The Bottom Line
- + RTX 3080-like performance using 40% less power
- + Small two-slot design that's quiet and cool
- + Uncompromised 1440p gaming
- + DLSS 3 is a game changer
- + The refined Founders Edition design is super stylish
- - Raw 4K performance is a little behind where it should be
- - 16GB of VRAM would have been the icing on the cake
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
GPU generations arrive with all guns blazing. This is, of course, about NVIDIA debuting new technological advances and performance improvements with cards like the GeForce RTX 4090 and the GeForce RTX 4080. For the GeForce RTX 40 Series and its Ada Lovelace architecture, these flagship enthusiast models are not only impressive, powerful, and present the sorts of generational leaps you hope to see, but they are also, for most people out there - prohibitively expensive. They are looked upon from afar, like expensive sports cars.
The new GeForce RTX 4070, and the Founders Edition model reviewed here, not only present the most affordable entry into the Ada generation - with its MSRP of USD 599 - but might be the most exciting and impressive entry in the GeForce RTX 40 Series lineup to date.
This is a subjective statement based on my love for cards like the GeForce RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 Ti from the Ampere generation - where smaller form factors, power efficiency, and performance all came together. Sometimes it's more exciting to see what hardware is capable of when it's cut down and constrained instead of going full throttle without limitation.
On paper, the GeForce RTX 4070's specs look similar to the GeForce RTX 3070, with similar CUDA Core counts, RT Cores, and AI Tensor goodness. A 50% increase in VRAM is more than welcome, especially as more visually intensive games release with more detailed visuals. Then there's the addition of DLSS 3 and the impressive Frame Generation seen in multiple titles like Cyberpunk 2077, F1 22, Forza Horizon 5, and others - which leverages new specialized AI hardware in the GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards to generate frames and improve performance.
Above all, though, the Ada architecture's small form factor and incredible efficiency in the RTX 4070 impress the most. Gaming in 1080p, 1440p, and 4K uses considerably less power than the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080, but you're getting a generational increase in performance to boot. Often we get fixated on pure gaming performance without any consideration for efficiency.
The story of the GeForce RTX 4070 is that you're getting something quiet, cool, and powerful in a form factor that will lead to many models being compact in a way that we haven't seen when it comes to the GeForce RTX 40 Series.
The Ada Lovelace Generation
Below is a summary of the GeForce RTX 40 Series technology, applicable to all models.
There was a time when outright visual quality was the main driver for determining how advanced real-time rendering, especially in games, had progressed. There was also a time when pure grunt in raw hardware power determined how good a game could technically look and how fast it ran. We're now at a point where visual quality and performance go hand-in-hand, with raw power only being a part of the equation.
The GeForce RTX 40 Series, the Ada Lovelace generation, is a lineup of GPUs built on a cutting-edge process node while leveraging and evolving all of the advances in AI and hardware-based ray-tracing that NVIDIA helped become mainstream with the GeForce RTX 30 Series.
Named after mathematician Ada Lovelace, considered the world's first computer programmer, the GeForce RTX 40 Series is built on TSMC 4N process technology - a giant leap forward over the Samsung 8nm process used in the GeForce RTX 30 Series Ampere generation. 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 over 2.5 GHz while maintaining the same power requirements of the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.
Ada also introduces the latest generation of RT and Tensor Cores, with the latter introducing brand-new hardware responsible for the next iteration of AI rendering - DLSS 3. NVIDIA's DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling is one of the reasons why raw power is no longer the be-all-end-all; it's an AI-based form of upscaling that can provide a sizable boost to in-game performance without sacrificing visual fidelity. In fact, in some cases, it can improve upon native rendering.
For this reason alone, DLSS and other forms of algorithm-based upscaling have become some of the most talked about bits of technology in the PC gaming space.
Free frames, enough said.
DLSS 3 combines DLSS Super Resolution (DLSS 2) with NVIDIA Reflex to reduce system latency and the brand-new hardware-accelerated Frame Generation technology. Three bits of rendering tech = DLSS 3. And it's exclusive to the GeForce RTX 40 Series.
