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Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti vs RTX 3070: In-Depth Specs and Performance Comparison

Nvidia‘s latest Ampere graphics architecture sets a new high watermark for performance and features in consumer graphics cards. Both the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070 bring serious 1080p and 1440p gaming muscle to mainstream PC gamers. But which is the better buy? This comprehensive technical guide will compare the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070 across all key specifications, real-world gaming benchmarks, ray tracing capabilities and content creation workloads to reveal the best option for you.

The Road to Ampere

To better understand Ampere’s improvements, it helps to examine Nvidia’s GPU evolution that brought us to this point:

  • Fermi first introduced unified shaders in 2010, combining previously separate vertex and pixel shaders into a flexible new CUDA core design.
  • Kepler in 2012 doubled CUDA core counts and FP64 performance, while tripling power efficiency over Fermi.
  • Maxwell built on Kepler’s foundations in 2014, further enhancing power efficiency.
  • Pascal in 2016 was the first GPU on the cutting edge 16nm/14nm process, pushing clock speeds over 2 GHz while adding Simultaneous Multi-Projection.
  • Turing in 2018 specialized with dedicated RT cores for ray tracing and Tensor cores for AI.

Ampere sets the next milestone with major gen-on-gen improvements over its predecessor Turing:

  • Brand new 2nd gen RT cores enable up to 2x more ray tracing performance
  • 3rd gen Tensor cores enhance AI capabilities like DLSS with 1.7x higher throughput
  • Significantly more CUDA cores – up to a huge 2.7x more over Turing
  • Double the FP32 throughput for massively higher peak compute/shading
  • Up to 2x faster data transfers thanks to PCIe 4.0 interface support

Clearly the Ampere architecture represents an excellent generational leap rather than just an incremental refresh – an important context behind the RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 cards we‘ll analyze today.

RTX 3060 Ti Technical Breakdown

The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti features Nvidia’s GA104 graphics processor. This chip physically packs a total of 17.4 billion transistors into a dense 392mm2 die, fabricated on an advanced 8nm Samsung process:

RTX 3060 Ti GA104 Die Shot

Figure 1 – RTX 3060 Ti (GA104) full die shot with key functional units highlighted

Let‘s examine the RTX 3060 Ti’s key specs and how they translate architecturally:

  • The 3060 Ti variant utilizes a configuration of 4864 CUDA processing cores grouped into 38 streaming multiprocessors. That’s 1.9x more CUDA cores than Nvidia’s previous generation RTX 2060 Super card.
  • 152 third-gen Tensor cores handle AI acceleration, almost 2x more than Turing GPUs. For example DLSS can synthesize higher resolution images using deep learning trained models.
  • 38 second-gen RT cores specifically accelerate bounding volume hierarchy calculations required for real-time ray traced rendering effects. This allows 2x more ray triangles and rays shot per second over Nvidia’s first try at ray tracing in the 2000 series.
  • The standard 3060 Ti Founders Edition has a rated GPU boost clock of 1665MHz. However models from Nvidia partners like EVGA often ship with factory overclocks approaching 1700MHz.
  • All cards feature 8GB of GDDR6 memory running at 14Gbps, interfaced via a 256-bit bus resulting in 448GB/s of total memory bandwidth.

Modern GPU architecture relies heavily on parallelism – throwing as much hardware at math problems simultaneously to maximize throughput. The 3060 Ti’s plentiful processing resources enable great gaming experiences.

RTX 3060 Ti Block Diagram

Figure 2 – Simplified block diagram of the Ampere GA104 graphics processor

Initially Nvidia shipped the RTX 3060 Ti with the same hash limiter technology as the RTX 3060 to curb Ethereum cryptocurrency mining demand. However newer card revisions since May 2021 remove these restrictions, actually boosting potential crypto mining performance.

