RX 6700 XT vs RTX 3070: Which GPU should you buy in 2022?

This is it, the moment you’ve been waiting for (almost). You’ve narrowed your choice down to the Radeon RX 6700 XT and the GeForce RTX 3070. Smart choices both of them, but how do they compare, and which one is truly better than the other? Keep reading this 6700 XT vs 3070 comparison to find out.

6700 XT vs 3070 – Quick Comparison

I’ve never been biased toward either company. Two of the best CPUs I’ve ever had were AMD’s, and I’ve never gone wrong with a GeForce card. Nevertheless, I have noticed that, for years, AMD has struggled to keep up with Nvidia’s high-end GPUs. Even the RX 6000 series, which is great, seems to fall short of Nvidia’s RTX 30 series, generally speaking.

Many people (i.e., experienced gamers) feel that headline average fps are worthless because fps and effective Fps (EFps) aren’t the same things. Benchmark tests, however high a load they produce for our GPUs, lack player input, the addition of which can cause a drop in EFps, creating stutters and random crashes on AMD cards.

I’m not one to believe just anyone without checking for myself, so I doubled down, researched, tested, and came up with this article. It sums up the results of my RX 6700 XT vs RTX 3070 comparison.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XTSpecsNvidia GeForce RTX 3070
Navi 22 XT
(215-127000006)
GPUGA104-300-A1
PCIe 4.0 x16InterfacePCIe 4.0 x16
2,560 Stream ProcessorsGPU Cores5,888 CUDA Cores
160Tensor Cores184
40 (Ray Tracing Accelerators)RT Cores46 (Ray Tracing Cores)
2.32 GHzBase Clock1.50 GHz
2.58 GHzBoost Clock1.73 GHz
12 GB GDDR6Memory8 GB GDDR6
2,000 MHz
(16 Gbps effective)
Memory Speed1,750 MHz
(14 Gbps effective)
384 GB/sBandwidth448 GB/s
192-bitMemory Bus256-bit
230 WTDP
(Founders Edition)
220 W
650 WRequired PSU
(Founders Edition)
650 W
1x HDMI
3x DisplayPort
Outputs1x HDMI 
3x DisplayPort
Check Price on AmazonPriceCheck Price on Amazon

RX 6700 XT

6700 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT

The Radeon RX 6700 XT is part of AMD’s RX 6000 series of GPUs. AMD, for those of you from Mars, is a leading developer of GPUs, CPUs, and motherboards for the consumer electronics industry. They also develop products for servers, cloud computing, and a range of other new tech. They’ve been in the game for over half a century and know what they’re doing.

The RX 6700 XT is a fairly new GPU released just over a year ago. Its 12 GB of VRAM, DirectX 12 support, RDNA 2 architecture, and clock speeds keep it very competitive in the GPU market, especially since it’s considered a mid-range card in terms of price.

Pros:

  • Larger VRAM
  • Higher clock speeds
  • Cooler while operating
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not so great performance
  • Smaller bandwidth

RTX 3070

GeForce RTX 3070
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

The GeForce RTX 3070 hit the market almost two years ago. Nvidia, the 3070’s developer, was founded almost 30 years ago and is the global leader in GPU development. Unlike AMD, Nvidia focuses only on GPU power. They successfully predicted the need for ever more powerful GPUs and have not disappointed with each new release.

Today, their GPUs power much more than your favorite game. Nvidia’s GPUs are the brains behind AI research and development projects, self-driving vehicle development, robotics, predictive medicine, and more.

Almost all of the tech needed to power these developments is found in Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and is present in the RTX 3070 (to a certain degree). You’ll find second-generation Ray Tracing Cores, DirectX 12 support, 8 GB of VRAM, and more than double the amount of GPU cores found in the 6700 XT.

Pros:

  • Larger bandwidth
  • Double core count
  • Great performance
  • Handles 4K gaming

Cons:

  • Smaller VRAM
  • Creates more heat

6700 XT vs 3070: Key Specifications

Architecture

When it comes to architecture, I could debate why one is better than the other. RDNA 2 and Ampere were both breakthrough releases in comparison to previous GPU generations. RDNA 2 offered a 65% speed boost per watt compared to RDNA 1. Nvidia’s Ampere is considered one of the overall fastest GPU architectures in existence.

Fun fact: I recently read that CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, uses AMD’s CPUs and Nvidia’s GPUs, any GPU that features Tensor Cores (Tensor Cores are specifically designed with AI in mind). 

CERN is replicating conditions present during the Big Bang, creating multiple petabytes of data per second. All of that data is funneled through these GPUs. So, if it’s good enough for CERN, be sure it’s good enough for your gaming needs.

AMD’s RDNA 2

RDNA2

RDNA 2 was introduced to us as part of the RX 6000 series. It’s also the backbone of the PS5 and XBOX Series S and X, solidifying performance claims. RDNA 2 offers a few new features, such as AMD Infinity Cache, and Smart Access Memory.

AMD Infinity Cache allowed GPUs to achieve much higher bandwidths without using additional power. To break it down for you: a previous generation GPU might have had an effective bandwidth of 512 or 1024 GB/s at 250 W. With Infinity Cache, that same 250 W now offers 2000 GB/s, quite the bump in speed.

