NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti Review: Still a Great GPU Upgrade Right Now

MSI RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Review

NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 Ti has been on the market since Q4 2020, and the first of the company’s 40-series GPUs are now being released. But there’s still ample reason to upgrade to a 3060 Ti in 2022.

When it released, the 3060 Ti quickly rose to the top of the proverbial pile as one of the best value graphics cards, out-spotlighting all but perhaps the RTX 3080. And even though RTX 40-series cards are now hitting the shelves and RX 7000-series GPUs are just around the corner, the 3060 Ti is still a surprisingly good offering.

It’s now priced low enough to act as a venerable stopgap for those waiting for the circa 2025 GPU generation, but it also has the performance chops to keep high refresh rate gamers happy at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. And thanks to NVIDIA’s 40-series release shenanigans, there’s still a 3060 Ti-shaped hole in the market.

With all this in mind, we’ve got our hands on an RTX 3060 Ti to see precisely how well it stacks up as we approach 2023. And, most importantly, we’ve considered whether it’s still a great upgrade from older cards.

Price

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti has an MSRP of $399, but, in practice, prices of different versions of the card vary.

During the global GPU shortage, all GPU prices soared. Now, however, we’ve returned to some level of normalcy in the GPU market.

At the time of writing, you should be able to pick up a 3060 Ti for anywhere between $420-650, depending on which model you choose and what deals are available. For a GPU that spent most of its shelf life at shortage-induced heavily inflated prices, a 3060 Ti going for just $20 above its MSRP seems nigh-on miraculous.

RTX 3060 Ti Specs

GPU GA104
CUDA Cores 4,864
Tensor Cores 152
RT Cores 38
Stream Multiprocessors 38
Memory 8GB GDDR6
Memory speed 14GT/s
Memory bandwidth 448GB/s
Clock speed (base/boost) 1.41GHz / 1.67GHz
Power connector 1x 12-pin
TDP 200W

Probably the most pleasantly surprising thing about the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is that it uses the same GA104 GPU as the RTX 3070—though it’s scaled back, of course. This is what makes it such a great offering compared to its lower-end competitors like the RTX 3060 and 6600 XT: it comes with a high-end GPU and yet is sold at a decidedly midrange price.

In fact, it only has about 1,000 fewer CUDA cores than the 3070, and it has just eight fewer RT Cores and SMs.

It’s no slouch on the memory front, either. Thanks to its 256-bit memory bus, it has a very wide bandwidth capable of transferring data at 448GB/s.

MSI RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Graphics Card

Unfortunately, the card only has 8GB GDDR6 VRAM, but with such a wide bandwidth and decent memory speed this should only be an issue for the most VRAM-intensive games over the coming years. Even then, it will probably only be an issue at higher resolutions that are streaming high resolution textures.

The 3060 Ti sits in the middle of the road when it comes to power, with a TDP of 200W and an NVIDIA-recommended minimum power supply rating of 600W.

Gaming Performance

Specs mean nothing in a vacuum, and they mean even less without real-world testing. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a card targeted at 1080p and 1440p gaming, but it’s no slouch at 4K either, so we’ve run gaming benchmarks at all three resolutions.

Because upgrading to the 3060 Ti makes the most sense if you have a midrange 10-series card or worse, we’ve pitted it against the 1070 to compare performances across a range of games.

The games we picked cover a variety of use cases. With Metro Exodus, for instance, we have a modern, graphically intensive game with all the latest bells and whistles—plus, it’s one of the best-looking games around. But many gamers will just want to play the latest competitive shooters, so we’ve included a couple of those, too.

Test System and Benchmarking Method

Test System
Motherboard Gigabyte Z690 UD DRR4
Graphics card MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GAMING X 8G LHR
CPU Intel Core i5 12600KF
RAM 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX (DDR4, 3600MHz, C18)
Storage ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB (NVMe M.2 SSD)
PSU EVGA SuperNOVA 650W G2 80+ GOLD

When possible, we used each game’s built-in benchmark to do our testing. For games that don’t have a built-in benchmark, we ran the same 30-second test run a couple of times for each resolution and graphics option preset, capturing frame data with NVIDIA FrameView. When there were no ‘high’ or ‘maximum’ option presets, we manually set graphics settings and ensured they were the same across resolutions.

1080p Benchmarks

Benchmark 1080P Max

At 1080p, we can see that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti should get you well over 100fps in most games at max settings. However, in the most graphically intensive of games, like Metro Exodus, it might struggle to hit 60fps with all settings maxed out.

Also Read: Is 60Hz Good for Gaming?

Compared to the circa 2016 GTX 1070, we can see that the 3060 Ti nets about twice as many frames on average. Practically, this means that the 3060 Ti can comfortably manage high refresh rates at 1080p on max settings in most games, while the 1070 will struggle to make the most of 120Hz or 144Hz monitors at these settings.

