Nvidia RTX 3070 vs AMD RX 6800: Price and availability
Forget that the RTX 3070 should be $499, or the Radeon RX 6800
$579. These mythical numbers exist only to tempt us. The GPU
shortage debacle has taken its toll on pricing, you can expect to
pay at least double for the RTX 3070 on the second-hand market. If
you think that's rough, in May it reached a peak of almost $1500
for some models due to the crypto mining boom.
The AMD RX 6800 doesn't fair better here either; you'll fork
over nearly double its original MSRP to pick one up, too.
Regardless of price, the RTX 3070 has been one of the most popular
GPUs in units sold, far eclipsing the AMD offerings in units if
we're to believe things such as the Steam gaming survey.
With its high popularity and despite its greater availability,
the RTX 3070 is typically tough to find in stock. Gamers are still
Nvidia-centric in their preference, thanks to better ray tracing
and DLSS performance, Nvenc encoders, and brand recognition. AMD
has produced a truly competitive GPU in the RX 6800, but its sales
have suffered due to higher third-party AIB model pricing and lower
availability compared to the RTX 3070.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 next to an EK waterblock plate.
Nvidia RTX 3070
vs. AMD RX 6800: Performance
Nvidia's RTX 3070 came with lofty performance promises of
beating the previous flagship RTX 2080 Ti for considerably cheaper.
The AMD RX 6800 brought Radeon GPUs back into the high-end
competitive arena. The more expensive RX 6800 is better, sometimes.
To decode this, let's look at some brand specific technologies and
how they impact performance.
First, Nvidia has a lead in areas such as DLSS (Deep Learning
Super Sampling) and ray tracing. AMD has introduced its own
counterpart variants but they need time to mature. DLSS can be a
game changer in certain titles, improving performance considerably.
Coupled with ray tracing, DLSS is extremely effective with its AI
upscaling. AMD also has its own perks; such as Smart Access Memory. This allows your Ryzen
5000 CPU to unlock more performance from a Radeon RX 5000- or
6000-series GPU, giving you higher frame rates in many games.
The RX 6800 also packs 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, compared to a skimpy
8GB on the RTX 3070. For 1080p and 1440p gaming, this is not
significant. For 4K and above, however, 8GB of VRAM may have future
limitations in some titles; but we wouldn't worry for most use
In Wolfenstein Youngblood the RX 6800 is faster than
the RTX 3070, even though it is an Nvidia-leaning title.
You can expect around 11 percent better in 4K, and 13 percent in
1440p. More surprising is that the RX 6800 can often get near an
RTX 3080 in performance! Talk about a generational leap from the
AMD 5700 XT to the RX 6800. Impressive.
In Metro Exodus, with ray tracing on, we see Nvidia at
an advantage here. Performance suffers more on the RX 6800 versus
the RTX 3070 when this is switched on. Furthermore, with DLSS
activated, the RTX 3070 pulls out even farther ahead versus the RX
6800 with ray tracing-centric titles that support both.
Which is better? For most games, the RX 6800 will give you the
better performance. If you want to indulge in ray tracing titles,
however, the RTX 3070 is likely a better bet coupled with DLSS.
Considering this technology is still maturing, the performance nod
does go the to RX 6800 for most use cases especially at lower
If you want to play at 4K with all the eye candy, the RTX 3070
typically does better here with DLSS; while the RX 6800 will be
superb in 1080p and 1440p.
RTX 3070 vs. AMD RX 6800: Power draw and other things to know
The 220W TDP of the Nvidia RTX 3070 is impressive for its
performance, as is the 250W AMD RX 6800. Both come in a variety of
air cooler designs that typically keep them thermally in check.
They're far from heat monsters like the RTX 3080 and 3090 with
their GDDR6x VRAM.
MSI GeForce RTX 3070 Suprim. Image: Thiago Trevisan/IDG
Even If you're solely a gamer, it's good to know what is going
on in the crypto-mining space as it highly affects GPUs as well.
The RTX 3070 has been a popular choice for miners, with its nearly
60 megahashes per second and fairly efficient power draw. LHR (Lite
Hash Rate) versions have dampened some of that interest, but
they're still selling like hotcakes. The RX 6800 has similar mining
performance, but less efficiency, and typically at a slightly
higher price than the RTX 3070. (A much higher average price if you
count the third-party AIB RX 6800 cards, which have sky-high
Which one should you buy?
If you're a 1080p or 1440p gamer, you're likely to be better off
with the RX 6800 if you find one closer to MSRP. If you must have
ray tracing with Nvidia's glorious DLSS technology at 1440p or 4k,
the RTX 3070 is a solid choice.
AMD Radeon drivers are much improved over the previous
generation RX 5000 GPUs, but Nvidia still has a lead in general
We wish the answer were simple, however. With record shortages
and skyrocketing prices, we'd recommend you grab one that is most
reasonably priced if you can find it. You'll have a blast with
either GPU; the mid-range has come a long way. We just hope the
price and availability catch up, too.