RTX 4060 vs RTX 3070: Is the newer Nvidia card actually an upgrade?

Thinking of swapping out your card? Think again...

Two different models of graphics cards, the nvidia 3070 and the 4060, facing each other with a "vs" symbol in between, suggesting a comparison or competition.

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Nvidia’s RTX 4060 may be the newer kid on the block, but the RTX 3070 certainly isn’t going to go down without a fight. The 4060 is very much targeting those who enjoy playing at 1080p, while the RTX 3070 — at the time of launch, was looking to appeal to those playing at both 1080p and 1440p. Still, time moves on, and a powerful card a few years ago is now just entry level in 2024. So, just how well does that RTX 3070 compare to the RTX 4060? Is it really a case of newer is better, or can the old dog still perform a few new tricks in today’s PC games?

Whether you plan to swap out your RTX 3070 to the new RTX 4060 (we advise not in this instance) or just want some details about the newer card, this article will help you. We compare the RTX 4060 vs. RTX 3070 extensively and list the differences so you can make an informed decision. We’ve had extensive experience with both cards, and you can read what we think in our RTX 4060 review.

✓ Is the RTX 4060 a worthwhile upgrade over the RTX 3070?

Generally, yes!

The RTX 4060 often outperforms the 3070, especially in newer games optimized for its architecture. Surprisingly, you can sometimes find an RTX 4060 for less than a used RTX 3070. The 4060 has newer technologies like DLSS 3, which can boost frame rates significantly.

The Caveat: If you already own a 3070, and it handles your desired games and resolution well, the upgrade might not be urgent. However, for new builds or major performance boosts, the 4060 is compelling.

RTX 4060 vs. RTX 3070: How they compare

The GeForce RTX 4060 is part of the NVIDIA RTX 4000 series, albeit at the bottom of the rung. As we highlighted in our 4060 review, it’s the weakest of the current-generation Ada Lovelace architecture graphics cards. What does that mean? Well, it’s the only one of the family built on the AD107 die. Couple this with a modest 8GB GDDR6 VRAM on a 128-bit memory bus, and you’re looking at something very much geared towards 1080p. It’s helped along by 3,072 CUDA cores with 96 TMUs and 48 ROPs, not to mention a clock speed that can be boosted to 2,460 MHz.

The GeForce RTX 3070, meanwhile, is built on the older, but well-respected Ampere architecture, which despite being a few years old, can handle ray tracing far better than the 2nd generation Nvidia cards, such as the Nvidia 2080Ti. At the time, the 3070 delivered outstanding capabilities with a base frequency of 1575 MHz, a boost speed of 1770 MHz and 8 GB of GDDR6X memory. This made it a decent card for its era, although, as we’ll come on to shortly, it is beginning to show its age. Let’s take a closer look at the specs.

PALIT GEFORCE RTX 3070 GAMING PRO OC

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ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 4060 OC Edition

Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 OC Edition graphics card with dual-fan cooler design.

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The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 boasts a few extra TFLOPS compared to the RTX 4060. However, the latter has double the number of transistors. The RTX 3070 needs a robust power supply of at least 600W to operate at peak efficiency because of its high TDP of 290W. The RTX 4060, on the other hand, has a lower TDP. Therefore, it only requires a 450W power supply for maximum performance.

Things look worse for the 3070 on paper when we look at the clock speed, with the 4060’s base memory and boost memory clock speeds leaving the older card in the dust. Things start to sway even more in the 4060’s favor when you throw in DLSS 3.0 support, which is only available for 4000 Series cards.

With today’s games requiring a ton of VRAM, DLSS is a lifesaver if you’re looking to play Cyberpunk 2077, Alan Wake 2, Hogwarts Legacy, Forza Horizon or Starfield with the highest possible settings at a frame rates that are acceptable. On top of all of this, the 4060 runs on Nvidia’s 4th gen tensor cores and boasts improved ray tracing cores.

SpecificationsRTX 4060RTX 3070
NVIDIA CUDA Cores30725888
Boost Clock (GHz)2.461.73
Base Clock (GHz)1.831.50
Memory Interface Width128 bit256 bit
Memory Clock Speed2000MHz1750MHz
Ray Tracing Cores3rd Generation2nd Generation
Tensor Cores4th Generation3rd Generation
ArchitectureAda Lovelace AD107Ampere GA104
DLSS31
CUDA Capability8.98.6
Number of Transistors35,800 million17,400 million
Power Consumption115W220W
Texture Fill Rate236.2317.4
GPU Turbo Speed1890MHz1725MHz
TFLOPS Higher Floating-Point Performance11.61 TFLOPS20.31 TFLOPS
Texture Mapping Units96184
Maximum Display Resolution4K at 240Hz or 8K at 60Hz with DSC7680×4320
RTX 4060 vs. RTX 3070 specs table

RTX 4060 vs. RTX 3070: Price

You’d expect the older RTX 3070 to undercut the newer 4060 on price, but the current market tells a different story. While the 3070 can sometimes be found used for around $300, there’s a catch. Used GPU prices vary based on condition and seller. Some RTX 4060 models are now selling for less than even the MSRP of the 3070, occasionally dipping below the $300 mark. That’s new-card performance beating used prices!

ModelMSRP
RTX 4060$299
RTX 3070$499

Key Takeaway: If you can find an RTX 4060 at or near its MSRP, it’s a fantastic value proposition compared to a used RTX 3070. However, prices fluctuate, so always compare current deals before buying.

RTX 4060 vs. RTX 3070: Worth the upgrade?

Well, not quite. Despite the RTX 4060 having arguably more impressive stats on paper, there are plenty of examples where the older 3070 outperforms the card at 1080p. For example, in this video comparing performance across the two cards in various games, including The Last of Us Remastered and space shooter Starfield, the 3070 wins every round easily when looking at in-game FPS.

The average FPS differences are actually pretty substantial between the 3070 and 4060 in every game tested. This means those with a 3070 looking to upgrade would be best to skip the 4060 altogether, and instead opt for another, more powerful card such as the RTX 4070Ti Super, which we are big fans of.

✓ Camilo’s take

Out with the new, in with the old

On paper, you would expect to see similar performance from both the cards, however, the real-world performance strongly suggests the 3070 is a clear winner.

For those looking for an upgrade, we would recommend dodging the 4060 and opting for the more expensive but better 4070 Ti Super. The standard 4070 Ti, although now discontinued, is also a good option for those looking to not spend as much on an upgrade.

Final verdict

In short, if you have a 3070 and think the 4060 is an upgrade, it’s not — especially when we step away from the specs and look at real-world performance. The 3070 more than holds its own and beats the newer card at 1080p in a handful of games, and is arguably better value than the 4060. In fact, the performance is decent enough to consider the 3070 as a great lower, mid-range option for 2024 builds. Looking for a decent gaming laptop? A 3070-powered SKU will still do a very good job this year.

That being said, PC gamers looking to save a bit of cash and run a decent rig on a tighter budget may be tempted by the 4060. It’s cheap, there’s a decent amount of VRAM and the boost clock can be used to extract a little more performance. As always, before upgrading your card, ensure your CPU is up to task to avoid bottlenecks, and check other components such as the PSU to allow for enough power. For other GPU options, be sure to check out our best graphics cards, which we’ve updated for 2024.

Camilo is a contributor for PC Guide. He's been into tech since he was a teen, surfing through the web and local stores trying to find the cheapest way to play the latest Half-Life on his old Windows