Benchmark 1080P High

Much the same is true when we drop settings down from max to high. Here, we see that even graphically intensive games like Metro Exodus should surpass 100fps at 1080p with the 3060 Ti, while a 1070 will struggle to hit 60fps. And in less demanding games, the 3060 Ti will all but ensure frame rates high enough for high refresh rate gaming.

1440p Benchmarks

Benchmark 1440P Max

At 1080p, upgrading to a 3060 Ti might make sense for high refresh rate gamers. At 1440p, however, it makes sense for many more people.

Also Read: Is 1440P Worth it for Gaming?

At 1440p resolution, we can see that a GTX 1070 struggles to hit 60fps in moderately demanding games like The Witcher 3, while the 3060 Ti far surpasses 60fps. Again, frame rates pretty much double when moving from a 1070 to a 3060 Ti at 1440p.

The 3060 Ti also allows for high frame rates on max settings in competitive shooters at 1440p, while the 1070 falls short at this resolution.

Benchmark 1440P High

When comparing 1440p game benchmarks at high settings, we see where the 3060 Ti really shines.

We can see that a 1070 will struggle to hit 60fps on high settings at 1440p in demanding games like Metro Exodus, and it will struggle even in moderately demanding ones like The Witcher 3 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

The RTX 3060 Ti, on the other hand, will far surpass 60fps in all these titles, and will even give you a buttery smooth frame rate for high refresh rate gaming. If you want to game at 120Hz or 144Hz at 1440p resolution, the upgrade is well worth it.

4K Benchmarks

Benchmark 4K Max

The RTX 3060 Ti was never targeted at 4K gaming, but many will still want to give it a shot, even if this just means occasionally hooking your PC up to your TV for a casual game night.

Also Read: Is 4K Worth it for Gaming? Why Most Gamers Don’t Need a 4K Monitor

What we can see from these benchmarks is that if you intend to try out 4K gaming, even only occasionally, going from a GTX 1070 to an RTX 3060 Ti can make or break the experience. It can turn it from unplayable to playable in all but the most demanding of games.

Most moderately demanding games should run at close to 60fps on max settings at 4K with a 3060 Ti, and less demanding games should run well above this. A 1070, on the other hand, will almost always run below 60fps, and will often sit closer to 30fps than 60fps.

Benchmark 4K High

Because the 3060 Ti isn’t targeted at 4K gaming, it makes much more sense to drop your settings down to high rather than max with this GPU when at 4K resolution. This turns moderately demanding games that were ‘just about playable’ on max settings to ‘comfortably smooth’ on high settings.

It should even allow you to upgrade to a high refresh rate 4K monitor in future, providing you mainly play less demanding games. (Note the rogue result in this benchmark: Overwatch 2. We think we might have accidentally enabled upscaling for the 1070’s run at this resolution. Because we’re unsure, it’s best to discount this result.)

Ray Tracing and Upscaling

It goes without saying that if you want to do any ray tracing, upgrading from an older GPU like a GTX 1070 to a 3060 Ti will help you out—pre-20-series GPUs can’t do ray tracing at all.

The RTX 3060 Ti ray traces about as well as the previous generation RTX 2070 or RTX 2070 Super. And, thanks to NVIDIA’s improvements to the tech, if you enable DLSS upscaling you should be able to offset the performance cost almost entirely.

Performance Summary

At 1080p, 1440p, and 4K, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti churns out about twice as many frames as the GTX 1070. This is relevant because the 1070 is the kind of GPU that many will be looking to upgrade from.

Putting the GPU comparison to one side and considering just the 3060 Ti, we see that it’s an exceptionally good card for 1080p or 1440p gaming.

Whether you’re wanting to push over 100fps at 1080p on max settings in triple-A titles, max out games at 1440p and net over 60fps, or play competitive shooters at high refresh rates at 1440p, the 3060 Ti hits that sweet spot where it’s comfortably powerful enough to do all this, but not so powerful that it costs an arm and a leg. Which is great news given the seemingly inflated prices of NVIDIA’s 40-series graphics cards.

Should You Buy an RTX 3060 Ti Right Now?

While it might seem a strange time to buy an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, market realities have shown that the opposite is true: now might be the best time to buy a card like the RTX 3060 Ti.

RTX 3060 Ti Review

After such a long period of hyper-inflated prices thanks to the chip shortage, the 3060 Ti’s current price is about as good as we’ve seen and is possibly as good as we’ll get. RTX 40-series cards seem to be priced substantially higher than their 30-series counterparts, so the value offering of the 3060 Ti at just over $400 isn’t to be sniffed at.

