NVIDIA has recently released its famed and long-awaited current-gen gaming GPU for the mid-range segment, the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti. However, mid-range PC gamers and enthusiasts might want to hold off on the celebration in favor of the bigger question: is the RTX 4060 Ti worth it or not.
The RTX 4060 Ti, which is marketed as a mid-range card, is a successor to the RTX 3060 Ti. The two thus share the same price point and MSRP of $399 or around $400 USD. Furthermore, the RTX 4060 Ti has the following specifications that matter the most:
- 8 GB of VRAM (16 GB version to be released later in July)
- 4352 CUDA Cores
- 2.54 GHz boost clock
- GDDR6 memory
- 128-bit Memory Interface Width
- 160-watt max TDP
There are some notable numbers there, namely the TDP and the VRAM. For those who recall, the RTX 3060 Ti has a TDP of 200 watts. This ultimately makes the RTX 4060 Ti more power efficient and thus perform cooler compared to its predecessor.
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However, there’s also a worrying drawback here, and that would be the mere 8 GB of VRAM and the 128-bit Memory Bus width. This has become a huge point of contention among NVIDIA fans and potential consumers, along with the RTX 4060 Ti’s actual performance metrics.
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How Does the RTX 4060 Ti perform?
The benchmarks are out from multiple reliable experts and the results range from disappointing to grim.
On average– and without DLSS 3.0 (Deep Learning Super Sampling) to help the RTX 4060 Ti’s case, the card only performs around five percent better compared to the RTX 3060 Ti.
So as an upgrade, it’s already a poor choice. In some games even, the RTX 3060 Ti managed to hold the same performance as the RTX 4060 Ti.
So the answer, based on the RTX 4060 Ti’s non-DLSS 3.0 performance, is that the RTX 4060 Ti is not worth it. At least, it’s not worth it for the $400 price tag.
It didn’t help that the RTX 4060 Ti only came with 8 GB of 128-bit VRAM in a gaming scene and industry that’s quickly shifting to higher resolutions and crisper textures. Games that are dependent on a wider memory bus, like The Last of Us Part 1, for example made the RTX 4060 Ti look mediocre as it demanded more memory.
You might get tempted to wait for the 16 GB version which is to be released later in July but even that one will be sold at $500 USD– a $100 price premium just to attain a VRAM that should have been the standard for a GPU of this tier.
What Were the Expectations for the RTX 4060 Ti?
To put things into perspective, the previous RTX 3060 Ti had the same level of performance as the RTX 2080– a high-end/enthusiast-class GPU from the RTX 2000-series.
This kind of performance leap is common in GPU development due to Moore’s Law which states that transistor count doubles every generation or so, leading to more powerful yet cheaper processing hardware.
By that standard and manufacturing tradition, the RTX 4060 Ti should have had the same level of performance as the RTX 3080 from the previous generation or at least close to it. At the very least, you could have expected the RTX 4060 Ti to attain the same level of performance as the RTX 3070 Ti.
Instead, it couldn’t even keep up with the previous-gen RTX 3070 based on independent benchmarks. Moreover, it’s barely better than the RTX 3060 Ti in terms of non-DLSS 3.0 performance.
So you can see where the major disappointment stemmed from; not only did the RTX 4060 Ti fail to meet expectations, but it also didn’t provide anything new to the table, apart from the lower TDP and the new NVIDIA features like updated ray tracing cores and DLSS 3.0.
Speak of the devil…
What About DLSS 3.0?
It would seem that one of the reasons why NVIDIA was so bold with the RTX 4060 Ti’s pricing and performance was due to its fresh new proprietary tech, DLSS 3.0. This upscaling tech introduces AI frame interpolation where AI will generate some “fake” frames in order to make the image appear as intact as possible while offering DLSS’ improved performance.
It’s worth noting that one of the major drawbacks of DLSS has always been the blurrier textures, movement ghosting, latency, and less defined edges since it effectively downscales an image and then upscales it, resulting in improved performance at a slight hit to image quality.
Using DLSS 3.0, NVIDIA even touted the RTX 4060 Ti’s 70 percent performance increase over the RTX 3060 Ti.
DLSS 3.0 Isn’t Universally Supported Yet
The problem with relying on DLSS 3.0 is that it’s not even widely supported by a lot of games yet. And there’s also no guarantee that certain games will support such a tech.
Out of the thousands of modern video games these days, only around a few dozen have official DLSS 3.0 support. NVIDIA is banking too much on tech that isn’t even guaranteed in a lot of the newer or most popular titles.
Not to mention DLSS 3.0 still shares the same problem as the previous iterations of DLSS (albeit to a lesser extent), and that is the lower image quality due to the downscaling and upscaling.
Moreover, DLSS 3.0 introduces additional latency or input delay which is highly noticeable for weaker GPUs staring in the mid-range bracket. For fast-paced FPS games like Cyberpunk 2077 or shooters like Returnal, sacrificing responsiveness and visual clarity for framerate is not an ideal way to play.
A lot of people still find DLSS a jarring tech despite the massive performance boost. So if anything, the DLSS 3.0 argument for the RTX 4060 Ti’s merit is a weak one.
What Should You Buy if You Need a Mid-Range GPU?
Thankfully, there are some competent alternatives to the RTX 4060 Ti though they’re really only competent in the face of the feeble performance improvements offered by NVIDIA’s newest mid-range GPU. The previous-gen market for GPUs has stocks aplenty and the best candidate would be…
AMD Radeon RX 6700/6750 XT
The funny thing is, the RX 6700 XT and its refresh, the 6750 XT are now more appealing options compared to the RTX 4060 Ti. They’re much cheaper and generally perform better (DLSS 3.0 notwithstanding).
You can find the RX 6700 XT for as low as $350 these days and the RX 6750 XT for as low as $390, both prices are considerably less than the RTX 4060 Ti. Both cards also come with 12 GB of VRAM whereas you’d need to fork out $500 for 16 GB of VRAM for RTX 4060 Ti.
You also don’t need to worry about the lack of the latest DLSS 3.0 since AMD is developing its own counterpart, namely FSR 3.0 which also aims to increase FPS by downscaling and then upscaling the image. The best part is that its backwards compatible and will work on previous-gen Radeon RX cards, unlike NVIDIA’s DLSS 3.0 which only works on the latest RTX 4000-series cards.
RTX 3060 Ti
Or you could just save money and go for the venerable RTX 3060 Ti which you can find at a sub-$380 price point right now. It’s not going to be able to run DLSS 3.0, but at least you get decent ray tracing performance and nigh-equivalent default performance (and slightly better VRAM performance) compared to the RTX 4060 Ti.
You’re really not losing much since DLSS 3.0 is still scarcely supported and by the time it sees widespread usage, the RTX 5000-series would likely be available or AMD would have released FSR 3.0 which is also compatible with NVIDIA’s GPUs.
You could also go for an RTX 3070 but seeing as it’s limited to just 8 GB of VRAM, we advise against it. That 8 GB of VRAM won’t last long in the near future for resolutions past 1440p.
Do keep in mind that these are just recommendations. Technically nothing is stopping you from purchasing the RTX 4060 Ti, flaws and all; but you will have to remind yourself that it’s an inferior product, especially for the price and given the alternatives. You might as well just wait for the RTX 5000-series or go full AMD Radeon at this point.