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Today we're taking our first look at the GeForce RTX 4060, Nvidia's latest GPU. Priced at $300, Nvidia claims that it is 20% faster than the RTX 3060, despite having an MSRP that is $30 lower. Nvidia is confident this puts a winning product in their hands, but is that truly the case?
Let's quickly delve into the specifications. The RTX 4060 isn't a cut-down version of the Ti model; it does not utilize the same silicon. Instead, Nvidia employs the smaller AD107 silicon, which measures just 158.7mm2. This makes it 21% smaller than the die used by the RTX 3050, yet 20% larger than the GP108 die used by the less impressive GTX 1050 series. Previous dies used older and larger manufacturing processes, so the AD107, despite being diminutive, likely isn't that costly to produce.
The issue with AD107 is that it shares all the problems AD106 – used by the Ti model – has, except they're exacerbated. The core configuration has been scaled down: there are 29% fewer cores and texture mapping units, albeit with the same 48 ROPs. The cores are clocked 3% lower; though this is a negligible difference, the fewer cores mean the L2 cache capacity has been reduced by 25%.
Nvidia claims that the larger L2 cache of their Ada Lovelace generation would help compensate for the much narrower memory bus. While it might aid to some extent, it falls short of doing enough, resulting in products such as the RTX 4060 Ti struggling with mid-tier resolutions, like 1440p.
|GeForce RTX 4060 Ti||GeForce RTX 4060||GeForce RTX 3060|
|Price MSRP $US||$400||$300||$330|
|Release Date||May 24, 2023||June 29, 2023||February 25, 2021|
|Process||TSMC 4N||Samsung 8LPP|
|Die Size||187.8 mm2||158.7 mm2||276 mm2|
|Core Config||4352 / 136 / 48||3072 / 96/48||3584 / 112/48|
|Core Clock||2310 / 2540 MHz||1830 / 2460 MHz||1320 / 1777 MHz|
|L2 Cache||32 MB||24 MB||3 MB|
|PCle Bus Interface||PCle 4.0 x8||PCle 4.0x16|
|Memory Capacity||8 GB||12 GB|
|Memory Memory Type||GDDR6|
|Memory Bus Width||128-bit||192-bit|
|Memory Bandwidth||288 GB/s||272 GB/s||360 GB/s|
|Power||160 watts||115 watts||170 watts|
The RTX 4060, with its 128-bit wide memory bus, offers a memory bandwidth of just 272 GB/s for accessing the 8GB GDDR6 memory buffer. On paper, its memory subsystem appears lackluster when compared to the two-and-a-half-year-old RTX 3060. The memory capacity has been decreased by 4GB – a 33% reduction. The bus width has been reduced by 33%, which results in a 24% drop in memory bandwidth. Yes, it possesses 8x more L2 cache, but that has limited benefits, as we're about to see.
For testing, we used the Ryzen 7 7800X3D CPU, paired with the Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master and 32GB of DDR5-6000 CL30 memory. We conducted tests at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions, but we will focus on the 1080p and 1440p data for this review as they are more realistic use cases for this 8GB GPU. Now, let's dive deeper…
Starting with our favorite, Fortnite, we find that the RTX 4060 delivers commendable performance with an average of 108 fps at 1080p, equivalent to 6700 XT-like performance. It outperforms the RX 7600 by 20%, which is noteworthy, and it's 21% faster than the RTX 3060. However, it still lags 12% behind the RTX 3060 Ti, which remains the most significant previous generation Nvidia GPU to watch.
At 1440p, the results are less impressive; the RTX 4060 was only 13% faster than the 7600 and 11% faster than the RTX 3060. This was a significant 20% slower than the RTX 3060 Ti.
Next up, we have Resident Evil 4, where the results are somewhat less impressive. At 1080p, the RTX 4060 is 23% faster than the RX 7600, but what's concerning is the minimal 5% advantage over the 6650 XT, only matching the previous RTX 3060.
Moving on to 1440p, the situation deteriorates further; the RTX 4060 is now only 8% faster than the RX 7600, averaging 70 fps. This is akin to 6650 XT-like performance, making it 10% slower than the old RTX 3060. It's an embarrassing result for Nvidia.
