If you want a midrange to high-end card without breaking the bank, start by comparing the 6700 XT vs 3070.
Because NVIDIA seems to see its GeForce 30-series sticking around for a while, this means the 3070 and its closest AMD competition, the 6700 XT, are still competitive.
These two GPUs have been very popular in the current generation, largely because they’re two of the best graphics cards for 1080p and 1440p gaming. Both are very capable at 4K, too. They’re also similarly priced, making comparing the two even more pertinent.
To decide which one is best overall, we need to consider several things, not just their base specifications and performance. In this guide, we’ll go through everything you need to know to decide between the 6700 XT and RTX 3070.
What is the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT?
The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is a graphics card that hit the market in March 2021, a few months after NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070.
It’s a midrange, sub-$500 card bordering on high-end territory, targeted primarily at 1440p gaming, but also high refresh-rate 1080p gaming. As it’s close to being a high-end GPU, the 6700 XT can also handle 4K gaming, though this isn’t its main intended use case.
The 6700 XT competes most directly with NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070 as it’s priced between the two at MSRP.
What is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070?
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is a graphics card that launched in September 2020, making it one of the first releases out of NVIDIA’s 30-series and AMD’s 6000-series.
Like the 3070, the 6700 XT is a midrange to high-end, sub-$500 card intended for 1080p and 1440p gaming. The 3070 is also arguably targeted at the 4K gaming market, albeit as an entry-level card for this resolution.
Its primary competition is the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT and RX 6800, sitting somewhere between the two in terms of both price and performance.
Because the 6700 XT and RTX 3070 are graphics cards designed by two different manufacturers—AMD and NVIDIA, respectively—they’re very different from one another.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is based on the ‘Ampere’ architecture. GPUs of this architecture tend towards higher shader core counts but lower clock speeds than their AMD rivals, and an emphasis on AI and ray tracing technology.
The AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT is based on the ‘RDNA2’ architecture. GPUs of this architecture tend to have lower shader core counts but higher clock speeds than their NVIDIA competitors, and less emphasis on AI and ray tracing tech.
NVIDIA vs AMD Features
Because the 6700 XT and 3070 are designed by two different companies and based on two completely different architectures, many of their features differ.
Both cards have different implementations of similar features, and each of these has its own pros and cons.
1. DLSS and FSR
NVIDIA’s DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) and AMD’s FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution) are technologies that render games at a lower resolution and then upscale this to your native resolution.
Both should let you have close to the graphical quality that you’d see on your native resolution, but you should see an improvement in performance because your GPU is only rendering things at a lower resolution.
NVIDIA RTX cards like the 3070 can use DLSS. The second version of this tech, DLSS 2, can give near-perfect graphical fidelity with a big performance boost. AMD cards like the 6700 XT, however, can’t use DLSS. Instead, they can use FSR, which works similarly but doesn’t use AI in its upscaling pipeline.
FSR 2, the second iteration of FSR, has almost caught up to NVIDIA in terms of upscaling performance and quality, and it uses the same temporal upscaling technique minus the AI legwork. However, many think it’s not there yet and that DLSS is still better. There are also fewer games that currently support FSR than there are games that support DLSS.
2. DLDSR and VSR
DLDSR and VSR render your game at a higher resolution and then downscale it to your monitor’s native resolution.
The game image should look better after it’s been downscaled—it should look like an excellent form of antialiasing, but this comes with a higher performance cost.
Both DLDSR and VSR are implemented at the driver level, unlike DLSS, which is implemented in-game, and there doesn’t seem to be agreement over which tech is better.
3. NVIDIA Reflex, NULL, and AMD Anti-Lag
NVIDIA Reflex, NVIDIA Ultra-Low Latency (NULL), and AMD Anti-Lag all attempt to reduce input latency between your mouse clicks and in-game actions.
Read More: What is NVIDIA Reflex?
NULL and Anti-Lag work on the driver level rather than in-game, and they attempt to reduce part of the GPU’s render pipeline to decrease the overall time between your mouse-click and in-game movement or interaction.
The catch is that NULL and Anti-Lag don’t work in many newer games because they’re incompatible with DirectX 12. But this is where Reflex comes in. Reflex, which is only for NVIDIA cards, is implemented in-game, and it works slightly differently by telling the game what it’s going to render before it does so, allowing the game to process everything just before the frame is rendered, cutting down latency time.