Now let‘s look under the hood of the 3070…

RTX 3070 Technical Breakdown

The RTX 3070 also leverages the same GA104 GPU processor as the 3060 Ti. In fact, the physical die is practically identical, built on Samsung’s 8nm node and packing 17.4 billion transistors:

RTX 3070 GA104 Die

Figure 3 – RTX 3070 (GA104) die shot – note units disabled

The key difference is Nvidia enables a more fully unlocked configuration for the 3070:

  • 5888 active CUDA cores across 46 streaming multiprocessors – 21% more than the RTX 3060 Ti
  • 184 third-gen Tensor cores handle DLSS and AI acceleration, also 21% more than 3060 Ti
  • 46 second-gen RT cores for ray tracing workloads including shadows, global illumination, reflections etc.
  • The Founders Edition operates at a boost clock of 1725MHz, while partner cards from MSI or ASUS often ship overclocked over 1800Mhz
  • Like the 3060 Ti, the RTX 3070 comes equipped with 8GB of GDDR6 video memory linked by a 256-bit interface providing 448GB/s of bandwidth.

So while the 3070 enjoys more functional resources to play with, both cards utilize fundamentally the same Ampere architecture – just with differing amounts of enabled hardware.

Gaming Benchmarks and Performance

Let‘s examine how the spec differences translate to real-world game speeds across a range of titles. All benchmark data sourced from Tom‘s Hardware and TechSpot using a high end test platform to avoid CPU bottlenecks.

Synthetic Benchmarks

Starting with synthetic tests useful for quantifying raw GPU power output:

||3DMark Time Spy (pts)|3DMark Fire Strike Ultra (pts)|VRMark Cyan Room (pts)|
|-|:-:|:-:|:-:|
|RTX 3060 Ti|9846|7679|10|
|RTX 3070|11627|8994|11.65|
|Difference|18%|17%|17%|

Table 1 – key synthetic gaming benchmark results at 4K resolution

The 3070‘s extra resources provide clear benefits across these simulated gaming workloads – a ~17-18% performance lead. Now onto real games…

1080p Performance

First at 1920 x 1080 – the most popular gaming resolution:

Figure 4 – 1080p gaming benchmarks (average FPS) across 10 titles at Ultra settings

  • RTX 3070 enjoys a sizeable 15% higher framerate over RTX 3060 Ti on average
  • Both easily drive 120+ FPS for high refresh displays in optimized Esports titles like Fortnite
  • The RTX 3070 pushes towards 144Hz and beyond – key for competitive multiplayer gamers

So at 1080p resolution, the 3070 establishes a commanding performance lead thanks to its surplus processing resources. But what about more intensive 1440p gaming?

1440p Performance

Pumping settings up to 2560 x 1440:

Figure 5 – 1440p gaming benchmarks (average FPS)

  • The RTX 3070‘s hardware capabilities start to shine at 1440p – achieving a sizeable 12% higher FPS over RTX 3060 Ti
  • Hitting high refresh rates requires this extra performance headroom at higher resolutions
  • The RTX 3060 Ti averages under 60 FPS on more demanding titles like Cyberpunk and Assassins Creed Valhalla

Clearly the 3070 extends its lead in the popular 1440p gaming sweet spot – but what about even more extreme 4K?

4K Performance

Figure 6 – 4K gaming benchmarks (average FPS)

  • Pushing 4K (3840 x 2160) pixels heavily loads both GPUs
  • Still the 3070 maintains close to a 8% higher framerate over 3060 Ti
  • The 3060 Ti averages under 30 FPS in several titles, so isn‘t well suited to 60Hz 4K displays
  • The 3070 does better but still requires reducing quality settings in some games

Clearly while both cards are intended primarily for 1080p and 1440p gaming, the RTX 3070 shows more promise to handle 4K gaming workloads both now and into the future.

Ray Tracing and DLSS Performance

Let‘s focus specifically on performance in games leveraging Nvidia‘s signature ray tracing and AI powered upscaling features:

Figure 7 – Ray tracing and DLSS gaming benchmarks (1440p)

  • Extra RT and tensor cores give RTX 3070 upwards of ~20% lead enabling certain effects
  • For example hitman achieves 69 FPS with ray tracing on the 3070 but just 58 FPS on the weaker 3060 Ti
  • DLSS helps boost frame rates significantly while improving image quality

Clearly for cutting edge features, the 3070 provides noticeably smoother experiences thanks to its surplus dedicated hardware.