Transitioning to A Plague Tale: Requiem, the outcomes are abysmal. Firstly, the RTX 4060 is found to be 15% slower than the RX 7600 at 1080p, with an average of only 66 fps. It was 6% faster than the RTX 3060, so at least in this instance, it outperformed the GPU it's supposed to replace, if only marginally.
At 1440p, a resolution one would likely target with a brand new $300 GPU, the RTX 4060 falls behind. It's 17% slower than the RX 7600 and a massive 27% slower than the 3060 Ti. More embarrassing is the meager 2% increase over the RTX 3060.
In F1 22, the competition between the RTX 4060 and RX 7600 is fierce. This game allows for ray tracing with the ultra-high preset. Despite this, the RTX 4060 couldn't outperform the 7600, but it was 24% faster than the RTX 3060. However, it was still 15% slower than the 3060 Ti.
At 1440p, the RX 7600 and RTX 4060 are evenly matched. Once again, the new GeForce GPU was 24% faster than the RTX 3060 but was 16% slower than the 3060 Ti.
In Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p, the RTX 4060 falls short of the 7600 by a 5% margin, averaging 82 fps. It's only 12% faster than the RTX 3060, and it lags 14% behind the 3060 Ti.
At 1440p, the RX 7600 takes a significant lead, offering 15% more performance than the RTX 4060. The new GeForce GPU doesn't show much improvement over the old RTX 3060, with a mere 9%
In Dying Light 2 at 1080p, the RTX 4060 does manage to edge out the 7600, though only by a 7% margin. However, this did make it 24% faster than the RTX 3060, representing a pleasant performance improvement and the best result we've seen so far.
At 1440p, the RTX 4060 holds its ground. While the advantage over the RTX 3060 is reduced, it's still 17% faster. That said, it's only 6% faster than the RX 7600, making this a less impressive comparison for the new RTX 4060.
In Watch Dogs: Legion, the 4060 falls behind the RX 7600 by a few frames at 1080p. However, it was 22% faster than the RTX 3060 and only 4% slower than the 3060 Ti, marking a favourable outcome compared to the previous generation GeForce GPUs, but disappointing when compared to the RX 7600.
Ramping up the resolution to 1440p sees the 7600 and 4060 evenly matched. The overall result is satisfactory, but a 6% lead over the cheaper 6650 XT might be a hard sell.
In Forza Horizon 5, the RTX 4060 outperforms the RX 7600 by a mere 6% and the 6650 XT by only 4%. So, while it doesn't quite measure up to the Radeon competition, it performs relatively well compared to the GeForce 30 series, being just 5% slower than the 3060 Ti.
At 1440p, the RTX 4060 and RX 7600 are neck and neck, offering performance reminiscent of the 6600 XT/6650 XT. This is somewhat underwhelming.
The RTX 4060 marginally edges out the 7600 in Warhammer III, achieving 4% faster performance, which is essentially identical. However, it is 16% faster than the RTX 3060, though we suspect that may not be of great significance to many.
At 1440p, the 4060 is merely 8% faster than the 7600. Considering it costs 11% more, and the performance of the 7600 was already lackluster, this isn't an impressive showing. It's only 12% faster than the previous generation RTX 3060, which didn't impress much either.
The RTX 4060 manages to put on a decent show in Spider-Man Remastered, achieving 149 fps at 1080p. This makes it 21% faster than both the RX 7600 and RTX 3060, though it's still 6% slower than the 3060 Ti.
When we crank up the resolution to 1440p, the 4060's performance slows considerably. However, it remains 11% faster than the RX 7600, which is the break-even point considering its price. It is also 17% faster than the RTX 3060 and 11% slower than the 3060 Ti.
In Hogwarts Legacy, the RTX 4060 is somewhat disappointing, managing only an average of 63 fps at 1080p. This represents an inconsequential 3% improvement over the older RTX 3060. The 4060 matches the performance of the 6650 XT and 7600, but lags a considerable 23% behind the 3060 Ti.
At 1440p, the situation worsens, with the RTX 4060 trailing the RX 7600 by an 8% margin and the 3060 Ti by a considerable 27% margin. Even more disappointing is the fact that it's just 4% faster than the RTX 3060, with slightly worse 1% lows.
