Now that we've seen the RTX 3070 along with AMD's RX 6800, we have a better feel for the GPU market we're likely to see during the coming year. AMD doesn't have a viable alternative to the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti at the $400 price point yet, so for now, this is the undisputed upper mainstream champion. Some might say $400 isn't really a mainstream GPU, but given the sales of previous-gen GTX 1070 and RTX 2060 / 2060 Super cards, there are clearly plenty of people willing to spend that much money on a graphics card. And to be clear, this is a great card for that price.
The RTX 3060 Ti is about 35-40 percent faster than the previous-gen 2060 Super and about 30 percent faster than AMD's RX 5700 XT — and that's without even getting into ray tracing or DLSS support. In ray tracing games, the 3060 Ti lead grows to 40-45 percent over the 2060 Super, and AMD's RX 5000 series doesn't even have the option to try and run DXR games. Even against AMD's new RX 6800, though, the RTX 3060 Ti delivers better overall DXR performance — and can improve by around 30 percent on average for games that support DLSS, using DLSS Quality mode. Plus, Cyberpunk 2077 will launch in about ten days [not that I'm counting, #fanboy] with plenty of ray tracing effects and DLSS 2.0. The RTX 3070 is supposed to be good for 1440p ultra with ray tracing, or 4K ultra without ray tracing, which means the 3060 Ti should be able to handle those settings as well. And thankfully, unlike graphics cards, digital downloads of a game aren't going to sell out.
Which brings us to the problem of supply. We'll be shocked if RTX 3060 Ti doesn't sell out just as fast as the 3070, 3080, 3090, 6800, and 6800 XT. Hell, we've seen people buying used previous-gen cards off eBay for more than their original launch price, which is sad. It's not quite as bad as the GPU shortages during the great cryptocurrency mining craze of 2017, but it's not much better. And hey, Bitcoin is flirting with $20,000 per BTC again, so maybe there's still hope. (/sarcasm, if that's not clear.)
Anyway, Nvidia's CEO said Ampere supply likely wouldn't keep up with demand until 2021. That actually makes plenty of sense, as it takes about 5-6 months from placing an order for a bunch of chips (silicon wafers) to getting shipping graphics cards using those chips. Six months ago, we were right in the midst of the first COVID-19 surge, and there was a lot of uncertainty about the future. In retrospect, Nvidia could have doubled or even tripled its orders and probably been just fine, but we can't imagine what the reaction would have been had someone suggested that back in April! Hindsight, such a lovely thing.
The one potential bright side is that Nvidia should have more RTX 3060 Ti cards than all previous RTX 30-series parts combined. That's just our guess, but when you look at GPU sales, $400 cards sell way units more than $500 and $700 cards. Plus, we'd imagine there are plenty of GA104 chips that can't quite work as a 3070, so hopefully there will be enough to last more than a couple of minutes. (Side note: We've also received more RTX 3060 Ti AIB cards before the launch has even happened than any of the other RTX 30-series cards, which is potentially a good sign.)
If you already have an RTX 2080 Super or even a 2060 Super, there's not much need to upgrade to an RTX 3060 Ti. But if you purchased a GTX 1070 back in 2016 and you're still sitting on it today, you can now double your GPU performance for roughly the same price that the GTX 1070 launched at. Again, assuming you can find one in stock. As for AMD, an RX 6700 XT could be a formidable opponent, particularly in games that don't use ray tracing or DLSS. How long will we have to wait for those cards to arrive, and will AMD ship as many GPUs as Nvidia? After the RX 6800 launch, we're guessing the answer to the second part of that question is no, but we'll probably find out more in early 2021.
Right now, Nvidia just gave a nice boost in performance and features to the $400 market. The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a relatively small step down from the RTX 3070, with a larger step down in price. That hits the sweet spot in both price and performance — in fact, out of the current and previous-gen GPUs, it's the best overall card in price to performance ratio (fps per dollar). If you're hoping to upgrade to a new graphics card, the RTX 3060 Ti definitely belongs on your shortlist.
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