Despite the horrendous lack of physical stock levels over the last 12 months, 2020 has still been quite the year as far as hardware launches are concerned. AMD and Nvidia have both stepped up their games this year, releasing some of the best price-to-performance graphics cards we’ve seen in, well, since I can remember, actually.
So far, Nvidia has had huge success with the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, both offering new levels of gaming and productivity performance at the top end of the price spectrum. That said, today we’ll be looking at a GPU that resides in the lower end of the price spectrum – the new RTX 3060 Ti.
The new graphics card launched just under a week ago and will be coming to shelves equipped with all the performance power you’d need for excellent 1080p gaming and light-medium workflows. Nvidia has said the new card is designed to replace the RTX 2080 Super, only at a much lower price point. It will offer 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, equivalent to that of the 2080 Super, and should offer equal levels of performance in the areas that matter most.
With a tonne of excitement surrounding the new $399 GPUs, we’re going to be researching all the AIBs released to determine which is actually best for your specific needs. We’ll be taking price, performance, build quality, and cooling into consideration as we go, recommending only the best RTX 3060 TIs on offer.
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The Best RTX 3060 TI In 2021
If you’re a fan of the ROG range, you’ll love their RTX 3060 TI. It comes equipped with all the high-end design features you can expect from ROG, equipped with excellent performance and a high out the box boost clock frequency.
With a high out of the box clock speed, excellent aesthetics, and top of the line cooling, it’s no surprise to see a ROG Strix GPU top one of our best of guide – yet again. Whilst this may be on the more expensive side, it still warrants a look in if you’re after the best RTX 3060 TI this 2021.
EVGA are no strangers when it comes to designing some of the best GPUs the market has to offer. Their RTX 3060 TI is no different, coming equipped with all the build quality and performance you’d expect from a EVGA GPU.
This sleek and stylish card from EVGA is yet another triumph for their design team. It rights the wrongs that were made on the 3080, bringing a subtle design that looks great in almost any build. With excellent build quality, performance, and cooling, it was a difficult choice not giving this card the number one spot.
MSI probably aren’t on everyone’s Christmas list this year, however, they’re still bringing some of the best GPUs to the market – with their RTX 3060 TI being no exception.
I’ve always liked the design of MSI cards, and their RTX 3060 TI is no different. This card brings some of the best cooling we’ve seen to the table. It provides low noise and even lower temps when you need it most, ensuring your card runs optimally throughout your entire gaming session.
Zotac is a brand that’s growing in reliability, bringing some of the best value for money GPUs to the ever-growing market place. This, their RTX 3060 TI, is one of the cheapest on offer, yet still provides everything you need for a superb gaming experience.
When it comes to quality budget offerings, Zotac is always one of the first brands I like to recommend. They’ve come a long way in the last couple of years, and new products such as the RTX 3060 TI really showcase that. This card is up there with the best value for money RTX 3060 TIs we’ve seen. It should definitely be on your list of considerations if you’re trying to save a few bucks.
It requires hours of product research, performance benchmarking, and user feedback to get anywhere close to a definitive conclusion. If you aren’t tech-savvy and struggle to put time aside to go through the above requirements, you may end up purchasing a GPU that simply isn’t right for you or your build.
Fear not though, friends! Here at WePC, we like to take the stress of all that research away and transform it into an easy-to-follow, complete buyers guide. That’s right, our team of PC enthusiasts has done all the hard work, so you don’t have to.
Testing the products we recommend is a huge part of the overall selection process in our best of guides. It’s a way to make sure what we recommend is the absolute best option in its specific category. To be sure a product is “the best,” it must show excellent performance in our tests and display better qualities over the competition it faces.
Most of the products we recommend here at WePC have gone through a strict testing process that involves everything from price and looks to performance and efficiency. Each product is pushed to the limit to see how it performs under intense stress to make sure it warrants the top spot.
Doing this enables us to provide you with the most accurate review of how the product performs and, ultimately, whether it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
Deciding which GPU is best for your new build (or upgrade) can be tricky – especially if you’re not fully up to speed with the latest technological know-how. Luckily, if you’ve narrowed your search down to the RTX 3060 TI, there isn’t a great deal that separates each of the aftermarket AIBs.
