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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founder's Edition Review
Review By @ 01:02am 02/12/20

Product: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founder’s Edition
Type: Graphics Card
Price: $399 USD / $688 AUD
Availability: December 2

The GeForce RTX 30 series family is growing, with the latest member being the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. And it’s at this point where we begin to see the bigger and broader picture. The GeForce RTX 3080 being the 4K flagship with incredible ray-tracing performance. Dropping down a step we find the GeForce RTX 3070, a GPU that out-performs the last generation’s RTX 2080 Ti. It also helped cement NVIDIA’s new Ampere architecture as something of a formidable generational leap over Turing.

Up in the clouds sits the GeForce RTX 3090, all Zeus-like, ready to dispatch lightning if you get too close.

Available now, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti takes the Ampere line-up into the realm we call the affordable. The place where you don’t need to subsist on nothing but instant noodles for a few months in order to equilibrium-ise your monetary state. So then, where does it fit, and how does it fit? An interesting question that NVIDIA - in its own way - answers when it states that in terms of raw performance the new RTX 3060 Ti is on-par or faster than the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER. Long story short, it should fit like that perfect pair of jeans you’ve been searching for.

Now, some backstory. The RTX 2080 SUPER launched in 2019, hitting the market at $699 USD as a high-end GPU capable of high-end GPU things. Of which it is still very-much capable. With the RTX 3060 Ti coming in at $399 USD it kind of throws out the value proposition we’ve grown accustomed to in the PC space -- for the better. Much like how the RTX 3070 did the same, by matching performance with a card that not that long ago cost more than double the doubloons.

So then, does it outperform the RTX 2080 SUPER? Can it keep up the same impressive ray-tracing and DLSS performance we’ve seen across the entire RTX 30 Series range? All of that and more on tonight’s episode of AusGamers Reviews... The Latest NVIDIA Graphics Card.

Spoiler alert - yeah, it does. The RTX 3060 Ti is something of a 1440p powerhouse with no direct competitor in its price range. Currently that is. And like its beefier siblings, it’s primed and ready for the streets of Night City.

From Turing to Ampere




The below is a summary of the RTX 30 Series technology, applicable to all RTX 3060 Ti models. An Ampere primer if you will.

The next generation of games across PC and consoles, in terms of AAA high-end titles, will be driven by resolution, frame-rate, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing. The latter is already here thanks to NVIDIA’s Turing line of graphics cards, first brought to the scene in 2018 with the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The original ‘RTX On’, the 20 series of GPUs from NVIDIA made that tech-dream of real-time ray-tracing a reality.

In order to make that possible, additional hardware in the form of RT Cores were brought into the picture to take some of the taxing light rays bouncing around a scene computation off the GPU processors, NVIDIA’s CUDA Cores. To ensure that games were, well, playable, Tensor Cores were also introduced -- leveraging NVIDIA’s expertise in the field of AI to drive rendering with DLSS.


The RTX 3060 Ti is something of a 1440p powerhouse with no direct competitor in its price range. And like its beefier siblings, it’s primed and ready for the streets of Night City.



Ray-tracing was groundbreaking in 2018 but it took a while to take off. Hardware appeared on shelves long before the first ray-traced games did, and from there everything from game optimisation to Windows 10 support to NVIDIA’s own AI-based DLSS rendering went through a growth period. The results though, came. If you build it they will come.

Remedy’s Control with DLSS 2.0 is without a doubt one of the most impressive visual feats we’ve seen in a long time. Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and Watch Dogs: Legion, all feature ray-tracing and DLSS support -- proving that these next-gen features are right-now that should be taken into consideration.

This is where Ampere comes in, the architecture that powers NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series. Think of it as the second generation of RTX – the PlayStation 2 to the original PlayStation. Ampere features second generation RT Cores (NVIDIA’s dedicated ray-tracing hardware) and third-generation Tensor Cores (the AI stuff that makes DLSS the perfect match for hardware intensive ray-tracing in addition to simply boosting performance).

Then there’s the new custom Samsung 8nm process and a chipset that radically re-designs the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) to effectively double the concurrent calculations and what have you. To get technical we’re talking about FP32 and INT32 operations, two things that are, err, things.

In the end Ampere is all about the future -- resolution, frame-rate, AI-rendering, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing using smart design that features forward thinking innovations like DLSS.

Of Numbers and Heat Sinks




Naming and product stack wise, the RTX 3060 Ti is the successor to the RTX 2060 SUPER - assuming NVIDIA is no longer going to be using that moniker going forward and we’re going to see Ti models for most of the RTX 30 series. It’s also a hint that a cheaper RTX 3060 baseline model will arrive sometime in the near future, putting this in the higher-end of that mid-range bracket.


Compared to the RTX 2060 the advances that come from the Turing to Ampere jump are immediately noticeable in the spec space -- a doubling of the SMs means more CUDA Cores, and paired with second-gen RT Cores and third-gen Tensor Cores it’s no wonder it performs better than the RTX 2080 SUPER.



