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Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G Review

By Damien Gula on October 31, 2018 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G Review

Over the past few weeks, we have had the opportunity to review the new RTX 2080, 2080 Ti, two partner-based RTX 2070 from MSI and ASUS, as well as test the performance of two 2080 Tis with NVLink. In this review, we will be taking a look at Gigabyte’s entry level RTX 2070, the Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G.

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By this point, you have already heard the hype surrounding Real-time Ray Tracing, its current absence from real-world usages, and the lamentable price tag for NVidia’s RTX 2080 Ti. While these issues make the RTX series seem largely untenable, the recent release of the RTX 2070 series partner cards has cracked open the doorway to the future for early adopters and enthusiasts alike.

Let’s take a look at Gigabyte’s invitation to the RTX table with the RTX 2070 WINDFORCE.

Specifications

  •  MSRP: $498.99
  • Core Clock: 1410 MHz (Base) 1620 MHz (Boost)
  • CUDA Cores: 2304
  • Memory: 8 Gb GDDR6 @ 14000 MHz
  • Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s
  • Bus: PCI-e 3.0 x16
  • Ports: 3x DisplayPort 1.3, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB Type-C with VirtualLink
  • Cooling: Triple fan design with alternating fan directions
  • RGB Logo with RGB Fusion support
  • Supports G-Sync and G-Sync HDR
  • RTX-Exclusive Spec: 42T RTX-OPS, 6 Giga Rays/s

Gigabyte’s RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G GPU is an entry-level enthusiast grade GPU. This may seem like an oxymoron, but hear me out:

Like every other board partner, Gigabyte has provided what is, essentially, a Reference Edition card, devoid of the usual frills associated with AIB releases such as overclocked cores and lots of flashy RGB. These cards are intended to give access to the RTX-series that is a bit more palatable, yet they are still in the upper reaches of price for the average PC builder.

But don’t for a second think that this card is cheaply constructed. While it may not have the same features as its AORUS big brothers, this GPU still has an impressive design. The three 80mm cooler fan configuration has the center fan moving in the opposite direction as the edge fans to move air away from the card more efficiently. Combine that with composite copper piping along with a finned heatsink similar to the design found on the AORUS X470 Gaming 7 motherboard, and this card keeps its cool under stress.

This GPU also features a metal backplate and a slight amount of addressable RGB in the form of an illuminated Gigabyte logo on the side facing of the card. Its color can be controlled with Gigabyte’s RGB Fusion software. Another feature worth noting is the addition of two LED lights located near the GPU’s power connectors. These LEDs indicate if the cables are connected properly or if there are any abnormalities with the power it is being supplied.

From a price perspective, the Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G is priced in a -/+$50 window around NVidia’s GTX 1070, 1070 Ti, and 1080 as well as AMD’s Vega 56 and 64. This price bracket places it squarely in the middle of a swath of tried and true top performers from the previous generation of enthusiast GPUs. So, how does it keep pace?

Let’s take a look at performance.

Benchmarks and Thermal Performance

Before we get into the numbers, here are the system specifications for our test bench:

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 2600X
  • Cooler: CoolerMaster ML240R RGB (Closed loop cooler)
  • RAM: 16 GB Patriot Viper RGB
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte X470 AORUS Gaming 7 WiFi
  • GPU: Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G
  • Storage: 256GB Patriot Scorch M.2, 640GB Colorful Technology Summer Edition SSD
  • PSU: NZXT E850
  • Case: NZXT H500

Tested alongside the Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G, we ran the same tests and setting on a PowerColor Red Devil RX580 and a Maxwell-based Nvidia Titan X Reference Edition. Though clock speeds, CUDA cores, and memory access speeds are different, performance wise, external benchmarking has shown the Titan X (Maxwell) as a very close proxy to the GTX 1070. Since the RX580, GTX 1070, and Titan X thrive in the 1440p arena and our previous tests showed the 2070’s proclivity to this resolution, you will note that many of our charts reflect 1440p, though I will be referring to some of the numbers from 4K tests within. 

