If you’re deciding between getting the older RTX 3060 Ti or the newer RTX 4060 Ti, in this guide, we’ve covered the main differences between the two options to help you choose the right GPU for your needs.
NVIDIA and AMD have finally started releasing graphics cards within the budget of ordinary gamers. Previously, the cheapest current-gen NVIDIA GPU was the $599 RTX 4070. But now we have the $399 RTX 4060 Ti.
The RTX 3060 Ti was a great value GPU during the reign of the RTX 30-series GPUs. It had an MSRP of $399, too, just like the new 4060 Ti, making the 4060 Ti vs 3060 Ti comparison particularly pertinent.
The 3060 Ti, however, was great value because it came close to RTX 3070 performance for a fraction of the cost. Indeed, its GPU was a scaled-back version of the 3070’s GPU. The question, then, is whether the 4060 Ti can offer similar value compared to the rest of the 40-series lineup.
To figure out which GPU is best, we need to consider how both GPUs fit into the current range of best graphics cards. This means we need to think not just about how the 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti compare in terms of specs and benchmarks, but also how they stack up against other competing GPUs.
What is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti?
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a midrange, previous-gen graphics card released by NVIDIA in December 2020. At the time, it was fantastic value because it offered almost the performance of more expensive GPUs like the RTX 3070. It still performs well today and is cheaper than most current-gen GPUs.
The RTX 3060 Ti is based on NVIDIA’s ‘Ampere’ GPU architecture. While Ampere GPUs don’t come with many of the new features and technologies packaged with Ada Lovelace GPUs, they still offer a great deal, such as the ability to use DLSS 2 upscaling, and decent ray tracing performance even by today’s standards.
What is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Ti?
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is a midrange, current-gen graphics card released by NVIDIA in May 2023. It’s significantly cheaper than most other current-gen NVIDIA and AMD GPUs but doesn’t offer the same level of performance as these more expensive cards.
The RTX 4060 Ti is based on NVIDIA’s ‘Ada Lovelace’ architecture. It comes with many new features and technologies compared to the RTX 3060 Ti, such as the ability to utilize DLSS 3’s frame generation/interpolation.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4000-Series New Features
The RTX 4060 Ti offers some features and technologies that the RTX 3060 Ti does not:
- DLSS 3
- New RT and Tensor Cores
- Dual AV1 encoding
- Shader Execution Reordering (SER)
The RTX 3060 Ti can use DLSS 2 upscaling, but not DLSS 3. DLSS 2 is great and can come close to doubling framerates in some titles. But in others, it might only increase framerates by about 1.5x. DLSS 3, on the other hand, can use frame interpolation to increase framerates by about 2.5x in most games.
The 4060 Ti’s new Tensor Cores help with DLSS, but its new RT Cores and SER help with ray tracing. While the 4060 Ti doesn’t have very many RT Cores compared to other 40-series GPUs, individual RT Core performance plus SER should make for better RTX performance with the 4060 Ti than with the 3060 Ti.
Finally, content creators have another tool in their arsenal with the 4060 Ti thanks to AV1 encoding support. AV1 encoding is quicker than older formats, and it should even make for better game streaming once online streaming platforms fully support it.
3060 Ti vs 4060 Ti: Price Comparison
|RTX 4060 Ti||RTX 3060 Ti|
|Cheapest retail prices||$399-$459||$333-$389|
At MSRP, both the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 4060 Ti cost the same $400.
In practice, online retailer sites can be found selling the RTX 3060 Ti for about $66 cheaper than the RTX 4060 Ti, making the newer card about 20% more expensive.
While a $66 jump might not seem like a lot, at these lower price ranges, it can turn what would be a value card into a dud, depending on the performance difference.
If you’re looking for a midrange gaming GPU without breaking the bank, the 4060 Ti and 3060 Ti aren’t your only options.
From the current generation of GPUs, the main 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti alternative is the $269 AMD Radeon RX 7600. This GPU performs a little worse than the 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti, but for its price you’re getting a decent, current-gen, midrange GPU. The main reason to opt for it over previous-gen alternatives is if you want current-gen features, such as what will probably be better FSR 3 utilization (once FSR 3 launches).