Compared to the RTX 2060 the advances that come from the Turing to Ampere jump are immediately noticeable in the spec space -- a doubling of the SMs means more CUDA Cores, and paired with second-gen RT Cores and third-gen Tensor Cores it’s no wonder it performs better than the RTX 2080 SUPER. A card that had a power rating of 250W, further proof of Ampere’s excellent scaling and ability to shine efficiency-wise when it’s not focused on pushing things as far as they can go. Namely, 4K DOOM Eternal at well over 140fps.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founder’s Edition
  • Architecture (GPU): Ampere
  • CUDA Cores: 4864
  • RT Cores: 38
  • Tensor Cores: 152
  • GPU Boost Clock: 1665 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 8GB GDDR6
  • Memory Interface/Clock: 256-bit/7000 MHz
  • Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s
  • TDP: 200W

For the RTX 3060 Ti perhaps the most impressive showing can be found in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. With ray-tracing disabled and DLSS turned off we see that visually impressive title hit over 130fps at 1080p and over 90fps at 1440p in pure rasterized performance. Turn on DLSS though, where the picture quality remains on par with the native presentation, and at 1440p performance climbs up to a whopping 153.4fps. That’s an unheard of 68% jump.

With Ultra ray-traced settings across shadows and ambient occlusion Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War remains on par with the 90fps or so native 1440p presentation without ray-tracing or DLSS.

Now, this string of numbers and resolutions may feel like a bit of an info dump, but it highlights where the AAA space is at right now and what we can expect to see more of in the years ahead. Excellent everyday performance, advanced features like DLSS that truly impress, and ray-tracing without turning things into a slide-show.

Or, gulp, forcing you to play at an ungodly 30fps.

More Than a Number




Like the full RTX 30 series the RTX 3060 Ti is more than numbers on a spec sheet, results laid out all pretty in a chart with fps numbers and resolutions. Though, we’ll get to that good stuff in a moment. In keeping with the next-gen talk, NVIDIA’s RTX IO will leverage the same DirectStorage tech that we’ll get to see on the Xbox Series X, leading to GPU-based decompression, faster loading, and better memory management. It’s still a TBC feature in terms of arrival but our guess is next year we’ll begin to see the first titles that take advantage of it.


NVIDIA’s Reflex technology is something of a game changer, lowering system latency across a wide range of titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and the aforementioned Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.



Also AMD’s SAM technology (Smart Access Memory), as seen in the new Radeon RX 6000 series that uses the latest Ryzen CPUs to boost performance, well, NVIDIA is working on its own version. Using the same PCIE Gen 4 features it too is said to boost performance in CPU-limited titles and resolutions by opening bandwidth -- with NVIDIA noting that its version will support all CPUs.


But there’s plenty in the here and now to talk about too. In terms of competitive games and esports, NVIDIA’s Reflex technology is something of a game changer, lowering system latency across a wide range of titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and the aforementioned Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War. Paired with NVIDIA’s own tools and a G-Sync, well, it works bringing the overall time down between input and an action you actually see being carried out.

Latency goes up considerably when you go from 1080p to 1440p and 4K -- and with NVIDIA Reflex we noticed some excellent improvements in response times in Call of Duty.

For content creators RTX Broadcast turns any space into a streaming setup with AI powered voice controls (that can go so far as to remove the background noise of a hair-dryer or lawn-mower) and green-screen-free green-screen effects. RTX Broadcast, NVIDIA Reflex, and DLSS present a mix of hardware, software, and AI - and are a testament to a future where raw power only represents part of the story.

Game Performance




But, power is what we all crave. More frames, more detail, more reflections, more smoothie G-Sync action… more of everything. Here’s a look at the RTX 3060 Ti running games in 1080p and 1440p with detail settings dialed up to 11 on the following setup.

It’s also worth noting that NVIDIA’s latest GeForce Experience offers up a simple one-button ‘autotune’ overclocking function you can enable -- which we found improved performance by a small amount. The following figures are based on stock settings.
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founder’s Edition
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
  • Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 UNIFY
  • Memory: HyperX FURY DDR4 RGB (32GB at 3600 MHz)



The immediate picture, or conclusion to draw here is that the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti presents uncompromised 1440p performance across even the most demanding titles -- looking at you Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and your seemingly hard to render Viking beards. Based on these numbers we do see that NVIDIA’s claims of outperforming the RTX 2080 SUPER are pretty much on the money, so to speak. And it pairs great with game-focused display like the MSI Optix-MAG274QRF-QD.

But, the more interesting comparison comes with putting the RTX 3060 Ti up against the RTX 3070 - and in our testing we found that at 1080p it performed roughly 7% slower on average and around 10% slower at 1440p on average. Again, the RTX 3070 kind of sits on both sides of the 1440p and 4K fence -- much like the RTX 2080 Ti, so being 10% slower here is a very impressive win for the RTX 3060 Ti. Again, it kind of sits alone with no real like-for-like competitor in its price range. And seeing such great performance in titles like Horizon Zero Dawn, Watch Dogs: Legion, Call of Duty, DOOM Eternal, and others, it’s hard not to be weirdly more impressed with the RTX 3060 Ti than say the RTX 3080.

