Nvidia’s newly launched RTX 4060 is a GPU that comes in a tough spot. It’s far from among the best graphics cards you could buy, yet it’s cheap enough to still seem like a good option, but looks can be deceiving.
Based on previous generations, the RTX 4060 should be the go-to GPU for most users, but that has changed. In fact, there are several graphics cards that simply make more sense right now. I’ll show you five below.
A mid-range GPU or a ship for DLSS 3?
Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at the RTX 4060. Nvidia’s latest mid-range GPU costs $300 and comes with a peculiar set of specs.
It is weaker than its predecessor in some ways but makes up for it in others. For example, while the RTX 4060 is significantly smaller in terms of cores (3,584 vs 3,072), it also has a much larger L2 cache (24MB vs 3MB) and consumes much less power than the RTX 3060 (115W vs 170W). You win some, you lose some.
Perhaps the biggest loss for the RTX 4060 comes from bus width and memory size. It has just 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM on a 128-bit bus, while the RTX 3060 offers a much more reasonable 12GB and a 192-bit bus. As we now know, 8GB of VRAM won’t be enough for years to come, as some GPUs are already struggling to run modern games at a decent level.
That said, the larger cache makes up for it, and the RTX 4060 usually outperforms its predecessor, with gains of up to 20%. However, it falls behind the RTX 3060 Ti, which is still a bit disappointing.
Of course, the RTX 4060 has something that many graphics cards don’t have Nvidia’s unicorn of an upscaling technology, DLSS 3. Nvidia’s frame generation can do a lot for these lower tier cards that really need it, and DLSS 3 definitely gets the job done. for RTX 4060, elevating it significantly in games that support it.
However, the somewhat lackluster performance of cards without DLSS 3 makes you wonder if it’s little more than a vessel meant to carry next-gen features with next-gen performance. In some ways, DLSS 3 seems to be the only thing that can really make this GPU stand out from the crowd.
Which brings us to our next point: The RTX 4060 may have too much competition right now, which is bad news for Nvidia, but great news for you.
Surrounded by competition
The RTX 4060 faces stiff competition from all three GPU manufacturers, admittedly, even the oft-forgotten Intel is a force to be reckoned with here. However, the fact that even Nvidia’s options can be considered better makes the purchase far from obvious.
Historically, Nvidias xx60 graphics cards have enjoyed tremendous success. This is the type of GPU that targets the mainstream market, meaning it’s featured in far more PC builds than the RTX 4090.
Many users are still running a GTX 1060, RTX 2060, or RTX 3060 with decent results, but might be tempted to upgrade if the RTX 4060 were an attractive option. The problem is that it’s hard to recommend it when you compare it to the other models.
Had the $300 RTX 4060 launched into a hungry market with nothing else in this price range, it would have fared better. As it stands, however, there are actually plenty of options in a similar price range that either outperform the RTX 4060 or are cheaper, so you can take your pick.
Let’s take a look.
AMD Radeon RX 6700XT
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest competitors for the RTX 4060 comes from the previous generation of GPUs. While AMD’s RDNA 3 lineup is quite small right now, it still has plenty of last-gen offerings in stock, and the RX 6700 XT is definitely worth thinking about.
The RX 6700 XT proved to be much faster than the RTX 4060 in our tests, and unlike the RTX 4060, the Team Red card can also handle well in a 1440p gaming scenario. It’s actually faster than the RTX 4060 Ti in some games, but it’s also significantly cheaper. Just like the RTX 3060, this GPU also features 12GB of VRAM which means it will be able to run some of the most demanding games with greater ease.
Buying it over the RTX 4060 means you’ll get better performance across the board, but Nvidia remains superior if you care about ray tracing or want to give DLSS 3 for a spin.
