GeForce RTX 3060 Ti wins at $399 for 1440p gaming

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The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition is the same length as the 3070, but longer than last-gen cards.


Lori Grunin/CNET

Coming in at the same $399 price as the RTX 2060 Super it replaces, Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition is a great 1440p and decent 4K (at lower-quality) graphics card for the money. It delivers roughly the same performance as the RTX 2070 Super at the price of the 2060 Super, in keeping with Nvidia’s typical update price and performance targets. 

It’s shipping on Dec. 2, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to get it then, if current rollouts are anything to go by.

Nvidia’s Founders Edition cards tend to stay at their target prices, but third-party card pricing can be all over the shop. Since none of the new cards are really in stock these days, it’s difficult to make price-oriented generalizations, such as whether the extra $100 for the $499 RTX 3070 is worth it over the 3060 Ti. If you want to upgrade from a 10-series or older, or if you want a bigger DLSS (upscaling) boost than a 20-series card delivers, it’s a good mainstream-priced option.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition specs

Memory 8GB GDDR6
Memory bandwidth (GB/sec) 448
Memory clock (GHz) 7.0
GPU clock (GHz, base/boost) 1.4/1.7
Memory data rate/Interface 14Gbps/256 bit
RT cores 38
CUDA Cores 4,864
Texture mapping units 152
Streaming multiprocessors 38
Tensor Cores 152
Process 8nm
TGP/min PSU 200w/600w
Max thermal (degrees C) 90
Bus PCIe 4.0 x 16
Size 2 slots; 9.5 x 4.4 in (242 x 112 mm)
Price $399

At its $399 nominal price, the 3060 Ti competes with older AMD cards such as the RX 5700. But AMD is likely to release an upgraded, RDNA 2 version of its lower-end cards — along the lines of a  6700 XT and down. That may give the 3060 Ti as much of a run for the money as the Radeon RX 6800-series models do with the higher-end RTX 30-series cards. As it stands, AMD’s $579 Radeon RX 6800 is generally faster, but more expensive; it’s good for cheap 4K, but on the pricey side relative to the 3060 Ti for 1440p.

The 3060 Ti has a couple more advantages over the RX 6800: It’s an inch shorter, so it’s likely to fit into a smaller chassis, and draws less power (200 watts vs. 250 watts), which makes it more likely to work with a power supply you already have.

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The Founders Edition Card has two fans, but there will likely be more expensive third-party three-fan versions.


Lori Grunin/CNET

As with its sibling RTX 30-series graphics cards, the Ampere generation of the company’s GPU architecture in the RTX 3060 Ti achieves playable frame rates in games that use RTX-specific features such as ray tracing and global illumination. Its AI-based upscaling feature, DLSS, lets you game at better-than-bare-minimum frame rates without visible degradation in quality. The GPU also lifts performance over predecessors in games that don’t take advantage of these features (which is really most games) by about 10% to 20% on average.  


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Unlike the 3080 and 3090, the 3060 Ti uses older GDDR6 memory and has the same 448 megabytes-per-second memory bandwidth as the 2060 and 2070 Super and the 3070. It gets some performance boosts from the second-gen ray tracing and third-gen Tensor cores: New algorithms and instruction sets make them more efficient and there’s a switch to an 8nm process size from 12nm. 

As is typical, it also has more cores. There are fewer ray-tracing cores but the Ampere RT cores are doubled-up over the Turing cores, so technically the 3060 Ti has more RT cores than the RTX 2080 Ti. But you won’t see the same uplift that the 3080 and 3090 had over earlier models.   

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Like the other 30-series Founders Edition cards, the 3060 Ti vents out the back.


Lori Grunin/CNET

For the 3060 Ti, you can access settings for automatic tuning within GeForce Experience. I only eked out about 3% improvement — usually about 2 frames per second, at best — with it enabled and in conjunction with DLSS. DLSS alone does deliver a significant lift, even in Quality mode, which could offer a playability bump depending upon your game resolution and settings. You can get some terrific 1440p out of this card, though; I got a consistent 90fps in Watch Dogs: Legion with the quality settings maxed out (in other words, peak RTX). 

We’ve yet to be inundated with the budget models of the new-generation graphics cards; that’s likely to start in early 2021. But if you need to buy now, you could do a lot worse than the 3060 Ti for under $500.

Far Cry 5 (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

Note:

NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Far Cry 5 (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Note:

NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance (fps)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

3DMark Time Spy

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

NOTE: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

SpecViewPerf 13 SolidWorks (4K)

MSI Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Configurations

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); 3.8GHz Ryzen 9 3900XT; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,600; 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; 1TB SSD + 4TB HDD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 FE) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800; 1TB SSD
MSI Trident X (RTX 2070 Super) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); (oc) 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,932; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super; 1TB SSD
Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); Intel Core i9-10900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 10GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (EVGA); 1TB SSD + 500GB SSD

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