NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition
USD 599 and AUD 1,109
April 13, 2023
NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 40 Series arrived with a bang last year. A mic drop in the form of the GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080, which managed to deliver 4K performance that shouldn’t have been possible - triple-digit frame rates, even in visually intensive titles that featured stunning ray-tracing.
Then there’s brand-new rendering technology in the form of DLSS 3, and Frame Generation, which uses new specialised AI hardware called Optical Flow Accelerators to generate new frames and push performance to incredible new heights. As seen in games like Cyberpunk 2077, Hitman, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and F1 22, the effect is like getting a generational leap on top of an already impressive one.
As we’re now more than a few months from the GeForce RTX 40 Series debut, DLSS and DLSS 3 have only continued to mature and improve - with it being adopted by more and more games every week.
If the GeForce RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 presented the all-out enthusiast-grade high-end, let’s-go-nuts performance for NVIDIA’s latest GPU generation, then the GeForce RTX 4070 represents a more measured approach. Albeit one that ends up being impressive for reasons beyond overall performance that is on par with the still relevant and high-end GeForce RTX 3080.
When we reviewed the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition, the overall power rating of 450W was unprecedented for a flagship GPU launch. With that figure leaking ahead of launch, there was a general impression that NVIDIA’s new GPU generation would go all out regarding performance and power consumption. As it turns out, only the first part was true, as gaming on the GeForce RTX 4090 is an exercise in efficiency - with the overall in-game power draw being less than the GeForce RTX 3090’s 350W.
The GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition, and its small two-slot design and stylish Founder Edition look, [is] a remarkable achievement for NVIDIA. GeForce RTX 3080 performance using 40% less power.
This makes the 200W power rating of the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition, and its small two-slot design and stylish Founder Edition look, a remarkable achievement for NVIDIA. GeForce RTX 3080 performance using 40% less power, with a quiet, cool build, and, yes… it’s small too.
Comparing the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition to the Founders Edition RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 models is like comparing the original NES and Super Nintendo to the mini versions Nintendo released a few years back. As a stripped-back and way more affordable option than the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090, the GeForce RTX 4070 is a 1440p gaming powerhouse, the likes of which we haven’t seen before.
Introducing NVIDIA Ada
The below is a summary of the RTX 40 Series technology, applicable to all RTX 4070 models. An Ada Lovelace primer if you will.
Across PC and console, from indie games to competitive shooters to AAA blockbusters, we’re now in the age of visual fidelity plus
performance. This transition has happened somewhat gradually over the past decade, but we’re now firmly at a point where CG-like visuals need to be backed up by 60 frames-per-second performance at a minimum.
We’re also in the age of high-refresh-rate 1440p, 4K, and ultrawide displays. With the GeForce RTX 30 series, we saw visual fidelity plus
performance at the heart of it all. The bonus of HDMI 2.1 support and a PCIe Gen 4 interface helped handle all the extra data and stuff needed as high-end gaming moved beyond 1080p. NVIDIA even improved system latency with the arrival of NVIDIA Reflex, a crucial part of many competitive-focused games and a component of Ada’s DLSS 3 tech.
The new NVIDIA Ada Lovelace GPU architecture is named after mathematician Ada Lovelace, considered the world’s first computer programmer. Built on cutting-edge TSMC 4N process technology, the process shrinkage not only means more of everything in terms of NVIDIA CUDA cores and RT Cores but considerable improvements made to power efficiency.
From a pure numbers perspective, the full NVIDIA Ada GPU features 76.3 billion transistors, up to 18,432 CUDA Cores (70% more than the previous gen), and delivers clock speeds above 2500 MHz while maintaining the exact power requirements of the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti. Impressive. But that’s the fully unlocked version we probably won’t see in a desktop variant for a while.
Comparing the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition to the Founders Edition RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 models [in terms of size] is like comparing the original NES and Super Nintendo to the mini versions Nintendo released a few years back.
The GeForce RTX 4070 features 35.8 billion transistors, 5888 CUDA Cores, clock speeds of 2475 MHz, 12GB of GDDR6X memory, and a power rating of only 200W. Thanks to Ada’s impressive efficiency, though, it can perform on par with the GeForce RTX 3080 while using 40% less power.