And it's here where NVIDIA is looking to do what it has done for real-time graphics upscaling to the idea of frame-interpolation - or what they call Motion Plus in the TV world. Which, to be fair, is not a fair comparison on account of tech like Motion Plus being - well - terrible. But the fundamental idea is the same, albeit using specialized AI hardware in the GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards to generate and create entire frames.
So far, the results, although not without flaws, are impressive - with dramatic improvements to overall performance (in the frame-per-second stakes) seen in games like Cyberpunk 2077, F1 22, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, and more.
As seen with DLSS 3, the Ada generation is much more than "smaller = more," with NVIDIA introducing back-end technology in the form of Shader Execution Reordering - which effectively ensures render tasks happen more efficiently and without running into bottlenecks. This means a leap forward in the real-time rendering of hardware-intensive ray-tracing effects.
The Ada generation also levels up NVIDIA's already formidable content creation chops with the arrival of AV1 encoding for better video quality for streamers without sacrificing anything in the way of performance or more bandwidth.
Specs and Test System
Here we can see how the specs and hardware stack up for the GeForce RTX 4070 compared to the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3070 and the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti.
Interestingly, the GeForce RTX 4070 bucks the trend we've seen with the GeForce RTX 40 Series so far in that it's not a case of more and more. The GeForce RTX 3070 is the Ampere generation's equivalent GPU, and it features the same number of CUDA Cores, RT Cores, and overall Tensor Cores as the new RTX 4070. A cause for alarm? Not really, as the synthetic and in-game benchmarks paint the generational leap picture you'd expect.
Clock speeds differ, with the Boost Clock speed of the RTX 4070, 2475 MHz, representing a 43% increase over the RTX 3070's 1725 MHz. Likewise, the increase in memory to 12GB of GDDR6X is a 50% increase in overall capacity, even though the memory interface has been stripped back to a 192-bit bus.
Compared to the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, which was released in January - and was initially meant to be the GeForce RTX 4080 12GB - the RTX 4070's baseline stats are roughly cut back by around 23%. That said, the 200W power rating is approximately 30% less than the RTX 4070 Ti's 285W and less than the RTX 3070's. The GeForce RTX 4070 is efficient and then some, which makes the performance numbers below even more impressive.
It's also worth noting that the above specs do not capture all the hardware that makes up the GeForce RTX 4070, as it also includes the new AI Optical Acceleration technology not present in the GeForce RTX 30 Series. And this is what makes DLSS 3 possible - and the RTX 4070's performance (especially in 1440p) to punch well above its weight class. The GeForce RTX 4070 significantly increases L2 Cache Size compared to the RTX 3070, with 36.8 MB.
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
- Model: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition
- Interface: PCI Express 4.0
- CUDA Cores: 5888
- Tensor Cores: 184 (4th Generation)
- RT Cores: 46 (3rd Generation)
- Clocks: Base Clock: 1920 MHz, Boost Clock: 2475 MHz
- Memory: 12GB GDDR6X
- Memory Speed: 21 Gbps
- Memory Interface: 192-bit
- Total Memory Bandwidth: 504 GB/s
- Display Connections: 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.1 x 1
- Power Connectors: 2 x PCIe 8-pin cables (via adapter)
- Recommended PSU: 650W
- What's in the Box: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition, 16-pin to 2x8-pin adapter
Kosta's Test System
- Motherboard: MSI MPG X670E Carbon Wi-Fi
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H100i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
- RAM: 64GB (2x32GB) Corsair DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR5 DRAM 5200MHz
- SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 4TB, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 8TB
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 Tempered Glass Snow
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
Physical Design and Cooling
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition uses the latest version of the sleek and stylish Founders Edition design that debuted with the GeForce RTX 3080, albeit with the revisions and refinement seen with the GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080.
The first thing you notice, especially when physically placed next to the more oversized Ada cards, is that the GeForce RTX 4070 is tiny - like taking a trip into the past and a time when GPU sizes were still within the realm of reason. With a length of roughly 245mm and a two-slot thickness, the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition would not only fit most standard desktop PC cases but mini cases too.