To help you with your decision, however, we’ll be outlining all the most important factors we feel are worthy of consideration when choosing which card might be best for you.
Price is undoubtedly many people’s number one consideration before buying any new hardware component. Fortunately, there isn’t a huge difference that separates the GPUs that reside within this guide.
Whilst price between different card models can be exponential, the same isn’t normally said for different AIBs of the same card. Furthermore, the additional cost found in some of the more ‘premium’ AIBs is generally where the value is found – ensuring the card has more efficient cooling, better out the box clock speeds, and better overall build quality.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is, don’t be put off by a $30 price difference between two RTX 3060 TIs. Chances are, the more expensive option will have some additional benefits that actually warrant the additional price boost.
Something that does affect each of the AIBs in this guide, however, is the cooling solution they utilize. Cooling is a hugely important aspect of any GPU – mainly because they’re one of the hardest working components in your PC. If a GPU comes to the table with an insufficient cooling solution, your GPU could run the risk of a reduced life span and diminishing levels of performance on average.
For that reason, we prioritize cooling when it comes to a GPU recommendation. All the cards we have selected in this guide have been equipped with high-end cooling that ensures temps stay cool – even at the most demanding of times.
Here are some quick tips on GPU cooling:
- A triple fan setup is more efficient than a dual fan setup
- Larger cooling solutions can create much more noise
- A blower style cooling solution is much less efficient than generic dual/triple fan setups
Remember, the more heat your GPU creates, the higher the internal temperature of your PC will become – naturally having a knock-on effect on other components.
As you’ve probably noticed, GPUs have been increasing in size over the last decade, with the latest offerings from both Nvidia and AMD being some of the biggest to come to fruition.
That being said, most AIBs are sized very similarly, with cooling being the number one factor that actually increases a card’s overall size. That being said, you should always make sure the PC case you plan to use can actually accommodate the card you plan on buying. Many smaller mid-tower cases will struggle to accommodate the latest line of GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD.
One of the first specifications you’ll likely see on a GPU is the clock speed. Clock speed, or clock rate, is the speed at which your microprocessor operates. For all intents and purposes, this specification lets us know how fast your GPU will perform instructions and render graphics.
Whilst each GPU is capable of a base clock speed, that doesn’t stop aftermarket manufacturers from overclocking their model to try and extrapolate additional performance. Many manufacturers push their GPUs to the limit of what the cooling solution can handle. Meaning, lesser-known brands that utilize mediocre thermal solutions will naturally have a lower boost clock speed.
Despite VRAM sounding fairly complicated, it’s actually not. In a nutshell, VRAM is your GPU’s Video memory and it acts in the same way as your system memory does – providing your GPU with instant data that can be used by active programs and games (in any order and at any time). VRAM is extremely important when it comes to rendering high-resolution 4K gameplay. It also plays a major role in the productivity performance a GPU can offer.
The RTX 3060 TI comes equipped with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM (identical to that of the 2080 Super), making it extremely efficient when it comes to gameplay and graphically demanding workflows.
TDP, better known as thermal design power, refers to the maximum amount of heat that the GPU’s cooler can dissipate when at maximum load. When we reference TDP, it’s usually discussing CPUs and the cooler they require to run efficiently.
Because a GPU comes equipped with a pre-installed cooler, this figure doesn’t offer as much relevance – and is more geared towards marketing than any real-world performance.
That being said, it’s still a pretty good indication of how much heat your GPU will create. That said, remember, each brand determines the TDP based on a unique formula – so comparing them side by side is a fairly mundane task.
Best RTX 3060 TI Graphics Cards
Excellent aesthetic design
Great cooling solution
High boost clock speed
On the higher end of the price spectrum
Whilst ASUS have released several different SKUs, our favourite (and best overall RTX 3060 TI) has to go to the ROG Strix variant. It comes to the table with all the usual suspects that we’ve come to love from the Republic of Gamers brand – including great build quality, high-end performance, and good value for money.