Fortunately, the results in Halo Infinite at 1080p are more promising. Here, the RTX 4060 matches the performance of the 6700 XT and 3060 Ti, averaging 93 fps, making it 15% faster than the 7600 and 21% faster than the RTX 3060.
However, upon increasing the resolution to 1440p, the RTX 4060 falters and is actually slower than the RX 7600, though it remains 15% faster than the RTX 3060.
The Last of Us Part I is still a demanding game for 8GB GPUs using ultra-quality settings. Although it is manageable at 1080p, it compromises the 1% low performance. The RTX 4060 performs as well as other 8GB GPUs here, but the RTX 3060 offers a better experience. We would recommend dialing the quality preset back to high, but the RTX 3060 can still manage max texture settings.
If you aim to push the limits of the RTX 4060 and all 8GB GPUs, simply set the resolution to 1440p and ignore upscaling. The RTX 3060 remains playable here, although the 40 fps average may not be ideal for all gamers.
The second last game tested is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II. The RTX 4060's performance is subpar here, but it shows good improvement over previous-generation
GeForce models like the RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti. Compared to the 6650 XT and, particularly, the 7600, the 4060 appears weak.
At 1440p, the RX 7600 is 17% faster than the RTX 4060, with the GeForce GPU only matching the performance of the older 6600 XT.
Finally, in Hitman 3, the RTX 4060 can only match the 7600 at 1080p, averaging 109 fps. This makes it 13% slower than the 3060 Ti and just 15% faster than the RTX 3060.
At 1440p, the 4060 lags 4% behind the RX 7600, making the performance virtually identical. This results in a slight 11% increase over the older RTX 3060.
The real advantage the GeForce RTX 4060 has over the Radeon RX 7600 is power consumption, lowering total system usage by up to 15% in our testing.
It's certainly not worlds better, but it's a good improvement and it's around a 20% reduction when compared to the RTX 3060.
15 Game Average
Taking a look at the 15 game average at 1080p, the results are somewhat underwhelming. An average of just 91 fps makes it a meager 3% faster than the lackluster RX 7600, and a mere 15% faster than the RTX 3060, which isn't an exciting generational leap after 2.5 years.
Perhaps even more disappointing is that the RTX 3060 Ti still outperforms it by 12%. This performance is what we would expect from the RTX 4060 in order to justify an asking price of $300 with only 8GB of VRAM.
Surprisingly, the results become even more lackluster at 1440p. Based on feedback, a little over half of our audience would purchase the $300 RTX 4060 for gaming at 1440p, a sentiment we find very reasonable.
Yet, at this resolution, the RTX 4060 only matches the RX 7600, equating both to the performance level of the 6650 XT. The RTX 4060 also only ends up being 9% faster than the 3060 at 1440p, a subpar result.
Cost Per Frame: MSRP
To start with, here's a look at cost per frame based on MSRP data. The RTX 4060 appears to be acceptable, though not impressive. It costs 13% more per frame compared to the Radeon RX 7600. Some gamers might justify this premium by the improved power efficiency and DLSS 3 frame generation, primarily those who play single-player games and aren't sensitive to input latency.
However, when compared to the RTX 3060 Ti, the cost per frame only reduces by 7%, a modest generational improvement at best. However, this is based on MSRP's. Let's now step into real-world pricing.
Cost Per Frame: Newegg
And here we come to the reason why the RTX 4060 might not be a worthwhile investment. At a cost of $4.91 per frame based on our review data, the RTX 4060 is more expensive than existing RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti stock. Therefore, you could either purchase the faster 3060 Ti, which was 21% faster in our testing at 1440p, or the slightly slower RTX 3060 with more VRAM for less.
On a tighter budget, purchasing a 6600 XT for around $230 would offer a 15% reduction in terms of cost per frame while still limiting you to the same 8GB frame buffer. However, ideally, if you were seeking this level of performance, you should have purchased the 6600 XT or 6650 XT a year ago to enjoy an additional 12 months of your investment. This is undoubtedly more beneficial than spending more for virtually the same performance with the RTX 4060, a year later.
Nvidia "Power Numbers"
After analyzing the cost per frame, we came across this marketing gold from Nvidia. We'll directly quote them here "At recent energy prices, the average gamer playing 10-20 hours a week could save a significant amount, while having a vastly superior gaming experience. In Germany, for example, a gamer playing 20 hours a week could save up to $132 in energy costs over the course of 4 years, when upgrading from an RTX 3060 to an RTX 4060."