Prices for the RX 6700 XT can vary, but you can generally find it for around $300 to $350. It’s a great deal at the lower end of that range.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060Ti
If you prefer Nvidia but aren’t averse to last-gen shopping, the RTX 3060 Ti is a solid replacement for the RTX 4060. It’s only about $30 more if you find a good deal, and it has a lot to offer for that price.
In our tests, it outperforms the RTX 4060 in most games. Since this is still Nvidia, ray tracing performance shouldn’t be a concern; the RTX 3060 Ti can hold its own in most titles. Unlike the RTX 4060, the last-gen card can do a good job at 1440p, averaging 62.9 frames per second (fps).
The RTX 3060 Ti has significantly more cores than the RTX 4060 (4,864), although it also only has 8GB of VRAM. However, giving it a roomier 256-bit bus definitely helps it when faced with AAA games as well.
While you don’t get DLSS 3 on this model, regular DLSS is still there to give you a boost here and there. It’s a solid middle ground between the RTX 4060 and RX 6700 XT I mentioned above, where you can still access some of Nvidia’s features and improved performance, but upgrade to DLSS 3.
AMD Radeon RX 7600
We pitted the RX 7600 against the RX 4060 and found that the two GPUs perform hand in hand in many scenarios, although Nvidia’s mid-range GPU maintains an edge in most games. However, in most cases it’s a slight win.
On average, the RTX 4060 is faster at 1080p, winning by around 12%. However, when ray tracing is taken into account, the gap widens, making the RX 7600 nearly 20 percent slower.
It’s no secret that Nvidia is always at the cutting edge when it comes to ray tracing, and the RTX 4060 has another card up its sleeve in the form of DLSS 3. However, if you’re not particularly into those things, the RX 7600 it’s a cheaper alternative that you can usually find for around $250, so it saves you $50.
Keep in mind that the RX 7600 faces the same VRAM issue as the RTX 4060, with just 8GB of VRAM on a 128-bit bus. However, at a lower price point, it’s easier to justify and take it for what it is a champion of 1080p gaming.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060Ti
The RTX 4060 Ti is just as problematic as the RTX 4060 maybe even more so. It costs $400 and still deals with the same VRAM constraints. However, it’s way ahead in performance, so it’s the closest thing to a sizable upgrade you can get at this price range if you stick with Nvidia.
At 1080p, the RTX 4060 Ti massively dominates the RTX 4060, averaging 94.1 fps versus the 4060’s 78.2. The lead remains significant when upgrading to 1440p, and the RTX 4060 Ti maintains a comfortable 68.4 fps while the cheaper variant follows at 54.5 fps. Simply put, it’s just a GPU that will give you more mileage and future-proof it.
Since it’s an RTX 40-series card, the 4060 Ti also gives you access to Nvidia’s bag of goodies, which means DLSS 3. If you can spare $100 and want to give it a try, this is the way to go now. In the future, we’ll also get a $500 RTX 4060 Ti with 16GB of VRAM, and that’ll likely blow both cards out of the water, but it’ll also cost $200 more than the RTX 4060.
Intel Arc A770
Intel’s venture into GPU creation is still new, but if you don’t mind, you’ll find plenty of value indeed in the Intel Arc A770. It had a bit of a rough start, but Intel worked hard to fix it software-wise, and it’s now a formidable contender against the RTX 4060.
In our tests, the Intel GPU fell slightly behind the RTX 4060 at 1080p, but was far ahead at 1440p. Again, what we’re seeing here is future-proof, the RTX 4060 is a decent card for now, but if you want to buy a 2K monitor someday, Intel may be your best bet.
Intel’s edge is quite situational, it varies from game to game, but it’s a good value card. Intel does a decent job with ray tracing, performs well in most games, and you can find it for around the same price as the RTX 4060. The 16GB VRAM version tends to be more expensive, hitting the $100 mark. 350 to $400.
If you’re on a budget, the Arc A750 scores a decent alternative at $230 to $250, though Nvidia beats it every time. You’re probably better off getting the RX 7600 at that price.
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