Like all the cards in this list, the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3060 offers great cooling, excellent aesthetics, and great 1080p and 1440p gaming right out the box. However, we’ll have to dive a little deeper into the cooling and build quality departments to see where ASUS really excelled.
Equipped with the Axial-tech fan design, the ROG Strix stays cool at all times. Even when pushed to its limit, you’ll be able to set custom fan profiles that ensure optimal temperatures are met at all times.
With a boost clock frequency of 1890MHz (1860MHz Gaming Mode), the ROG Strix is also one of the fastest 3060 TI’s on the market.
Fantastic build quality
EVGA iCX3 Cooling
Adjustable ARGB LED
Design can be a little basic for some
EVGA is one of the leading brands when it comes to designing high-end GPUs. So, when we got our hands on their RTX 3060 TI FTW3 Ultra Gaming GPU, it’s safe to say we were instantly impressed.
EVGA has equipped their RTX 3060 with great cooling, excellent build quality, and a high boost clock frequency that really does make gaming (in 1080p and 1440p) a joy. Despite this GPU residing in the higher end of the price spectrum, we still consider it one of the best 3060 TIs on the market.
The cooling solution is EVGA’s own iCX3 triple-fan setup, providing low temps no matter how intense the gaming (or productivity) gets. Despite the FTW3 Ultra gaming being EVGA’s flagship unit, the aesthetics are still extremely humble – with only the EVGA branding being RGB. Unlike the other cards in EVGA’s range, the RTX 3060 TI seems to have ditched the weird red trim at the end, opting for something a little more stylish – thank god.
Stylish gaming aesthetics
Strong materials and build design
High-end cooling solution
On the expensive side
Whilst the Ventus 3X OC might not be MSI’s flagship RTX 3060 TI, it still offers fantastic value for money when compared to other AIBs in today’s market.
It comes equipped with MSI’s classic styling, characterized by sharp edges and subtle RGB that mixes nicely to give a well-rounded gaming aesthetic. The cooling solution on this particular card is, once again, a triple fan setup – providing substantial cooling when needed most. With TORX Fan 3.0 technology, alongside advanced thermal padding, the Ventus 3X cooling solution might be one of the best on offer.
MSI has fitted this particular card with a reinforced backplate, ensuring that build quality will be the last thing that lets this card down. It also offers a custom PCB design that provides greater levels of reliability and power circuitry – allowing users to really push this card to its limits.
Great value for money
Excellent cooling for a dual fan
Build quality could be improved
The Zotac Twin Edge is one of two SKUs that Zotac has released since the Dec 2nd launch date. It is one of the cheapest RTX 3060 TIs to be released, offering up great value for money at the lower end of the 3060 TI price spectrum.
Out of this guide, you have to say that the Zotac is one of the most basic looking cards on offer. Unlike the other RTX 3060 TIs we recommend, this GPU only offers a dual fan setup. However, don’t let that put you off, the 11 blade IceStorm 2.0 cooling solution provides all the efficiency you could want from a budget offering. Furthermore, with a newly improved heatpipe layout that provides direct contact with the GPU itself, you’ll be experiencing all new lows when it comes to temps.
One noticeable difference between this and the other GPUs in this guide is the boost clock frequency. At 1695MHz, it’s one of the lowest we’ve seen. However, as we mentioned earlier, the difference in FPS when comparing these cards is relatively negligible for the most part.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for great performance but don’t have the cash to splash out on one of the more premium options, the Zotac is a great budget offering that ticks a lot of the right boxes.
So, there you have it guys, our comprehensive guide to the best RTX 3060 TI GPUs the market has to offer. Unfortunately, current stock levels are probably going to stall any physical purchase of a new GPU for now. That being said, we always like to give you the latest information as early as possible, allowing you to research in advance what GPU might be best for your specific needs.
With that being said, the only thing left to reflect on is performance. Ultimately, what we have here is an extremely competitive GPU that resides in the ‘lower to mid-range’ price sector of the market. It is great for playing games in 1080p (some in 1440p) and is a solid replacement for the 2080 Super – at a much lower price point.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide which GPU is best for your needs. If you have any other questions regarding this GPU or any of the RTX family, feel free to head on over to our Community Hub or simply drop us a comment in the section below.