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You probably shouldn’t buy this mysterious new Nvidia GPU

Yet another instance of an unofficial Nvidia GPU is now up for sale, and while it’s a good deal on the surface, you should think twice before buying such a card.

This time around, we’re talking about an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 TiM. If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s because it isn’t a real desktop graphics card; instead, it’s a mobile card altered to fit a desktop PC.

An Nvidia mobile GPU turned into a desktop version.

This unusual RTX 3070 TiM graphics card appeared for sale on AliExpress. Made by 51Risc, a smaller GPU maker, the GPU is definitely a desktop model, but inside the shroud, you’ll find the mobile version of Nvidia’s official laptop RTX 3070 Ti.

While the name is the same, it should come as no surprise that the laptop card offers significantly worse specifications than its desktop counterpart. The RTX 3070 TiM, as disclosed by the seller, houses Nvidia’s GA104 (GN20-E) chip, whereas the desktop RTX 3070 Ti is equipped with the full GA104-400 GPU. Let’s compare the specs between the two cards.

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The “legit” desktop RTX 3070 Ti comes with 6,144 CUDA cores and a clock speed ranging between 1,580MHz and 1,770MHz as well as 8GB of 19GT/s GDDR6X memory. The mobile version sports 5,888 CUDA cores, a boost clock of up to 1,485MHz, and 8GB of 14GT/s GDDR6 memory.

The RTX 3070 TiM, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly copy the specs of the mobile card, but it’s pretty close with 5,888 CUDA cores, a maximum clock speed of 1,410MHz, and 8GB of 17.5GT/s memory. It’s really close to the RTX 3060 Ti (desktop) in terms of specs, with a lower clock speed and a slightly higher TDP.

Now, that’s the perk of this card versus the real RTX 3070 Ti — it has a significantly lower TDP than the real thing, with the 3070 Ti having a TDP of 290 watts while the altered mobile card only hits 220 watts; the RTX 3060 Ti maxes out at 200W.

The seller attached a Geek3D Furmark test, showing that the card never went above 64 degrees Celsius, so the temps are in check and it saves 70 watts compared to the desktop model. It’s priced at around $340 compared to the roughly you’ll need to spend on an RTX 3060 Ti, which can be treated as the equivalent of this GPU. 51Risc also offers free shipping from China to the U.S., so it may sound like a good deal, but there’s a catch.

Specs of the RTX 3070 TiM.

In order to use this card, you’ll need to use mobile drivers even though the card is installed on a desktop. VideoCardz also points out that you’ll have to rely on third-party software for the GPU, as Nvidia obviously doesn’t support the RTX 3070 TiM in any shape or form. It’s not an official card, and that comes with downsides, including a limited warranty and no hope of Nvidia assisting should any trouble arise.

We’ve seen a few of these “Frankensteined” graphics cards before, but we’d never recommend them in our ranking of the best GPUs. With a misleading name, these types of cards still function and do well enough most of the time, but usually, you can score a better deal just by buying an official GPU.

In the case of the RTX 3070 TiM, you can just get an RTX 3060 Ti and skip the hassle of dealing with unofficial software. On the other hand, pricing may vary; the 3070 TiM may be cheaper in your area than the 3060 Ti.

Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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