AMD Infinity Cache
AMD Infinity Cache

AMD Smart Access Memory allows your CPU to access your GPU’s entire VRAM instead of the 256-bit blocks previously accessible (in older GPUs). This is something only AMD has done so far. Nvidia stated that it has the tech present in its GPUs but would require additional BIOS updates and manual tweaking to achieve the same results (not very user-friendly).

Nvidia’s Ampere

Ampere

Nvidia’s Ampere architecture is widely considered the most powerful available. Designed with much more in mind than gaming, it is the leading computational engine powering the AI revolution.

A lot is packed into Ampere, such as second-generation (consumer) Ray Tracing Cores, third-generation machine learning hardware, third-generation Tensor Cores for AI development, and some pretty cool streaming features. If you’re not using it to develop the next J.A.R.V.I.S., all of this works towards a flawless gaming experience.

On paper, Ampere beats RDNA 2, and most tests of comparable cards offer results in favor of Nvidia. On its own, Ampere was a huge improvement from its predecessors, Turing and Volta.

Winner: RTX 3070

Clock Speeds & Overclocking

AMD’s RX 6000 series offers higher clock speeds than Nvidia does with its RTX 30 series. Clock speeds are the frequency at which your GPU cores operate and conduct their calculations — the faster, the better. “Base clock” is the default operational frequency of your graphics card.

The 6700 XT has a base clock of 2.32 GHz and a boost clock speed of 2.58 GHz. The RTX 3070 has lower clock speeds, with a base speed of only 1.50 GHz and a boost clock of 1.73 GHz. The 6700 XT might have higher clock speeds, but it also has only 2,560 GPU cores as opposed to the 5,888 cores in the 3070.

“Boost clock” is the frequency your card will reach whenever a boost in performance is needed to handle higher loads on the GPU. The GPU (or CPU, for that matter) increases the number of cycles it processes per second. AMD wins here as well. 

AMD RDNA2 Architecture
AMD’s RDNA2 Architecture

Maybe some of you aren’t happy with your card’s base or boost clock. Thankfully, you can raise their frequencies through manual overclocking. Almost every third-party variant of either of these cards comes factory-overclocked.

Manual overclocking is something else. You need special software that allows you to change your GPU’s settings. You might be thinking: “I can’t wait to try this.” Don’t, at least until you’ve read up and watched a ton of tutorials on the topic.

MSI Afterburner
MSI Afterburner

I advise raising fan speeds to the max before changing any other settings. Overclocking can lead to overheating, which can irreparably damage your card. And remember to always use the appropriate software — AMD has its software, as does Nvidia. Many people opt for MSI Afterburner as well, but I keep things simple by using AMD or Nvidia software.

Winner: RX 6700 XT

VRAM & Memory Specs

Both cards use GDDR6 VRAM in their configurations. The 6700 XT has 12 GB, which is more than enough to handle any AAA game currently available. The RTX 3070 has 8 GB, still enough for any game out there.

Radeon
Radeon GPU

Apart from having the larger memory, the 6700 XT boasts Smart Access Memory and a higher memory speed (2,000 vs 1,750 MHz). Yet, it falls short in bandwidth (384 vs 448 GB/s) and uses a smaller memory bus (192 vs 256). This means that the 6700 XT has a bottleneck you can feel when testing them against each other.

Winner: Draw

Cores

Today’s GPUs have to handle a lot; 4K gaming, content from Unreal Engine 5, ray tracing, physics, ever more realistic in-game worlds, and much more. All of that while keeping us satisfied with the fps count as we push them even further. None of that would be possible without capable GPU cores.

GPU cores are where all the action is. AMD calls them Streamline Processors, and Nvidia calls them CUDA Cores, but both are parallel processors (like your CPU) that handle all of the required calculations. While your CPU has two, four, eight, or if you’re really lucky, even more cores, GPU cores number in the thousands.

That’s right, thousands of cores are at your disposal, whichever card you choose nowadays. In this comparison, the core count is in favor of the RTX 3070, but there’s more to it than counting them. It’s how they’re used.

GeForce RTX 3070 side
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 side

Shaders

Shaders are generic programs that leverage GPU cores to produce aspects such as lighting and shadows, physics, certain types of anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion, pixels, and more. They are counted equal to the GPU core count (shaders = cores).

Shaders render everything in an in-game world, from the scenery around you and the character(s) you control, to how light hits them and how their shadows fall. Now GPU technology has caught up to the concept of ray tracing, changing the game a bit (pun unintended).

RT Cores

Ray tracing is the most realistic rendering of light and how it behaves, that we can produce. It entails tracking every ray of light individually. That requires a lot of power. Before ray tracing was included in GPUs, it was used to blend real-life scenes with CGI animations in Hollywood movies.