There should soon be an RTX 4060 thrown into the mix, but apart from that, there are few other competing GPUs in this generation. The next-cheapest GPU, the RTX 4070, costs $200 more and probably isn’t in the budget of those considering the 4060 Ti or 3060 Ti.
The main alternatives to the 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti come from the previous generation of AMD GPUs. Probably the best alternative is the AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, which performs almost as well as the 4060 Ti on average, and yet retails for up to $69 cheaper than it online. It also has 4GB more VRAM, which is becoming ever more important these days.
If you’re looking for something even cheaper than the RX 7600, an AMD Radeon RX 6600 might be your best bet, as it currently retails for about $200. It performs a little worse and is approaching entry-level performance for modern gaming, but it’s a great budget choice if current-gen GPUs are too expensive.
Graphics Card Specs
|RTX 4060 Ti||RTX 3060 Ti|
|Memory||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6|
|Clock speed (base/boost)||2.31GHz / 2.54GHz||1.41GHz / 1.67GHz|
|Power connector (reference)||1x 16-pin||1x 12-pin|
We can see that NVIDIA has taken a similar approach with the 4060 Ti to the one it took with the 3060 Ti, the two GPUs having roughly the same number of CUDA Cores, Tensor Cores, and RT Cores, with both also having 8GB VRAM.
Efficiency has been improved with the 4060 Ti, though, given that it has much higher base clock and boost clock speeds and yet has a lower TDP than the 3060 Ti.
The biggest downside to the 4060 Ti on the specifications front is that there’s been no VRAM upgrade with the 4060 Ti, despite it being over two years since the 3060 Ti came to market. In fact, its video memory has actually been downgraded, because the 4060 Ti has a 128-bit memory bus while the 3060 Ti has a 256-bit bus. This accounts for the 4060 Ti’s narrower memory bandwidth.
NVIDIA seems to hope that the bigger L2 cache of 40-series GPUs should make up for smaller memory buses, but this might not be the case in all games and situations. And 8GB VRAM might not cut it for a midrange card these days, even at 1080p in some games. Thankfully, there’s a 16GB version of the 4060 Ti, but this retails for $100 more with an MSRP of $499.
|RTX 4060 Ti||RTX 3060 Ti|
There’s not much to say regarding the 3060 Ti’s and 4060 Ti’s dimensions, other than that we should feel thankful that NVIDIA has finally downsized its current-gen GPUs with the RTX 4060 Ti and RTX 4070.
Both the 4060 Ti and 3060 Ti are dual-slot cards and should fit in most PC cases—though you should always check your case and component dimensions before purchasing.
Power Draw and Thermal Performance
Neither the 3060 Ti nor the 4060 Ti consume much power. But given that the 4060 Ti is a newer card, has much higher clock speeds, and—as we will see below—performs a little better than the 3060 Ti, its 40W lower TDP is a big win.
NVIDIA recommends a 550W PSU for the RTX 4060 Ti and a 600W PSU for the 3060 Ti, but this will depend on your other components and your PSU’s 80 PLUS rating. The 4060 Ti should be a great card for those looking to save money over the long run via lower power consumption, especially compared to higher-end RTX 30-series and 40-series GPUs.
Also Read: The Best Power Supplies for 2023
Another area where the 4060 Ti beats the 3060 Ti is in its thermal performance. Multiple online tests show that the 4060 Ti stays a few degrees cooler than the 3060 Ti while gaming. While the 3060 Ti Founders Edition often averages just above 70c while gaming, the 4060 Ti stays in the mid-60s.
Of course, GPU temperature will depend on the specific AIB and cooling solution in question, but, at bottom, the 4060 Ti is both more power efficient and runs cooler than the 3060 Ti.
4060 Ti vs 3060 Ti: Gaming Performance
The charts below present average framerates that you can expect from both the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 4060 Ti across 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions. We took the data for these averages from several online reviews, such as those from TechSpot, TechPowerUp, and TomsHardware.
We’ve also given you the average framerate differences between the two cards as a percentage. These percentages are slightly different from the charted framerate differences because they reduce variance from games that have higher overall framerates with both GPUs.
Framerates averaged from multiple online benchmarks.
On average, the RTX 4060 Ti performs about 10.8% better than the RTX 3060 Ti at 1080p.
