MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio ReviewNovember 3, 2020
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio – Design and Features
Compared to the Founders Edition, the Gaming X Trio feels downright massive. It’s almost identical to MSI’s RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio in size. In fact, taking in its overall design, it’s nearly identical in almost every way. It features the same improved thermal solution (over last generation), the same angular shroud, RGB placement, and backplate design. I happen to like the aggressive, sharp look, but it’s far from understated.The RGB lighting alone is likely to be polarizing. A long diffusion strip runs along the upper edge of the backplate and the LEDs shine bright. You can customize it to match the look of your rig, choose from a handful of preset effects, or disable it entirely if RGB isn’t your thing. As you can tell from the picture above, there’s a bit of hot-spotting due to the brightness of the LEDs. It looks decent, but not great, and if you’re not already sold on RGB, this won’t be the card that convinces you. There’s also a trio of strips slashing the middle fan for a bit of extra flair if you opt for a vertical GPU mount.
Like the RTX 3080 and 3090 versions of this card, it also sports MSI’s new Tri Frozr 2 cooling system. This is a three-part system that combines its new Torx 4.0 fans, high contact heat pipes, a graphene backplate, and Wave-curved 2.0 fin edges along its massive heatsink to disrupt airflow, enhance cooling, and reduce noise. MSI also includes an anti-sag bracket to support the weight of this heavy cooler. In practice, it works wonderfully on the RTX 3070, dropping temperatures a full 10C cooler than the Founders Edition for a peak of only 67C. The fans never ramped above 49% either, which allowed the card to be quiet and blend in with the rest of my system.
Under the hood, the RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio is packing the same improved Ampere architecture as the original Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition, but features a factory overclocked Boost Clock of 1830 MHz. Thanks to Nvidia’s auto-overclocking GPU Boost technology, however, it performed well beyond this, typically hovering just shy of 2GHz while gaming. This technology is based on thermal and power limitations, so the larger heatsink and dual 8-pin power headers offer it an advantage out of the gate compared to the FE which uses a smaller heatsink and an adapted single 8-pin connector.
Like all RTX 3070s, it features 5888 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 memory. This VRAM pool runs at 7000MHz on a 256-bit bus, providing a total memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s. While this is enough for most games at 4K today, how long that will remain the case is an open question. If you’re gaming at 1440p, however, 8GB of GDDR6 should be sufficient well into the future.
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio – Performance
Test system: Z390 Asus ROG Maximus XI Extreme Motherboard, Intel Core i9-9900K CPU (stock), Corsair H115i PRO RGB 280mm AIO CPU Cooler, 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3200, 1TB Samsung EVO Plus NVMe SSD, Corsair HX1200 1200-watt power supply.
Like all of our graphics card reviews, the MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio was put through a battery of synthetic tests and real world gaming benchmarks. I tested games at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K at Ultra settings, with RTX on and DLSS enabled at the “Quality” preset wherever possible.
It’s important to note that several of the cards I had available for testing were from third parties with varying factory overclocks. As generations progress, the amount of gamers with third-party cards over Founders Editions becomes more prevalent, but bear in mind that these cards will run several percent faster than their reference counterparts.
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio Synthetic Benchmarks
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio – Synthetic Benchmarks
In synthetic tests, the Gaming X Trio performed admirably, beating the Founders Edition in all but the Boundary benchmark where there was less than a 1 FPS difference. What’s even more noteworthy is that it outperformed the RTX 2080 Ti (a factory overclocked variant, no less) in three out of four tests. The one test where it didn’t, the results were extremely close.
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio Gaming Benchmarks
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio – Gaming Benchmarks
Looking at the relative performance in games, the MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio performs very, very close to the Nvidia RTX 3070 Founders Edition. This isn’t surprising, as GPU Boost effectively clocked both cards to within 100 MHz of each other, narrowing the performance gap significantly. Broadly speaking, both cards remained within 2-3 frames of each other.
Let’s take a look at 4K performance.
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio 4K Performance
With the power on tap with this GPU, examining 4K performance makes sense. At their highest settings, with RTX and DLSS enabled (where possible), we see a mix of 60+ FPS results and those that could easily be pushed there with some simple graphics adjustments. For a $569 card, these are solid results and provide a strong entry-point to 4K gaming that won’t break the bank.
At the same time, the difference between the Gaming X Trio and Founders Editions is absolutely marginal. The deciding factors, then, come down to thermal performance, acoustics, and style. While style is entirely subjective, the improved thermal performance of the card is inarguably a major selling point that can also provide extra headroom for custom overclocks.
MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio – Purchasing Guide
The MSI RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio retails for $569 and it’s available at Newegg.