Nvidia RTX Ray Tracing On and Off Comparison
Nvidia RTX Ray Tracing On and Off Comparison

Nvidia changed that with its first RTX series. The RTX 30 series features second-generation Ray Tracing Cores with 46 in the RTX 3070. On paper, the 6700 XT isn’t that far behind with 40 Ray Tracing Accelerators. But, as always, the devil is in the details. Nvidia’s RT Cores are separate from the main GPU cores. RT Accelerators are not separate from the main cores.

AMD cards dedicate part of the Streamline Processor cores’ computational power whenever ray tracing is turned on. This gives the 3070 the upper hand because its CUDA cores aren’t slowed down when ray tracing is turned on.

TMUs

Texture Mapping Units, or TMUs, are low-level components that handle textures in 3D spaces. This is a critical part of video game rendering. The more TMUs you have, the better (was there any doubt?). The RTX 3070 wins here again with 184 to the 6700 XT’s 160.

Winner: RTX 3070

Performance and Resolution

Performance tests are almost completely in favor of the RTX 3070. There are some titles in which the 6700 XT beats the 3070, but they are few. On average, the 3070 dominates the 6700 XT in every resolution.

3070 vs 6700 XT Average FPS at 1080p
3070 vs 6700 XT Average FPS at 1080p
3070 vs 6700 XT Average FPS at 1440p
3070 vs 6700 XT Average FPS at 1440p
3070 vs 6700 XT Average FPS at 4K
3070 vs 6700 XT Average FPS at 4K

When testing at 1080p, there was an 11% advantage for the 3070 (on average). This climbed to 13% at 1440p. The biggest surprise for me was at 4K, where there was an average advantage of 19% in favor of the 3070. But these are benchmark tests, and the real thing doesn’t look so different. See for yourself.

Winner: RTX 3070

Connectivity

Both cards have one HDMI port and three DisplayPorts. The 3070 Founders Edition (FE) came with an adaptor for its 12-pin PSU connection, introduced with Ampere. Third-party variants come with both 6 and 8-pin connectors. A standard 2x 8-pin connector is present in the 6700 XT, with other options in third-party cards.

Winner: Draw

TDP

Thermal Design Power, or TDP, is the maximum power a subsystem is allowed to draw from the PSU. The power drawn by the 6700 XT FE is 230 W, and AMD recommends a 650 W PSU to handle it. The 3070 FE uses 220 W and requires a 650 W PSU.

TDP also refers to the maximum heat a subsystem can endure. The 6700 XT has an idle temp of 30-35°C (86-95°F) and reaches 68°C (154.4°F) under load. The 3070 averages at 75°C (167°F) at max load and idles around 35°C.

These figures change when taking third-party manufacturers’ cards into account. They are designed and built differently (most often), and you can expect slight changes in TDP for them.

Winner: RX 6700 XT

Design and Build

GeForce RTX 3070
GeForce RTX 3070

Choosing a GPU isn’t about style, but design and build come into play. The RTX 3070 has two fans that vent air through the card and out the back of your case. The entire RX 6000 (FE) series lacks these vents on the back, and all of that hot air stays trapped inside your PC case. Definitely, something to take into account when making your build.

Winner: RTX 3070

6700 XT vs 3070: Standout Features

AMD Smart Access Memory

Nvidia is yet to offer us a simple solution that achieves the same that AMD SAM does. Good job, AMD! SAM works even better if you have an AMD CPU in your build.

Nvidia’s Tensor Cores

Tensor cores are designed with AI development in mind. They dynamically adapt calculations to achieve faster results. Tensor Cores are only included in Nvidia’s high-end products and professional GPUs (GeForce RTX series, Quadro RTX, and Titan family).

Nvidia’s Ray Tracing Cores

Nvidia features dedicated second-generation cores that handle only ray tracing and nothing else. That is why RTX cards dominate whenever ray tracing is turned on

6700 XT vs 3070: Pricing & Availability

When released, the RX 6700 XT FE had an MSRP of $479. These are currently unavailable, except maybe as secondhand. We’re left with choosing between third-party manufacturers, ranging from ASUS, GIGABYTE, and MSI to many others. A recent (and looming) price drop of these third-party cards will make them a great buy.

On the other hand, the Founders Edition RTX 3070 debuted at an MSRP of $499, slightly above the 6700 XT. Take performance into account, and this price is more than justified. Even now, I’d pay the extra difference to get the 3070. There are also a lot of third-party manufacturers, such as ASUS, MSI, GIGABYTE, and others, but their specs and sizes vary.

Conclusion

When comparing the Radeon RX 6700 XT with the GeForce RTX 3070, there is no doubt in my mind which one is better. The RTX 3070 wins, hands down. I’ve compared some cards in my time, but of all of them, this 6700 XT vs 3070 comparison may have the most going for Nvidia.

This is especially strange as AMD seems to be releasing cards in response to Nvidia (always a bit later and with a bit less to show for it), so you’d expect something better. It took AMD a year to release the 6700 XT in response to the RTX 3070, and it seems they failed utterly. Maybe there’s a lesson here for AMD before they start chasing the RTX 40 series.

Predictions aside, the 3070 is the way to go if you’re choosing between it and the 6700 XT, without a doubt. It can handle almost every game better and is even more superior when ray tracing is active. 

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

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