Starting out with synthetic test, 3DMark’s Time Spy Extreme shows Gigabyte’s enter-level 2070 is no slouch. While the 4K numbers are marginal, at 1440p, it exceeded the performance of both the Titan X (Maxwell) and RX580’s scores at 1080p and nearly doubled the RX580 when run within that resolution.

In game testing, we used the highest sets available in most of the titles we tested, with the exception of World of Warcraft. With CPU multicore support still “in the works” for an upcoming patch, the numbers you will see were gathered by using the recommended setting of 7/10. As a result, these numbers may not hold as true to the performance of the overall system itself, let alone the GPU. Take the following numbers for WoW as anecdotal.

Many of the titles saw high performance from each title with Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the lower side of this range. In each one of our tests with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we consistently landed on 66 FPS as our average for the RTX 2070 without any variation at 1440p. For comparison, with the Titan X (Maxwell) we scored 47 FPS and the RX580 landed at 44 FPS. At 1080p, we saw some slight movement per test on the RTX 2070, but landed at a healthy average of 96 FPS. Our 4K test for Shadow of the Tomb Raider averaged out at 39 FPS.

That isn’t to say that Gigabyte’s RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G can’t perform in 4K. In Destiny 2, our 1440p and 1080p tests ran fairly close together with the 4K benchmarks averaging at 73 FPS. When testing World of Warcraft in 4K, we saw numbers averaging in the 90s and in Final Fantasy XIV, we landed just below 60 FPS with an average of 58 FPS. Even in the Final Fantasy XV Benchmark Utility (set to High), the performance of the RTX 2070 at 4K slightly edged out that of the RX580 at 1440p, garnering us a Standard performance rating.

Performance numbers are great, but components generate heat. How does this RTX 2070 handle it? Pretty well considering that this is on the low end of Gigabyte’s RTX 2070 line up.

Let’s take a look at thermal performance.

Without changing any settings on the GPU, the Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G keeps the card in the mid-70 degrees Celsius during periods of heavy use and hovers around 54 degrees Celsius resting idle. When the fans do kick on, their sound level is comparable to other GPUs.

While the heat sink and cooler may be parts that manufacturers might scrimp on to save a few dollars, Gigabyte’s triple fan design with alternating spin and copper heat pipes keep the GPU at a consistent temperatures while gaming.

Final Thoughts

The Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G delivers performance worthy of NVidia’s legacy, but it falls prey to the current market trends of higher prices for lower performance jumps over the previous generations. This isn’t to say that a leap forward is non-existent. This RTX 2070 performs beautifully, but there are still questions of value  remaining in the hands of you, the consumer.

If you are looking for competitive performance and pricing with some of the previous generation’s flagship cards, the RTX 2070 may be a gamble worth taking. While we would never recommend spending money of something that is not fully functional at this point, if RTX and DLSS can deliver, the RTX 2070 has serious potential with these latent features embedded into a GPU that carries itself well within its weight-class. It may just be an investment worth considering for the burgeoning enthusiast. However, if you are currently using a GTX 1080Ti or AMD Vega 64, will likely not see a performance bump at this time. 

If you are considering an RTX 2070, the Gigabyte RTX 2070 WINDFORCE 8G delivers a consistently cool card along with solid performance in gaming while remaining at the lower end of the price bracket for the 20-series cards. The option is available to play in 4K if that is your resolution of choice, but it is the RTX 2070’s high frame rate fidelity in 1440p makes it a solid choice if you have a monitor with a high refresh rate.

Pros

  • Solid performance at 1440p
  • Heat sink and cooler design keep temperatures stable without a ton of noise
  • Power connection LED indicators are a nice touch
  • For a “low-end” card in the series, it exceeds many of its predecessors

Cons

  • Still waiting on RTX and DLSS features to be implemented
  • Price point puts it in range of previous generation cards with better optimization
  • While it makes a decent 4K showing, we would have liked to have seen better performance

The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.