Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti is the best GPU under $ 500
I wrote about how a few months ago I'm more excited about the RTX 3080 than about the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5. But after the introduction of the first RTX 3000 cards, the new consoles and the high-end Radeons from AMD, it's the cheaper GPUs that I have my eye on now. And with the "surprise" of the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, Nvidia finally delivers a first foretaste of this price range.
The 3060 Ti launches December 2 for $ 400and it's no surprise. While rumors of the existence of this GPU were circulating months ago, this announcement is still welcome. This is the obvious sweet spot for people who play at 1440p, but it's even suitable as a 4K card – especially when combined with deep learning supersampling (DLSS).
I spent a short amount of time testing the RTX 3060 Ti so this is not a complete evaluation of the GPU. But I want to talk about where it fits in the current landscape and why it probably makes sense to you.
Better than the 2080 Super at half the price
The best selling point for the 3060 Ti is that it is better than a 2080 Super in most games, but costs $ 400 instead of $ 800. While $ 400 feels like a lot for a 60-level Nvidia card, the value here is undeniable.
And that power makes sense. The 3060 Ti is a stripped-down version of the the RTX 3070. It has fewer cores in fewer streaming multiprocessors (SMs) and is designed for slightly slower clock speeds.
However, it has the same 8 GB of GDDR6 memory (not GDDR6X) as the 3070. Like the 3070, 3080 and 3090, Nvidia's Boost software automatically runs the 3000-series GPUs faster than their nominal clock rates by using the Power consumption and component temperatures are monitored. The result is consistently impressive performance for this generation of cards, and the 3060 Ti is no exception.
In a new version like Watch Dogs: Legion, which is difficult to play on all systems, the 3060 Ti can get around 30 frames per second at 4K. This makes it on par with the RTX 2080 Super. At 1440p, the 3060 Ti achieved an average frame rate of 57 versus the 59 frames per second of the 2080 Super.
And with the 2080 Super, the 3060 Ti is used in most games. That means the card will leave previous $ 400 range cards like the 2060 Super and the RX 5700 XT. These cards are now officially out of date.
Situational advantages and what about AMD?
You can't talk about GPUs without looking at the branded features that further set them apart. Nvidia has DLSS. This is a great benefit in games that support this feature.
Watch Dogs: Legion almost doubles the frame rate – 50 frames per second on Ultra settings, with DLSS set to balanced. Other games clearly exceed the threshold of 60 frames per second at 4K when DLSS is activated.
The problem, of course, is that not every game supports DLSS. So should you buy a GPU for that promise? Probably not, at least not yet. In its 2.0 form, DLSS is easy to implement even for small indie studios. A single developer did most of the work on the 3D action adventure Pumpkin Jack, and yet that has support for DLSS. That makes me hopeful that DLSS has got to a point where it is a breeze for developers to include. If so, the $ 400 RTX 3060 Ti is an even better value.
But AMD also has its own situational advantages. If you pair one of the new cards with a Ryzen CPU, you will get even better performance in all games. The question is when will AMD launch its mid-range 6000-series Radeons?
It is less questionable whether AMD will try to undercut Nvidia's price. AMD has tried to sell its 6800 and 6800 XT at a lower price than Nvidia, but the prices for AMD partner cards are much closer to their corresponding Nvidia offerings. This trend is likely to continue as AMD plans to add more memory and its expensive L3 cache across the entire stack.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is an excellent GPU
The 3060 Ti is fantastic. It's the right card at the right price for anyone who doesn't play exclusively at 4K. It packs in devastating 1080p and 1440p performance and is a great 4K option in games with DLSS or if you turn down some graphics options. And from what I've seen, it comes close to the 3070 in terms of performance, but at a $ 100 discount. And that makes it the best card under $ 500.
I also expect even more stocks of the 3060 Ti than the RTX 3070 and 3080 or the AMD RX 6800 or 6800 XT. So, you may actually have the option to purchase this. If you're looking to upgrade from an Nvidia GTX 1060/1070 or earlier, this card gives you a leap in performance that should easily justify the $ 400 price tag.
Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 Ti will be available for $ 400 on December 2. Nvidia provided a sample for the purpose of this reporting.
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