Unlike the GeForce RTX 3070, the RTX 4070 follows the intake and exhaust design of the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 in that you've got one fan on the underside and one on the top. Air is drawn in from the outer side and vented from the top and via the back. Compared to the GeForce RTX 30 Series, the fans are more prominent here, improving airflow and making it quieter. Without digging too deep into the overall cooling effectiveness -check out the Temperature and Power Efficiency section below - the results are impressive.
Like most modern GPUs, the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition is designed for silent performance. When temperatures sit below a certain threshold -any task that isn't gaming or GPU intensive -the fans turn off. The build quality is uniformly excellent, too, with sturdy metals used throughout - the aluminum fin stacks, in particular, are brilliant. In the past, reference designs and Founders Edition models have been considered inferior when stacked against the build quality and cooling offered in partner models. That's not the case here; the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition is both stylish and a GPU built to last.
Connection-wise, you've got three DisplayPort 1.4 ports on the back, alongside a single HDMI 2.1 port.
Benchmarks - 15 Game Averages
The Games and Tests
In 2023 PC gaming is a complicated and varied space, from indie games to major blockbuster releases and titles that push hardware and technology to their limit with the adoption of effects like real-time ray-tracing.
This is all a way of saying that the 15 in-game benchmarks we've chosen (and run at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K) represent a wide range of styles, not only in terms of genres, like first-person shooters and racing games but also in the API technology (DirectX 11, 12) and cutting-edge features like ray tracing and upscaling technology.
Where possible, results include DLSS and FSR 2, as both technologies are the sorts of things, especially in 4K, which you'd turn on. Six out of the 15 game benchmarks also feature ray tracing, so this is a great way to see the additional benefit of NVIDIA's DLSS and Frame Generation technology. Also, each title is set to ultra-equivalent quality settings to push GPU hardware and minimize CPU bottlenecks at higher resolutions.
Also, it's just fun to max out a game's visual settings and see the results. Here's the breakdown of games, graphics settings, and what's being tested.
And with 15 games, a special shoutout goes to Sabrent for providing us with the storage to ensure we can keep everything installed - and then some - with both the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 4TB and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 8TB offering exceptional performance, capacity, and reliability.
We can keep all our benchmark software installed while also installing every new game release that comes our way.
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Ultra High-quality settings, with the in-game benchmark tool used.
- Borderlands 3: Ultra quality settings, with the in-game benchmark tool used.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: Ultra quality setting, in-game multiplayer benchmark tool used.
- Cyberpunk 2077: Ultra quality setting, in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Cyberpunk 2077 (RT): Ray tracing Ultra quality setting, in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- DOOM Eternal (RT): Ultra Nightmare quality setting with ray-tracing enabled, the opening of Mars Core campaign level used to benchmark.
- F1 22 (RT): Ultra High-quality setting with ray tracing, one lap of the Bahrain track benchmarked. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Forza Horizon 5 (RT): Extreme quality setting with ray tracing enabled, in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Hitman (RT): Ultra-quality settings with ray-tracing, Dubai scene benchmarked. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Ultimate quality setting, in-game benchmark used.
- Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (RT): Ultra quality setting with ray tracing enabled, the in-game benchmark tool used.
- Rainbow Six Extraction: Ultra quality settings and in-game benchmark tool used.
- Red Dead Redemption 2: Maximum quality settings, with in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- The Division 2: Ultra quality settings with in-game benchmark tool used.
- Total War: Warhammer III: Ultra-quality settings with the in-game Battle Benchmark tool used.
15 Game Average FPS - 1080p Results
Even though you wouldn't consider the GeForce RTX 4070 GPU a card designed for 1080p performance, the results are still excellent for this widely used resolution. Across 15 games tested, many featuring ray tracing and other high-end visual effects, the average frame rate of 155 frames-per-second bests the formidable GeForce RTX 3080.
