Cheapest RTX 30 card
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is the most affordable RTX 30 graphics card currently offered. It's a pretty solid 1080p performer and can do some 1440p gaming. It offers a great value for money and is a great option to step into next-gen gaming on a tight budget. However, it is pretty hard to find right now, especially around the starting price tag.
- Solid 1080p performance
- 12 GB GDDR6 memory
- Lower value for money
- Limited stocks
RTX 30 mid-ranger
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a solid mid-range offering in the RTX 30 series from NVIDIA. It delivers decent 1080p and 1440p performance but doesn't offer the same price-to-performance ratio as most other RTX 30 GPUs. It also suffers from stock and pricing issues, much like any other new GPUs right now.
- Does well at 1080p and some 1440p
- Acceptable ray tracing performance
- 4K performance isn't too great
- Limited stocks
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
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.
|Category||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti|
|Shader (CUDA) Cores||3584||4864|
192-bit bus width
|8 GB GDDR6|
256-bit bus width
|Transistors||13.25 billion||17.40 billion|
|Node||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm|
|Ports||1 x HDMI 2.1|
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
|1 x HDMI 2.1|
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
|Power Connector||1 x 8 pin||1 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
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.
|Game||RTX 3060 (avg. FPS, 1440p)||RTX 3060 Ti (avg. FPS, 1440p)|
|Cyberpunk 2077 (RTX On)||37||44|
|Shadow of the Tomb Raider||47||57|
|Microsoft Flight Simulator||37||44|
|Control (RTX On)||56||67|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||60||72|
|Assassin's Creed: Valhalla||60||72|
|Horizon Zero Dawn||65||78|
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!
Cheapest RTX 30 GPU
Enter the ray tracing
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is the least money you can spend to get aboard the RTX train right now. It's a solid 1080p GPU that can do some 1440p gaming, and you also get a nice peek into ray tracing. It also offers a great value for money and is certainly the 60 series RTX 30 GPU to get right now.
Good value but not great value
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is the top 60 series card available right now, and it certainly is a nice filler between the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3070. However, it misses out on being the insane value for money that both those cards are. It's still a card to consider but not quite the recommended choice over the RTX 3060.
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