NVIDIA is bolstering its line-up of Ampere
-based GPUs today with a new addition to the GeForce RTX 30 series, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. As its name suggests, the new GeForce RTX 3060 Ti supplants the previous-gen, Turing-based GeForce RTX 2060 / RTX 2060 Super and slots in just behind the recently-released GeForce RTX 3070, which we recently considered an Editor’s Choice winner at its introductory MSRP.
For today’s launch, we got our hands on a pair of GeForce RTX 3060 Ti cards, NVIDIA’s own Founders Edition and MSI’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio. Although these two cards are built around the same GPU, physically and aesthetically they are quite different. You’ll see what we mean a little further down the page. Up first, lets get some high-level features and specifications out of the way and then we’ll dig in further, compare and contrast the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FE and Gaming X Trio, and – of course – check out an array of benchmarks...
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
Specifications & Features
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti leverages the same architecture as the other Ampere-based cards in the GeForce RTX 30 series line-up. As such, we’re not going to cover some of the new features and capabilities inherent to Ampere, because we’ve already done so in the past, specifically in our GeForce RTX 3080
Founder Edition review, our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-Series: Under The Hood Of Ampere
coverage, and GeForce RTX 3090, RTX 3080 And RTX 3070 Debut
If you missed all of that coverage and want the full scoop on Ampere and its many features, now's the time to pause and go check out those articles. In them, we explain the enhancements NVIDIA introduced with Ampere, from its new internal data paths and fresh CUDA, RT, and Tensor cores, and discuss many new features, like NVIDIA RTX IO, NVIDIA Broadcast, NVIDIA Reflex, Omniverse Machinima, and more. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti's GA104 GPU is also equipped with the same 7th Gen NVENC encoding and 5th Gen NVDEC engine as the bigger GA102. The new 5th Gen decoder supports hardware-accelerated decoding of the MPEG-2, VC-1, H.264 (AVCHD), H.265 (HEVC), VP8, VP9, and brand-new AV1 codecs, so the card's media and content creation capabilities are leading-edge, just like its big brothers.
The GA104-Powered GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, Powered By NVIDIA's GA104
Although all of the GeForce RTX 30 series cards we’ve previously checked out are more powerful, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti has all of the same features and support for the same technologies -- its GPU has simply been scaled back, which reduces performance, and allows NVIDIA to address more affordable price points.
NVIDIA GA104 GPU Die
As mentioned, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is not built around the same GA102 GPU as the high-end GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3090. Instead, it features the same GA104 as the GeForce RTX 3070, but scaled further down. The GA104 is fabricated on Samsung’s 8nm NVIDIA custom process, is comprised of approximately 17.4 billion transistors, and has a die size of 392.5mm2
. Although the GPU in its full configuration has 48 Streaming Multiprocessors (SM), 38 are enabled on the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, a further reduction on the RTX 3070's 46 SMs.
There are 128 CUDA cores per SM, for a total of 4,864, 4 Third-Gen Tensor cores per SM (152 total), 38 Second-Gen RT cores, and 4,864K of L1 cache / shared memory, and 4,096K of L2 cache. Complementing all of those cores are 80 ROPs and 152 Texture Units. The GPU
has a typical Boost clock of 1,665MHz and it is linked to 8GB of standard GDDR6
memory (not the GDDR6X of the RTX 3080/3090) via a 256-bit memory interface, which offers up to 448GB/s of peak bandwidth.
At NVIDIA's rated specifications, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti offers up 16.2 shader TFLOPs, 31.6 RT TFLOPs, 47.8 TFLOPs for ray tracing, and up to 253.1 GigaTexels/second texturing rate. Versus the previous-gen GeForce RTX 2060 Super, the new GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is massive upgrade across the board, save for its memory capacity and peak bandwidth, which remain unchanged. Efficiencies in the new Ampere
architecture allow the GA104 GPU at the heart of the RTX 3060 Ti to make better use of that bandwidth, however.
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti’s flow-through cooler design also makes the card operate cooler and quieter than is predecessor. NVIDIA claims the cooler is up to 16dBA quieter with 44% better thermal performance than the RTX 2070 Founders Edition. Speaking of the cooler, the one used on the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti looks somewhat like the RTX 3080’s, but it has a different fan configuration and it is much smaller -- its essentially identical to the GeForce RTX 3070 FE, save for the shroud coloring. Whereas the GeForce RTX 3070 has a champagne / rose gold tint, the RTX 3060 Ti is silver.
The cooler is outfitted with dual axial fans, and a split heatsink design that allows air to pass completely through the back portion of the card, but both of the fans are on one side – the two fans used on the 3080
are on opposing sides of the card. One end of the heatsink is attached to a vapor chamber, that’s mounted directly to the GPU and memory. The fan above that section directs air through the heatsink and immediately funnels it out of the chassis through large vents in the case bracket. The heatsink on the back half of the card allows air from the second fan to pass through, where it is rises to the top of the chassis and is eventually exhausted from a system, assuming it has decent ventilation.
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti -- which has a 200W TDP (600W PSU recommended) -- also has short PCB that sports a miniaturized 12-pin power connector, like the GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition. NVIDIA includes an adapter with the cards that converts a single 8-pin PCIe connectors to the new mini-12-pin design, should you need one.
MSI's Oversized Gaming X Trio
The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio shares the same base feature set with NVIDIA’s own GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, but MSI cranks things up considerably with higher clocks, a much larger cooling solution, user-configurable RBG lighting, and a beefier PCB with dual 8-pin PCI Express power connectors. Right out of the box, we say typical max boost clocks with this card that were about 90MHz higher than the FE card -- the MSI board routinely hit 1,995MHz, whereas the FE peaked at 1,905MHz, which is nearly a 5% increase.
The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio’s cooler features triple axial fans, which sit atop a massive array of heatsink fins, all linked together via multiple heat-pipes. The Torx Fan 4.0 fans employed on the card feature ball bearings (versus inferior sleeve bearings) and have every other pair of blades linked at the outer edge to add rigidity and improve air flow.
The heatsink fins have scalloped top edges (MSI calls them Wave-curved 2.0), to disrupt unwanted air flow and reduce noise. There are three distinct set of heatsinks that attach to the power circuitry, GPU, and memory on the card, linked together with precision machine heat-pipes that make direct contact, to optimize thermal transfer.
There is a graphene composite backplate on the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio that adds some rigidity, and also aids in cooling, with an RDG light-strip notched right into the center of the top-edge of the plate. We should also mention that the fans on the card can spin down completely under idle or low-load conditions to operate silently. MSI also points out that they’ve incorporated additional fuses into the PCB to provide some additional safeguards against potential electrical issues.
As you can see, the custom cooler and PCB make the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio significantly larger than the NVIDIA Founders Edition. The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is a few inches longer, over an inch taller, and it is 2.5 slots wide (effectively 3-slots), versus only two slots on the Founder Edition.
Included with the card is an array of documentation and promotional materials along with a metal support bracket that can be attached to a case to provide additional support for the card. There’s not much else to speak of, and because the card has the standard PCIe power connectors we’ve been using for years, no additional adapter is necessary.
Finally, like the earlier RTX 30 series cards we've already evaluated, the both of these GeForce RTX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti cards have triple full-sized DisplayPorts (1.4a) and a single HDMI output. And that HDMI port conforms to the 2.1 standard, which enables 4K120P with G-Sync
on some of the latest OLED TVs and displays, as well as 8K resolution with a single cable.
Now, what do you say we see how these puppies perform?