NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 Ti and 3080 are probably the two best-value midrange and high-end GPUs of the 30-series, making them two of the best graphics cards of the current generation. And with the GPU shortage ending, they’re not too unreasonably priced, either.
Whilst NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 40-series is admittedly just around the corner, both cards are still a great buy in 2022. The latest reports hint at the possibility that the RTX 4080 will be little more than an overpriced 4070, so RTX 30-series cards might look tempting even when next-gen GPUs hit the market.
Combine this with the fact that both the RTX 3060 Ti and 3080 should comfortably see you through the next few years of PC gaming, and it seems like a great time to strike while the iron is hot and go for a GPU upgrade.
But if you are going to upgrade to a 3080 or 3060 Ti, you need to decide which one. And given that they’re both excellent value in the current GPU market, which one you should go for will depend on your use case, such as which monitor resolution you’re likely to play at.
Differences Between NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti and 3080
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and 3080 might both have launched at around the same time (in the fourth quarter of 2020), but they’re very different. The 3060 Ti is a midrange card, albeit towards the top of that segment. The 3080, on the other hand, is a decidedly high-end card.
The 3060 Ti has a completely different GPU than the RTX 3080. It’s less powerful in every way, from core count to base clock, boost clock, memory size, memory speed. This means it has lower power consumption. The 3080, on the other hand, is about as powerful of a GPU that you can get right now without spending an arm and a leg.
The 3080 and 3060 Ti are aimed at different markets. The 3060 Ti is great for those who want one of the best value midrange cards that can deliver impressive performance at all but the most demanding settings, resolutions, and refresh rates.
The 3080 is great for those who want one of the best value high-end cards that can promise great performance at the highest settings, resolutions, and refresh rates not only today but also over the coming years.
The RTX 3060 Ti’s MSRP is $399, and the RTX 3080’s MSRP is $699. This means the 3080 costs $300 more at recommended pricing–an increase of 75%.
However, graphics cards still cost more than their MSRPS. If there aren’t deals going, then you might pick up a 3060 Ti for anywhere between $480 and $600 right now. And you might get a 3080 for about $800-870. Again, this is a steep increase in price, with the 3080 costing about 65-70% more than the 3060 Ti.
This price increase might seem like a lot, but remember that these are cards aimed at two different market segments. The 3080 is a high-end card and will be good enough for almost any gamer. And when you want hardware that powerful, there will always be a premium to pay for it.
|RTX 3060 Ti||RTX 3080|
|Memory||8GB GDDR6||10GB GDDR6X|
|Clock speed (base/boost)||1.41GHz / 1.67GHz||1.44GHz / 1.71GHz|
|Power connector||1x 12-pin||1x 12-pin|
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and 3080 have different specs almost across the board.
The 3080’s GA102 GPU offers more cores, more memory, faster core and boost clock speeds, and faster memory than the 3060 Ti’s GA104 GPU.
This difference only gets bigger if you compare the 3060 Ti to the 12GB version of the RTX 3080. The 12GB version has an extra 2GB of VRAM and a scattering of extra CUDA, Tensor, and RT Cores over the 10GB 3080. But the difference between the 10GB and 12GB versions isn’t great, so we’ll stick to comparing the 3060 Ti to the 3080 10GB.
To learn more about the RTX 3080 12GB, read our RTX 3070 vs 3080 guide.
The major difference between the 3060 Ti and 3080 for most use cases will be found in their respective number of CUDA cores. The 3080’s extra 3,840 CUDA Cores should translate almost directly to increased rendering performance.
However, the RTX 3060 Ti consumes 120W less power than the 3080, meaning you won’t need one of the absolute best power supplies to run one in your system.
Both the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and 3080 perform very well across different resolutions. Which one you should go for depends largely on your resolution and refresh rate, and how future-proof you need your GPU to be.
Also Read: 1080p vs. 1440p vs. 4K: Which Resolution Is Best for Gaming?
To see which GPU will be better for different situations, we can compare benchmark results for both graphics cards taken from sites like PCGamer, TechRadar, TechSpot, and others.
At 1080p, both the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3080 should serve you very well. However, in most cases, it’s unlikely that the 3080 will be worth its extra cost for 1080p gaming despite its better performance. This is especially true if you don’t have a high-end, current-gen CPU. A less powerful CPU will bottleneck the 3080 and make the performance delta between it and the 3060 Ti even slimmer.
In benchmarks where it runs alongside a powerful CPU, the 3080 gets framerates about 39% higher than the 3060 Ti on average. But where it runs alongside an older CPU, it only gets framerates about 23% higher.
Because framerates are so high on both cards at 1080p, an RTX 3060 Ti should be more than enough for most gamers at this resolution. Providing you don’t have any significant bottlenecks in your system, it should give you over 100fps in almost any game at max settings and should give you much more than this if you lower even just a couple of settings.
While a 3080 is usually overkill for 1080p gaming, it might not be in every situation. For example, if you have a 144Hz monitor and want to get above this in as many demanding games as possible while playing at absolute max settings, a 3080 will be a better bet.
