I’ve had my eyes on an RTX 3070 card since they were announced, so too, have the scalpers. I was notified recently this card was in stock with my favourite retailer and I jumped on the opportunity.
There isn’t a lot of information out there about this card, so I thought I would share my experience. I didn’t seek this card out, and it was first come, first serve more than anything else. I just wanted a card and bought the only card my retailer had in stock.
Before we proceed, full disclosure: this isn’t a technical review, and it’s more of an everyday layperson review. How easy it was to install, the packaging, any gotchas. I won’t be running benchmarks or other things that reviewers do when talking about a card, as an everyday consumer I just want to know what to expect and if it can run popular next-gen games.
Given the scarce availability of these cards, I know I paid more than I should have for this card. Retail price here in Australia should have been a couple of hundred cheaper. But, I wanted a card to play Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft Flight Simulator, so I pulled the trigger.
The packaging is minimalist. A black box that opens up with a foam-cushioned card inside of it, standard graphics card packaging to be honest. There were no cables or any additional inclusions in the box, just the card and warranty information. This card is longer than any other card I have owned, and it takes up two slots worth of space. I have a full ATX case, so space was never an issue.
This specific card has a 6 pin and 8 pin socket on it for power. So, make sure your power supply has two PCI-E power connectors. The card itself is beautiful. A nice silvery-white, adorned with a logo on the top of the card and three fans spanning the face of the card. The GIGABYTE logo is also illuminated, so if you’re all about lighting, you might appreciate that.
Installation & Setup
Like any other GPU, find a spare PCI Express slot with space large enough for the card and slot it in. Finally, plug in your six and eight-pin power connector cables.
It’s that simple, in theory. For me, I had a brief moment of panic when my power cables would not go into the card whatsoever. I never thought to check the pins before doing anything else. This almost proved to be a fatal mistake for my card.
In my research, I would discover that Gigabyte cards have a notorious reputation for shipping with bent pins on their cards. I had two options: either send it back and wait a month or two for a replacement as stock is limited or bend the pins back myself.
I opted for the second option. Which honestly, I don’t recommend. I took a fine flat head screwdriver and carefully bent the pins back into place. On graphics cards, they make the pins and slots able to sustain a bit of force, so it worked out. But considering the price of this card, I won’t lie, I was angry. I shouldn’t be performing street surgery on my new RTX 30xx series graphics card.
Once I got the card installed, everything went fine. I did, however, get a weird 4 beep thing happening during bios. Testing suggests the system is fine, but the new beeps were concerning. It turns out disabling CSM in my bios was the solution for this issue. This appears to be an issue with 30xx series cards as highlighted here.
The popular game right now is arguably Cyberpunk 2077. My RTX 2060 was obviously not going to cut the mustard with this visually taxing game. To complicate things further, I have a Samsung 34″ ultrawide monitor. The resolution on this requires a solid GPU to drive it in games at its native resolution of 3440 x 1440. It’s not quite 4k, but it’s a lot of pixels.
In Cyberpunk 2077, at the Raytracing: Ultra setting the game is very playable. I did experience brief little moments of lag, but this might not have been a card limitation, and the game is still somewhat un-optimised. The janky moments were far few and between with this card, surprising given it’s a 3070, not a 3080.
As I tour Night City on foot, in a car or on a bike, everything stands out. The reflections in puddles on the ground, the people walking by, the flashing neon signs and random city events. I didn’t go out of my way to adjust anything, and the 3070 handles Cyberpunk beautifully.
I do not doubt if I toned down the raytracing to one level lower, maybe the game might fare better or adjusted my resolution not to be as big. But, I find it very playable on ultra with this card, combat and other intensive scenes are fine.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Once again, the 3070 performed really well in MSFS 2020 which is a notorious GPU pushing game that also requires a decent CPU as well. I could get decent frames with my 2060, but I did have to work hard to get it to work. Fortunately for MSFS 2020, 30 fps is more than acceptable for a sim.
I found with this 3070, I was able to push up my settings higher and see the game in all of its beautiful real-time beauty. Undoubtedly, I would probably need to go for a 3080 to go even higher and get slightly higher frames, but anything over 30 is good enough for MSFS 2020.
Coil Whine, Noise & Temperatures
As with any modern GPU, this card has 0-decibel fans. Which means they won’t come on until they need too and it’s only really when you’re gaming do they come on. As they are running, you can’t even hear them either. The temperatures at idle or normal desktop usage were a lot lower than my 2060 this card replaced.
Temperature stability is excellent. I never saw this card push 60 degrees, for me it seemed to idle around 40 celsius, but I live in Australia, and it is super hot here at the moment, and my study is not exactly cool once the sun hits the front of the house in the afternoon. I have yet to try and push the clock speeds; I am still in the honeymoon phase where I am too afraid to experiment with my card just yet.
And unlike my 2060, my 3070 does not suffer from any coil whine or other issues whatsoever. I have had mixed experiences with various Nvidia cards (Gigabyte ones in particular) and coil whine, it’s nice not to have a card that doesn’t have it for once because the sound of coil whine will slowly eat at your sanity.
Do I recommend this card? Bent pins issue aside, yes.
If you buy it, make sure you check your pins are not bent too. If you’re patient, I do recommend waiting until this card is cheaper, but if you don’t want to wait, I still recommend it. Just keep in mind this card is massive, you’ll need a bit of space for it.
You can find the card being sold by numerous sellers on Amazon here.