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

Should you buy the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti?

Absolutely—if you can find it in this extremely supply-limited, demand-heavy year. The $400 GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a spectacular graphics card that delivers performance a hair faster than last-generation’s $800 RTX 2080 Super in both traditional and ray traced games for half the price, and with lower power consumption. Hot damn.

rtx 3060 ti 8 Brad Chacos/IDG

That performance paired with 8GB of GDDR6 memory makes the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti a fantastic 1440p gaming option. It exceeds the hallowed 60-frames-per-second mark in every game tested at that resolution, even with the most strenuous visual settings enabled. It flies well beyond that mark in several games, and it should have no problem holding 90 fps+ at 1440p in most titles if you don’t mind performing minor tuning on graphics options. The RTX 3060 Ti would also be a fine pairing for a high-refresh-rate 1080p monitor, though AMD’s inevitable counterpunch may prevail at those settings, given the Radeon RX 6800-series' superior performance at lower resolutions. Nvidia’s GPUs handle ray tracing much better than Radeon cards, however, and AMD has no answer to Nvidia’s fantastic DLSS tech.

You can even play games at 4K at a fine clip with this card if you bump graphics from Ultra to High in most games, as you could with the older RTX 2080 Super. The 8GB memory capacity likely won’t hold up well over the long term, however. We’d recommend opting for a graphics card with more VRAM if you’re buying for 4K today—either the AMD Radeon RX 6800-series or Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080. Those cards cost substantially more, though.

The step-up $500 GeForce RTX 3070 also comes with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, so it’s in the running if you’re looking for a 1440p graphics card. It’s only 9 percent to 15 percent faster than the RTX 3060 Ti at 1440p depending on the game, however, for 25 percent more cash. That makes the RTX 3060 Ti a better option for most people, though the RTX 2070’s performance boost may be worthwhile if you hold onto your graphics cards for an especially long time before upgrading again. The extra frames also make the RTX 3070 better for entry-level 4K gaming, though again, we’d be leery about its 8GB of VRAM at that capacity. 

rtx 3060 ti 5 Brad Chacos/IDG

At $400, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti immediately kills any remaining value proposition for comparable last-gen graphics cards like the Radeon RX 5700, 5700 XT, GeForce RTX 2060, and 2060 Super, unless you score one at a massive discount. Don’t count on seeing those discounts in today’s economy, though. Rather than splurging on older tech at this point, be patient and wait to get your hands on this GPU.

Nvidia’s unorthodox RTX 30-series Founders Edition cooling continues to impress, though less so the further we move down the stack. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FE’s 72-degree Celsius temperatures and soft, but audible noise levels don’t disappoint, especially for a card made by Nvidia itself, but there is room for partner cards from EVGA, Asus and others to improve things. (Stay tuned for many custom RTX 3060 Ti reviews in the coming days—we’ve already got several in our hands.) We still dislike the proprietary 12-pin power connector that Nvidia used with its Founders Edition cards this generation to squeeze in a smaller PCB. The company includes an adapter in the box, but that adapter is too short and looks chunky and ugly compared to nicer traditional cabling options.

Don’t let that dissuade you, though. Performance this fast cost twice as much last generation and landed near the top of the RTX 20-series stack. Getting this much eye candy for $400 is very welcome indeed. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is spectacular—a virtually flawless 1440p GPU, minor Founders Edition design squabbles aside. Here’s hoping stocks are plentiful and custom variants aren’t priced as extravagantly as the higher-up RTX 30-series options, because this GPU should sell like hotcakes.

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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