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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GeForce RTX 3060 Ti ray tracing benchmarks

While we were busy running benchmarks, we flipped on real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling in a handful of games. Enabling ray tracing imparts a massive performance impact; DLSS’s AI-enhanced image upscaling claws a lot of those frames back. (DLSS can also be activated separately from ray tracing to drive your in-game frame rates beyond what Nvidia’s hardware pumps out natively.) We dove deeper into Ampere’s ray tracing and DLSS performance in our RTX 3080 review if you’re interested in more analysis.

We tested ray tracing capabilities set to Ultra in four games, each deploying a different version of the cutting-edge lighting technology. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses (surprise!) ray-traced shadows; the ray-traced global illumination in Metro Exodus truly transforms the look and feel of that game; Wolfenstein Youngblood and Ubisoft’s strenuous Watch Dogs Legion show off ray-traced reflections on the rival Vulkan and DirectX 12 APIs, respectively. Tomb Raider and Metro use Nvidia’s original DLSS 1.0 implementation, while Wolfenstein and Watch Dogs deploy the faster, better DLSS 2.0.

rt metro Brad Chacos/IDG
rt sotr Brad Chacos/IDG
rt watch dogs Brad Chacos/IDG
rt wolf Brad Chacos/IDG

No real surprises here. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is roughly as fast as the last-gen RTX 2080 Super in traditional gaming performance, and it’s roughly as fast in ray tracing performance too. The last-gen RTX 2060 FE couldn’t even run Wolfenstein with ray tracing enabled. We repeatedly received memory capacity warnings onscreen, then the game crashed.

Next page: Power, thermals, and noise

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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