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RTX 3060 vs RTX 3070 – is it worth the step up?

Two great Nvidia GPUs go head to head

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Last Updated on January 2, 2024
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When it comes to choosing a graphics card for building your PC, there are many options available. Two popular choices from NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series are the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3070. These graphics cards offer excellent performance and features. It is evident that 3070 might have better performance than 3060, and it might be even true. But is upgrading from 3060 to 3070, especially if you want to build an affordable PC? Also, if you don’t have budget considerations, should you go for RTX 3070 or the new 40-series cards? Continue reading this comparison guide to find answers to all these questions.

RTX 3060 vs RTX 3070 specs comparison

The first thing we need to compare are the on-paper specs. Specifications comparison will give us an insight into how each GPU should perform based on its architecture, clock speed, memory bandwidth, etc. The below table compares the benchmark specs of the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070.

SpecsRTX 3060RTX 3070
ArchitectureAmpere (8nm)Ampere (8nm)
Power consumption170 W220 W
RT cores2846
Base clock1,320 MHz1,500 MHz
Boost clock1,777 MHz1,725 MHz
Memory clock1,875 MHz1,750 MHz
Stream processors/CUDA cores3,5845,888
Tensor cores112184
GPixel/s113.7 GPixel/s165.6 GPixels
Memory bandwidth360 GB/s448 GB/s
Power connectors1x 12-pin1x 12-pin
Maximum selling price$329$499
RTX 3060 vs RTX 3070 specs comparison

From this detailed specs comparison, it’s clear that the RTX 3070 outperforms the RTX 3060 in several aspects. It has more CUDA cores, higher base clock speeds, and significantly higher TFLOPS, which translates into superior gaming and rendering performance. The RTX 3070 also offers a faster memory bandwidth, making it more capable of handling higher resolutions and more demanding tasks.

However, it’s important to consider your budget and specific needs. The RTX 3060 is more budget-friendly and provides excellent performance for casual gamers and content creators. It also offers a higher VRAM capacity, which can be beneficial for some tasks.

In contrast, the RTX 3070 is a premium option for those who demand top-tier gaming performance and the ability to fully utilize ray tracing and DLSS technology. If you’re willing to invest more and want a graphics card that can handle the latest and upcoming games and applications with ease, the RTX 3070 is the superior hardware choice.

RTX 3060 vs RTX 3070 performance

Performance in modern games is often the most critical factor when comparing graphics cards, and it’s where the RTX 3070 stands out. The RTX 3070 offers significantly higher performance than the RTX 3060. This is thanks to the RTX 3070’s higher number of CUDA cores, higher clock speeds (meaning faster frames), and a larger memory capacity. This means that the RTX 3070 can handle more demanding games and applications with ease, providing a smoother gaming experience and faster rendering times for content creators.

If you’re a casual gamer who plays less demanding titles or games at lower resolutions, the RTX 3060 may be sufficient for your needs. However, if you’re looking to play the latest AAA titles at high resolutions and frame rates or engage in tasks like 3D rendering and video editing, the RTX 3070 is the better choice. It’s a card that can future-proof your system and handle upcoming games and software releases more effectively.

RTX 3060 vs RTX 3070 pricing

Like the performance and core counts, the pricing also shows a vast difference. The maximum retail selling price for RTX 3060 is $329, which seems to be very affordable. However, the pricing for the Nvidia RTX 3070 is $499. This is more than the RTX 3060, but it does provide the right value for your money.

Should you step up?

In the RTX 3060 vs. RTX 3070 debate, the choice ultimately comes down to your specific needs and budget. If you’re a casual gamer or primarily use your PC for non-demanding tasks, the RTX 3060 is a cost-effective choice. However, if you’re a serious gamer or content creator looking for top-tier performance and the ability to explore ray tracing and DLSS technology, the RTX 3070 is a better investment. Both work fine with most monitors, motherboards and other components – although the 3070 will work better with more advanced CPUs.

You can take it up even further by upgrading to the latest Nvidia 40-series cards. Since October 2022, Nvidia has been releasing cards from its recent 40 series, including 4090, 4080, 4070 Ti, 4070, and more. For instance, a 4070 GPU has over 100% better game performance compared to 3060. So if you have the budget, the latest 40-series Nvidia cards are the better option.

As a tech and AI writer for PC Guide, Gloria is interested in what new technology means for the future of consumer electronics and digital and broadcast journalism.