Behind the scenes, well, inside the silicon, there’s the new Shader Execution Reordering which means that rendering tasks happen more efficiently and without bottlenecks. Ray-tracing is the realistic rendering of light, covering shadows, reflections, and how the sun interacts with objects. Traditionally, games bake (pre-render) lighting because the effect is costly in real-time and more prominently found in film and Pixar animation.
With NVIDIA being a pioneer in real-time ray-tracing hardware, Ada RT represents the next evolution in the stuff that makes games like Cyberpunk 2077, Dying Light 2, Metro Exodus, Ghostwire: Tokyo, DOOM Eternal, and more look as impressive as they do. The recent Ray-Tracing: Overdrive Mode in Cyberpunk 2077 takes this one step further by implementing full path-tracing that’s only possible thanks to Ada and tech like DLSS 3.
Ada RT Cores can do all complex calculations to deliver real-time ray tracing two times faster than the GeForce RTX 30 Series’ Ampere architecture. DLSS 3 takes advantage of Optical Flow Acceleration to generate entire frames. The GeForce RTX 4070 is an AI supercomputer thanks to the Fourth-Generation Tensor Cores.
The GeForce RTX 40 Series is also a game changer for streamers and content creators, delivering better quality video. Ada’s AV1 encoder is more efficient than the H.264 video encoder in the GeForce RTX 30 Series. Ada, and the GeForce RTX 4070, represent a considerable leap forward in graphics technology.
Of Numbers and Heat Sinks
Although its predecessor is the GeForce RTX 3070 (which we reviewed here), the Founders Edition design follows the refined and improved look seen with the GeForce RTX 4090 and RTX 4080. But again, in a form factor that is small, compact, and by that token - brilliant. This might be subjective, but the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition is one of the best, if not the
best-looking GPUs of all time.
This might be subjective, but the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition is one of the best if not the best-looking GPUs of all time.
Following the design principles of its physically larger siblings, you’ve got a fan on each side, designed to suck in cool air and blow it out of the top - and rear exhausts. It’s different from what you’d find with GeForce RTX 4070 models from partners like MSI or ASUS, but it does the trick to keep the RTX 4070 hardware cool while the metallic build, fins, and other thermal goodness ensure that it can also operate in full silent-mode when you’re not gaming. Not that it makes any sort of perceived noise. This thing is a compact, silent beast.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition
- Architecture (GPU): Ada
- CUDA Cores: 5888
- RT Cores: 46 (3rd Gen)
- Tensor Cores: 184 (4th Gen)
- GPU Boost Clock: 2475 MHz
- Memory Capacity: 12GB GDDR6X
- Memory Interface: 192-bit
- Memory Bandwidth: 504 GB/s
- TDP: 200W
Across several gaming benchmarks in 1440p and 4K, the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition ran with an average temperature of around 60 degrees tops. This is almost as impressive as the card’s exceptional power efficiency and a testament to the GeForce RTX 4070 as the sort of GPU where you don’t have to worry about cooling - or if it will fit inside your PC case.
The specs for the GeForce RTX 4070 are a little strange in that they don’t follow the trend we’ve seen in the past when it comes to new GPU generations. Compared to the GeForce RTX 3070, you’ve got the same amount of CUDA Cores, RT Cores, and AI-based Tensor Cores. Though when it comes to the ray-tracing and AI hardware Ada Lovelace makes use of next-gen cores more advanced than what was found in the GeForce RTX 30 Series.
The only substantial improvement comes with the memory capacity increased to 12GB of GDDR6X versus the RTX 3070’s 8GB of GDDR6. This is welcome, as we’ve seen some modern titles require more than 8GB when detail settings are cranked into the Ultra region. Compared to the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti released earlier this year, the GeForce RTX 4070 features roughly 23% fewer CUDA Cores and other core action.
Specs and numbers aren’t the be-all and end-all regarding hardware, efficiency, and performance. For the GeForce RTX 4070, the full picture arrives when you fire up some games. So let’s do that.
