ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC Review

Spring 2021, store shelves are empty, on sites all positions with numbers 3070 in the title end in red letters “out of stock”, and in front of me is the new TUF version of RTX 3070 from ASUS. They say this is one of the best versions of the 3070 in terms of workmanship and practicality. Let’s consider it in more detail.


Contents:


Specifications

  • Model: TUF-RTX3070-O8G-GAMING.
  • GPU: GA104.
  • Stream Processors: 5888.
  • Texture blocks: 184.
  • ROPs: 96.
  • Graphics processor frequency: 1500…2010 MHz.
  • Video Memory: 8 GB GDDR6.
  • Video memory frequency: 1750 (14000) MHz.
  • Memory bus: 256 bit.
  • Video outputs: 2 × HDMI 2.1, 3 × DisplayPort 1.4a.
  • Occupies slots in the system unit: 3.
  • Power connectors: 2 × 8 pins
  • Dimensions: 300 × 127 × 52 mm.

Packaging, appearance

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

The ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC comes in a medium black box. Contrasting inserts in NVIDIA’s proprietary light green color hint that the video card is based on the GPU of the Californian company.

The color of the video card matches the box: everything is black, only the inscriptions are white. The palette was selected according to the behests of Henry Ford. But, I must say, it looks impressive, mainly due to the metal casing of the fans. Plastic-plastic, but details with a “noble” shine look more solid.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

On the reverse side there is a metal plate that protects delicate SMD elements from mechanical damage and complements the general appearance of the 3070th to the finished composition. And it adds rigidity, which is important for such a long (300 mm) video card. By the way, there are threaded inserts at the end for the installation of additional mounting plates.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

A small switch at the end is designed to select the profile of the cooling system. “Perfomance Mode” – higher speed, lower temperature. “Quiet Mode” – quieter operation, slightly above the temperature. The difference between the modes is relatively small, this option is more for “ordinary” users, there is a proprietary software for fine-tuning the speed.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

From the ends, the palisade of the radiator fins, the base, two eight-pin power connectors and white letters are clearly visible. You can also notice that the video card occupies three full-fledged slots in the system unit. Alas, a quiet and efficient cooling system does not differ in small dimensions. More than 200 watts of heat have to be removed!

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC
ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

There are five video outputs: two HDMI 2.1 and three DisplayPort 1.4a. A gentleman’s set, except that USB Type-C is missing. Why ventilation slots are made on the rest of the area is not very clear: hot streams from the radiator go completely in the opposite direction.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

The external examination of ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC is completed, you can take up the screwdriver.


Design features

Eight screws secured a beautiful plate on the ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC back, but, alas, we failed to find a single thermal spacer that would allow it to be used as an additional cooling element. Although similar solutions were used on other ASUS video cards of a similar design.

The front side cooling system is secured to the PCB and back cover with eight screws. It is based on a stacked radiator of about 130 aluminum fins 0.3 mm thick, strung on five heat pipes. The base (in contact with the GPU crystal) is copper, nickel-plated. Also on the heatsink there are pads for heat removal from memory chips and power components of power supply circuits.

There are three fans, the impeller diameter is 90 mm, the maximum rotation speed is 2900 rpm.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

Built into the top of the fan shroud is an RGB LED block that beautifully illuminates the TUF logo.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

The proprietary microcircuit AURA is responsible for the work. You can control the backlight from the proprietary utility of the same name.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

The printed circuit board is compact, the graphics processor and 8 memory chips are soldered in the center.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

Thick gaskets are difficult to dismantle without damage, so only one memory chip was cleaned. Samsung chips, GDDR6, operating frequency 1750 (14000) MHz, total volume 8 GB.

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

GA104 GPU with 5888 universal units, 184 texture units and 96 ROPs. A 256-bit bus connects to the video memory.

The power subsystem is divided into two blocks, one with five phases, the other with seven. The five-phase unit is equipped with an additional radiator that removes heat from the power switches.

The ten phases are controlled by the OnSemi NCP81610 controller. In each phase, an NCP302150 power switch is soldered, designed for a current of up to 45 amperes. The two-phase video memory power converter is controlled by the up9529 controller.

Well, the design is clear: everything you need, nothing more. What about games?


Test results

The performance was evaluated at the booth of this configuration: Core i9-9900K @ 4.9 GHz, 16 GB DDR4-2400, 240 GB M.2 NVMe SSD. As tests – different games of the last three years.

The set of resolutions is unchanged – 4K (3840 × 2160), QHD (2560 × 1440), FullHD (1920 × 1080). The settings are set according to the wired presets, additional technology activations (anti-aliasing, ray tracing) are not performed. The exceptions are Control, Metro Exodus and Cyberpunk 2077, but everything is written there separately.

Last year’s Watch Dogs: Legion opens the list. The game is demanding, which can be clearly seen from the FPS drop in 4K resolution. Even at medium performance settings, the 60fps mark is barely surpassed, and that’s at 3070! At lower resolutions, the situation is at least one and a half times better. According to subjective feelings, some discomfort is only in 4K at maximum settings during the loading of the environment.

