Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition review: Spectacular 1440p gaming

This is the 1440p graphics card for most people. Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is faster than last-generation's RTX 2080 Super for half the price.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2020 benchmark at 4K for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter, which measures the power consumption of our entire test system. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

This isn’t a worst-case test; we removed the Core i7 8700K’s overclock and specifically chose a GPU-bound game running at a GPU-bound resolution to gauge performance when the graphics card is sweating hard. If you’re playing a game that also hammers the CPU, you could see higher overall system power draws. Consider yourself warned.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

The results prove that the Ampere GPU architecture in the RTX 30-series is more power-efficient than the Turing GPUs in last-generation’s RTX 20-series cards, but that the graphics cards themselves draw more power in the same class. The RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition draws a significant 47 watts less under load than the RTX 2080 Super it topples in performance—a sterling result—but also draws over 40W more than the RTX 2060 Founders Edition. The new card smokes the older 60-class option in raw performance, though.

We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2020 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia’s radical new cooler continues to impress as it moves down the Founders Edition product stack. Maxing out at a mere 72 degrees under load is a fantastic result for a reference(ish) graphics card, and significantly cooler than the RTX 2080 Super achieved with similar performance levels. Yet it still leaves room for custom variants by partners like Asus, MSI, and EVGA to improve things—especially noise levels.

This is the same cooler design found on the RTX 3070 FE, meaning it not only delivers identical temperature performance, but also acoustic results. While the beefed-up version of the cooler on Nvidia’s more expensive $700 RTX 3080 FE was very quiet, the much smaller RTX 3060 Ti and 3070 Founders Edition models sounds like standard graphics cards--moderately loud.

Next page: Should you buy the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti?

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?