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.

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Our test system

Our dedicated graphics card test system is a couple of years old, but it's packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU, especially at the higher resolution these graphics cards target. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($300 on Amazon) overclocked to 5GHz all cores
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($105 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($355 on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($352 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($70 each on Amazon)

We’re comparing the $400 GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition against Nvidia’s Founders Edition models of the $500 GeForce RTX 3070 and last-generation’s $350 RTX 2060, $500 RTX 2070, and $800 2080 Super. We opted to include the 2080 Super over the non-Super version, as this is the card Nvidia compares against the RTX 3060 Ti. We’ve also included benchmarks for AMD’s new $580 Radeon RX 6800 and last-gen $400 Radeon RX 5700 XT.

rtx 3060 ti 2 Brad Chacos/IDG

The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti in our test system.

We test a variety of games spanning various engines, genres, vendor sponsorships (Nvidia, AMD, and Intel), and graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, and Vulkan). Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or DLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, along with any other vendor-specific technologies like FidelityFX tools or Nvidia Reflex. We’ve also enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.

Nvidia’s claims prove true: The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti indeed winds up a hair faster than the last-gen RTX 2080 Super across the board—Wolfenstein Youngblood is the lone exception, and that gap is very close. The older RTX 2060 Founders Edition gets absolutely massacred by Nvidia’s new GPU. Given that, we’ll present these standard benchmarks without further commentary.

GeForce RTX 3060 Ti gaming benchmarks

Watch Dogs: Legion

Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the first games to debut on next-gen consoles. Ubisoft upgraded its Disrupt engine to include cutting-edge features like real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS. We disable those effects for this testing, but Legion remains a strenuous game even on high-end hardware with its optional high-resolution texture pack installed. No card can maintain a 60-frames-per-second average with Ultra graphics options enabled, and the game allocates more than 8GB of memory even at 1440p. Oof.

watch dogs legion Brad Chacos/IDG

Horizon Zero Dawn

Yep, PlayStation exclusives are coming to the PC now. Horizon Zero Dawn runs on Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine, the same engine that powers Death Stranding. Ambient Occlusion can offer iffy results if set to Ultra, so we test with that setting at Medium. Every other visual option is maxed out.

hzd Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is faster than last-generation's RTX 2080 Super for half the price, delivering spectacular 1440p gaming performance for $400. Ray tracing and Nvidia's software features are top-notch, but minor quibbles persist in Nvidia's Founders Edition design

    Pros

    • Spectacular 1440p gaming
    • Faster than RTX 2080 Super for 50% less
    • 8GB of memory is good for 1440p
    • Great ray tracing performance with DLSS
    • Cool, reasonably quiet custom cooling
    • Nvidia software: Reflex, G-Sync, Shadowplay, Broadcast, RTX IO, DLSS

    Cons

    • Not as quiet as other RTX 30 Founders Edition GPUs, some custom cards
    • 12-pin power adapter is ugly
    • 8GB of GDDR6 memory limits future 4K gaming potential
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