The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card is a great choice for modern PC builds – providing you can get your hands on one with the global chip shortage.
Whether you’ve already managed to pick one up, or you’re in the market and the 3070 is near the top of your wishlist, you’ll also need to bear in mind how much power it draws, and whether you need a power supply upgrade at the same time.
So, let’s explore how power-hungry the RTX 3070 is, so that you can work out whether you need to be shopping for a new PSU alongside it.
How Many Watts Does An RTX 3070 Use?
When you’re using your PC for gaming, an RTX 3070 graphics card will draw somewhere between 200 and 220 watts. When you aren’t actively gaming the card is considered idle, where it will draw 9 watts for a single monitor or 18 watts for more than one monitor.
It uses a little more power if you want to watch any videos on your PC but it’s still a very small amount – 18 watts on average.
It’s only when you start using it to render graphics in real-time when gaming (or using animation software) that it’ll ramp up to around 200 watts on average, pushing to as high as 228 watts in testing [Source].
It’s important to note that graphics cards can also sometimes spike, drawing more power for a few milliseconds. You’ll want to factor this in because a spike could overload your PSU and cause your PC to shut down. The maximum recorded spike for an RTX 3070 is 243 watts, so not drastically different.
How Many Watts Does An RTX 3070 Use Per Hour?
When you’re gaming on your PC with an RTX 3070 graphics card, it’ll be drawing around 220 watt-hours per hour, or 0.22 kilowatt-hours per hour. The average gamer plays for 8.5 hours per week, so that means the graphics card likely uses 1.87 kilowatt-hours every week.
That only factors in the gaming time though, and most people will use their PC for a lot longer than that too, though the watt-hours per hour of a graphics card are very low when it is idle. But remember that this is just for the graphics card, not the overall PC.
PCs have a lot of components, with the processor sometimes drawing as much power as the graphics card, particularly compared to an RTX 3070.
Realistically. when you factor in the power draw of the RAM, the cooling system, the motherboard, and any other parts you’ve added you could be looking at anywhere from 350 to 550 watt-hours per hour, or over 4.6 kilowatt-hours per week.
Read more: How Many Watts Does A Gaming PC Use?
What Power Supply Do I Need For An RTX 3070?
Depending on the rest of your PC setup, you could possibly manage an RTX 3070 if you have a 600-watt PSU, but manufacturers recommend at least a 650-watt PSU, and ideally a 700-watt or better will give you the best cushion to protect against spikes.
There’s a good chance that using a 600-watt PSU will seem fine at first, and everything may work normally. But if you have any spikes from your components then things may start to go wrong, including slowing down or randomly switching off or restarting. If you notice these odd signs then it’s likely that your PSU is overloaded and you need an upgrade.
When buying a power supply, especially one that’s rated for 500 watts or above, it’s really important that you choose an efficient one. PSUs will draw more power than the PC needs, but the more efficient ones will waste less, so aim for at least 80+ Bronze but if your budget allows, Gold or Platinum would be a better bet.
Read more: Power Supply Ratings Explained
The Best Power Supply For An RTX 3070
The best power supply for an RTX 3070 should be rated for at least 650 watts, though if you can afford one rated higher then you leave more scope for future upgrades. It also needs to be efficient. Aim for at least a 650-watt 80+ Gold PSU if you can, or better if your budget allows.
This power supply is a great option for your PSU if you’re planning on running an RTX 3070 and you’re on a tighter budget. It’s made by EVGA, who have a good reputation for reliable PC components (and it comes with a 10-year warranty too).
At 650-watts it’s just enough to handle the RTX 3070 alongside a decent spec PC, and you won’t have to break the bank.
You can spend an extra $30-40 if you want the 750-watt model, if you think you may upgrade your PC sooner rather than later too.
It’s 80+ Gold rated for efficiency so won’t waste loads of power, and it’s also fully modular, so you only need to use the cables that your setup requires, helping you keep your system tidy.
What RTX Power Connectors Do I Need?
The number of power connectors needed for an RTX 3070 varies. The original Founders Edition launched with a 12-pin slot, while some others worked with a single 8-pin slot. Many of the cards now require dual 8-pin PCIe connectors though – check the model you’re buying.
Some of the Founders Edition cards even came packaged with a 12-pin to 8-pin adapter, so you could run the smaller cable from your PSU without any downside for your graphics card. But it seems like most are now being manufactured with the dual 8-pin slot so you’ll need two wires from your PSU.
RTX 3070 Power FAQs
It depends on your definition of ‘high end’ but the RTX 3070 is a powerful graphics card. It lags some way behind the RTX 3080 and 3090 models but can still comfortably handle 4K gaming, or Full HD gaming at high frame rates, and it’s more energy-efficient.
A 600-watt PSU is probably enough to run an RTX 3070 graphics card providing you aren’t also running the very latest processors from Intel or AMD, which can sometimes draw almost 200 watts on their own. If you’re using a high-end processor you’ll need at least a 700-watt PSU.
A 750-watt power supply should be more than enough to handle an RTX 3070 graphics card since it maxes out at around 220 watts on average. Even with a high end processor you’re unlikely to draw more than 550 watts total, easily within the acceptable range for a 750-watt PSU.
An RTX 3070 graphics card can be used for some crypto mining – specifically Ethereum mining, which is possible on a system with a GTX 1070 card. You may not make huge profits when you factor in PC running costs – a dedicated setup will cost more but be more profitable long-term.