Of course, that’s crazy talk - but you get the idea.



Switching things to 4K and even though the RTX 3060 Ti begins to strain and sweat, it’s performance still outshines the RTX 2080 SUPER at this Ultra resolution. Now tweaking settings in a number of titles can lead to a solid 60fps presentation, and we do see the magic of DLSS in a game like Call of Duty or even the solid solidness that is Forza Horizon 4 hitting triple digits.

That said at 4K we found the biggest drop off in terms of performance compared to the RTX 3070 -- sitting at around 14% or 86% of that higher-end card.

Head here to see a head-to-head comparison between the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070 across 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.


Ray Tracing and DLSS




DLSS is without a doubt NVIDIA’s secret weapon when you bring ray-tracing into the picture. With a sizable bump in performance, and an image that is on par or even better quality than its native resolution counterpart -- there’s no reason not to turn it on. In fact the only reason to do so would be to see the difference. Or, to benchmark with some false sense of purity.

Okay so that last bit there is a little misleading. A like-for-like comparison between the RTX 3060 Ti with DLSS On and a competing card with no DLSS equivalent isn’t exactly like-for-like. One is rendering using AI in a form of upscaling that manages to have even better photographic memory to recreate a 1400p or 4K image than that guy from Suits. The other is the resolution, as is. But, it is a fair comparison to make in the sense that it’s meant to be played with it DLSS on if the option is there.



DLSS on a card like the RTX 3060 Ti represents the real-world experience in games like Control, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Watch Dogs: Legion, Minecraft with RTX, and the very soon to be released Cyberpunk 2077. As per the numbers, 1440p with DLSS seems to be the sweet spot of maintaining 60fps for intensive titles like Control and Watch Dogs: Legion. Though with the latter we’d opt for 1080p. Either way DLSS is the sort of thing that allows the RTX 3060 Ti to put in heavyweight RTX numbers, numbers that trump the RTX 2080 SUPER.

Second-gen ray-tracing performance found in Ampere is that PS2 to original PlayStation bump we’ve been waiting for.

And It Looks Good Doing it Too




Like the rest of the RTX 30 series the RTX 3060 Ti is gorgeous -- opting for the same look and feel of the stylish RTX 3080 and 3070 before it, and the same revolutionary new cooling.

Like the RTX 3070 this Founder’s Edition features a dual-fan design, a small form-factor, and the same 8-pin to 12-pin adapter for power. Here the finish is a lot more chrome too with an almost white look to the metal. It looks awesome in a case and the finish gives the 3060 Ti some of its own Founder’s Edition FE Energy that made the RTX 3080 catch the attention of many.


DLSS is without a doubt NVIDIA’s secret weapon when you bring ray-tracing into the picture. With a sizable bump in performance, and an image that is on par or even better quality than its native resolution counterpart -- there’s no reason not to turn it on.



NVIDIA’s reference designs for the entire range are, to be blunt, the most stylish we’ve ever seen in the GPU space. Okay, maybe that wasn’t all that blunt but it’s as subjective an opinion as you’re to find in this review. A couple of months into the RTX 30 series generation and we’re still in love with the look.

The RTX 3060 Ti also carries on the RTX tradition of being just about whisper quiet when cranking out those Cold War frames and completely quiet when doing things like writing sentences and glancing over to see a GPU sitting there not really doing anything of note. Interestingly the 3060 Ti features the same sort of temperature range as the rest of the RTX 30 gang too, peaking at around 70 or so degrees and idling much cooler than that - pointing to an overall design methodology that scales across the entire range.

In the end being surprised is a good thing, and something of a recurring dream when it comes to the latest from NVIDIA. It happened with the RTX 3080 when it came to raw 4K performance and Ampere’s ray-tracing capabilities, and it happened again with the RTX 3070 in how it managed to out 2080 Ti the 2080 Ti. Here we were expecting great 1080p and 1440p performance, with the surprise coming with what other features make up the RTX 3060 Ti. DLSS performance that turns in figures that are truly impressive, RTX Latency to improve response times, and RTX Broadcast for a suite of options that are great even if all you do is Discord and Zoom.
What we liked
Proves that Ampere scales across all models
Excellent 1080p and 1440p performance
With DLSS ray-tracing is better than the RTX 2080 SUPER
Excellent build quality and aesthetics
Great features like Reflex, Broadcast, and DLSS prove that it’s more than power that matters
What we didn't like
With 8GB of VRAM it’s the one aspect that feels last-gen
We gave it:
9.0
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
Raven
Posted 01:15pm 02/12/20
Part of me is like 'I want one'. And then I remember "yeah but you already bought a 3070".

Interesting that a lot of reviews are saying "This thing won't be enough for next-gen 4k gaming". Which is precisely why I'm still using a 1080p monitor.
KostaAndreadis
Posted 01:26pm 02/12/20
It can do 4K but it isn't positioned as a 4K card. 1440p is still the sweet spot for all GPUs I think. Unless you go the insane 3090 route
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