NVIDIA markets the RTX 4060 Ti as a 1080p card, which seems about right. A 120fps average framerate at this resolution in modern games should be enough for most 1080p gamers who will probably use a 60Hz, 75Hz, or 120Hz monitor. In moderately demanding titles, a 4060 Ti should make good use of a 144Hz monitor, too.
Of course, the RTX 3060 Ti is no slouch at this resolution, either. In our RTX 3060 Ti review, we concluded it was still a great upgrade over a 10-series GPU in 2022, especially for 1080p gaming. This is still true in 2023.
The problem, however, is that a 3060 Ti will struggle in very demanding modern games. For instance, in our review, we found that it only manages 48fps on average in Metro Exodus on max settings. On high instead of ultra settings, however, the 3060 Ti still fares well even in demanding games. TechPowerUp, for example, found that the 3060 Ti averages 134.4fps in Metro Exodus, while the 4060 Ti averages 150.4fps.
In fact, if you’re not maxing out settings, at 1080p, both the 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti should average well over 60fps—more like closer to 100fps—even in demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077.
Those using a 120Hz or 144Hz monitor, however, will fare better with a 4060 Ti, because the difference between, say, 80fps and 92fps on average can be noticeable, and that’s about the framerate difference you can expect between the two graphics cards in more demanding titles on high settings.
The one caveat to this comes with games that use a lot of VRAM, such as The Last of Us and Returnal. In such titles, the performance increase that a 4060 Ti offers over the 3060 Ti is minimal, thanks to both GPUs’ low VRAM capacity and the 4060 Ti’s slim memory bus.
Framerates averaged from multiple online benchmarks.
On average, the RTX 4060 Ti performs about 8% better than the RTX 3060 Ti at 1440p.
While the 4060 Ti (and, by extension, the 3060 Ti) is marketed as a 1080p card, it’s more than capable of 1440p gaming, especially if you don’t mind enabling DLSS upscaling.
Also Read: Is 1440P Worth it for Gaming?
Both GPUs should average above 60fps in pretty much any game you throw at it on high settings and should average above 60fps in all but the most demanding of games on max settings. In fact, both GPUs should average closer to 100fps than 60fps in most modern titles. And in less demanding titles, you can expect both the 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti to average above 120fps or even 144fps.
In games that use lots of VRAM, the 3060 Ti almost entirely closes the gap on the 4060 Ti—or, more accurately, the 4060 Ti loses most of its 8% lead thanks to its memory limitations.
While it certainly isn’t worth the money to upgrade from a 3060 Ti to a 4060 Ti for 1440p gaming, if you’re upgrading from a 10-series GPU, it might make sense to opt for a 4060 Ti instead of a 3060 Ti. The extra 10fps here and there isn’t a lot, but it’s probably worth the extra $60-odd considering the 4060 Ti can also use DLSS 3 and is better at ray tracing.
For sure, though, both GPUs are capable at 1440p resolution. I’ve used the RTX 3060 Ti for 1440p 144Hz gaming for almost a year, now, and, providing I enable DLSS—which I find doesn’t usually noticeably reduce graphical fidelity—it doesn’t struggle to average over 100fps or higher in high settings in pretty much any game I throw at it.
Nevertheless, I’d take a 4060 Ti over my 3060 Ti given the option, just for those few extra frames and DLSS 3 capability.
Framerates averaged from multiple online benchmarks.
On average, the RTX 4060 Ti performs about 4.7% better than the RTX 3060 Ti at 4K.
Probably thanks to its similar VRAM capacity and worse memory bus, at 4K resolution there’s little performance difference comparing the 4060 Ti vs 3060 Ti.
Neither the 3060 Ti nor the 4060 Ti are great 4K gaming graphics cards. They can handle some less demanding games at 4K resolution in a pinch, but for a primary 4K driver, it’s best to opt for at least an RTX 4070 Ti or RX 7900 XT.
In moderately demanding titles like Forza Horizon 5, both GPUs should average over 60fps, but in more demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077 or Control, both the 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti will struggle to get close to averaging 60fps on max or even high settings. Not without help from DLSS, anyway.
Because they perform so similarly at this resolution, if you plan on doing some light 4K gaming, it might be worth saving the extra money and getting a 3060 Ti. But if the games you’ll be playing support DLSS 3, a 4060 Ti becomes a much better prospect for 4K gaming. DLSS 3 can turn even the 4060 Ti into a capable 4K gaming GPU.