Compared to the GeForce RTX 3070, the RTX 4070 presents a 32% increase in overall 1080p game performance -an impressive generational leap forward when you factor in that the RTX 4070 does so by also using less power. Of course, there is still some CPU bottleneck action at this resolution, but with average frame rates and 1% lows, all in the triple-digit realm, the RTX 4070 is a beast for those that game on a high refresh-rate 1080p display.
15 Game Average FPS - 1440p Results
1440p is the current sweet spot resolution, the fastest growing PC gaming display segment, because you get the best of all worlds: image quality and crispness, response times, and performance. With the GeForce RTX 4070 hitting an average frame rate of 112 frames-per-second here, this triple-digit performance is impressive-a 30% improvement over the GeForce RTX 3070 and a result identical to the GeForce RTX 3080.
This is where we see a clear picture of the 200W GeForce RTX 4070. Performance that is on par with the 320W beast from the Ampere generation. On top of this, you have the added benefit of DLSS 3 and Frame Generation - more on this in a bit - but really, the results here point to the RTX 4070 being a brilliant GPU for 1440p gaming without compromise. From competitive titles to those with ray tracing, it's all possible here.
The 1440p results show that the GeForce RTX 4070 is a noticeable step down from the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti. The latter is a more capable Ada offering, delivering a 20% increase in performance compared to the RTX 4070.
15 Game Average FPS - 4K Results
The GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition 4K results, although impressive in how they still align closely (albeit slightly below) the GeForce RTX 3080, see a significant drop compared to the 1440p results. The 45% decrease from an average of 112 to 61 frames-per-second indicates how demanding native 4K rendering is on a GPU. Thankfully DLSS 2 picks the slack, as seen in the individual games results below, so the RTX 4070 is as much of a 4K card as the RTX 3080 is.
The 25% increase in raw 4K performance over the GeForce RTX 3070 shows that the RTX 4070 is the sort of GPU you'd pair with an Ultrawide 21:9 display to deliver greater than 60 frames-per-second performance even in the most demanding titles - with the aid of DLSS where need be.
Benchmarks - 3DMark FireStrike
3DMark FireStrike is a DirectX 11 test that has been around for many years and covers quite a large portion of games released over the past decade - at least in terms of the API and graphics technologies used. The three tests cover the resolutions - 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Looking at the 1440p FireStrike Extreme test, the RTX 4070 delivers a result 28.8% higher than the previous gen's RTX 3070, 17.5% higher than the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, and a result only 20% lower than the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti.
The three 3DMark FireStrike benchmarks also solidify the overall benchmark results for the GeForce RTX 4070, painting a picture of a smaller and more efficient GeForce RTX 3080, with 4K being the only resolution that it needs to catch up.
Benchmarks - 3DMark TimeSpy and Port Royal
With 3DMark TimeSpy being DirectX 12-based, it's a more relevant synthetic benchmark for modern games. The GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition performs on par with the GeForce RTX 3080 in the standard 1440p benchmark and the 4K-based TimeSpy Extreme. The 1440p score is 30% higher than the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3070, with the 4K score being 27% higher.
3DMark Port Royal is a synthetic ray-tracing benchmark. The results for the GeForce RTX 4070 show that the Ada generation presents a significant leap forward for real-time ray tracing. You're looking at an overall score increase of 37% compared to the RTX 3070, which once again puts the ray-tracing performance in the realm of the GeForce RTX 3080 with considerably less power usage.
For 1440p, with DLSS, the GeForce RTX 4070 can render Cyberpunk 2077 using the DLSS Quality setting at an average of 68 frames-per-second. This result edges out AMD's flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX using the FSR 2 Quality Mode - which is remarkable for a 200W card. And a reminder that NVIDIA is still a generation ahead of the competition regarding ray tracing.
Benchmarks - 1080p Gaming
Benchmarks - 1440p Gaming
Benchmarks - 4K Gaming
Benchmarks Summary, Ray-Tracing Performance, and DLSS 3
When looking at all 15 games, with varying results, the overall picture is pretty straightforward - the GeForce RTX 4070 delivers RTX 3080-like performance using considerably less power, with 1080p and 1400p gaming results being the standout, especially in modern titles. With the RTX 3070, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II in 1440p is only 9% slower than the GeForce RTX 3090 - which is still a beast of a GPU. With ray-tracing enabled, it bests the RTX 3090 in Forza Horizon 5 in 1080p and 1440p.
