RTX 3060 vs RTX 2070: Graphics Cards Compared

Mehak Sohail | Last Updated On December 30th, 2021

GPUs prices have been going crazy this past year, owing to the silicone shortage and crypto mining. It’s very difficult for existing gamers to go for an upgrade, and it’s even harder for beginners to get started off with their first build.

GPU choices are very limited these days and the market is always shifting. Amazon and Ebay are pricing these GPUs at very extravagant prices that are sometimes two or three times that of the initial MSRP. Whether it’s low-end or high-end, all GPUs are getting taken off the shelves. Many people predict that it might take another year or two until the dust settles.

For gamers on a budget, this is bad news. However, if you aren’t worried about the money and if you are looking for something that will be able to handle AAA games at 4K with 40-ish FPS, along with the added benefit of DLSS, then you’ve got the opportunity to go for an RTX card. Either the RTX 2070 or a quick jump into the next 3000 series. So we compared here the RTX 3060 vs RTX 2070.

In this article we are comparing two different NVIDIA architectures here, surely the newer RTX 3060 will be able to outperform the NVIDIA RTX 2070 right? Wrong! The RTX 2070 is faster when it comes to raw performance. But this improvement is by a very small margin of about 10%. Now it may seem like the choice is clear. Now before you go off buying the RTX 2070 at it’s inflated price, there are some things you should consider. There are other factors at play here, not just raw performance. So in order to understand a lot more about the differences between the two, let’s move on to the product comparisons.

RTX 3060 vs RTX 2070 Product Comparisons

Teenager working on GPU mining rig to mine cryptocurrency

Let’s pit the RTX 2070 against the RTX 3060. From the onset, you can obviously see the clear winner here, it’s the RTX 2070. Although it might seem like the 2070 has a slight edge when it comes to raw performance, there are other factors such as power consumption, thermal performance, acoustics and even the current market conditions that we need to consider. Sometimes the RTX 2070 might not be so readily available, we never know. So in this section we’re going to do a comparison between the two, not just in performance but in price changes and the overall price-to-performance ratio as well.

Performance Comparison

The best way to gauge performance is by using benchmarks and checking out how these GPUs perform in video games. First off, before we get into overclocking (know how to check if CPU is overlocked here)performance and specification based performance, let’s compare these two cards against some of our favorite – and sometimes, not so favorite – video games.

Red Dead Redemption 2: With the RTX 2070, you can get around 50-ish FPS on 1440p with all the graphic settings set to ultra. On 4K resolution, you can get around the same frame rates but with medium-high graphic settings. With the RTX 3060 you will get around the same FPS on 4K medium-high settings, but on 1440p ultra, you won’t get more than 40 FPS. However, with DLSS you might be able to shift things around a bit although it won’t make much of a difference.

Fortnite: For the RTX 2070 on 1080p High settings you’ll get around 170+ FPS. So competitive Fortnite on a 144Hz monitor is possible. On the other hand, the RTX 3060 on 1080p “Epic” graphic settings will net you around 140 FPS. But if you ever want to be on the safe side with 144Hz, I recommend switching over to High graphic settings or switching on DLSS. So in conclusion, both GPUs are great for Fortnite, especially at 144Hz 1080p.

If you want more alternative GPU options for playing Fortnite, check out our article on the “Best GPUs for Fortnite” 

Doom Eternal: With Ray Tracing on and DLSS set to balanced, you can get 60+ FPS with 1080p Ultra settings on the RTX 2070. With high settings and DLSS you could reach the same framerates on 1440p. For the RTX 3060 with Ray Tracing, ultra graphic settings and 1080p resolution you can expect around 90+ FPS. Not too shabby!

Specs Comparison

So far, the gaming performance on these two have been toe-to-toe. So in this section, let’s take a quick look at the main differences between the hardware specs of these two GPUs.

