Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti review: revisiting the super-performers

Doom Eternal, Control, Borderlands 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Let's start with the super-performers, the quartet of games that we saw the biggest gen-on-gen improvements with the first Ampere GPUs to grace our test rig. All four are modern titles using advanced graphics APIs, like DirectX 12 and Vulkan, which are able to make better use of high core count processors like the Core i9 10900K in our test rig. That should help lessen CPU bottlenecking at lower resolutions.

We've run our benchmarks at the standard three resolutions: 1080p, 1440p and 4K. If you're gaming on an ultra-wide, you can expect 2560x1080 screens to require slightly more graphics horsepower than you'd need for a 16:9 Full HD display, while the more common 3440x1440 resolution is almost exactly between 1440p and 4K.

Our benchmark results are presented a little differently to what you might be used to elsewhere on the web. On mobile, you'll get a basic overview, with metadata from the video capture of each GPU being translated into simple bar charts with average frame-rate and lowest one per cent measurements for easy comparisons.

On a desktop-class browser, you'll get the full-fat experience with embedded YouTube videos of each test scene and live performance metrics. Play the video, and you'll see exactly how each card handled the scene as it progresses; you can even choose exactly what GPUs at what resolutions you're interested in and it'll update in real time. Below the real-time stuff is a bar chart, which you can mouse over to see different measurements and click to switch between actual frame-rates and percentage differences. All the data here is derived from video captured directly from each GPU, ensuring an accurate replay of real performance.

Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal is one of those games that runs far better than its graphical fidelity suggests, thanks to the clever engineers over at id Software. Even at Ultra Nightmare, the highest preset, we're seeing clear of 100fps on Nvidia's mid-range RTX 3060 Ti at 4K. These settings are known to cause problems for graphics cards with less than 8GB of VRAM, so it's good to see the 3060 Ti's allocation means it suffers no issues.

We're actually seeing six per cent higher frame-rates with the £369 3060 Ti than with the RTX 2080 Super, a card that retailed for £689 here in the UK when it was released just last summer - mental. You're also getting around 88 per cent of the performance of the RTX 3070 for 84 per cent of the price, making the 3060 Ti a better value proposition - at least in Doom. Perhaps the most noteworthy boosts come in comparison to the 10-Series Pascal cards - the most likely upgrade vector. RTX 3060 Ti wipes the floor with that generation - even the GTX 1080 Ti is nowhere close.

Doom Eternal: Vulkan, Ultra Nightmare, 8x TSSAA

  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT

Borderlands 3

Next up is Borderlands 3, a Unreal Engine 4 game released last year. If you'd bought a then-new 2080 Super to play the game at 4K, you'd be looking at frame-rates of around 95fps at 4K - but the 3060 Ti manages to be six per cent faster than that, while costing £320 less - not bad. Again, you're getting around 88 per cent of RTX 3070 performance here, making the two cards very close together. There's a bigger step up to the RTX 3080, which is 1.6x faster than the RTX 3060 Ti at 4K. Compared to AMD cards, the 3060 Ti slips between the RX 5700 XT, the fastest last-gen card, and the RX 6800, the slowest (yet announced) current-gen model. At 1440p, the 3060 Ti manages over 200fps, so you'd be making good use of a 1440p240Hz monitor if you had one! And once again, note the impressive gains over any and all Pascal cards you care to stack up against it.

Borderlands 3: Bad Ass, DX12, TAA

  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT

Control

Control's RT features have made a strong impression on the Digital Foundry team, but even with these effects disabled the game is still a heavy workout for mid-range GPUs like the 3060 Ti. The newcomer only manages 36fps here at 4K with the game on its highest graphical preset, although it is worth noting that the game does offer DLSS to boost performance to playable levels. That's 1fps faster than the RTX 2080 managed and just 5fps behind the significantly more expensive RX 6800, which does not play well with Control even with RT disabled. Here, the RTX 3060 Ti also manages uplifts in excess of 50 per cent at all resolutions up against GTX 1080 Ti. The game is much smoother at 1440p, where the 3060 Ti manages 73fps. With this in mind, I'd say that the 3060 Ti is so far looking like a very strong 1440p card, but you can't expect to max out the settings and still play at 4K 60Hz in all titles.

We'll look at Control's RTX performance later on in this same review, so stay tuned for that!

Control: High, DX12, TAA

  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider's long three-part benchmark includes separate scenes, each with their own loading times. That means we need to trim our footage carefully to ensure we're testing like-for-like, but it also means that we get to show how the same card can perform very differently compared to its peers based on what's happening on screen. Case in point, look at how the 2080 Super and RTX 3060 Ti respond in the Dia de los Muertos scene compared to the jungle scene that comes right afterwards. In the town, with plenty of light sources, there's a noticeable gap between the two cards on the frame-time graph; move into the jungle and the lines are practically touching. It's the same on the final scene, where we look at the hidden city of Paititi, the two cards are extremely close in the sweeping flyby, but there's a bigger gap when we see Lara and the townsfolk at work. All this is to say: seek out a plurality of sources, with different testing methods, games and scenes, to get a more precise sense of how two cards compare!

Across the bench, the 3060 Ti averages three per cent faster than the 2080 Super, and 42 per cent faster than the venerable GTX 1080 Ti. It's performing at 94 per cent of an RTX 3070 too, making the cheaper card the better value by a good margin. Even though we miss out on a 4K 60fps average, this is still impressive performance to start off.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Highest, DX12, TAA

  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX 2070
  • RTX 2070 Super
  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • Titan RTX
  • RTX 3060 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 5700 XT
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT

Let's take a look at a wider range of games on the next page - including some recent critical triumphs.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Analysis

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About the author

Will Judd

Will Judd

Senior Staff Writer, Digital Foundry  |  wsjudd

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DealsFoundry.

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