As mentioned in the intro, the GeForce RTX 4070 performs roughly the same as the GeForce RTX 3080. Suppose we were of the conspiracy kind that believed in tiny grey beings visiting our planet from distant stars and galactic goop. In that case, we’d be of the opinion that NVIDIA fine-tuned and designed the GeForce RTX 4070 in a lab to make sure that it matched the GeForce RTX 3080.
The GeForce RTX 4070 manages to hit the heights of one of the most talked about and sought-after bits of PC gaming hardware for the last decade. And does so using less power and in a smaller package.
Either way, the GeForce RTX 4070 manages to hit the heights of one of the most talked about and sought-after bits of PC gaming hardware for the last decade. And does so using less power and in a smaller package. With this in mind, it replaces the GeForce RTX 3070 and RTX 3070 Ti as the most impressive 1440p GPU on the market - with results consistently in the triple-digit fps range.
Before we jump into numbers and more numbers, here’s a quick look at our testing rig.
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
- Motherboard: MSI MAG X670E Carbon WiFi
- Memory: Corsair DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR5 DRAM 5200MHz
Here’s the first batch of results showcasing 1080p performance, comparing the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition to the GeForce RTX 3070 and the GeForce RTX 3080. For 1080p benchmarking, DLSS was disabled as the technology is more suited to 1440p and 4K resolution gaming.
Here we see some exceptional results for the GeForce RTX 4070, with a generational leap over the GeForce RTX 3070 in the region of 32%. As we’ll see when bumping up the resolution to 1440p and 4K, the in-game performance for the GeForce RTX 4070 is similar to the GeForce RTX 3080. One title where the RTX 3070 provides a notable performance increase over the RTX 3080 arrives with Forza Horizon 5 using that game’s new ray-tracing mode. The performance in Forza even outdoes the GeForce RTX 3090.
The GeForce RTX 4070 is a great GPU for high refresh-rate 1080p gaming, especially for competitive titles like Rainbow Six. That said, 1080p performance was never a concern, so let’s bump things up to 1440p - the fastest-growing display resolution in the PC gaming space.
Here titles with ray-tracing have DLSS enabled and set to the Quality preset to ensure visual fidelity remains on par with native rendering. Here the performance increase over the GeForce RTX 3070 increases to a commanding 37% - with some great results in games like DOOM Eternal, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, and Forza Horizon 5. 230 frames-per-second DOOM Eternal with ray-tracing is mind-blowing, as is an average frame rate of around 140 fps for all games.
230 frames-per-second DOOM Eternal with ray-tracing [in 1440p] is mind-blowing, as is an average frame rate of around 140 fps for all games.
The results solidify the GeForce RTX 4070 as a brilliant 1440p GPU, outperforming the GeForce RTX 3080 in most games tested. And it does so using 40% less power, with most in-game action staying below the 200W rating. With the GeForce RTX 3080 drawing closer to its 320W rating, the RTX 4070 is ridiculously efficient.
Bumping things up to 4K, and even though the drop-off in performance for the GeForce RTX 4070 going from 1440p is around 40-45% - the results are still impressive. The GPU is still a capable 4K performer, thanks partly to DLSS - where DOOM Eternal hits 144 fps, and even Red Dead Redemption 2 hits 81 fps. Of course, there are some titles that drop below 60 fps, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Hitman, with ray-tracing enabled.
To provide a clearer picture of the 3D Mark results, we’ve also included the GeForce RTX 3070 and the GeForce RTX 3080 results captured on the same system. The key to understanding 3D Mark results is to look at the various tests targeting different resolutions and APIs.
Fire Strike is a DirectX 11 test, with the three benchmarks covering 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions. Comparing the RTX 4070 numbers to the RTX 3070, the increase across all tests is around 1.3X. Port Royal - which tests ray tracing, sees a 1.4X increase over the RTX 3070. These results align with the game performance seen above, with most of the results on par with the GeForce RTX 3080 - another testament to the impressive efficiency of the GeForce RTX 4070.
