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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 vs. RTX 3060 Ti: Which GPU should you buy?

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (Image credit: NVIDIA)

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is the latest RTX GPU from NVIDIA. It's the cheapest RTX 30 GPU you can get right now and offers some great value for money. While the RTX 3060 Ti is a good card in itself, it doesn't quite offer the same value proposition as the RTX 3060, which means you're not getting as much performance gain as the difference in price that you'll pay. The RTX 3060 is a better GPU purchase choice between the two. Let's take a look at why that is the case.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 vs. RTX 3060 Ti specs

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Top

Source: NVIDIA (Image credit: Source: NVIDIA)

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti both belong to the same series, but the cards are actually not too alike. The RTX 3060 is based on the Ampere GA 106 GPU, while the RTX 3060 Ti gets the GA 104 GPU, which is also used in the RTX 3070. Both are made with Samsung's 8nm process, with the RTX 3060 getting 13.25 billion transistors and the RTX 3060 Ti getting 17.4 billion transistors. Let's take a better look at the specifications of the two cards.

CategoryNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Shader (CUDA) Cores35844864
Core Clock1320MHz1410MHz
Boost Clock1780MHz1670MHz
Memory12GB GDDR6
192-bit bus width
8 GB GDDR6
256-bit bus width
Memory Clock15Gbps14Gbps
Memory Bandwidth360GB/s448GB/s
RT Cores2838
Tensor Cores112152
Transistors13.25 billion17.40 billion
NodeSamsung 8nmSamsung 8nm
ArchitectureAmpereAmpere
TDP170W200 W
Ports1 x HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
Power Connector1 x 8 pin1 x 8 pin

Note: Some specifications of the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3060 Ti, like the ports, may vary as per AIB models.

The RTX 3060 Ti has the better hardware, with a higher number of transistors and a higher core count across the board. While the 3060 Ti is arguably the better card, the performance differences seem to be rather thin for the extra asking price. Let's take a better look at how the two cards perform against each other.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 vs. RTX 3060 Ti real-world performance

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Tilt

Source: NVIDIA (Image credit: Source: NVIDIA)

The real-world performance differences between the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3060 Ti will vary as per the specific AIB models' configuration. The RTX 3060 Ti is supposed to be more powerful version of the 3060, so as such, the performance is indeed better. However, the price difference doesn't quite align with the performance difference. Let's take a look at the performance comparison between the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 VENTUS 2X 12G OC and the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Ventus 3X OC, courtesy of the YouTube channel, Testing Games.

GameRTX 3060 (avg. FPS, 1440p)RTX 3060 Ti (avg. FPS, 1440p)
Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On)3744
Shadow of the Tomb Raider4757
Microsoft Flight Simulator3744
Control (RTX On)5667
Red Dead Redemption 26072
Assassin's Creed: Valhalla6072
Horizon Zero Dawn6578

The performance difference between the two GPUs seems to be quite thin, barely breaching the double digits with FPS. The RTX 3060 will do great at 1080p, and when it comes to 1440p, you can see that it hits the 60 FPS figure with less intensive games. However, it can fall back to the 30-40 FPS range with the more intensive titles.

The RTX 3060 Ti isn't much better, delivering marginally better performance. Had the 1440p performance demonstrated that the card could hit at least 60 FPS with the more intensive titles, then it could find itself clearly slotted between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070. No doubt, the RTX 3060 Ti is a pretty good GPU, but it's the awkward middle child slotted between two very talented siblings.

Even with ray tracing, the performance gains stay within the same proportions, making the RTX 3060 Ti a tough card to recommend for the extra premium it demands. If you absolutely had to pick one of the two, you would get a better performance per dollar with the RTX 3060.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 or RTX 3060 Ti: Which one should you buy?

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is the better GPU to buy right now. While the RTX 3060 Ti is a better performer, it doesn't quite offer the same value for money. The RTX 3060 sits at the bottom of the RTX 30 range of GPUs, but it offers a great price-to-performance ratio. There's very little motivation to spend the extra dollars to get the RTX 3060 Ti.

Regardless, if you feel the RTX 3060 is not good enough for your needs, making the jump to RTX 3070 seems like the better way to go. It does come with a heftier price tag, but as we said in our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 review, the RTX 3070 is a proper 1440p card, which means you will see a sizable performance gain from RTX 3060.

The issue here is that regardless of the model, if you want to buy an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 GPU, it's not going to be an easy process. The stocks of both the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3060 Ti are very limited right now, just like any of the best graphics cards out there. As such, finding these two cards at prices close to their starting price tags is going to be very difficult. So if you're going to get one soon, make sure you play the waiting game and get one at a price that's close to the retail pricing. Happy next-gen gaming!