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Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti 8GB review: the disappointment is real

An RTX 3060 Ti replacement that barely shifts the needle.

The disappointment is real. Having just spent the last couple of hours dissecting the data on the prior six pages and writing it all up, I found myself going on a journey of mild interest looking at the RT results through to a sense of bewilderment and frustration as I closed out the rasterisation tests. With the best will in the world, the most generous thing I can say about the RTX 4060 Ti based on the numbers alone is that it's a bit better than its predecessor in most tests, but you can really view it as a replacement product for the RTX 3060 Ti and barely shifts the needle otherwise based on the metrics.

However, there are positive points beyond the benchmarks. We've already covered two of them on the first page. First of all, I was pleasantly surprised at just how well the RTX 4060 Ti plays Cyberpunk 2077 RT Overdrive. The benchmarks there are illuminating: it's beating the RTX 3070 by 21 percent and that's before you factor in frame generation. You can get a perfectly good experience on this most demanding of PC experiences on a $400 GPU. [UPDATE: per revised impressions on the first page, 1440p can cause issues with frame-gen, while 1080p is fine.] Power efficiency? That's impressive too. Although energy prices are starting to decline now, I still think this is important.

I also paired the RTX 4060 Ti with a mainstream PC using a Core i5 13400F and 3600MT/s DDR4 and found that DLSS 3 has a more valuable role to play than you might imagine. So many recent games are CPU-limited if you want to tap into the full power of your GPU. Even an RTX 4060 Ti paired with the 13400F produces lop-sided results - 1440p DLSS balanced on ultra is perfectly viable in A Plague Tale, but you're horrendously CPU-limited in busy areas. DLSS makes the whole thing a lot smoother. Similar results were observed with Hogwarts Legacy on high and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales as you can see from the snapshots below.

This is a genuinely good feature that propels this beyond the RTX 3060 Ti it effectively replaces and sees DLSS 3's use-case scenario changing quite dramatically against its deployment on the more expensive cards. However, the caveat is that you can't go too low with your CPU spec - DLSS 3 can't fix garbage frame-times, but curiously I was surprised to see that it could iron out some stutter.

Six-and-a-half pages in and we've not yet discussed the 8GB VRAM topic that dominated our pre-review impressions and you'll find that it doesn't impact the benchmarks presented here at 1080p and 1440p resolutions, though we can likely assume that any regression or highly limited gains you see in performance caused by DLSS 3 will be down to a lack of memory. DLSS 3 works by storing up an extra frame, remember, and that will have a VRAM footprint.

The issue here is that we chose established, mature games for testing precisely because the likes of Resident Evil 4, The Last of Us Part 1, Forspoken and Hogwarts Legacy have been patched so often, with new updates due at any given point, making the life of a GPU reviewer more difficult. What I can say is that Hogwarts Legacy looks bad on ultra settings on the 4060 Ti, and still has far more texture pop-in than a card with more memory on the high setting. The Last of Us Part 1 now looks fine, but was a disaster at launch for any 8GB card.

Nvidia believes that the total addressable market is so dominated by 8GB cards that developers will continue to support them and that it's not an issue at 1080p. I disagree on this and think the situation we've seen on so many 2023 games will continue. Cross-gen is over and all of the titles I just mentioned have had issues precisely because PlayStation 5 was the main target platform. And for a $400 GPU, I don't just expect console parity - I expect better. On the GPU side, the 4060 Ti can do this. Its raster power exceeds the consoles, its RT performance is way ahead. However, for console-grade textures and room for the data required for RT, 8GB is already straining the limits. I have serious reservations about the future-proofing of the card in a world where the far less capable RTX 3060 12GB performed better than 3060 Ti in all of the above titles at launch. Put simply: if we're having problems now, what about next year... or the year after that?

The 8GB framebuffer also deals even more damage to the upgrade path from the Pascal or Turing cards. Maybe you're looking for a replacement to a GTX 1070 or RTX 2060 Super? Well, if you had VRAM problems with those products, you'll have them with the RTX 4060 Ti too. Nvidia's solution is to offer a 16GB alternative, but unfortunately the firm has positioned it with an astonishing $100 price premium - a 25 percent price rise which simply cannot be justified and of course, it then makes you wonder whether you should spend a further $100 on top of that instead for the RTX 4070, which as the benchmarks reveal is typically 35 percent faster (and much more in some cases at 4K).

All of which raises the question of how this product could have avoided the critical firestorm it now finds itself consumed by. Even with the 8GB of memory, this would have been a commendable RTX 4060 non-Ti if the price was right. Owing to the memory interface configuration, 12GB isn't really possible, but a 16GB 4060 Ti at $399 would have also made a lot more sense: at least then the most pressing limitations facing the 3060 Ti and 3070 going forward would have been comprehensively addressed, and it would also have resolved the problem of VRAM-limited GTX 1070 and RTX 2060 Super owners looking for an upgrade that delivers the exact same issue seen in so many big games.

As things stand though, this is a disappointment and I can only assume that Nvidia's GeForce Experience telemetry tells them that 60-class users only game at 1080p and aren't interested in the latest triple-A games. Even more depressing than that, it seems to set the stage for an equally disappointing RTX 4060 launch, though based on the reviews I've read this week, AMD may well have got there first with the RX 7600. We'll be taking a look at that one next.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti analysis

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