The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT are the top contenders right now when it comes to mainstream graphics cards, which is perfect if your gaming PC needs an upgrade.
It’s not as simple as that, though, with performance differences, new features and supply issues affecting these impressive GPUs. Read on to find out which card you should buy and where to find them - without the complicated specs and confusing marketing jargon.
RTX 3070 vs RX 6700 XT - The Cards
If you’re considering either one of these cards, then it’s vital to weigh up their features – because the two are very different.
While Nvidia and AMD’s GPUs both support Ray Tracing, Nvidia is better – its additional DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology improves performance, while AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution doesn’t work correctly yet.
Nvidia’s Reflex system does a better job at reducing input lag than Radeon Boost, and Nvidia Low Latency Mode also beats Radeon Anti-Lag. Both features are essential for gaining slim advantages in eSports titles.
GeForce cards have more features for streaming, video calls and creative work, while AMD’s software options are good, but primarily focussed on gaming.
Syncing is a big deal on today’s graphics cards, too. Nvidia G-Sync delivers a superior all-around experience, but AMD FreeSync remains excellent and is available on cheaper gaming monitors. Here, it’s best to stick with your GPU manufacturer and opt for a display with the features you need.
You also need to think about physical characteristics. A 600W power supply is ideal for both GPUs, and make sure you’ve got suitable connectors: the RTX 3070 uses one eight-pin plug, while the 6700 XT needs separate six- and eight-pin connectors.
Under the hood, memory is the main consideration. The RTX 3070 has 8GB of memory, but AMD’s card has 12GB of memory.
It also gains memory-centric boosts thanks to a couple of features: there’s the Infinity Cache, which should prove its worth in the future and there’s Smart Access Memory, which delivers a small performance boost immediately if you use the 6700 XT alongside specific AMD processors.
RTX 3070 vs RX 6700 XT - Performance
There’s good news for anyone considering the RTX 3070 or 6700 XT for playing games: both are superb for 1080p and 1440p gaming performance.
In Horizon Zero Dawn the AMD card impressed, with results beyond 90fps at 1080p and 1440p – but, crucially, the RTX 3070 was around ten frames per second (fps) faster.
The situation didn’t change in the more challenging Metro Exodus test. While both cards returned playable results at 1080p and 1440p, the RTX 3070 maintained a small lead, and the gap widened with ray-tracing, and DLSS activated on Nvidia’s card.
At the other end of the scale are less demanding, competitive games like Rainbow Six: Siege. Here the 6700 XT returned sensational framerates of 363fps and 240fps, which are fast enough to handle competitive gaming on a high refresh rate displays – but, as previously, the RTX 3070 was faster.
The RTX 3070 is also better in content-creation tests. In Luxmark’s Ball benchmark, the Nvidia card returned a score of around 52,2200, but the 6700 XT is around 16,000 points behind.
There are some areas where AMD’s card fights back. 6700 XT cards consume less power than the RTX 3070, and they’re usually quieter.
RTX 3070 vs RX 6700 XT - Price & Availability
AMD usually offers better value than Nvidia, too, but graphics card retail is very difficult to navigate right now – because hardly any cards are actually in stock. That’s because the Covid19 pandemic and the popularity of cryptocurrency mining have increased demand for cards while reducing supply levels.
It’s a precarious situation, with prices and stock levels changing almost hourly, and the price inflation is vast.
At launch, the better-value 6700 XT sat at $479, £419 and AU$679, and the RTX 3070 arrived at $499, £469 and AU$809. Even today, with board partner cards that have extra features, you shouldn’t be paying much more than that if prices were at normal levels.
If you can find stock – or if you’re reading when the stock situation has improved – then it’s essential to weigh up the options.
Nvidia and AMD cards are produced by big companies like Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and Zotac and they offer cards at different prices, with plain-looking affordable models available alongside pricier options with extra lighting and performance-boosting overclocks.
RTX 3070 vs RX 6700 XT - Verdict
The supply situation is dire, then, and it makes it difficult to recommend either card – even if you can find any, the huge costs mean we’d prefer to wait until things stabilise.
Happily, though, the market will get back to normal, and firm conclusions can be drawn between the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT.
Most importantly, both cards are excellent options for gaming. Both will handle demanding single-player titles at 1080p and 1440p and they will run eSports games at high refresh rates.
If you want to choose between the two, the RTX 3070 is usually better. It might be more expensive, but it’s consistently faster, it has more features and it has a broader selection of software options.
We’d only recommend the 6700 XT if you’re on a tight budget, or if you’ve already got an AMD processor and want to save cash and get a minor performance boost at the same time.
Also find out which Nvidia graphics card you should buy?