Don’t snub the Nvidia RTX 3060 in favor of more powerful GPUs – it’s more capable than you might think
I’ve spoken a few times about obsessively watching framerate and how it can cause you to stop finding video games to be enjoyable. It’s always funny to dunk the console community if you’ve got a gaming PC, I understand, but there comes a point when trying to brag about the “best” gaming experience possible becomes a little bit. boring to everyone around you.
I also think that this mentality causes people to feel pressured to buy some of the best graphics cards on the market, even if they don’t need all that power. There will be some of you who like to crank things up to 4K (or even 8K) resolution and watch your frame rate meter, and there are probably people who insist that they have need an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 to play their games at an acceptable level.
It’s mostly tosh. Yes, there are some situations where a seriously beefy GPU is advantageous, like 3D modeling and rendering, or playing demanding games at high resolution (I’m looking at you Microsoft Flight Simulator and Cyberpunk 2077), but unless you be an artist industry professional, you can absolutely get away with a cheaper, more affordable card.
Nvidia announced in June that it was putting more effort into the RTX 3060’s manufacturing inventory compared to its more expensive cards, and alongside its more powerful sibling, the RTX 3060 Ti, I saw some improvement in uptime, at least in UK on sites like Scan and Box.
Price is a whole different issue, but with we’re almost a year into the Ampere RTX 3000 series release, maybe it’s time to accept that we’re not going to see the sudden drop we hope.
If you’re one of the crowd desperately trying to get a flagship GPU like the RTX 3080, don’t completely discredit the more affordable options, especially if they have better uptime – they’re better than you might think.
I have an RTX 3060, the most affordable desktop GPU currently available in this generation’s Nvidia lineup, and while I have since upgraded to an RTX 3070 Ti for graphic design and digital sculpting purposes, this RTX 3060 was a big upgrade from a very unstable GTX 1070 Ti I used before.
I’ve seen people debate whether to buy a GeForce RTX 3060 on forums like Reddit, often put off because they don’t have features like DLSS and Nvidia Reflex, the RTX 3060 is quite comparable to the GTX 1070 Ti, which suggests that it would not be an “upgrade” at all.
But as we all know by now, DLSS is witchcraft and with an ever-growing library of games supporting it, you could save money and time by not ignoring its capabilities. I don’t have access to an RTX 3060 Ti, but I reinstalled the less powerful RTX 3060 in my system for some testing.
What if you liked shooting games?
I’ve put it to the test in games like Call of Duty: War Zone, despite the fact that I no longer play competitive online shooters, to prove that you can run a popular Battle Royale game in 4K, and I was so surprised with the results that I assumed I messed up my settings.
Spoiler alert – I didn’t, and even using Ultra 4K settings with RTX enabled I had an average of 92FPS thanks to DLSS, and it was on a rickety PC rocking an Intel Core i7-5820K processor which had been installed in 2015, as well as 12 GB of temperamental RAM to replace (one module was broken, don’t judge me).
My abandonment of online first-person shooters doesn’t mean that I avoid cathartically blowing up some digital weapons. Using my running PC (powered by an Intel i7-7700K and 32GB RAM), I gave DOOM: Eternal a whirlwind with the settings maxed out at 4K with DLSS enabled and saw a respectable 68FPS average while I was making my way through legions of demons.
The gameplay was smooth, and you can expect more frames than that running at 1080p or even 1440p, but since my monitor and TV are both 4K and limited to 60Hz, I wanted to push the resolution further. than the frame rate given that I ‘I’ve never seen anything above 60FPS anyway.
Something to keep in mind with FPS vs refresh rate even if your monitor or TV can’t actually display more than X number of frames per second (120 frames per second on a 60Hz monitor will only show 60 frames per second if we enforce my hardware restrictions), any additional frame will always reduce input latency, but at the risk to tear the screen. The risk / reward ratio is a personal preference, but you won’t visually see these additional frames.
It’s not just first-person shooters who get impressive results. Many FPS games (not to be confused with frames per second) are designed to be easier on hardware in order to appeal to a larger audience, but that’s not always possible when you have a different view in mind.
It’s also good for taking root
This is exactly why I ran something more demanding. Red Dead Redemption 2 isn’t exactly kind to most systems thanks to its huge open world and attention to detail, so I enabled that and set everything to 4K Ultra. Without DLSS I had around 23 fps, which wasn’t exactly unplayable, but it certainly wasn’t great either. Enabling DLSS and setting it to “Ultra performance” mode, however, increased it to an average of 45 FPS.
Frame rate snobs can get their noses on it, but again, this pushes the highest settings to 4K – if you’ve got a 1440p or 1080p display, you’ll see a much better result. And besides, 45FPS is far from unplayable for an open world adventure game in these settings.
I first jumped aboard the “Holy Cow, Ray Tracing Is Actually Really Cool” train when I played Minecraft RTX several months ago, which is the game that also opened up my minds. eyes on the development of this technology in recent years. I won’t talk about that happy cubic experience again, but there are other very similar titles that do well to show how good games can be without needing to see the sweat on Arthur Morgan’s forehead.
Laugh at me if you will, but Lego Builder‘s Journey caught my eye after seeing how gorgeous ray tracing had been applied to another minimalist block game. Unlike Minecraft, this is a puzzle game, but it’s oddly emotional and makes a great title to relax in if you’ve had a stressful day. To hit you again with some stats, with ray tracing on and everything set as high as it will go at 4K, I was seeing around 38FPS. It might sound low for a Lego themed game, but I implore you to give it a try – it’s a real feast for the eyes.
Browsing through these games has one purpose, which was to try and find a game that I wasn’t happy playing on a low budget card, and I’m happy to say that in addition to trying to blow Cyberpunk 2077 on my 4K TV at maximum settings, I was extremely happy with the quality I was seeing.
There will be some of you who are still keen to grab an RTX 3080 Ti or a beefy GPU, but with the silicon shortage continuing endlessly, you might be better off saving your pennies and getting yourself a budget option this generation, especially since they seem to have increased availability. And with the introduction of DLSS in more games each month, the doors will be more open for people with less powerful machines to play more demanding titles with pleasant quality.
Don’t worry about the FOMO for those more expensive cards. If you just want to have fun and play games, you might be able to do it for less than you think.