NVIDIA just launched the RTX 4070 GPU at a price point of $599, but is it a good value? To try to answer this question, we’ll compare it to some of its closest competitors from the current gen and last gen on performance, price, and features.
First, a quick note on what I mean by good value. Graphics cards have seen a huge jump in prices over the last few years, to the point where you could argue that everything is very overpriced and thus nothing is really a good value. After all, $599 can buy many alternatives, such as gaming consoles, or 6 flights between San Francisco and Tokyo.
But for the sake of this video, I’ll evaluate whether something is a good value in the context of other graphics cards. Basically, the question is whether the RTX 4070 is priced reasonably compared to its siblings and competitors.
The RTX 4070 is the latest in NVIDIA’s 4000 series GPUs that they’ve been releasing from the top-down, starting with the 4090, 4080, 4070 Ti, and now the 4070. We’ll take a look at each of these current-gen cards.
We’ll also look at previous-gen NVIDIA cards ranging from the 3090 Ti down to the 3060 Ti. And for AMD, we’ll go from the RX 7900 XTX down to the RX 6700 XT. Since Intel’s Arc GPUs aren’t close in either price or performance to the 4070, we won’t include those.
In order to come up with a performance comparison, I looked up 3 popular website’s reviews of the 4070 Founder’s Edition that have aggregate benchmarks for the cards I want to compare, meaning the scores for multiple games are merged together: Tom’s Hardware, TechSpot, and TechPowerUp.
For 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions, I assigned 100 to be the performance of the RTX 4070. Then, I took the averages of the relative rasterization performance from each of the 3 sites for all the other cards in my comparison. By aggregating multiple sources, we can account for individual biases or variations in testing.
Next, I recorded the prices for each card. The RTX 4070 is listed at $600 as that is the Founder’s Edition MSRP and what many cards are selling at. For the other GPUs, I relied on TechSpot’s handy GPU Pricing Update for March 2023 and then did a check on Amazon to adjust the price if it seems something has changed.
Some GPUs no longer have new prices as they are no longer being sold new at most places. I also included used pricing by checking eBay, since the best deals can often be found there.
Price to Performance Comparison
The final thing I did was calculate the price to performance ratio for each of the 3 resolutions, for both new and used products.
Alright, let’s see the results. So the Price per Performance numbers have $600 as the baseline for the RTX 4070. Anything above that means you are paying a premium, while anything below that means a better value.
1440p Price-Performance Ratio
Let’s start by looking at 1440p, since that is the resolution the RTX 4070 is targeting. We can see that amongst NVIDIA cards, the 4070 actually leads the price-performance ratio, along with the 3060 Ti. We didn’t go to even cheaper cards, but we can expect them to have even better ratios, as it makes sense that more expensive cards are charging a premium for the increased performance. Normalized by performance, the 4090 is the worst offender at 64% more expensive than the 4070, while the step-up 4070 Ti is 11.5% more expensive.
Note that cards ranging from 3080 Ti to 3090 Ti aren’t really sold new anymore, so we can’t calculate the ratio directly. Since the performance of the 4070 is on par with the 3080, we may also see price drops soon for some of these cards, such as the 3070 Ti and 3070, to make them more competitive, and new 3080 cards probably won’t be sold any more. This can be seen by the inverted ratio between the 3080 and 3070 Ti currently.
On the AMD side, we can see that all of the RX 6000 generation of cards have a better price-performance ratio than the 4070. The 6800 XT which is about equivalent in performance is 8.5% cheaper. So then that’s it! The 4070 is terrible and you should just go AMD. Well… not quite. Keep in mind that these numbers are for pure rasterization performance, and there are additional features, including ray tracing, that you may want in a GPU. We’ll talk more about those in a bit, but AMD has certainly priced their cards aggressively as far as rasterization performance is concerned.
1080p Price-Performance Ratio
At 1080p resolution, the top-end cards are overkill in terms of performance, and this is reflected in the price-performance ratio escalating really quickly as well, with the 4090 almost twice as expensive on this scale than the 4070, and the 4070 Ti step-up increasing to a 16% price premium. As we go up in the resolution, we can expect the ratios to get tighter, with a lower top-end and a higher low-end.
Among NVIDIA cards at 1080p, the 3060 Ti barely ekes out a price-performance victory over the 4070, but they are basically the same. The AMD cards are not as dominant here, with the 6950 XT and 6900 XT not doing better than the 4070. However, the 6800 XT, which has nearly the same performance, and below are still a better value for rasterization.
4K Price-Performance Ratio
Stepping up to 4K resolution, we see the RTX 4070 take an even more commanding lead in price to performance compared with the other NVIDIA cards. At the same time, the top-end cards are no longer as egregious in the extra premium they charge for the increased performance, but the 4090 is still 36% more expensive, while the 4070 Ti is 9% more expensive.
This doesn’t mean you should definitely get an RTX 4070 for 4K gaming, however, as NVIDIA has designed it as a “great max settings 1440p gaming GPU.” The 4070 can certainly do 4K, but you’ll likely have to turn down some settings to get good framerates in high-end titles. If you need more performance, you’ll have to pay the premium, and the cards are priced with that in mind.
Also at 4K, the 7900 XT from AMD finally pulls ahead as well by 2%, and the 7900 XTX comes closer in terms of performance per dollar value, lagging just 3% behind. This is actually a pretty big deal, since these latest-gen GPUs are a LOT faster than the 4070, but aren’t actually charging a premium for the extra performance. They also come with additional features and improved ray tracing performance compared to the previous generation, which we’ll talk more about soon.
Used GPU Price-Performance
But first, let’s take a quick gander at used GPU prices at 1440p especially. Since the 4070 is new, there won’t be any used discounts yet, but other GPUs that have been around for a while can be found for cheaper on marketplaces like eBay.
