ASUS GeForce RTX 3060 Ti STRIX OC Review 27

ASUS GeForce RTX 3060 Ti STRIX OC Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • According to ASUS, the RTX 3060 Ti STRIX OC will retail for $500.
  • Faster than RTX 2080 Super
  • Capable of 4K in many games
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Idle fan stop
  • Extremely quiet with "quiet" BIOS
  • Second-generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Excellent temperatures
  • Good overclocking potential
  • Power limit increased
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • Dual BIOS
  • One additional HDMI output
  • High manual power limit adjustment range
  • Fan headers for case fans
  • DLSS improved
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • New GeForce features: 8K, Reflex, Broadcast, G-SYNC 360, and RTX-IO
  • 8 nanometer production process
  • Actual market pricing and supply levels unknown
  • Large price increase over $400 MSRP
  • Unrealistic boost clock claims
  • Runs into power limit all the time
  • Memory not overclocked
  • Overclocking more complicated due to power limit
We have six reviews for you today: NVIDIA RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition, ASUS RTX 3060 Ti STRIX OC, Gigabyte RTX 3060 Ti Gaming OC Pro, MSI RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio, Palit RTX 3060 Ti GamingPro OC, and Zotac RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge.

With the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, NVIDIA is finally pushing the Ampere architecture below the $500 price point, which makes it attractive to an even larger audience of gamers. The new RTX 3060 Ti is based on the same GA104 graphics processor as the RTX 3070, just with some rendering units disabled. The RTX 3060 Ti is targeted at definite 1440p gaming with 60 FPS, and also entry-level 4K at lower details or with DLSS enabled. Raytracing is a core focus of NVIDIA's Ampere lineup, too; the RTX 3060 Ti will offer a great RT experience at 1080p and 1440p in most titles.

ASUS has overclocked their RTX 3060 Ti STRIX OC out of the box, to a rated boost of 1860 MHz, which is +195 MHz or 12%. Averaged over our whole test suite at 4K resolution, we measured a GPU frequency of 1958 MHz, 81 MHz higher than the 1877 MHz we saw on the Founders Edition. Claiming a 12% boost is quite misleading. Yes, the card is the fastest RTX 3060 Ti tested today, but only by a tiny margin, like 1%. The ASUS STRIX is 3% faster than the Founders Edition at 1440p, 4% at 4K. Against other cards, it beats the RTX 2080 Super by 5%, which makes it only 9% slower than the RTX 2080 Ti that cost a fortune not long ago. The performance uplift over the RTX 2060 is a staggering 61%, and 41% more than the RTX 2060 Super. The RTX 3060 Ti sits right in the middle of the AMD competition—the RX 5700 XT is 23% behind the RTX 3060 Ti, and the RX 6800 is 17% faster, suggesting we'll see an RX 6700 Series from AMD soon, which will go head-to-head with the RTX 3060 Ti.

With these performance numbers, the RTX 3060 Ti is an excellent choice for gamers using the 1440p resolution. It also has enough horsepower to handle 4K, but you'll have to reduce details a little bit in the most demanding games. Considering the price, this will be a reasonable tradeoff for many. I can also imagine plenty of 1080p Full HD gamers wanting the RTX 3060 Ti because it will give them enough FPS for high refresh-rate monitors, even with enabled raytracing at maximum details—just check out the Average FPS page, where the card scores over 144 FPS on average. You can only expect frame-rates with e-sports titles to be higher still.

Raytracing performance on RTX 3060 Ti is comparable to other Ampere cards. Of course, there is still a significant performance hit from enabling raytracing, but it's much smaller than on AMD, which introduced raytracing just weeks ago. For example, RTX 3060 Ti raytracing performance is comparable to RX 6800 non-XT with DXR raytracing enabled—a card that's otherwise 20% faster in rasterization. Of course, there are only a few raytracing titles out there, but the new game consoles are using RDNA2 technology, so this might change in the future. NVIDIA also has DLSS, which uses upscaling to improve performance, a technology AMD does not have at all, but they are working on something similar.

ASUS probably has one of the best-looking designs for the GeForce 30 series—behind the Founders Edition, of course. Their large triple-slot, triple-fan cooler is very powerful and could even handle a RTX 3080 with ease. Actually, it is the exact same cooler as on the RTX 3090 STRIX OC—wow. At only 58°C, which is a huge improvement over the 73°C of the Founders Edition, the ASUS heatsink achieves the lowest temperatures out of all RTX 3060 Ti cards reviewed today. However, the ASUS card is 2 dBA louder than the Founders Edition—I would have wished for parity at least. I guess ASUS sought to impress us reviewers with sub-60°C temperatures. Due to the dual-BIOS feature, you can reduce noise levels easily. With the "quiet" BIOS active, noise levels are down to 29 dBA, almost whisper-quiet, noticeably quieter than the Founders Edition, which is very quiet in the first place. With those noise levels, the ASUS STRIX is the quietest RTX 3060 Ti tested today, sharing that achievement with the MSI Gaming X Trio. NVIDIA introduced fan stop on their Founders Edition with Ampere, which means all board partners are expected to adopt this crucial feature. Outside of gaming, the fans on the ASUS STRIX will shut off completely for the perfect noise-free experience.

While NVIDIA is using their new 12-pin power connector on the Founders Edition, ASUS is sticking with standard dual 8-pin PCIe—good. Unlike other cards today, the ASUS STRIX has a more moderate power consumption increase from the factory overclock despite having the biggest performance gains (by a small margin). I suspect the improved VRM is responsible for that. 30 W more for 3–4% performance is reasonable, I'd say. What's also worth mentioning is that ASUS gives you the largest manual power limit adjustment range by far at up to 325 W.

While there has been a lot of discussion on 10 GB VRAM for the GeForce RTX 3080, even more so considering AMD offers 16 GB on their cards, the RTX 3060 Ti will be perfectly fine with 8 GB. It offers substantially lower shading power compared to these "4K" cards, so the limiting factor will be the shading-rate capability, not the amount of memory. Next-gen consoles do have more memory, but their 16 GB is for the OS, game, and graphics combined, which means effective graphics memory is close enough to the 8 GB offered by the RTX 3060 Ti. I've been hearing good things from developers about the direct-to-GPU disk streaming capabilities of the new consoles, especially on PS5, which could reduce VRAM requirements considerably. Guess we'll have to wait and see. Should you ever feel VRAM is running out, just sell the RTX 3060 Ti and buy whatever card is right at that time.

According to ASUS, the RTX 3060 Ti STRIX OC will retail for $500, which is a $100 increase over the Founders Edition MSRP price point. $500 actually matches RTX 3070 Founders Edition pricing, a card that's 10% faster—no factory or manual OC will catch that. But of course, the RTX 3060 Ti at $500 is all out of stock, like everything else. Looking at recent launches from both AMD and NVIDIA, it seems the MSRP prices are a fantasy, there to impress potential customers, true only for the first batch, with actual retail pricing ending up much higher. I feel like I would be willing to spend $60 more for the ASUS STRIX because of its massive cooler and the improved VRM. But the market isn't normal these days, so I'm sure these cards will sell out quickly tomorrow, no matter the actual price.
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