Asus TUF GeForce RTX 3060 Ti review: Stone cold, dead silent

The Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti puts exceptional custom touches on an exceptional 1440p graphics card.

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Should you buy the Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti?

The $460 Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti OC should definitely be on your shortlist. It puts an exceptional spin on an exceptional GPU, earning our Editors’ Choice award for the results.

geforce rtx 3060 ti asus tuf 2 Brad Chacos/IDG

The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is an exceptional no-compromises 1440p graphics card, as we covered extensively in our Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition review. It exceeds 60 frames per second in all games tested at that resolution—often by a wide margin—even with all visual bells and whistles enabled. Getting your games to run at 90 fps shouldn’t be an issue in most games. Nvidia’s second-gen ray tracing implementation is much faster than AMD’s debut Radeon attempt, especially when paired with the company’s fantastic DLSS 2.0 technology.

The RTX 3060 Ti also delivers fast 1080p gameplay if you have a blazing-fast 120Hz-plus monitor. You can use it for a solid 4K gaming experience as well, though the 8GB memory capacity will probably hold the graphics card back at 4K in future titles. You’d be better off with a GeForce RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6800-series graphics card if you’re buying for long-term 4K gaming, though they’re significantly more expensive. The RTX 3060 Ti also holds its own during 3440x1440 ultrawide gaming.

Asus builds on that solid foundation with a fantastic custom cooler. While the $400 Nvidia Founders Edition delivers relatively cool temperatures and unobtrusive, but definitely noticeable fan noise, the Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti stayed a frosty 58 degrees Celsius even under intense gaming loads—a whopping 14 degrees chillier than Nvidia’s FE card. Better yet, the Asus TUF remains inaudible even with its default high-performance BIOS. You wouldn’t know it was there if it weren’t pumping out gaming frames so fast.

That incredible cooling performance, paired with features like the aforementioned dual-BIOS switch and RGB lighting, make the TUF’s $60 premium worthwhile in our opinion. You’ll definitely want this card’s rare dual HDMI 2.1 outputs if you’ve got a VR headset as part of your gaming arsenal. It’s very power-efficient, too—even more so than Nvidia’s stock-clocked Founders Edition.

geforce rtx 3060 ti asus tuf 10 Brad Chacos/IDG

The Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti in our test system.

It’s not quite perfect, though. There's no getting around the massive physical bulk of the Asus TUF. It's necessary to achieve those extraordinary cooling and noise results, that sheer size means the card may not fit in smaller cases.

More notably, the Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti’s decent factory overclock somewhat bizarrely earns it no performance uplift over the reference-spec’d Nvidia Founders Edition. Even the heftiest factory overclocks provide very little tangible performance benefit these days, to be fair, as Nvidia and AMD push all graphics cards as far as they can go using boost algorithms that adapt to power and thermal constraints. The most hot-clocked, heavily customized cards might eke out another 3 or 5 percent over reference GPUs.

Given that, options like the TUF might be even more enticing. You can always overclock your GPU, but the TUF’s arctic temperatures and silent running deliver a sublime user experience you can’t easily get from many graphics cards. But all that said, we'd want to see some sort of performance uplift if we’re paying $60 more for a custom card.

Bottom line? The Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition delivers identical performance to the TUF with good-enough cooling and noise levels for $400. If you always game with your headset on or aren’t bothered by light fan noise, it’s a great option. But the experiential benefits of a cool, silent graphics card can’t be understated. If you never want to hear your graphics card and prefer that your GPU stay as cold as possible, or if you have a VR headset, the Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti is highly recommended. I’d buy it.

This story, "Asus TUF GeForce RTX 3060 Ti review: Stone cold, dead silent" was originally published by PCWorld.

At a Glance
  • The Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti puts exceptional custom touches on an exceptional 1440p graphics card. It's dead silent, stone cold, and comes with nice extras like a dual BIOS switch and an second HDMI 2.1 port.

    Pros

    • Dead silent and exceptionally cool
    • Spectacular 1440p gaming
    • Dual-BIOS switch
    • Extra HDMI 2.1 port
    • Attractive all-metal design
    • Superior ray tracing performance vs. AMD GPUs

    Cons

    • Massive size
    • Factory overclock provides no real-world performance uplift
    • 8GB of GDDR6 memory limits future 4K gaming potential
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