Benchmarks show that Reflex lowers latency much more than NULL or AMD Anti-Lag, meaning NVIDIA has the upper hand with this feature.
4. GSync and FreeSync
GSync and FreeSync attempt to prevent screen tearing by adapting your monitor’s refresh rate to match your current frame rate, allowing the two to sync up. GSync monitors achieve this thanks to the proprietary hardware modules in them, whereas FreeSync achieves this on the software level.
GSync monitors and FreeSync monitors both do their jobs very well these days. But NVIDIA GPUs can use FreeSync, whereas AMD GPUs can’t use GSync. For this reason alone, the NVIDIA card wins on this feature front.
The RX 6700 XT has an MSRP of $479 and the RTX 3070 has an MSRP of only $20 more at $499, making the latter only 5% more expensive at recommended pricing.
However, these prices are only guaranteed for Founders Edition (FE) cards. Thankfully, because the global GPU shortage has now all but ended and the graphics card market is almost back to normal, prices aren’t too high.
At the time of writing, you can pick up an RTX 3070 for as cheap as $540, with prices extending up into the mid-$600 range. The RX 6700 XT, however, can be found for much cheaper. You can often find 6700 XTs retailing for as cheap as $390, almost $100 cheaper than the GPU’s MSRP and at least $150 cheaper than most RTX 3070s on the market.
In practice, the 6700 XT is a much less expensive card in the US currently, sometimes being found on offer for 25% cheaper than the 3070. The same holds true in the UK, but it might be different in other countries.
If you’re looking for a GPU that performs as well as the RTX 3070 or 6700 XT, you could try picking up a used RTX 2080 Super or RTX 2080 Ti. If it’s selling for significantly less than a 3070 or 6700 XT, and if it’s in good condition, this is a viable alternative.
Both 20-series cards are in the performance ballpark as the 6700 XT and 3070, with the Super being more comparable to the 6700 XT and the Ti being more comparable to the 3070.
Graphics Card Specs
|RX 6700 XT||RTX 3070|
|CUDA Cores / Stream Processors||2,560||5,888|
|RT Cores / Ray Accelerators||40||46|
|Stream Multiprocessors / Compute Units||40||46|
|Memory||12GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6|
|Clock speed (base/boost)||2.32GHz / 2.56GHz||1.5GHz / 1.73GHz|
|Power connector (reference card)||1x 6-pin + 1x 8-pin||1x 12-pin|
The RX 6700 XT’s Navi 22 chip and the RTX 3070’s GA104 chip are designed differently. The former opts for fewer shader cores (these being AMD’s Stream Processors) but a high base clock and boost clock speed, whereas the latter opts for a lower core and boost clock but more shader cores (these being NVIDIA’s CUDA Cores).
There’s no way of saying which of these designs is better without checking the gaming performance of the two cards in real-world benchmarks. But we can say a little about their memory configurations.
The RX 6700 XT has more memory capacity and a faster memory clock, which makes it capable of two extra giga-transfers (GTs) per second ignoring bandwidth. The RTX 3070, on the other hand, has less memory capacity but more memory bandwidth. This allows for more data to be transferred each second in practice.
8GB memory is enough for gaming at 1440p and lower resolutions right now, but that could change. For this reason, the 6700 XT’s extra 4GB of VRAM might give it more longevity at 1440p, and it will already be of benefit if you’re gaming at 4K resolution in certain titles.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 and AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT are targeted at the 1440p and 1080p markets. But they also straddle the boundary between 1440p- and 4K-capable GPUs. This makes them great choices for 1080p or 1440p gamers who think they might switch to 4K down the line.
We need to look at real-world benchmarks to see how these cards perform. We’ve checked out some online benchmarks from TechSpot, PCGamer, TechRadar, TomsHardware, and others, and we’ve averaged out the reported frame rates to see what we can conclude about these cards’ performances at different resolutions.
The 6700 XT and RTX 3070 both knock 1080p gaming out of the park. Both GPUs are so good at 1080p resolution that you can throw almost any title at them, no matter how demanding, and run it on max settings on a high refresh rate monitor.
Sure, there are a few games that will struggle to reach 100fps on max settings, but that’s to be expected. Simply lower two or three settings and you’ll be back in high refresh rate territory.
