nvidia’s video card confirms the power of the Ampere architecture, surpassing the performance of an RTX 2080 in a lower price range.
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There is turmoil in the world of GPUs. On the one hand, low availability makes it difficult to buy new video cards, on the other hand it has arrived on the market the best generation of products for many years now. There RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition it is just the latest example of the performance offered by current architectures, which we observed during the review of the RTX 3080 and in the test of the RTX 3070, but also in the test of the new Radeon RX 6800 XT. When considering the price-performance ratio, compared to the previous generation, the leap forward has been enormousVirtually none of the video cards tested so far suffers in 4K, at least taking Ray Tracing out of the equation, a field in which NVIDIA dominates.
The RTX 3060 FE is calibrated more for 1440p, but 4K is also within its reach, as long as you don’t expect 60 fps all the time. A very good result for a GPU that costs 348 euros excluding VAT, a figure that, seeing what happened with the superior models, could easily reach 500 euros for the custom models, at least in normal market conditions. The Founders remains the cheapest alternative, and in our view also with the best design, so we hope that availability will be higher than in the recent past.
The smallest of the RTX 3000
The design chosen for this RTX 3060 Ti fully reproduces what is seen in the RTX 3070. Unlike the 3080 the two fans are arranged on the same side, this makes the dissipation system less dependent on the front case fans. The whole board is metal, the build quality of the Founders remains at the top of the category also in this 3060 Ti. The design is very sober, more professional than playful. We really appreciated the stylistic choices made by NVIDIA this year, too bad only for the small LED seen under the “GeForce RTX” logo in the RTX 3080, which has not been repeated in the lower models. In houses with side glass the RTXs are not seen, and it’s a shame, because the 3080 had found the right way to get noticed without exaggerating.
The power supply takes place as always via a proprietary 12-pin connector, with adapter present directly in the sales package, with which to use the single 8-pin power cable necessary for the operation of the board. An obvious advantage of this GPU are the dimensions, the same as the RTX 3070, with one length equal to 242 mm: there are no problems to insert it in any case, even most of the Mini ITX solutions can be used with the 3060. NVIDIA indicates a maximum consumption of 200 W, a 650 W power supply is therefore more than enough to make it work. On our open test bench we measured a maximum temperature of 68 degrees at full load and 30 at idle, it is likely that in a closed case the 3060 will reach 70/32 degrees, the temperatures are still in line with those of the RTX 3070 , for a card that never gets too hot.
Technical specifications and benchmarks
The name “RTX 3060” shouldn’t be deceiving, just look at the specifications to understand that we are light years away from the GTX 1060, but also from the “old” RTX 2060: the newcomer plays in a higher category. In all they are available 4864 CUDA Core Ampere, more than double the Turing compute units of the RTX 2060, along with 152 Tensor Cores and 38 RT Cores. The tensor cores are less, but more performing (more information can be found in the review of the RTX 3080), the RT Cores instead are more and can also count on the optimizations made by the Ampere architecture. In short, it is immediately clear that this is not an upgrade compared to the previous model, NVIDIA has raised the bar of performance with the 3060 Ti and, as we will see, the result it’s not all that far from that of the RTX 2080 Ti.
On board are 8 GB of 7000 MHz GDDR6 RAM, with 256-bit bus and a bandwidth of 448 GB / s. The frequency of the GPU declared is instead of 1665 MHz, even if the card normally works between 1800 and 1900 MHz under load, usually in hundreds of MHz less than the 3070.
The 3DMark Time Spy benchmark places the RTX 3060 Ti halfway between the RTX 2080 and the RTX 2080 Ti, a positioning that, in light of the benchmarks carried out, we can say correct but influenced by the game used. For example, in Gears 5 the 3060 Ti surpasses the RTX 2080 Ti in Full HD, losing at higher resolutions but remaining perfectly playable even in 4K, where it reaches 55 fps. Forza Horizon 4 instead sees the 3060 Ti in front of the former top of the range at all resolutions, an incredible result for a relatively inexpensive card like this. Metro Exodus also works well in UHD, where it reaches 43 fps, but reaching 70 in 1440p, the preferred resolution of this model.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider sees the RTX 3060 Ti very close to the 2080 ti, surpassing 100fps in 1440p and hitting 54fps in 4K. The Division 2 also shows excellent results up to 1440p, while in 4K the 45 fps achieved still allow you to play.
As can be seen from the benchmarks, NVIDIA’s new GPU is a card calibrated for 1440p but that does not disdain 4K at all. 1080p is tight, you just need lower video cards to handle it better, even with Ray Tracing.
Speaking of Ray Tracing, the performances offered in Metro Exodus allow you to play well up to 1440p, while in 4K it remains below 30 fps, without DLSS. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider instead the target of 60 fps in 1440p with active Ray Tracing is reached, while in 4K the average is 28 fps. By activating the DLSS instead, you go up to 45/73 fps in 2160p and 1440p respectively: thanks to DLSS 4K with active Ray Tracing seems to be manageable, as long as you compromise with the frame rate, while in 1440p the performance is very good, confirming that this is the preferred resolution of the RTX 3060 Ti.
Having seen how much good NVIDIA has been able to do with the higher models, expectations on the RTX 3060 Ti were high, but they have been maintained. The Founders Edition version, which should arrive with a price slightly higher than 400 €, offers performances that lie between an RTX 2080 and an RTX 2080 Ti, but in some cases even the former top of the range is surpassed. On paper, the offer is very attractive, even if the custom models arrive at figures just over € 500, so we hope that the quantity of cards is adequate to the request. This GPU is perfect for playing in 1080p and 1440p and does not even mind 4K, with frame rate limits obviously, for a product that, in terms of performance, is placed in the medium-high range of the current market. At this point we are curious to see a new generation GPU that goes to insert itself in the low end, but we should probably wait, since the current production capacity cannot meet the demand.