Final words and conclusion
What the market needs are affordable, high-performing graphics cards that sit well under the 500 USD marker. Why? Because what other reason would a potential buyer have to not purchase, say, a new Xbox X for the same amount of money? The new consoles pose a serious threat to PC gaming, as that last segment is becoming way too expensive. We see it with motherboards, processors, graphics cards, and heck even DRAM. The OC is getting too expensive to remain to be an interesting purchase. We desperately need high-performing products closer to that 300 USD, maxing at 400 USD. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti sits there at the 399 USD marker and quite honestly is a product that I like as it offers proper performance at WQHD levels for us common folk. Not just that, you'll have the added benefit of playing some games with hybrid raytracing, as well as the fact that NVIDIA has Tensor cores onboard, offering more perf at complex workloads with DLSS, preferably 2.
I've mentioned this in a couple of other reviews as well, Ultimately everything and anything it's all about gaming price, performance, and, of course, rendering quality. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a product that meets all these factors suitably; while we do feel the RTX 3070 offers oomph for money, the RTX 3060 Ti simply more reachable for a bigger crowd with a more normalized wallet. This card can still run games at 4K but not with raytracing for sure; it will serve you well at WQHD and Full HD. The easy comparative product would be RTX 2080 SUPER and often even close to even RTX 2080 Ti. And that's not a bad spot to be game performance-wise.
Cooling & noise levels
The new cooling design looks awesome, and, pardon the pun, 'it just works.' It has made the product 'overall' quieter. In extremely stressed conditions, we did hit a close to silent 36 dBA though it took a while for the card to get there (warms up slowly); still, even that is considered a normal acoustic level. Depending on the airflow level inside your chassis, expect the card to sit in the 70, maybe 75 Degrees C range temperature-wise under hefty load conditions (depending on the airflow in your chassis). As FLIR imaging shows, the card's topside shows minor heat bleeding. Overall, we're very comfortable with what we observe.
In the previous paragraph, I already mentioned this; your heat output and energy consumption are always closely related to each other as (graphics) processors and heat can be perceived as a 1:1 state; 100 Watts in (consumption) often equals 100 Watts of heat as output. This is the basis of TDP. NVIDIA is listing their TGP at 200 Watts, which is okay for a graphics card in the year 2020, and certainly a lot better than the RTX 3080 and 3090 in that sub 350W domain.
Much like the 3080, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti does exhibit coil squeal. Is it annoying? It's at a level you can hear it. In a closed chassis, that noise would fade away in the background. However, with an open chassis, you can hear coil whine/squeal. Graphics cards all make this in some form, especially at high framerates; this can be perceived.
NVIDIA is pricing the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti at USD 399. The good news is that that is a third of the price of the RTX 3090, while in most scenarios, you are at close to half the performance. We do expect AIB cards to be more expensive, as that is a trend as of late. We'll have to wait and see how that pans out, though, as everything is dependant on the actual volume availability of these cards.
Tweaking Ampere GPUs has been a bit of a challenge. Sometimes puzzling, other times easy. The tweaks on the clock frequency and memory run fine, but the performance was often lower than defaults. There is new safety protection active on memory, which will prevent the card from crashing when clocked too far; it, however, will drop in performance. For the RTX 3070 series, we'd expect you to add and reach 500~1000 Mhz+ with a steady 15 to 16 Gbps of effective bandwidth. Of course, increase the power limiter to the max, so your GPU gets (even) more energy budget, and then the GPU clock can be increased anywhere from +50 to +125 MHz. Why this huge differential, you might wonder? Well, results will vary per board, brand, and even card due to cooling (GDDR6X/GPU/VRM), but also ASIC quality. I will say this, though, and frequency matters LESS these days. Even if the GPU could do 2000~2100 MHz, your power limiter will be the decisive and dominant factor, lowering that clock frequency to meets its assigned power budget.
Gosh, I think I spoiled it all in the very first paragraphs of this conclusion page; the market needs cheaper cards that can easily beat the new consoles at performance and price for PC gaming to keep making sense. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a bit of an inbetweener. I think it performs extremely well, but realistically graphics cards in the sub 500 USD range are all 100 USD too expensive. How cool would this product have been at 299 USD? See what I am getting at? I know, I know .. wishful thinking.
Performance-wise we cannot complain; it is RTX 2080 SUPER and even 2080 Ti territory that this card is tackling. An ongoing trend with all new technologies, of course, is an increase in graphics memory, or better yet, growing demand and thirst for it. Up-to 2560x1440, really, you're good to go with 8GB for now. In Ultra HD, you'll quickly run out of VRAM in the future and thus stamina as frames bounce back and forth due to the lack of it. Overall this is a solid performing product that will please the masses. You'll get excellent framerates in the aforementioned resolutions with bitter-sweet eye-candy at the best quality setting. It's also a graphics card that allows you to fool around and twiddle a bit with Hybrid raytracing.
On DX-R, we stopped testing games that are marked with Raytracing that only do shadows. It's a waste of performance as the rasterizer engine is simple by far good enough. Games with raytraced reflections, that's what you should be after, and that's what we''ll call a properly raytraced game. For this card, DXR in Full DH is a good option, and you can get a nice buddy assist when the game also supports DLSS v2.0.
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti overall performs well on all fronts, performance, cooling acoustics, and yeah, the new founder edition cards look sweet as well. The big question will remain to be availability. NVIDIA" biggest challenge for weeks now. DO NOT even dare to buy these products even 20 bucks over reference prices at etailers. Purchase it when prices are FAIR. It's the only way scalpers and greedy etailers will learn and understand, bring back respect to what allows them to keep running their businesses, you guys .. the customers should come first. The last line (I promise) would have loved to see this card being 299 USD for it to be a hit. But even at its current pricing, it's a product we can certainly recommend.
- Hilbert, LOAD"*",8,1.