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The GPU Gods have truly been shining on us in the latter half of 2020. Despite the chaotic year we’ve had elsewhere, we’ve been able to look forward to and bask in countless launches of new, upgraded, and absolutely giant graphics cards. Between NVIDIA and AMD, we’ve had the pick of the GPU litter.
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The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-Series GPUs, in particular, has been a hit. (If you go off sales alone the cards sold out in seconds, but we know this was due to bots and scalpers attempting to resell for much higher prices.) Despite some faulty and frankly disappointing launches, though, the 30-Series GPUs are still very much sought after. But which should you choose? We already had a look at the 3090 Vs the 3080 – the two higher-end cards from this launch – but what about those on a little bit more of a budget?
If for you, like many, the $1499 3090 isn’t realistic, or even necessary, you might be trying to choose between this year’s gaming flagship GPU (the 3080) or the more humble 3070. Like every comparison, there are a lot of factors to consider. We’ve broken them down into specifications, price, and purpose to work out which GPU – the 3070 or the 3080 – is the best value for your money. So let’s get into it.
The 3070 can be compared, performance-wise, to the RTX 2080 Ti. For the same performance levels, the budget aspect of the 3070 makes it a great bargain. The 3070 does have less memory than the 3080, with 8GB compared to 10GB, but it also uses up considerably less power.
Still, at the same price point as the RTX 2080 Ti, the 3080 has double the performance and power of its predecessor, making it just as much of a bargain in its own right.
To be honest, the jump in quality between the 3070 and the 3080 is hardly significant compared with the jump from the 3080 to the 3090, and the price difference isn’t huge either. And both are based on NVIDIA’s latest Ampere architecture making them more efficient, powerful, and high-performance than ever. It really does depend on the use case, but we’ll get into that a little later.
The 3080 is geared towards 4K gaming, but the 3070 can handle both 4K and 1440p graphics. If you’re planning to invest in a 4K monitor, though, you might reap more benefits from the 3080. Still, both are equally capable of running just about any game on the market.
When it comes to value for money, price point is obviously one of the most important factors. Annoyingly, though, the price difference between the 3070 and 3080 is nowhere near as big as the gap between the 3080 and 3090. With only $200 between the two (with the 3070 priced at $499 and the 3080 priced at $699), it makes this decision even more difficult.
Still, if you’re on a budget the 3070 is the perfect option. It would be wrong to say $200 doesn’t make a big difference and – especially compared to the RTX 2080, which has pretty much the same specs as the 3070 – it is a huge bargain. Especially since the 3070 is cheaper still than the 2080.
Again, using the 2080 as a marker for value for money brings around the same conclusion. The 3080, for the exact same price, brings double the power, performance, and overall quality. If you have an extra $200 to spare, we say, why not? But the 3070 is the perfect budget option.
So, we touched on this a little bit earlier, but it’s a known fact that the use case is the most important factor when looking at which graphics card to purchase. The use cases between the 3090 and 3080 are much more clear cut though, so it is still a little difficult to say whether the 3070 or 3080 is best for you.
Personally, we think the 3080 is perfect for hardcore PC gamers, especially those looking to move into the 4K gaming sphere. If you already have a 4K monitor and you’re looking for a card with great specs that will last a few years, the 3080 will be ideal. If you need the creme de la creme of GPUs but aren’t able or willing to fork out over $1000, the 3080, again, is perfect for you.
The 3070 is for those who are just getting started with PC gaming, or who are looking to upgrade an old, outdated graphics card. The 3070 is the perfect budget option, so if you need the best graphics cards under $500, the 3070 is definitely for you. With the 3070, you’ll be able to play any game in amazing quality, and let’s not forget it can work for 4K displays, too. The 3070 is also a winner if your PSU can’t handle too much power as it has a considerably smaller consumption rate.
So there you have it. As we said, both of these GPUs are absolutely stellar; powerful, high quality, and better than ever before, there’s no wonder there was so much hype around the launch of the 30-Series. The RTX 3070 is the perfect budget-friendly GPU, while the RTX 3080 might better suit those more experienced in PC gaming. Either way, whichever you choose will have you onto a winner.
If this article helped you make up your mind, you can find out where to buy the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3080 over on our buying pages.