Final Words

As we wrap up, it’s clear that judging the RTX 2070 involves the same themes that surfaced in the RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 review. First is for the forward-looking featuresets that have yet to publicly launch. Another, and closely intertwined, is the premium pricing that is based on those features, as opposed to being based on conventional gaming performance. And lastly is the existing competition in the form of Pascal, especially where the RTX cards fall in the same performance tier.

For the RTX 2070 Founders Edition, those themes are more relevant and harder to dismiss. By its nature, the card is an entry-level model for consumers interested in real time raytracing and other RTX platform features, as well as the traditional high-end card for prospective enthusiasts and upgraders on a budget. In the past couple generations, these ‘enthusiast value’ parts have essentially provided last-gen flagship performance (or better), at non-flagship prices. For example:

  • GTX 1070 for GTX 980 Ti
  • GTX 970 for GTX 780 Ti
  • GTX 770 refresh of GTX 680
  • RX 580/480 for R9 390
  • R9 390 refresh of R9 290
  • R9 280X refresh of HD 7970

Going back to the numbers, the RTX 2070 Founders Edition TDP and boost clock tweaks only amount to around a 4% gain over the reference 2070 at 4K. The difference is not much in the grand scheme of things, but the setup makes more sense when looking at the GTX 1080 competition. The reference RTX 2070 is faster than the GTX 1080 at 4K and 1440p by only around 10%, a gap that is easily closed by factory-overclocked custom cards.

By hardware resources, the RTX 2070 was expected to be around 75% of the 2080. But Founders-to-Founders and reference-to-reference, the RTX 2070 is bringing around 83% of the RTX 2080’s 1440p performance (and 82% of 4K performance). So the performance gap is comparable to previous generations, where the GTX 1070 brought 81% of the performance of the GTX 1080, and the GTX 970 brought 87% of the GTX 980. Except here the RTX 2080 is only managing GTX 1080 Ti level performance for traditional gaming.

Looking back at the Pascal launch, the GTX 1070 brought a 57% 1440p performance gain over GTX 970, which was substantive but with its $450 Founders Edition pricing, not necessarily a must-buy for GTX 970 owners. On the other hand, GTX 770/670 owners had a lot to gain from that upgrade.

Here with Turing, the RTX 2070 is ahead of the GTX 1070 reference-to-reference around 35% and 36% at 1440p and 4K, respectively. In its Founders Edition guise, the difference is around 41% for both resolutions. Either way, the performance lies somewhere between the GTX 1080 and 1080 Ti, except with a $600 Founders Edition price. In that sense, it offers less than last generation but at a higher price, the premium being tied to real time raytracing and other hardware-accelerated features. And when those features finally release, there's no clear sense of the quality or resolution compromises necessary to run those features.

For current GTX 10 series owners, the RTX 2070 is largely a side-grade, offering known performance for possibily worse power efficiency. For those with low-end cards, or 900 series and older products, the $500/$600 budget pulls in a number of other alternatives: the GTX 1080, RX Vega 64, or even the GTX 1070 Ti. As far as standard $500 MSRP pricing goes, for which some cards are priced so currently, it helps the RTX 2070 stay in the price/performance race, where at $600 that might be a $100+ premium over a competing product. In particular, the sub $500 GTX 1080 cards are a major spoiler for the RTX 2070, offering equivalent performance at lower price. A prospective RTX 2070 buyer will have to be honest with themselves on utilizing RTX features when the time comes, and any intentions they might have on upgrading monitors for HDR, higher resolution and/or refresh rate, and variable refresh rate technology.

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  • Vayra - Monday, October 22, 2018 - link

    In the same vein you could say 'why get so hung up on a name to defend its a same tier card'

    Price matters because if perf/dollar doesn't improve there is no reason for any *buyer* to see it as a direct replacement.
    Reply
  • Midwayman - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Why would you say that the 1080 is the card to beat and then use a garbage FE version as the benchmark comparison. Every 1080 card you're going to buy today is substantially faster than that FE version. Reply
  • Dr. Swag - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Because that's what they have... Plus they downclocked the founders 2070 to reference speeds too so it's not like it's that big of a deal. Reply
  • Midwayman - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    They have tested numerous non-FE 1080 cards. The issue is that its a comparison nobody will be making when buying a 1080. It makes the 2070 look way better in the graphs than it should. If they feel the need to include a FE model for reference, fine. But they should have included a version with the faster ram and a typical factory OC since that is what is most often for sale right now. Particularly in light of the price point of the 2070. Reply
  • Yojimbo - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    How does it make it look much better than it should when they downclocked the founder's edition to a clock below what the 3rd party 2070 cards which are comparable to the 1080s you want to use will be using.

    And I don't think you can use the price point of the 2070 FE or the base 2070 as a justification to include factory overclocked cards from 3rd party board partners. There are other reasons for the price differential besides price/performance in current games. And since there is a price premium for NVIDIA FE cards you're going to end up with a price comparison problem anyway.

    They tested numerous non-FE 1080 cards and when they are available I'm sure they will test numerous non-FE 2070 cards. When that happens I am sure they will make the comparisons among those two sets of cards, since there will no longer be the FE/non-FE problem.
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    It's a difficult situation because there seems to be a dollar value to the founder's edition beyond the performance, and the reviewed card is a founder's edition. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Our editorial policy long has been (and remains) that we'll always compare products stock to stock. That means comparing a reference clocked 1070 to a reference clocked 2070, etc. This is so that we never overstate the performance of a product; as we use the reference specs, anything you buy will be as fast as our card, if not faster. As we can only loo at a finite number of cards, it continues to be the fairest and most consistent way to test cards.

    Plus we got a earful (rightfully) whenever we've deviated from this. You guys have made it very clear that you don't like seeing factory overclocked cards treated as any kind of baseline in a launch article.
    Reply
  • Exodite - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Thank you Ryan!

    I, for one, appreciate this approach and I'm very glad to see Anandtech sticking to it.
    Reply
  • Eletriarnation - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    Pretty sure there's a mistake in the chart on the front page that puts the transistor count of the 2070 as >2x the 2080. Reply
  • cwolf78 - Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - link

    My first PC was a Tandy 1000 RL with an Intel 8086 CPU. The first PC I ever built was a 486SX/25 and I've been a PC gamer ever since. For the first time since, well, ever, I'm seriously considering just forgoing PC gaming in the short-term. Between the ridiculous pricing of GPU's and RAM, I just don't see how this can be a hobby for the vast majority of people anymore. It's nice that you can get a lot of bang for your CPU buck these days, that doesn't even begin to make up for how much you have to bend over for the rest of it. I think I'll be getting a PS5 and call it a day and use my current PC with its OC GTX 970 for any PC exclusives I may want to play. I just can't justify spending these kind of prices. Nvidia is going to kill PC gaming for a lot of people. I'm not sure what their strategy is except to bend people over for as long and hard as they can and only then start dropping prices one sales start taking a hit. Well, sorry, Nvidia. You need to find someone else to take advantage of. Reply

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