Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming OC Pro Review 6

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming OC Pro Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • An exact price for the Gigabyte RTX 3060 Ti isn't known yet, we're assuming it to be around $450.
  • Faster than RTX 2080 Super
  • Capable of 4K in many games
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Idle fan stop
  • Second-generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Power limit increased
  • Low temperatures
  • "Silent BIOS" runs the card quietly in gaming
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • Dual BIOS
  • 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
  • Probably large price increase over $400 MSRP
  • Energy efficiency lost
  • Could be quieter
  • Runs in 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 Ampere 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 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.

Gigabyte has overclocked their RTX 3060 Ti Gaming OC Pro to a rated boost of 1770 MHz out of the box, which is +105 MHz, or 6%. Averaged over our whole test suite at 4K resolution, we measured a GPU frequency of 1932 MHz, 55 MHz higher than the 1877 MHz we saw on the Founders Edition. I guess these boost ratings are a bit optimistic, but other custom designs aren't doing much better. The Gigabyte RTX 3060 Ti Gaming OC Pro is 2% faster than the Founders Edition. 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%, 41% more than RTX 2060 Super. The RTX 3060 Ti sits right in the middle of the AMD competition, with the RX 5700 XT 23% behind the RTX 3060 Ti and the RX 6800 17% faster, which suggests we'll see an RX 6700 Series that will go head-to-head with the RTX 3060 Ti from AMD soon.

With those 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 that price, 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 raytracing enabled and at maximum details.

Raytracing performance on the RTX 3060 Ti is comparable to other Ampere cards. Of course, there is still a significant performance hit from enabling RT, but it's much smaller than on AMD, who introduced raytracing just weeks ago. For example, RTX 3060 Ti raytracing performance is comparable to RX 6800 non-XT with RT on—a card that's 20% faster in rasterization. Of course, there are only few raytracing titles out there, and 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, although they are working on something similar.

Gigabyte has designed a nice cooler that's considerably more powerful than the Founders Edition heatsink. It actually matches RTX 3080 FE cooling power in our apples-to-apples heatsink test and is 7°C better than the 3060 Ti Founders Edition. It seems Gigabyte wasn't happy with that and wanted even lower temperatures, so they cranked up fan speed. Temperatures are now at 62°C—pretty impressive, but with 35 dBA, noise levels are considerably higher than the Founders Edition. This isn't "loud" by any means, but quite a dramatic increase over the FE, which is almost whisper-quiet. That said, Gigabyte includes a dual-BIOS feature with their card; the second BIOS, dubbed "silent," does much better in terms of noise levels. 31 dBA is still 1 dBA louder than the FE, but temperatures are at a low 67°C. Had Gigabyte allowed temperatures of 73°C (matching the Founders Edition), they could have probably beat even the top cards in our other reviews today. NVIDIA introduced idle fan stop on their Founders Edition with Ampere, which means all board partners are expected to adopt this crucial feature, too. Outside of gaming, the fans on the Gigabyte Gaming OC Pro will shut off completely for the perfect noise-free experience.

While NVIDIA is using their new 12-pin power connector on the Founders Edition, Gigabyte is using a standard PCIe 6+8-pin power input configuration, which is actually the ideal choice for the RTX 3060 Ti. We measured not more than 260 W, even in Furmark. OC won't make any difference because of the NVIDIA power limiter throttling the card anyway. Sure, two 8-pin connectors might look nice, but other than adding cost and complexity, it really has no benefit. Like other vendors, Gigabyte dialed up the power limit, which is great, and needed, for meaningful gains from the factory overclock, though I do have to wonder whether 2% performance is worth a 15% increase in power consumption. This brings performance per watt down by quite a bit and puts more stress on the heatsink.

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.

NVIDIA is positioning the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition at $399, which is an extremely competitive price. Gigabyte conveniently forgot to get back to our "what's the price?" emails as these reviews were put together, responding only after the NDA. Let's do some math. The RTX 3070 Gaming OC Pro is virtually the same card except for the GPU and comes at an MSRP of $570, or 12% higher than the $500 NVIDIA MSRP. If we add 12% to the 3060 Ti MSRP of $400, we arrive at $450. Even at that price point, I find the price increase quite big. You're paying much more than the Founders Edition, which is pretty much identical in everything, except it is more compact and runs quieter with slightly higher temperatures. Why should anyone pay that much extra? I suspect the answer will lie in the supply levels. Looking at recent launches from both AMD and NVIDIA, it seems MSRP prices are a fantasy true for only the first batch, there to impress potential customers, with actual retail pricing ending up much higher. If the RTX 3070 FE comes back in stock at $500, it could also be an interesting alternative, as you would pay 10% more than the Gigabyte OC Pro for 10% higher performance and better noise.
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