But there’s one more component to the performance story, DLSS 3.
DLSS 3 isn’t simply the next version of the impressive AI-rendering tech we call DLSS - the 3 is about the combination of DLSS Super Resolution (which is what DLSS 2 is today), DLSS Frame Generation (the new magic) and NVIDIA Reflex. DLSS Frame Generation is limited to Ada-based GPUs like the RTX 4080 because it uses brand-new AI hardware to generate frames - specifically the new Optical Flow Accelerator inside Ada architecture.
DLSS 3 isn’t simply the next version of the impressive AI-rendering tech we call DLSS - the 3 is about the combination of DLSS Super Resolution (which is what DLSS 2 is today), DLSS Frame Generation (the new magic) and NVIDIA Reflex.
Apart from the fact that it works (and looks great), one of the best things about it is how it goes beyond brute force to deliver performance. According to the latest info from NVIDIA, DLSS 2 is now available in over 280 games and applications, and it’s gotten to a point where if DLSS isn’t an option in the visual settings for a game, it’s a little confusing. The AI-based rendering solution to improve performance has been a runaway success, and DLSS 3’s adoption is progressing faster than DLSS 2’s.
That said, DLSS 3 and Frame Generation are different in that creating frames adds some latency (which is mitigated somewhat by NVIDIA Reflex), and you’ll need actual frames to work. It won’t magically be able to make a 9 fps game run at 100 fps, and there needs to be a baseline. As the GeForce RTX 4070 excels at 1440p, we decided to look at DLSS 3 performance at this resolution.
And yeah, the results are eye-opening, with Cyberpunk 2077 with RT set to Ultra hitting triple digits with a 2.8X increase in performance over native rendering. Hitman, another intensive ray-tracing title, sees a 2.3X increase, with DLSS 3 delivering a 1.9X increase in F1 22 performance. We kept DLSS 2 in the Quality mode preset for these tests, though this can be lowered to Performance for even higher results.
The image quality for the AI-generated frames is imperfect, but it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference because they appear so fast. Artifacts are mostly minor and really only pronounced if you capture video and then pause during each frame to play “Spot the difference.” Since we first looked at DLSS 3 with the launch of the GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080, NVIDIA has already updated the technology to improve visual quality regarding things like the UI and the transition between two scenes.
DLSS 3 is a game changer for several reasons, but because it makes a game as visually stunning and technically demanding as Cyberpunk 2077 with ray-tracing enabled to run at over 100 fps - that’s kind of all you need to know.
A Remarkably Efficient 1440p Powerhouse
Two years ago, Ampere and the GeForce RTX 3080 launched, and it was one of the most impressive hardware debuts to date.
The GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition sales pitch could be a single statement on its performance and efficiency. It delivers GeForce RTX 3080-like performance using less power and benefits from things like the game-changing DLSS 3. This is worth reiterating because GPU launches and generations with new architecture simply add more cores, transistors, and silicon, pushing clock speeds higher and higher.
The [DLSS 3] results are eye-opening, with Cyberpunk 2077 with RT set to Ultra hitting triple digits with a 2.8X increase in performance over native rendering.
NVIDIA has done this, and so have its competitors. The fact that the GeForce RTX 4070 manages to maintain an impressive generational leap in performance over the GeForce RTX 3070 with similar specs and massive gains to efficiency is a testament to the GeForce RTX 40 Series scaling incredibly well no matter the variant. The GeForce RTX 4070 bodes well for the eventual GeForce RTX 4060 and RTX 4060 Ti, and it paves the way for powerful low-power rigs that deliver exceptional results.
If there’s one criticism we can place on the GeForce RTX 4070 is that its price - especially in Australia - is higher than it should be. Undoubtedly, it will become one of the best-selling GPUs in the GeForce RTX 40 Series line-up, so we’d love to see some adjustments for what has been an expensive generation of GPUs from NVIDIA far. Still, this doesn’t change the fact that the Geforce RTX 4070 comes highly recommended as one of the most impressive GPU launches we’ve seen. A 1440p powerhouse that - thanks to its remarkable efficiency - doesn’t break a sweat.