The medieval army simulator Total War: Three Kingdoms also showed that, if desired, it can load powerful modern video cards with work. 40 fps in the thick of battle at maximum settings in 4K resolution! It is worth noting that the picture is very decent, you can see the actions of each warrior. In the fly-by mode typical for the benchmark, there are short-term drawdowns. In the game itself, they are completely absent.

Last year’s novelty, Horizon Zero Dawn, shows stability uncharacteristic for games ported from consoles. No jerking, no jerking, the average FPS does not sag below 60 even at maximum graphics settings in 4K resolution. Lower it to QHD – and now 100 FPS without losing picture quality.

The third version of the Borderlands shooter shows results similar to Watch Dogs and Three Kingdoms: in 4K at high and medium settings, the average FPS varies from 47 to 90, the transition to QHD adds more than one and a half times frames. Again, the minimum FPS at maximum quality in 4K is 40, drawdowns up to 15-25 are observed only at the very beginning of the scene when loading data.

The shooter about the battle with any paranormalism – Control – can show the “chips” of NVIDIA technologies. To evaluate them, however, it is worth stopping and observing all sorts of reflections and shadows, but the refresh rate that sagged by one and a half times with the inclusion of ray tracing is immediately noticeable. It is worth activating this resource-intensive technology only in Full HD, where a 1.5-fold drawdown will have a minimal effect on comfort. Yes, the game is poorly optimized, and it can be safely called resource-intensive. The above creations at maximum quality in 4K demonstrated a pleasant picture, which compensated for the drop in the average FPS to 40-45. This is not good here.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is beautiful, especially if you set the quality slider to Maximum High. Grass, water, remains of ancient monumental buildings look very attractive. And at an average of 47 frames in 4K, even the 0.1% low framerate does not fall below 35, and the 1% low framerate is more than 40. No drawdowns or jerks were noticed during the game. It is noteworthy that there are no gaps already seen repeatedly when the resolution is reduced. In general, a good game, pleasant gameplay, for fans of the Assassin’s Creed series, the RTX 3070 graphics card is recommended.

It is worth noting that the data was taken before the release of patch 1.2 for Cyberpunk 2077, and the new indicators should get better. But even without them, the picture flaunts beauties in 4K with a very good FPS for active ray tracing – almost 45. The answer lies in the active DLSS, which at the default settings (second position from the left extreme) manages to keep a very high image quality in 4K. But it’s worth turning it off … Slideshow, the differences in the image can be assessed only by the screenshots. In general, DLSS is strongly recommended for 4K resolution, even without ray tracing enabled. It is much more comfortable to play with him.

As for Full HD and QHD, there is enough video card capacity there, without DLSS. If you do not slide the RT slider to the rightmost position, of course.

In Metro Exodus, for clarity, the Y-axis is permissions, and the columns are, respectively, presets. So most clearly visible is the small (compared to other games) dependence of the refresh on the quality settings. You can clearly see that without manual adjustment (NVIDIA technologies) you practically don’t have to pay for image quality with performance.

If you activate ray tracing, then as the image quality decreases, the gap becomes larger. It’s good that the game has been brought to mind today and the difference has practically no effect on the comfort of the game. The same 45 FPS with a fast SSD is enough to practically forget about microfreezes from overloads.

Throughout the gaming tests, the video card automatically adjusted the fan speed, and the maximum figure was 1779 rpm.

It can be said to be the optimal mode in terms of noise (despite the fact that the switch on the video card was in the “Performance Mode” position). At 2155 rpm, the temperatures are already 6 degrees lower, but the noise on the open stand has increased as well. In the case, all this, of course, will not be heard, you can safely set it at 2000–2100 rpm and forget. At maximum speed (almost 2900 per minute), you can achieve 55 degrees on the GPU under load. Noisy, but can be useful for experimenting with GPU frequency potential.


Software

Most of the functions for fine-tuning the parameters of the ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC are available from the convenient GPU TWEAK III program from ASUS. It is suitable both for ordinary users who want to periodically take an interest in the “health” of a video card, and for enthusiasts who want to make the most of the possible. To the left of the main window is a section with graphs reflecting real-time changes in frequencies, temperatures and revolutions.

In the “advanced” mode, you can independently build graphs of fan speed versus temperature, frequency versus temperature, adjust the maximum power consumption, change the video memory and GPU frequencies.


Conclusions

ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC

The ASUS TUF RTX 3070 GAMING OC graphics card is a fine example of the well-made 3070 from ASUS. Modest by modern standards, but solid appearance, efficient and well-thought-out cooling system, high-quality branded software. Such a board will look great in any assembly, and those who want to squeeze out a hundred or two extra megahertz from the GPU will be delighted with the capabilities of the standard cooler and power subsystem.

The only negative is the price. Due to external reasons, it is completely inadequate on the territory of the Russian Federation and is far from recommended (when NVIDIA announced its 3,000th series).


Pros:

  • Effective cooling system.
  • Good performance.
  • Quiet work.

Minuses

  • Price.