And, of course, if you expect to upgrade to a higher resolution monitor in the future, it might make sense to go for a 3080 then, too.
Both the RTX 3080 and RTX 3060 Ti perform very well at 1440p resolution, too. But, unlike at 1080p, at 1440p things don’t lean so decidedly in the 3060 Ti’s favour. While most people will probably be fine with a 3060 Ti, there are more reasons to opt for the better performance of a 3080 at 1440p than there are at 1080p.
Also Read: Is 1440P Worth it for Gaming?
At 1440p CPU bottlenecks are less of an issue, so there’s likely to be a significant difference between the 3060 Ti and 3080 regardless of what CPU you run alongside them. Looking at benchmarks, we see that the 3080 gets framerates about 40% higher than the 3060 Ti on average.
The RTX 3060 Ti will give you 100fps in some games on max settings at 1440p, but in more demanding games this will probably drop closer to 60fps. The RTX 3080, however, should get above 120fps and even 144fps in some games, and in more demanding games it should stay closer to 100fps than 60fps.
If you’re gaming on a high refresh rate but don’t mind dropping a couple of settings here and there, or if you don’t play the most demanding games, the 3060 Ti is probably better value at 1440p, as it will run most games well enough for high refresh rates at high, but not maximum, settings. And very demanding games should run at over 60fps on high settings.
On the other hand, if you want to play the most demanding games on maximum settings at 1440p, then the 3080 will be a better bet. The most graphically intensive games should run above 60fps at max settings, and most other games should run even better for high refresh rates.
At 4K resolution, opting for a 3080 over a 3060 Ti makes sense. The 3060 Ti struggles to reach playable framerates in games running at max settings at this resolution, but the 3080 manages just fine.
Also Read: Is 4K Worth it for Gaming? Why Most Gamers Don’t Need a 4K Monitor.
Benchmarks show that, at 4K, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 gets framerates that are about 50% higher than the 3060 Ti’s framerates on average. This is a sizeable jump, and it’s made even more significant because the difference often puts the 3060 Ti below 60fps at this resolution–sometimes far below that threshold.
An RTX 3080 should get you closer to a stable 60fps than the 3060 Ti in all games on max settings. If you drop a setting or two, the 3080 should get you above 60fps even in some of the most demanding games.
The 3060 Ti’s framerate, on the other hand, will probably drop into the 30s and 40s on max settings in some demanding games.
But, of course, if you want to save some money and you don’t mind lowering your in-game graphics settings, the 3060 Ti should run most games at about 60fps on less-than-max settings–perhaps medium or high rather than very high.
Ray Tracing and DLSS
NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 is the king of ray tracing in the current generation (unless you’re willing to fork out for something like an RTX 3090). The 3080 has almost twice as many RT Cores as the 3060 Ti, and this shows in its ray tracing performance.
However, the 3060 Ti is more than capable of playing games with ray tracing enabled at lower resolutions, especially with DLSS enabled.
At 1080p, the 3060 Ti should get above 60fps in games with ray tracing enabled, and it should get well above this if you also enable DLSS. And at 1440p it should run most games at about 60fps with DLSS enabled.
But if you don’t enable DLSS at 1440p, a 3060 Ti will likely dip towards 30fps in most ray traced games. The 3080, on the other hand, should get you closer to a stable 60fps in ray traced games at 1440p without DLSS enabled. At 4K, even with DLSS enabled the 3060 Ti struggles, while the 3080 approaches playable framerates.
In other words, if you’re gaming at 1080p with or without DLSS, or at 1440p with DLSS enabled, the 3060 Ti should run most ray traced games at stable and playable framerates. But if ray tracing is important for you and you’re gaming at 1440p without DLSS or at 4K (or at a high refresh rate), an RTX 3080 will be a better option.
NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti vs 3080: Which GeForce GPU is Best?
NVIDIA’s RTX 3080 and 3060 Ti are two excellent-value graphics cards that are aimed at different markets.
The 3060 Ti is for those who want a powerful midrange card that can play modern games on maximum settings at 1080p or 1440p resolution at comfortable framerates.
Alternatively, it’s for those who want a card that can play games at these lower resolutions on slightly less than maximum settings on a high refresh rate monitor. And, of course, it has lower power consumption which means you won’t need a big PSU to power it.
The 3080, on the other hand, is for those who want to play the latest demanding games on max settings at high refresh rates at lower resolutions, or those who want to play the latest games on max settings at a comfortable 60fps at higher resolutions. It’s also for those who really value enabling ray tracing. In other words, it’s for those who want to max out graphical fidelity.
The RTX 3060 Ti clearly wins when it comes to pure value, i.e., its price-performance ratio. But a midrange card is always (one would hope) going to beat a high-end card in this respect. The fact is, if you want to max out your games on high resolutions and refresh rates, you must pay extra. Bearing this in mind, the 3080, too, is a great offering.