Review: Nvidia’s $399 RTX 4060 Ti is a step forward, but only a small one
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Review: Nvidia’s $399 RTX 4060 Ti is a step forward, but only a small one

Jun 12, 2023

Andrew Cunningham - May 23, 2023 1:00 pm UTC

Nvidia's announcement of the GeForce RTX 4060 series last week broke the pricing trend set by every other RTX 4000-series card released so far: The 4060 Ti is launching at the same price as its predecessor, and the 4060 is actually getting a small price cut.

But these cards also continued a trend that we noted in our RTX 4070 review—compared to past generations, the performance upgrade just isn't as impressive. The $400 RTX 3060 Ti could match or beat a $700 RTX 2080 Super from the previous generation. The 4060 Ti... well, it can definitely beat a 3060 Ti.

It's a very capable mid-range graphics card that's great at 1080p and can often stretch to 1440p. It gives you more performance and lower power consumption at the same price you'd pay for a 3060 Ti yesterday. And it does all of the Ada Lovelace architecture's special tricks, like DLSS Frame Generation and hardware-accelerated AV1 video encoding. But it doesn't bring last generation's high-end performance down to a more reasonable price the way older Nvidia cards have.

The RTX 4060 Ti is a very different card from the RTX 3060 Ti, and it's unique within the 4000-series lineup so far as the only GPU to come with fewer CUDA cores than the card it's replacing. Even the regular 4060 has a couple hundred more than the RTX 3060. The memory bus width also takes a big step down, from 256-bit to 128-bit. Narrowed memory buses are a consistent feature across most of the lineup, but 50 percent is still a big cut.

Nvidia compensates by setting GPU and memory clock speeds much higher, and with changes to the Ada Lovelace architecture, namely a much larger chunk of L2 cache, that means fewer trips out to main memory over that relatively slow 128-bit bus. Those changes do their job—most of the time. The 4060 Ti is usually faster than the 3060 Ti by a decent if not awe-inspiring margin, but there are exceptions (as we'll see in our performance section), and as you go past 1080p the performance benefits get even smaller.

Another problem for the card's longevity may be its 8GB of RAM, the same amount in the 3060 Ti, the 4060, and a whole bunch of mid-range GPUs released in the last three or four years. Newer games are beginning to push up against that limit even at 1080p, at least when all the settings are turned all the way up.

That said, Nvidia's own cherry-picked performance numbers showed only two games where stepping up to the $500 16GB model made any difference at all (Resident Evil Remake and A Plague Tale: Requiem); most of the time, 8GB won't be a problem right now. There's also some debate about whether "Ultra" settings, a big driver of GPU memory usage, are worth using most of the time.

As for the physical cards themselves, Nvidia's Founders Edition 4060 Ti is the same size and uses the same design as the RTX 4070 version, which means it's a reasonably sized card that should fit in most PCs. The RTX 4060 Ti 8GB Verto card that PNY sent us, already fairly reasonably sized, has a cooler that runs quite a bit past the end of the card itself, so we should hopefully see some quite compact 4060 Ti and 4060 designs for smaller PCs.

The Founders Edition does, however, continue to use the newer 12VHPWR connector—this connector makes a lot of sense when you're using it to replace what would have been three or four separate 8-pin power connectors, but the 4060 Ti only needs a single 8-pin connector to work (as seen in the PNY card). ATX 3.0 power supplies with built-in 12VHPWR connections are still relatively new and rare, and Nvidia's dongle (even with a single 8-pin plug) is on the bulky side. The Founders Edition card's packaging is also pretty bulky—the box is the exact same size Nvidia uses for the RTX 4090.