GPU Engine Specs

Base Clock/Boost Clock: The RTX 2070 has a base clock of 1410 MHz and a boost clock of 1620 MHz, whereas the RTX 3060 has a base clock of 1.32 GHz (1320 MHz) and a boost clock of 1.78 GHz. They are kind of around the same range, but when we consider the overall 3D gaming speed in User benchmarks, it’s apparent that the RTX 2070 has the upper hand, by a very thin margin of 10%.

VRAM: The RTX 2070 consists of 8GB GDDR6 VRAM with a 256-bit memory interface width while the RTX 3060 has 12 GB GDDR6 with a 192-bit memory interface width. The larger VRAM is definitely a plus for most applications, but in most games: this is not a significant improvement.

Thermal and Acoustic Performance

One thing that is often overlooked by many beginners is the temperature performance along with how much noise it generates. If you are looking for a super silent build, this might be of some interest to you. For the most part, these modern GPUs are so silent, so much so that when you are gaming with headphones on, you could barely hear the fans.

Idle GPU Temperature: The RTX 2070 managed to remain somewhat cooler at 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30⁰C) while the RTX 3060 is running slightly hotter with 98.6 degrees (37⁰C).

Load GPU Temperature: During load testing the RTX 2070 managed to maintain around 158 degrees (70⁰C). The RTX 3060 however, was a little hotter with 170 degrees (77⁰C).

Idle Noise: This is where things get interesting, the RTX 2070 emits around 40 dBA of noise, that’s pretty silent, but if you are not wearing headphones, you would definitely hear the fans going off. In the RTX 3060, during idle mode, the fans are basically dead because it’s got zero RPM mode. So whenever the temps are below 122 degrees (50⁰C) you will get the silent treatment from the RTX 3060.

Load Noise: The RTX 2070 gets a little noisy by emitting around 43 dBA. Therefore, you won’t have a lot of difference in noise, whether you are running a heavy load or letting it idle. However, the RTX 3060 kicks into full gear and starts coming alive at 36 dBA. It’s pretty decent and you won’t be able to hear it with headphones on.

The main takeaway from the thermal and acoustic performance is that the more recent RTX 3060 is very silent and can run on zero RPM mode, while the RTX 2070 will make noise, regardless of the workload.

Market Comparison

Man holding against gray background powerful GPU video card used in professional video production in bitcoin cryptocurrency mining

In this section we are going to talk about how these two GPUs fare against the current market conditions. Most often, the current price is a good indicator of how readily available the GPUs are.

Price: Comparing these two by their MSRP prices, we can see that the RTX 3060 is 27% cheaper with it’s $330 MSRP. (The RTX 2070 has an MSRP of $450) We can also see the same trend in the current prices as well, although they are now three times the MSRP. The newer RTX 3060 having a lower MSRP is a good play by NVIDIA, they are trying to compete against AMD and their more affordable options. In the future, we might see GPUs that are more affordable and more powerful, provided that the current crisis sorts itself out.

Market Share: When it comes to the number of users, the RTX 2070 has the win here. Since the RTX 3060 is fairly recent – It’s only nine months old whereas the 2070 has been around for three years – it doesn’t have a larger number of users. User Benchmarks show that the market share for the 2070 is 105% higher than the 3060. So as of right now, there’s probably two with RTX 2070s in use for each RTX 3060.

The market has been acting weird because of all these issues we’ve seen come to light in the past year. The pandemic, silicone shortage and cryptocurrency mining have all led to the scarcity of GPUs on the market. Although the RTX 2070 is slightly more powerful in raw performance, the RTX 3060 provides a better price-to-performance ratio. (A 26.4% difference in value)

Conclusion

Considering all the data available to us, it’s difficult to make a decision between these two GPUs. However, in my opinion I think the RTX 3060 is going to be the better option. The 10% performance boost is nothing compared to the cheaper price and zero RPM mode. So if you can get your hands on a new RTX 3060 you will be alright for another 4-5 years. After all, it is the new kid on the block.

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