RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070 – How big is the upgrade?

How much of an upgrade is the RTX 3060 from the GTX 1070?

RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070. Image shows the text "RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070" underneath the RTX 3080 and the GTX 1070 on a blue background.

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Roll up, as we’re comparing two staple graphics cards: the RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070. Launched in 2016, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1070 was one of the first graphics cards in the company’s GTX series. It’s been several years since then, and Nvidia has gone on to develop and launch several new GPU cards, and one of the most popular among them is the RTX 3080. If you’re looking for a graphics card that will give you higher performance and smoother frame rates, you might be wondering if it’s worth the upgrade from the older 1070 to the newer 3080. This brief guide should give you some insight into how big the specs, performance, and price changes are between RTX 3080 and GTX 1070.

RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070 specs comparison

The specs comparison of RTX 3080 and GTX 1070 shows how big a difference the upgrade can make to your PC’s performance. The only two places where the GTX 1070 has an advantage are the Thermal Design Power (TDP) and base clock speed. The TDP is 150 watts for GTX 1070 and 320 watts for RTX 3080. As for the clock speeds, the GTX 1070 has a base clock speed of 1,506 MHz, just a little higher than the RTX 3080’s 1,440 MHz.

Moreover, the 1070 also includes a 2,002 MHz memory clock speed, again higher than the 1,188 MHz of the RTX 3080. However, it is worth noting that the memory clock speed of RTX 3080 is effective at 19 Gbps, and that of GTX 1080 is 8 Gbps effective. Besides these few factors, the Nvidia RTX 3080 outperforms the GTX 1070 in all ways possible.

Here’s a table showing all the essential specs of both GPUs:

ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC

ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 OC

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SpecsRTX 3080GTX 1070
Processor size8 nm16 nm
Transistors28,300 million7,200 million
Tensor cores272NA
RT cores68NA
Base clock1,440 MHz1,506 MHz
Boost clock1,710 MHz1,683 MHz
Memory clock1,188 MHz19 Gbps effective2002 MHz8 Gbps effective
Memory sizeGDDR6X 10 GBGDDR5 8 GB
Memory bandwidth760.3 GB/s256.3 GB/s
TDP320 W150 watts
Power connectors1x 12-pin1x 8-pin
Shading units8,7041,920
Pixel rate164.2 GPixel/s107.7 GPixel/s
Texture rate465.1 GTexel/s202.0 GTexel/s
Price (during launch)$699$379

As you can see in the table, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 has more than 5x the higher floating point performance. With 29.77 TFLOPS, the RTX 3080 shines way brighter than the GTX 1070 with 5.78 TFLOPS. Additionally, the RTX 30-series card has a 67.8 GPixel/s higher pixel rate. Another primary difference is seen in the GPU architecture. The RTX card has the Ampere architecture with an 8 nm size, whereas the GTX card boasts the older Pascal architecture and has a 16 nm size.

As for the VRAM, RTX 3080 boasts 10 GB memory, whereas GTX 1070 has only 8 GB RAM. There’s also a difference of 284.4 GTexels/s higher texture rate, with the RTX 3080 coming out winning again. You also get three times the memory bandwidth benchmark, as the RTX card has 760 GB/s bandwidth against the GTX card’s 256 GB/s.

RTX 3080 also offers better visual and texturing features than GTX 1070. It supports ray tracing, which enhances the gaming experience. Moreover, most RTX 3080 cards support DLSS. This allows them to render games at a lower resolution and then upgrade the images to make them run at near-native levels. Thus, if you are a gamer looking to enhance your experiences, upgrading to GeForce RTX 3080 might be the right choice.

RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070 performance

After looking at the specs comparison, it’s evident that the Nvidia RTX 3080 offers better performance, thanks to its higher number of cores, shading units, boost clock speed, etc. A combination of these factors helps improve the overall performance of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080.

In fact, RTX 3080 offers better performance at all resolutions. The average 1080p resolution performance is 93.6 FPS for GTX 1070 and 232.4 FPS for RTX 3080, which is almost 150% better. The same is the story for 1440p resolution and 4K, with GTX 1070 performing at 68.5 FPS and 40.6 FPS, respectively, and RTX 3080 performing at 173.0 FPS and 105.0 FPS, respectively.

Ultimately, to get the best performance out of your gaming system as a whole, it would definitely be worth investing in the best CPU for the RTX 3080 if you’re considering making the upgrade. However, if you’re more Team Red than Team Green, the AMD equivalent component of the RTX 3080 is the RX 6800 XT.

RTX 3080 vs GTX 1070 price

Similar to the specs and performance, there’s also a huge disparity in the card’s pricing. The RTX 3080 was priced at $699 at its launch back in September 2020. On the other hand, GTX 1070 was made available at $379 at the time of launch in 2016. However, given that these cards are a little on the older side, it might be likely that you’ll be able to find them selling online for a price lower than their MSRP. It’s worth keeping an eye on our best Black Friday GPU deals page to see if you can catch either of these cards selling with a decent discount.

Final verdict

Upgrading from the GTX 1070 to the RTX 3080 will give you a major performance boost, especially if you are looking to enhance graphics and better FPS rates. However, the GTX 1070’s performance is still decent considering its age; you can even play the latest games like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and Modern Warfare 3 with GTX 1070. If you’re still not in the market for a GPU upgrade, your faithful 1070 should still keep serving you for a few more years. Overall, it is notable that as a newer card with refreshed architecture and ray tracing, the RTX 3080 does represent a huge leap in graphics card technology over the trusty GTX 1070.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.