Based on the pricing I saw, getting a used 3080 for around $500 could potentially let you get about the same performance as the 4070, but save you $100 overall or 15% on the price ratio. That is around the same as the used 6800 XT price, also around $500, and eliminates the value advantage of AMD GPUs.
Ultimately, there are probably performance targets you are trying to hit, as well as budgets for how much you are willing to pay. Going used can be a way to stretch into the next performance realm while staying within a reasonable budget, and is a great way to maximize value for money.
By the way, if you think the effort I made to put all this together is helpful, please let me know by giving this video a thumbs up! I really appreciate it!
Power to Performance
Alright, finally, let’s take a look at how the 4070 compares on a power to performance ratio. Note that these calculations aren’t fully correct, since I’m just taking the max power output under stress and dividing it by the performance numbers, rather than the actual power consumed at any given resolution, but it should give us a good relative comparison.
Why does power consumption matter? Well, the amount of power consumed 1) can mean the difference between needing to upgrade your power supply or not, 2) can have an effect on electricity costs, and 3) determines heat output and how difficult it can be to silently cool the GPU with aftermarket cooling. If you’d like me to talk more about that last point in a future video, please let me know.
Keeping in mind that lower numbers are better, we can clearly see the generational improvements here, from both NVIDIA and AMD. All of the 4000 series cards are more efficient than the 3000 series cards from NVIDIA, and the 7000 series cards are more efficient than the 6000 series.
Consuming just 200 watts, the 4070’s power to performance ratio is better than any of the other cards on this list, and you get about 50% more performance for the same power consumption found in the 3060 Ti and RX 6700 XT.
Only the RTX 4080 comes close, and actually exceeds it slightly at 4K. However, that card consumes around 300 watts, which is 50% more power, making it that much harder to cool silently as well. If you are looking for an extremely efficient 200 watt GPU, the 4070 is the best choice right now.
There are other feature differences between last and current-gen GPUs, as well as NVIDIA and AMD, that you should take into account, however, as these can influence how much price premium you may be willing to pay. One of the most prominent of these is ray tracing, which caused NVIDIA to rename its GPUs from GTX to RTX when it was introduced.
NVIDIA has held a lead in ray tracing performance, and continues to do so, although AMD has been doing their best to catch up. Still, relative performance drops significantly for AMD cards with ray tracing. The 30% performance lead in rasterization of the 7900 XT over the 4070 in 1440p, for example, is reduced to only 3% with ray tracing. The 6800 XT that was on par with the 4070, is now 30% slower. Not all games benefit from ray tracing, but if its an important feature for you, NVIDIA still has a definite advantage.
Another potential advantage for NVIDIA GPUs is CUDA, which is NVIDIA’s compute platform that many applications support. If you use or develop such apps, then this could be important factor in your decision. AMD’s alternative ROCm isn’t nearly as developed or supported, having only just announced support for Windows and extremely limited support on their consumer GPUs.
DLSS 3, Reflex, DisplayPort, AV1
The RTX 4000 series also has some unique features, including DLSS 3, the latest version of its frame generation tech that can increase framerates at high resolutions. However, AMD has been investing into it’s own upscaling tech called FSR, and Intel also has XeSS. Whether you disdain this kind of tech or love it, it’s up to you how much value you place on it.
Nvidia also has Reflex, which seeks to lower overall system latency and increase responsiveness for competitive games, though it requires a combination of the right hardware, such as G-SYNC displays, and software support. One advantage AMD has, though, is DisplayPort 2.1 support on its 7900 XT and XTX GPUs, while NVIDIA only has DisplayPort 1.4, even on the RTX 4090. There aren’t many products that can use it yet, but DisplayPort 2.1 does provide triple the bandwidth versus 1.4 for higher resolutions, bit rates, and refresh rates without using Display Stream Compression.
And for creators, the NVIDIA Encoder now supports AV1 encoding, which is the popular codec for higher-quality live streaming. AMD’s 7000 series GPUs also support AV1 Encoding, as do Intel’s Arc lineup.
Is 12GB Enough VRAM?
There is another controversial topic with the RTX 4070, though. AMD has been throwing shade at NVIDIA about the 4070 only having 12GB of VRAM, which is less than even previous-gen AMD GPUs like the 16GB RX 6800 XT. Whether 12GB hinders performance or not depends on the app or game, though there are example of games running at 4K using more than 12GB, especially with ray tracing turned on.
We can also assume that graphically intensive titles will start to consume more and more VRAM as the average and top cards in the industry include more of it, as well. Even Intel’s $350 Arc A770 GPU comes with 16GB. However, that doesn’t mean the RTX 4070 will be dead in the water or can’t run games with 12GB of VRAM.
The RTX 3060 is currently the most popular GPU on Steam, and it comes with 12GB of VRAM as well. However, the next most popular entries are the 2060 and 1060, which only have 6GB of memory (although the 2060 has a 12GB version as well), followed by the 3070 and 3060 Ti, which come with 8GB. Game developers will be releasing games that support “low” memory configurations for many years to come.
Is the RTX 4070 a Good Value?
So is the RTX 4070 a good value? Yes it is. The RTX 4070 provides good price-to-performance numbers, at least when purchasing new. And it also comes with the latest features of the 4000 series. But if you don’t need all those fancy new things, the best value is actually to get a used 3080 or other 3000 series GPU at a good price. That will still give you the ray tracing and some feature advantages over AMD, but eliminates the price premium that NVIDIA charges.
If I didn’t pick up a used 3060 Ti just 6 months ago for $270 on eBay, I’d probably consider getting the RTX 4070.