Ray Tracing and Upscaling
Score taken from PCGamer’s testing.
Based on PCGamer’s 3DMark Port Royal testing, the RTX 4060 Ti does ray tracing about 15.5% better than the RTX 3060 Ti.
Neither the 3060 Ti nor the 4060 Ti are fantastic at ray tracing compared to high-end current-gen GPUs like the RTX 4080 or RTX 4090. However, while the 4060 Ti ray traces better than the 3060 Ti, the primary draw to the Ada Lovelace GPU is its ability to use DLSS 3.
While enabling ray tracing will make many games choppy at 1440p and certainly 4K, enabling DLSS 3 can more than offset the performance hit taken by enabling it. For this reason alone, the 4060 Ti is a much better option than the 3060 Ti if you want to enable ray traced lighting.
DLSS 2 is great, too—it can sometimes almost double whatever your framerate is at native resolution—but DLSS 3 can often more than double framerates, even giving you 3x the framerate in some games.
Just like with 4K gaming, then, DLSS 3 can make the 4060 Ti a veritable ray tracing GPU. Just don’t expect great ray tracing performance when playing at native resolution.
Game Performance Summary
The 3060 Ti and 4060 Ti perform similarly across all three resolutions.
The 4060 Ti has a bigger lead (10.8%) at 1080p, a smaller one (8%) at 1440p, and a minuscule one (4.7%) at 4K. Because it’s often bottlenecked by its memory capacity and bandwidth in games with high-resolution assets and at high resolutions, performance differences can be slim depending on the game and game settings in question.
For raw performance alone, a 4060 Ti might not be worth the extra $66 considering current 3060 Ti retail prices. But when you throw DLSS 3 capability in the mix—providing you don’t mind enabling it and some games that you’ll be playing support it—the 4060 Ti becomes a no-brainer compared to the 3060 Ti.
Both GPUs are great for 1080p gaming, and both can handle smooth 1440p gaming in moderately demanding titles. But for smooth 1440p gaming in all titles, for 4K gaming in any title, and for enabling ray tracing, DLSS becomes a must.
The 3060 Ti does just fine with DLSS 2, but there’s no arguing that DLSS 3’s frame generation gives a substantial boost, making it the key benefit of the 4060 Ti apart from its power and thermal efficiency.
More Performance Comparisons
Verdict: Is the RTX 4060 Ti Better Than the RTX 3060 Ti?
The short answer to this question is yes, the 4060 Ti is better than the 3060 Ti. But it’s a qualified yes.
The performance difference isn’t massive at 1080p, nor at 1440p, and at 4K the difference is negligible. Similarly, while the 4060 Ti offers better ray tracing performance, this performance pales compared to that of high-end current-gen GPUs.
There are two key allures to the 4060 Ti. First, it achieves its improved performance compared to the 3060 Ti while being more power efficient and keeping cooler. Second, it can use DLSS 3, which makes it a much better option for high-resolution or ray traced gaming, providing the games you’ll be playing support it.
Because the 3060 Ti isn’t going for that much cheaper than the 4060 Ti right now, for these reasons the 4060 Ti is probably a better purchase.
But we can’t ignore the fact that the 4060 Ti is under-equipped in the memory department by today’s standards and game requirements. More and more games are using more than 8GB VRAM, even at lower resolutions, and while an increased L2 cache can offset some bandwidth limitations, the 4060 Ti’s 128-bit memory bus will probably still be limiting.
The 3060 Ti doesn’t fare better in this regard, except on the memory bus front. But similarly priced AMD alternatives like the RX 6700 XT do. The 6700 XT has 12GB GDDR6 VRAM and uses a 192-bit bus—not quite the 256-bit bus of the 3060 Ti, but certainly better than the 4060 Ti’s 128-bit bus. And it currently retails for cheaper than even the 3060 Ti.
But the 6700 XT doesn’t support DLSS 3, and that’s one of the major draws of the 4060 Ti.
In the end, then, whether you opt for Team Green or Team Red might come down to how much you care about upscaling and frame generation. And if you opt for Team Green, you’ll probably be better served by opting for the 4060 Ti over the 3060 Ti, which supports a better upscaling solution in the form of DLSS 3.