Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti review

Nvidia has finally launched its GeForce RTX 4060 Ti graphics card, providing an option for budget-conscious gamers who are looking to tackle 1080p gaming. Available in two versions – 8GB and 16GB VRAM – the RTX 4060 Ti is built on the Ada Lovelace architecture that boasts third-gen ray tracing cores and fourth-gen Tensor cores. While the 16GB option will not be out until July 2023, the 8GB Founders Edition, available at $399, is a souped-up RTX 3060 Ti with better ray tracing that offers similar performance at the same price point.

However, it’s not all good news for gamers on a budget. While the RTX 4060 Ti’s price is fine, it still feels like a slap in the face that it doesn’t offer much more performance than its last-generation counterpart, although it’s worth noting that an even more budget-friendly $299 RTX 4060 is coming later this year.

Is $399 “Budget”?

A price tag of $1,599 for the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, which launched in October 2022, made headlines for all the wrong reasons, as every graphics card Nvidia released this generation saw a massive price hike over its last-generation counterpart. While the RTX 4060 Ti starts at $399 for the 8GB Founders Edition, there is a 16GB model coming in July 2023 that will raise the asking price to $499, getting uncomfortably close to the $599 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070.

The RTX 4060 Ti price is acceptable as it offers similar performance to the RTX 3060 Ti at the same price point, albeit with the same VRAM capacity as the last-gen card. However, it’s disappointing to see no substantial increase in performance gen-on-gen, considering every other card in this generation sees significant performance increases, albeit at a hugely inflated price range. It’s also worth questioning whether a $399 graphics card can still be classified as “budget”. Nvidia’s decision to launch a $299 RTX 4060 later this year could provide some relief, but it’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the days when the GTX 1060 was a $249 1080p champion.

Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti Design and Specs

Built on the Ada Lovelace architecture, the RTX 4060 Ti comes with third-gen ray tracing cores and fourth-gen Tensor cores. However, it only has 34 Streaming Multiprocessors and a total CUDA core count of 4,352, down from the 4,864 cores found in the cheaper RTX 3060 Ti. While it also has the same amount of VRAM as the last-gen card, at 8GB, it uses a slower 128-bit memory bus.

Shaving down the GPU has led to other advantages, though. With only a TGP of 160W, the RTX 4060 Ti uses far less power than the RTX 3060 Ti, which requires 200W of power from your PSU. This low power consumption also means that the RTX 4060 Ti only reaches 68°C in NVIDIA’s testing suite, potentially helped by the cooler design, which closely resembles the dual-fan pass-through design appearing on the RTX 3080. The design of this cooler has it taking air in through the bottom of the graphics card and pushing out hot air towards the RAM, where most PC builds have the most robust cooling.

However, even with the affordable price tag, gamers will still need to factor in the cost of a power adapter, as the RTX 4060 Ti uses the divisive 16-pin 12VHPWR power connector instead of a traditional 8-pin PCIe connector.

RTX 4060 Ti: Performance

Performance-wise, the RTX 4060 Ti is not a game-changer, as it can comfortably handle any current game with ray tracing at 1080p. If you’re upgrading from an older GPU (such as the GTX 1060 or RTX 2060), you’ll enjoy a sizeable bump in 1080p performance.

Testing games at their highest preset, with ray tracing on where applicable, the graphics card benchmarks were run with DLSS on Nvidia graphics cards and FSR on AMD cards. Using upscaling at the “Quality” preset at 1080p and “Balanced” at 1440p allowed for maximum in-game performance. However, in games that don’t use ray tracing, there was barely any performance difference. For example, there was only a 7-8% gen-on-gen performance uplift in 3DMark Speed Way and in Total War: Warhammer III.

While the inclusion of ray tracing does increase performance, it is not particularly impressive. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti takes a 15% lead over the RTX 3060 Ti in Cyberpunk 2077 and a 13% performance uplift in Hitman 3 at 1440p. This gap widens even further when considering the RTX 4070. For example, the RTX 4060 Ti is 24% slower than the RTX 4070 in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p and 26% slower in Forza Horizon 5. Lack of VRAM may be the key issue here, particularly in games like Cyberpunk 2077. The 16GB VRAM version of the RTX 4060 Ti may help address this, though it will likely be priced close to the RTX 4070, which may still be the better deal.

Is DLSS The Future?

DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, has improved with each new generation of Nvidia RTX graphics cards, with the latest version – DLSS 3.0 – boasting a major improvement in AI Frame Generation. It replaces the render queue by using Tensor Cores to create all-new frames between actual frames, meaning that the algorithm can track movement in real-time.

DLSS 3.0 is particularly useful for keeping your graphics card busy when playing games with ray tracing on. While the CPU would traditionally feed a GPU a few frames in advance to maximise graphics card usage, DLSS 3.0 does away with this, allowing the Tensor Cores to create frames in between actual frames. This has clear implications for gamers, as they can enjoy smoother graphics and clearer visuals.