Shacknews Best Hardware of 2020 - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

The smallest iteration of NVIDIA's Ampere-based graphics card lineup has been the most impressive, even if it is as hard to find for sale as its more popular siblings.

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The selection for the Shacknews Best Hardware of 2020 award went a bit differently than expected. In hindsight, things going unexpectedly is a running theme in 2020, so maybe we should’ve seen this coming. In a year when both Microsoft and Sony launched their next-generation consoles and Apple chose to ditch Intel CPUs in favor of ARM-based solutions for their Macbook lineup, the industry stalwarts seemed to be clear favorites to walk away with this particular award. However, lackluster launches for the aforementioned consoles and some uncertainty surrounding the transition to ARM-enhanced productivity software on the Apple platform has our staff looking in a different direction.

The PC gaming community spent the better part of 2020 waiting for new graphics cards announcements from both NVIDIA and AMD with bated breath. Next-gen consoles had been set to arrive this holiday season and, along with them, a shift towards more demanding software. The impending release of the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077 loomed large and, like Crysis, Half-Life 2, and Quake before it, CD Projekt Red’s RPG inspired a generation of gamers to upgrade their rigs in anticipation. 

Video cards using both NVIDIA’s new Ampere architecture and AMD’s RDNA 2 were released in the final quarter of 2020 to glowing reviews. These new cards (especially flagship models) are extremely fast and can deliver uncompromising 4K gaming performance. Actually acquiring one of these cards proved to be tougher than a 2 dollar steak as rampant scalping and consumer disappointment reached mountainous heights. While this may have been enough to disqualify a new GPU in most years, it turns out that the circumstances presented by the year 2020 made it hard to buy just about anything new in the tech world, mobile phones and next-gen consoles included. Therefore, these new video cards get a pass.

While it doesn’t match the performance of the more famous RTX 3080, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is arguably the most impressive GPU on the market at this time. If you can snag a card with this GPU at or around MSRP, you can expect performance that beats the venerable GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080. This would be unthinkable just a few short months ago and the RTX 3060 Ti does so while sipping the power that its bigger brothers must chug down to keep running. 

For gamers still clinging onto GTX 970s, GTX 1070s, RX 480s, and similar cards, the RTX 3060 Ti is an enticing upgrade, bringing along blistering rasterized gaming performance and access to NVIDIA’s wonder DLSS upscaling technology. In games that make use of DLSS, this new GPU can exceed what you’d get from a GTX 1080 Ti by as much as 50% while using one-third the power. In a year where the new consoles are struggling to run last-gen games at 4K 30fps, NVIDIA’s new RTX 3060 Ti can run circles around them for under $400. Not everyone can run out for new $800+ video cards, so we expect the RTX 3060 Ti to have a much bigger impact on PC gaming in the coming year (if they ever become easily attainable).


Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
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    December 27, 2020 1:00 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Shacknews Best Hardware of 2020 - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti

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      December 27, 2020 1:24 PM

      oooo interesting

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      December 27, 2020 2:20 PM

      I keep wondering if I should upgrade from my gtx1080, my original plan was to wait for the 4000 series cards and do a full pc upgrade.

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        December 27, 2020 2:24 PM

        I’m at this point right now. I may just wait for the next big thing.

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        December 27, 2020 3:03 PM

        It's really shitty that the RTX 3080 was released 3.5 months ago, the RTX 3070 2 months ago, and the RTX 3060 TI one month ago and all still have virtually no availability. It's incredibly frustrating.

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        December 27, 2020 3:08 PM

        It depends on what you’re playing and what your monitor resolution is. If you’re playing 1440p then a 3060 Ti will be an insane upgrade over your 1080. You’ll get a huge boost on 1080p as well but Ampere makes both 1440p (3060 Ti/3070) and 4k (3080) effortless

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          December 27, 2020 4:50 PM

          Keep in mind the 3060ti is right on the edge for 1440p if you want ray tracing. With an older CPU it likely won’t suffice on the newest titles. Without ray tracing of or on non-AAA 2020 titles it will smash everything at 1440p.

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            December 27, 2020 5:56 PM

            With DLSS the benchmarks look fine. 3060 Ti has 90% of the 3070 performance at 75% of the cost, big step up from the 1080 either way

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              December 27, 2020 6:01 PM

              It's a fantastic card for lik 95% of applications. Just a warning that even with a 5900x or 10900k, the 3060ti can't average 60fps on Ultra Settings, with RTX medium and Quality DLSS on either Watch Dogs Legion or Cyberpunk 2077. Without Ray tracing or with way more aggressive DLSS then it's possible to Average 60 but not without dips below. Games going forward will require this kind of performance and I would expect the 3060ti to age very quickly, assuming you desire RTX. Outside of ray tracing the 3060ti will maintain 60fps for years at 1440p.

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                December 27, 2020 6:55 PM

                Why would anyone think the 3060 ti is a ultra settings card at any res beyond perhaps1080p?

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                December 27, 2020 6:56 PM

                If it has a short lifespan with RTX then so do the 3070 and 2080 Super. Its faster than the overwhelming majority of cards, the only way we’re looking at longevity by these terms is the 3080.

                Its fine, especially at that price :)

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                  December 28, 2020 5:52 AM

                  All these cards have a short life span with RTX. The 3070 runs out of memory at 1440p with full rtx on cyberpunk and none of them can get 60+ fps on said game either. We are at the start of this gen and it's already punishing.

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                    December 28, 2020 6:00 AM

                    Does it really run out of memory or does the game just take the maximum amount even though it doesn't use it like many other games?

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      December 27, 2020 6:43 PM

      Hmm... I didn't realize it was faster than a 2080. That's a nice call out.

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      December 27, 2020 10:04 PM

      I just saw that I could sell my 5700xt, that I bough almost a year and a half ago, for a profit. Like $10-$20 more than I paid for it, but still a profit.

      I should probably sell it and slum around on some indie games with my backup GT 730 until the 6700xt comes out.

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      December 28, 2020 5:10 AM

      If you're just now reading this article when it was posted - the weekend after xmas, you'll probably have much better luck finding a card. Even the week just before there was much more available stock to order from, just very little chance of it arriving to be under the tree. They had bad launch quantity no doubt, with the holidays out of the way now is the time to look.

      My 3060ti performs great, but make sure you are getting an MSRP card and not a BS model with 3 fans and disco lights @ $100 over.

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