The GeForce RTX 4070 consistently falls behind the GeForce RTX 3080 when it comes to 4K gaming, but the drop-off isn't drastic and usually only a few frames-per-second or a small percentage. Total War: Warhammer III seems to be one of the only outliers, with the RTX 4070 is 11% slower than the RTX 3080 in 4K. However, that benchmark needs a GPU like the GeForce RTX 3090 to hit 60 frames-per-second with Ultra settings.
What the GeForce RTX 4070 has that the GeForce RTX 3080 doesn't is the ability to enable DLSS 3 and the game-changing Frame Generation.
For 1440p gaming, the results are eye-opening. For Cybeprunk 2077, using the Ultra ray-tracing setting, the triple-digit frame-rate result with DLSS 3 represents a 2.8X increase over native 1440p rendering. And this is using the DLSS Quality settings to maintain excellent visual quality. The similarly ray-tracing intensive Hitman in 1440p offers up a 2.3X increase in performance with DLSS 3 versus native rendering. For F1 22 in 1440p, you're looking at a 1.9X increase, with Forza Horizon 5 offering a 1.3X increase.
DLSS 3 is still a relatively new technology, but it's beginning to appear in many more titles. Its adoption rate is high enough to make it a killer feature for the GeForce RTX 4070 and its 1440p capabilities.
Temperature and Power Efficiency
You've probably heard that the Ada Lovelace generation and GeForce RTX 40 Series lineup has incredible power efficiency compared to the previous Ampere generation and AMD's RDNA 3 flagship cards. The GeForce RTX 4070 takes this to a new level regarding improved performance and doing more with less.
The 1440p power usage across the 15 games benchmarked above is the most power-efficient card included in our testing lineup. It provides a generational leap over the GeForce RTX 3070 and uses roughly 14% less power. With in-game performance on par with the GeForce RTX 3080, the GeForce RTX 4070 manages this using an incredible 40% less power in 1440p.
Not only is it the most power-efficient 1440p-capable GPU, but the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition is also quiet and cool, with temperatures under full load staying below 65 degrees. During 1440p gaming, this was closer to the 60-degree mark. Fan speeds also consistently remain below 40% on the Founders Edition model, so the noise is negligible. The GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition is essentially a two-slot silent killer, delivering exceptional 1440p gaming performance without breaking a sweat or making itself known.
There's enough headroom to overclock the GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition to deliver a few extra frames per second without worrying about stability issues.
The GeForce RTX 4070 is here, and the big takeaway is that you're looking at GeForce RTX 3080-like performance in a small form factor and a super-efficient design that manages to hit those heights using 40% less power (in 1440p). NVIDIA's Ada Generation is not only powerful but delivers the sorts of efficiency gains we haven't seen before, and when it comes to the world of GPUs, that's fantastic to see.
Of course, the GeForce RTX 4070 gets all of the benefits of the new Ada Lovelace architecture, which builds on all of the AI and productivity-based gains of the previous Ampere generation-from the introduction of AV1 encoding for streamers and content creators through to DLSS 3 and Frame Generation delivering the sort of results in 1440p that should be possible on an x70-based card.
There's the question of price, with the GeForce RTX 4070's MSRP of USD 599 higher than the GeForce RTX 3070's USD 499. Its price is more in line with last generation's GeForce RTX 3070 Ti, but again, delivering RTX 3080-like performance with all of the efficiency and new tech that the GeForce RTX 40 Series brings to the table. If the GeForce RTX 4070 came in at USD 499 (below inflation), we'd probably call it one of the most impressive GPU releases in several years.
As it stands, it's still impressive, incredibly so when you factor in all of the results. The GeForce RTX 4070 is a historically efficient 1440p GPU, one that delivers when it comes to performance, creativity chops, and cutting-edge features like DLSS and Frame Generation. And getting to see a two-slot Founders Edition is fantastic.