What’s more is that NVIDIA seems to have recognised this from the beginning, having pushed the initial 40-series lineup as being one that includes Ampere graphics cards on its lower end. And while the 3060 Ti might not have featured directly in their next-gen market plan (although, of course, it might have), the fact that it’s still a mightily capable card at lower resolutions is all that’s needed.

MSI RTX 3060 Ti Installed

If you’re after a GPU for around $400 and are gaming at 1080p or 1440p, the 3060 Ti is still great value, and it doesn’t look like this will change too soon. It demolishes titles at 1080p, and it can do high refresh rate 1440p gaming, too, if you’re willing to drop some settings in the most demanding games. Heck, it even pulls off 4K gaming in a pinch. This is just as true now, nearing the end of 2022, as it was upon its release.

Alternative GPUs

Of course, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti isn’t the only GPU that might have a claim to current-gen longevity and value. There are a few GPUs that compete with it, but I don’t think any offer quite as much as the 3060 Ti does for its price right now.

The RTX 3060 is cheaper than the 3060 Ti, but the 3060 Ti’s better performance outweighs this. The Ti’s GA104 GPU is simply too far ahead of the 3060’s GA106 GPU for the 3060 to be worth it. And, of course, the RX 6600 XT throws a spanner in the works because it’s now often found retailing for cheaper than the 3060 and yet is more powerful than the 3060 at 1080p and 1440p.

Read More: RTX 3060 vs 3060 Ti: Which GPU is Better?

The RTX 3070, unfortunately, shares the same fate as the RTX 3060, but for opposite reasons. It costs too much more than the 3060 Ti for not enough extra performance. The 3060 Ti’s GPU is scaled back, but not enough to justify spending the extra on a 3070.

Read More: RTX 3060 Ti vs 3070: Which GPU Should You Get?

The RX 6700 XT is a viable alternative to the RTX 3060 Ti for 1080p or 1440p gaming if you don’t care about DLSS or ray tracing, since it performs a little better than the 3060 Ti under these conditions. But the 3060 Ti is more power efficient, much better at ray tracing, performs better at 4K, and opens you up to using all NVIDIA-specific technologies.

Read More: 6700 XT vs 3060 Ti: Which GPU is a Better Buy?

Finally, you might consider the RTX 3080 or RX 6800 XT. When considering these GPUs in a vacuum, there are plenty of good reasons to opt for either over the 3060 Ti. But the 40-series has just started to hit the market, and this changes things.

Now that the RTX 4090 is on the market and the RTX 4080 is soon to follow, high-end 30-series and 6000-series GPUs are a tough sell.

NVIDIA’s pricing suggests that they want these high-end 30-series cards to be the new ‘low end’ of the 40-series for a while. But this just shifts GPU prices upwards, and what NVIDIA wants doesn’t change how people feel about their wallets.

People might still want decent, sub-$500 GPUs, and when the 3060 Ti performs so well for such a great price, it’s the obvious choice. When you get to RTX 3080 prices, on the other hand, people might consider opting for an RTX 4080 after all. The 3060 Ti has a much more secure spot carved out for it, in my eyes.

Verdict: The RTX 3060 Ti is Still a Great Upgrade for Many Gamers

Plenty of gamers still own a GPU that predates both NVIDIA’s 30-series and its 20-series graphics cards. In fact, the most recent Steam Hardware Survey shows that the most common graphics card used for gaming on Steam is still the GTX 1060.

So, when considering the 3060 Ti, we can’t just look at its performance in a vacuum. We must compare it to the kind of GPU many gamers will be upgrading from. And we must compare it to the current market and upcoming GPUs, to see what its value truly is in 2022 and what it will likely be in 2023.

MSI RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X

Despite the imminent NVIDIA 40-series and AMD 7000-series GPU releases, the RTX 3060 Ti is still a fantastic upgrade for most of those with a pre-2018 GPU. Perhaps not for those with a GTX 1080 Ti, but for those with a 1070 or worse, you can expect at least double your framerates across the board, regardless of resolution.

And what this means in practice is that you’ll be able to play the latest titles at 1080p or 1440p for the foreseeable future, without worrying about whether your hardware will run it or not. In most cases, a 3060 Ti will run games on max settings at these resolutions at over 100fps. And in more demanding games, you can still get very smooth framerates by lowering just a couple of settings.

Given the gap that NVIDIA’s 40-series is leaving in the market and given the 3060 Ti’s current low price, the midrange 30-series GPU still seems unrivaled in its price-performance value. Not many would have suspected that this would remain the case even into NVIDIA’s following GPU generation, but that’s the situation we’re in. And compared to the previous shortage prices, that isn’t such a bad thing at all.

Jacob Fox

Jacob's been tinkering with computer hardware for over a decade, and he's written hardware articles for various PC gaming websites. Outside of the wonderful world of PC hardware, he's currently undertaking a PhD in philosophy, with a focus on topics surrounding the meaning of life.

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