AMD, so these results shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
Not everything went smoothly with the Radeon RX 6800 as we encountered a few titles that didn't perform as expected, including Warhammer Vermintide 2. The game plays well and over 100 fps all the time at 1080p you can say that the performance was excellent. However, compared to the RTX 3070, falling behind the GeForce GPU by a margin of 24% was a bit terrible.
We're not sure what the problem is and we reached out to AMD as it wasn't the only game that was performing weirdly. So far, however, it is unlikely to be fixed given the age of the game. We still felt it was important to include this data because AMD didn't have the time or resources to optimize for everything. By the time we reach 4K, however, the RX 6800 is roughly on par with the RTX 3070.
Another game that experienced performance issues with the RX 6800 was World of Tanks. Overall performance is still good, well beyond what you need to take full advantage of using a 144Hz monitor. In terms of performance of 1080p and 1440p, however, it was also significantly worse with the RTX 3070.
One game that is very broken in terms of performance with the Radeon 6800 is Kingdom Come Deliverance, and apparently this is a big problem for all games that use the Crytek game engine.
Again, we notified AMD of this issue weeks ago, but a fix has yet to emerge. The RX 6800 can keep up with the 3070 at 4K, but the 1080p and 1440p performance is pretty terrible compared to the GeForce GPU.
Depending on the game, the Radeon RX 6800 can either look like a hero or a massive dud. So far we have looked at 15 of the 41 games tested. So let's see how the RTX 3070 and RX 6800 stack up in all games …
Starting with the 1440p performance, we see that the RX 6800 is only 11% faster on average, which is slightly less than the 14% gain it got in our first 18 game test. Of course, this review didn't include titles like Kingdom Come Deliverance, World of Tanks, Warhammer Vermintide 2, and Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order.
If we remove those titles, the RX 6800 is 14% faster than the RTX 3070. That's not a massive difference, but it explains why the margin is less favorable here.
Games that the RX 6800 does exceptionally well on include Dirt 5, Battlefield V, Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Borderlands 3, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Project Cars 3, and about half a dozen other titles.
Moving to 4K reduces the RX 6800's performance deficit in titles like Kingdom Come Deliverance, and we ended up with just over half a dozen games where performance was even. Overall, the margin is similar, changing from 11% in favor of the Radeon GPU at 1440p to 10% at 4K. The Radeon 6800, while a bit faster, is not necessarily cheaper or the GPU you should buy.
What we learned
With a clear idea of how the Radeon RX 6800 and GeForce RTX 3070 compare in a variety of games, the question now is which one should you buy?
AMD may have had the option to make this a simple phone call, but we think they kind of messed up the pricing. Of course, they are just able to sell whatever they can produce. However, if we put the supply bottlenecks aside for a moment and the RX 6800 was at $ 500 to match GeForce competition instead of $ 580 (MSRP), the Radeon GPU would be the obvious one to most gamers Been choice.
Charging a premium for the RX 6800 could prove to be a mistake in the long run, although AMD can adjust prices at any time. With no DLSS equivalent on offer and weaker performance in Ray Racing, it's hard to justify paying a premium on the Radeon.
In terms of cost per frame, the RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800 are similar, so things like more mature ray tracing support and DLSS can make the RTX 3070 more appealing to gamers, depending on the games you play and the number of titles you play the Nvidia later has been able to add to this list. If you're into streaming and want to use your GPU for all that heavy lifting, the RTX 3070 is the obvious choice given AMD's poor coding support.
The RX 6800 offers an advantage with its larger VRAM buffer. With 16GB, you get twice the amount of VRAM, and that will be an advantage in the not too distant future. We have a few recent examples where the RTX 3070 is being hampered by its 8GB VRAM buffer. Doom Eternal with the preset "Ultra Nightmare" is one example, Cyberpunk 2077 with activated ray tracing is another. In about two years, the Radeon 6800 may be better equipped to get better image quality simply because it can take advantage of massive texture packages. However, for now, the GeForce is good enough in most scenarios.
Future predictions aside, the RTX 3070 is a much better option than the RX 6800 if you're into ray tracing right now. Games like Control, Watch Dogs: Legion, Cyberpunk 2077 and Minecraft are currently among the highlights. The support for DLSS is even better, in our opinion, and you'll almost always want to enable DLSS 2.0 in any game that supports it.
The ease of use of DLSS depends on both the game and the resolution, making it difficult to provide benchmark numbers. We have seen many reviewers evaluate DLSS in games like Cyberpunk 2077, using an RTX 3080 or 3090 at 4K. This is by far the best way to showcase the technology. If you even lower the resolution to 1440p, the image will be much blurrier as DLSS has less data available. At 1080p the quality of the DLSS option is not particularly good even in Cyberpunk 2077 and with our option it is significantly worse than with native 1080p.
Even so, DLSS is a major selling point for Nvidia Ampere GPUs, and AMD will need to counter that to stay competitive, especially if Nvidia manages to expand its list of supported titles.
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 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 9 5900X on Amazon
- AMD Ryzen 5 5600X on Amazon