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With the announcement of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 marks an important turning point. After several years of being unable to buy a reasonably fast GPU for anything less than $1,000, things are finally starting to change. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 is an affordable next-gen GPU that you can actually buy today.
Crypto is down, and so are GPU prices
Up until about the middle of 2022, it was nearly impossible to find an affordable GPU that you could buy off-the-shelf for anywhere near its list price. You were looking at well over $1,000 for even a midrange GPU, and just about the only way to get a decent option was to buy a pre-configured desktop with the GPU included. Even then, prices were inflated, but not nearly so much as if you were to source the GPU yourself.
This was because of supply shortages and the voracious demand of cryptocurrency, which is “mined” using GPUs because of their raw speed at performing the necessary calculations. Both of these influences started to wane last year, meaning that it was sort of, kind of easier to find a decent GPU for a price that didn’t break the bank.
Flash forward to April 2023, and things are even better. You’re still looking at around $1,200 for a high-end GPU like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 that lists at $1,200, but that level of card has always been expensive. It’s been at the midrange and low-end that things have been ridiculous, and Nvidia just changed that with the introduction of the RTX 4070.
Yes, it’s not cheap at $600, and that’s $100 more at list price than the RTX 3070 that preceded it. But you’re getting a lot more performance out of the GPU and, most important, you can actually buy the GPU at this list price.
For example, the Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4070 12GB can be purchased today for $600. It’s in stock and ready to deliver. That’s almost a miracle compared to just a couple of years ago. And according to early benchmarks, the card delivers performance that’s similar to the RTX 3080, a card that would have cost you more than twice as much not that long ago.
Based on today’s latest technology
Best yet, the RTX 4070 is based on Nvidia’s latest Ada Lovelace architecture, so you’re not buying yesterday’s technology. According to Nvidia, the architecture provides more than twice the speed as the previous Ampere architecture while drawing the same power. Ada Lovelace Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs) are much faster, doubling the speed and offering up to 90 TFLOPs of Shader performance in the fastest chips compared to the previous generation’s maximum of 40 TFLOPs.
Nvidia also incorporated Shader Execution Reordering (SER) technology into the Ada Lovelace architecture. SER takes inefficient workloads and reorganizes them so their more efficient and execute more quickly. That can increase frame rates by as much as 25%, while again doubling shader performance.
There’s also a third generation of Nvidia’s ray-tracing technology on-hand. Improvements in ray-triangle intersection throughput can be as high as 2.8X, offering up to 191 ray-tracing TFLOPs of performance compared to 78 RT-TFLOPs in earlier GPUs. Opacity Micro-Map Engines and Micro-Mesh Engines further accelerate ray tracing.
The Tensor Cores, which provide the AI necessary for things like DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), which speeds up frame rates by intelligently producing higher resolution frames from lower resolution data with higher quality than ever. This allows for higher frame rates without giving up noticeable quality, and Nvidia’s newest DLSS 3 takes the technology to new levels.
There’s even more technology to speed up gaming performance, and Nvidia has provided software that accelerates things even further. And all of that is available in the RTX 4070 at a reasonable price.
Performance is promising so far
Note that Nvidia has also introduced the RTX 4070 Ti that retails around $800 MSRP, and it offers more processing cores, ray tracing cores, and tensor cores, running at a faster speed. So, you’re giving up some performance for that $200 difference in price.
But, you’re still getting all of the Ada Lovelace improvements, which is what makes the RTX 4070 so special. And according to benchmark results, the RTX 4070 is around 17% slower than the RTX 4070 Ti while being 33% less expensive. That’s an attractive value proposition.
If you’re looking for a 4K gaming GPU, then you’ll want to jump up to the RTX 4080. But the RTX 4070 does just fine at 1440p, which is a sweet spot for many gamers. The card was able to hit around 112 frames per second (fps), for example, in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla running at 1440p and Ultra High graphics. That’s a demanding title, and the RTX 4070 handles it with aplomb.
If you want to play your games with ray tracing turned on, then you’re going to be more inclined to spend the extra $200 on the RTX 4070 Ti. In Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition 4K running at Ultra RT, for example, the RTX 4070 managed just 48 fps compared to the RTX 4070 Ti at 63 fps. That’s a meaningful improvement.
Even so, finally an affordable choice
Yes, GPUs are still one of the more expensive components in a desktop gaming PC build. But the RTX 4070 helps out by requiring less power than the RTX 3070 and can thus utilize a less costly power supply. And it’s a tremendous improvement in performance for just $100 more. Finally, there’s a GPU you can actually buy today that will meet both your budget and your performance demands.