It’s been a weird year in the tech world, and high-end graphics cards have only gotten weirder as the year rolled on. The RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 launched to rave reviews, but barely anyone could buy them. And even though people are still having troubles grabbing the RTX 3070, it looks like there’s another GPU being added to the Nvidia stack real soon: the RTX 3060 Ti.
Third-party brands Palit, ASUS and Inno3D — the latter being the ones with the cheapest RTX 3070 cards in Australia at the time of writing — did everyone a solid by revealing various models of the upcoming RTX 3060 Ti. The cards look like they’ll come in double or triple-blower designs, according to product shots acquired by Videocardz, and they’re expected to launch internationally on December 2.
That’ll be in between the new Radeon RX cards from AMD — two of which are expected to launch later this week, with the Radeon RX 6900 XT hitting in December. The RTX 3060 Ti isn’t going to really rival any of those cards, but it should at least offer something more affordable in the $500-700 next-gen GPU segment.
And as for where the card sits in practice? Well, performance slides for those have leaked out too. While the specifications are yet to be confirmed by Nvidia, third-party listings have pitched it as a 8GB GDDR6 card (not GDDR6X, like the RTX 3080 and 3090) with 4,864 CUDA cores and 1.67GHz boost speeds. In real world terms, Nvidia are pitching it as about 1.35 to 1.5x better than the original RTX 2060 Super, and marginally better or on par with the RTX 2080 Super in games like Red Dead Redemption 2, DOOM Eternal, Gears of War 5, and a handful of ray traced games (Minecraft RTX, Wolfenstein Youngblood, Control).
But that’s not all. As expected, AMD’s Big Navi announcement turned some heads over at Team Green. So to counter what’s coming at the top of AMD’s GPU stack, it looks like an RTX 3080 Ti is on the way. The current running rumour is that it would have the same CUDA core count as the RTX 3090 (over 9000) and 20GB of GDDR6X RAM. That helps rectify issues with the RTX 3080’s 10GB RAM, which some games this year have already managed to push past at 4K.
More importantly, it’ll give Nvidia a better competitor price-wise against the Radeon RX 6900 XT. The Radeon RX 6800 and 6900 XT ship with 16GB of memory, so this would position the RTX 3080 Ti as a better prosumer alternative to those those cards. Keep this in perspective though: the RTX 3090 is going for at least $2400 in Australia, and the RX 6900 XT is selling internationally for $US1000. So locally that’d probably work out to somewhere around the $1800-2000 mark — or basically what the RTX 2080 Ti originally cost at launch.
Something that’s completely unknown at this stage is whether — or when — Nvidia will move onto TSMC’s 7nm manufacturing process. The company’s currently making their Ampere GPUs on a custom 8nm process from Samsung, but the lack of yields there — and 2020 being 2020 — has made supply extraordinarily thin on the ground.
Still, the hardware train rolls on. We’ll hear more about AMD’s new GPUs later this week — the cards are set to launch tomorrow Australian time, although we’re still waiting to hear on local pricing. It’ll be fun to see the price positioning once all of this shakes out. The threat from AMD has never been stronger which is great for consumers — nothing brings down prices better than old-fashioned competition.