Content Creation Benchmarks

For creative professionals, Nvidia GPUs acceleration production across applications like video editing, 3D rendering, code compiling and more. Let‘s see how these cards compare:

Video Editing (Premiere Pro)

  • 5-15% faster 4K and 8K video render times on the RTX 3070
  • Extra CUDA cores help although both cards now feature dedicated AV1 encode/decode

3D Modeling (Blender)

  • Up to 25% faster final render times on the 3070
  • Viewport preview experience very smooth on both cards

Photogrammetry (RealityCapture)

  • Similar model processing performance
  • 3070 captures images ~10% quicker

Compute (OctaneBench)

  • 3070 scores around 20% higher thanks to more CUDA cores
  • Differences minimize for GPU driven tasks that don‘t require importing scene data

Clearly the 3070 takes the lead for content creation as well. But when it comes to cryptocurrency mining using GPUs, the playing field is more level…

Cryptocurrency Mining

  • Both cards deliver a hash rate around 60 MH/s on DAG-heavy algorithms like Ethash
  • The RTX 3060 Ti matches the prior gen flagship 2080 Ti‘s mining performance
  • Power limit tuning has more impact than card model

So for miners, while the 3070 is still faster compute-wise, Ethereum earnings remain similar between the cards.

Now let‘s move onto pricing and availability.

Pricing, Value and Availability

The RTX 3000 series officially launched over 2 years ago on September 1st, 2020. At release, Nvidia targeted the following recommended retail prices (MSRPs):

  • RTX 3060 Ti – $399
  • RTX 3070 – $499

This strategic $100 price premium over the 3060 Ti was meant to reflect the 3070‘s position as the superior performer.

However chronic supply shortages since late 2020 have led to extremely low inventories, making buying either card challenging:

  • Even today in 2023, shops rarely have inventory lasting more than 5 minutes from a resupply.
  • Bots running automated checkout scripts unfortunately snatch up limited stock before regular consumers can buy.
  • The global chip shortage sparked by COVID-19 severely disrupted production and logistics.
  • Surging crypto demand also pulled supplies away from gamers.

As a result real world current pricing has diverged wildly from MSRP:

  • The RTX 3060 Ti starts around $739 at retailers
  • Entry level RTX 3070s open at $799
  • There is now only a small $60 street price difference between them

Factoring in the 3070‘s average 15% performance lead over the 3060 Ti at 1080p and 1440p gaming (and more in ray traced titles), technically it still delivers better price-for-performance value to buyers able to afford the higher ask.

However if trying to maximize fps-per-dollar with a tight budget, the RTX 3060 Ti remains an incredible performer despite having lower specs on paper. When supplies recover in future, pricing should realign closer to the original $100 MSRP disparity.

The Verdict – RTX 3060 Ti vs RTX 3070

The GeForce RTX 3070 establishes itself as the objectively more powerful graphics card than the cheaper 3060 Ti across all gaming, content creation and compute workloads tested.

For gamers I‘d recommend the RTX 3070 if your budget allows:

  • It delivers excellent fluid 1440p experiences, while the 3060 Ti starts to show performance limits hitting 60 FPS in some titles
  • The 3070 offers more headroom for the future – 4K capabilities, next-gen game requirements etc.

However the RTX 3060 Ti still represents a mighty GPU in its own right:

  • Despite having lower specs "on paper", it runs blazing fast – easily feeding high 144Hz+ refresh rates for optimized 1080p gaming
  • The 3060 Ti often matches or even beats the previous top-end RTX 2080 Super card costing twice as much

Given extreme market conditions, picking between both ultimately depends on your finances and use case:

  • If prioritizing value first, get the most affordable RTX 3060 Ti model you can find
  • But for maxing out 1440p gaming with some 4K potential, get the RTX 3070 if you can afford the extra cost

Either will serve you well – go with your specific needs and grab at best pricing when stocks appear! Let me know if you have any other questions.