There’s little difference between the 6700 XT and 3070, on average, for 1080p gaming performance. But the little difference that is there goes in the RTX 3070’s favour. On average, benchmarks show that it performs 6% faster than the 3070. But at such high frame rates this difference will be negligible for most people.
At 1440p, the 6700 XT and 3070 are both very capable. Both should get you over 100fps in most games, providing you’re willing to drop your settings below max on some of the more demanding ones. And even those demanding games should average about 60fps or more when gaming on maximum settings.
Also Read: Is 1440P Worth it for Gaming?
The 3070 has a more significant upper hand over the 6700 XT at this resolution than at 1080p, though. Average frame rates in benchmarks show that it performs about 10% faster than the 6700 XT at 1440p. Crucially, in some titles this pushes frame rates from just below 60fps to just above 60fps, which is important if you’re gaming on a 60Hz monitor.
This is all very game-dependent, though. The cards will perform about the same in some games, while in others the 3070 will blow the 6700 XT out of the water with a 20% or 30% FPS increase. And, in the very rare title, the 6700 XT might perform better than the 3070.
On average, though, the 3070 wins handily at 1440p.
Neither the RX 6700 XT nor the RTX 3070 is perfect for 4K gaming. If you’re using a 4K monitor and want to make the most of it, you’d be better opting for an RTX 3080 or RX 6900 XT—or, if you have the patience and the budget, the upcoming RTX 4080.
If you don’t need jaw-dropping frame rates while gaming at 4K on high or max settings, both GPUs can handle 4K without breaking into too much of a sweat. If you lower your graphics settings a little, both should get you over 60fps in most games. You’ll just have to spend a little more time combing through your game menus to find the perfect balance.
If it’s 4K you’re aiming for, though, you’re much better going for the 3070 over the 6700 XT. Benchmarks show that the 3070 nets framerates roughly 15% higher than those of the 6700 XT on average at this resolution. At the lower frame rates that 4K entails, 15% can make all the difference.
One caveat to this is that the 6700 XT might perform better than the 3070 if the game in question is very VRAM-intensive. In these games, such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint with textures on max, the 6700 XT will have the extra memory capacity to handle it, while the RTX 3070 will struggle.
Ray Tracing and Upscaling
AMD still hasn’t caught up to NVIDIA in its ray tracing and upscaling capabilities. The 6700 XT performs worse at ray tracing than the 3060 Ti, so we should know what to expect comparing it to the 3070.
On average, benchmarks show that the 3070 churns through frames about 50% faster than the 6700 XT when ray tracing is enabled at 1440p. And this really makes a difference at the low frame rates induced by enabling ray tracing—it might be the difference between, say, 34fps and 50fps, which is very noticeable.
The NVIDIA GPU also has the option to enable DLSS in many games, the performance boost from which almost completely offsetting the loss in frame rates caused by enabling ray tracing. Crucially, it can do this with little noticeable impact on graphical fidelity, unlike AMD’s FSR which is still not quite up to the standard of DLSS.
6700 XT vs 3070 Verdict: Which GPU Wins?
When comparing the 6700 XT vs 3070, we must remember that the AMD card is currently retailing for much cheaper than the NVIDIA one.
On paper, the RTX 3070 beats the RX 6700 XT in almost every regard, whether that’s rasterisation performance, ray tracing performance, or its NVIDIA-specific features. This is especially true at higher resolutions like 4K, and it’s certainly true for ray tracing.
But the 6700 XT is currently retailing for almost $100 cheaper than the RTX 3070, and any drawbacks are only relative to a price tag.
If you’re gaming at 1080p, the money saved by opting for a 6700 XT over an RTX 3070 will almost certainly be worth the slight performance downgrade. However, if you’re gaming at 4K, or at 1440p with a high refresh rate, or if ray tracing and DLSS is important for your gaming experience, then the RTX 3070 becomes more worth its salt.
If you’re considering saving money by opting for an RX 6700 XT, you should also consider the RTX 3060 Ti. The AMD card performs slightly better at 1080p and 1440p but loses to the similarly priced NVIDIA card at 4K. It also loses the ray tracing battle and lacks NVIDIA-specific features.
Finally, if you’re considering the RTX 3070 over the RX 6700 XT because of its 4K and ray tracing performance, you should also consider the RTX 3080. This latter card is much better at handling these high resolutions and graphically intensive processes, but it does come with a steeper price tag.