They must be really struggling to sell graphics cards at the moment. They are suggesting that European RTX 3060 owners who upgrade to the 4060, gaining 15% performance at 1080p or 9% at 1440p, might save around $100 on their power bill over the next 4 years, assuming they game at least 20 hours per week, for the next 208 weeks. This implies spending $300 to save $100. We're eager to see how the RTX 3060 and 4060 compare in 2 years time, let alone 4, given this "investment opportunity" presented by Nvidia.
Temps and Clocks
Before wrapping things up, we want to quickly look at the operating behavior of the MSI RTX 4060 Ventus 2x graphics card we used for testing. After an hour of gaming in an enclosed case with a room temperature of 21°C, the Ventus 2x saw the core hot spot peak at 85°C at a fan speed of 1800 RPM.
This is not an extraordinary result, but it seems the card is quite small and cheaply made, given the limited wriggle room on their MSRP models. The VRM components are left exposed on the PCB, but the power stages only reached a maximum of 71°C, so this design choice seems to be non-problematic.
What We Learned
This situation feels all too familiar: another newly released current-generation GPU that simply isn't worth purchasing at the launch price. The GeForce RTX 4060 offers no better value than the Radeon RX 7600, and depending on the value you place on technologies such as Frame Generation, this new GeForce GPU might even be considered worse.
The RTX 4060 isn't as egregiously poor as the 4060 Ti, but it's still disappointing, and it's certainly not worth buying at $300. The limited 8GB VRAM buffer is more forgivable at this price, but it's a bitter pill to swallow given that the RTX 3060 offered 12 GB.
One would think that by now, 12GB would be a minimum at this price point, with 8GB only reserved for the most entry-level parts. Yet, this isn't what AMD and Nvidia seem to be aiming for. Unless consumers make a stand, we won't see large memory buffers on next-generation GPUs either. So, it's crucial to let Nvidia know you won't accept this.
As disappointing as the 8GB buffer is, the main issue with the new 4060 series is the 128-bit wide memory bus. Nvidia attempted to confuse gamers with the release of the 4060 Ti by claiming that the upgraded L2 cache capacity of the Ada Lovelace technology compensated for the narrower memory bus. They also suggested it would address VRAM concerns. Neither claim is entirely true.
The larger L2 cache may help with bandwidth, but it doesn't come close to solving the issues introduced when significantly reducing memory bandwidth, as we've seen repeatedly at 1440p. Furthermore, it doesn't address memory capacity at all. It's puzzling why anyone thought 24-32MB of L2 could somehow compensate for gigabytes of missing VRAM. It simply doesn't work that way.
There will certainly be scenarios where the RTX 3060 provides superior image quality and performs better than the RTX 4060, particularly in future games.
On that note, the RTX 4060's ray tracing support is virtually worthless. It lacks both the required VRAM capacity to enable RT effects and sufficient GPU power. The RTX 3060 isn't powerful enough to leverage RT either, but it can take advantage of larger texture packs.
In general, if you have enough VRAM and sufficient bandwidth to access it efficiently, elements like textures have minimal impact on fps performance. Therefore, the RTX 3060 will deliver a superior visual experience for future games. By enabling the medium-quality preset and maximizing textures, you'll notice a significant visual upgrade with no real hit to performance. This is something we plan to explore and demonstrate in the near future, so stay tuned for that.
The RTX 4060 aligns more with what we traditionally think of as a GTX 1650 or GTX 1050 Ti-class product – a $100-$150 GPU, not a $300 one. One glance at the MSI Ventus 2x MSRP model we were sent is enough to conclude that this isn't typically what we consider a $300 graphics card.
The entire cooler, fan shroud, fans, and heatsink weigh just 350 grams. The small backplate is made from plastic, and the PCB has fewer components than a high-end fan controller. It's a slap in the face to gamers, but this isn't MSI's fault; it will likely be the standard for MSRP RTX 4060's.
So, our advice is clear: don't buy the GeForce RTX 4060 at its current asking price. We believe the Radeon RX 7600 should cost $230, making the RTX 4060 a great buy at around $250. Until then, consider previous-generation options or used graphics cards for better value and performance.