While others have started from the top, I’m going backward, because… Because this is what I currently have at my disposal, even after all of this time has passed since the launch, and even after me trying to reach out to some of the manufacturers that I work with closely, it just wasn’t possible to get them earlier, so it is what it is at the moment, these are just really hard to come by at the moment. Anyhow, won’t bother you with that anymore, let’s just jump right into it.
Here I have Gigabyte’s Eagle OC, Gainward RTX 3060 Ti Ghost OC, Palit’s regular Dual and Zotac Twin Edge OC model, and these four RTX 3060 Ti are ones that generally speaking more affordable version for this series, compared to something from Aorus or ROG series, but since the whole market situation is completely out of the order, at the moment hard to relate them to anything close to the meaning of affordable
So, what’s my approach for this comparison? Since I get a lot of questions along the line of will model A perform better than a model B within the same series, let’s say in this case, just for example – does Zotac’s RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge has better performance than the Gigabyte RTX 3060 Ti Eagle, I wanted to address this particular type of inquires with a direct answer and moving forward if I get a chance to do more comparison like this with multiple different models within the same series, I will most likely do it again like I’m about to.
“Budget” RTX 3060 Ti comparison
So, to a question like that, I would give you a simple answer that goes like this – don’t burden yourself with performance within the same series of GPU, in this case, because there’s little to no difference between them. Yes, there are some cases where there will be some minor difference, but it’s so negligible and easily compensated with overclocking that it’s not worthy of giving you a headache. Bottom line, in terms of the performance, they’ll all perform the same, basically within a margin of a measuring error, so what should you be looking at before all is how on how loud and effective is the cooling solution that a particular card has among itself and others.
Just to go by example, the Gainward RTX 3060 Ti Ghost OC and Zotac RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC model has a declared GPU boost clock of 1695, while Palit’s Dual model has that a bit lower at 1665 MHz, but the performance difference, as you can see here, was basically next to none. The mentioned boost GPU clocks are not even important in a sense it’s something to go by, because once the card gets under fully loaded during gaming, those clocks are far surpassed, reaching 1,9 to 2,0 GHz in short peaks thanks to Nvidia’s GPU Boost 5.0 feature. As you can see here, all four cards we’re roaming more or less around the same mark, depending on the game title, and most importantly their cooler situation. You’ll also see that there’s a Dual OC model of Palit’s card, with slightly higher clocks, but there’s no need for going after it since you can do that manually.
And this is the reason why I only fully tested one model out of these four when it comes to raw performance output, as there’s no point in testing them all out in every single game, because as you just saw the difference is minimal, or to say at least nothing that should bother you next to other purchasing key-point – like their cooling setup. And this is why you shouldn’t have to worry or be bothered about the gaming performance in general within the same series, even if there was some difference between them, again, it can be solved just by pulling a slider in one of the overclocking utilities, and voila, you’re done, you have the same performance those cards with a higher factory overclock, and all of these cars are a perfect example of just that.
Cooling before all
Because of this small difference in performance between the models within the same series, not just in this case, but generally speaking, as mentioned earlier, what should you be looking at is how their cooling solution performs in regards to keeping the temperature and the noise down. That should be your main buying point before all unless you really like how a certain card looks, but that’s a risk you’ll have to take in regards to everything else that makes a card.
Anyhow, let’s take a closer look at just that. All of the models have a dual 90 mm fan solution, except the Gigabyte’s one which is a 92 mm one, it will be interesting to see the difference that brings in, if at all. They also have a pretty nice chunk of aluminum heat-sinks attached to the GPU, memory, and power design, some separated into more, some as a single piece, with three heat pipes going through them, while Zotac’s one has four. It’s also actually among the heaviest ones, but that doesn’t have to be an indicator of a good, but it is something that could promise good performance. Or is it…? As some of you may notice, Palit and Gainward models are basically the same, especially on the back, basically one to one copy, while the top part of the shroud is different in texture. This is not a surprise since Palit bought Gainward back in 2005. Funnily enough, the Palit RTX 3060 Ti Dual model falls a bit behind in terms of the temperatures although the cooling setup is the same. The reason why is that Palit’s Dual OC model has completely closed off the back portion of that top shroud, as well as more closed off side portion of it, probably trapping the hot air within that area.
Leaving everything as is, and getting some heat into the cards, the quietest card turned out to be Gainward’s RTX 3060 Ti Ghost OC card with just a bit below 46 dBA and 66°C. Basically, the same noise profile had Zotac’s Twin Edge OC model, but it was 3°C warmer than Gainward’s model, making the Ghost OC model the that more impressive. The loudest one was Gigabyte’s at almost 50 dBA, but it kept the GPU temperature lower compared to the Palit and Zotac, at the same level as the Gainward – 66°C. So yeah, even though they have the same cooling, Gainward out run Palit’s model due to a more closed shroud design. Here’s how the loudest and the quietest example out of these four cards sound.
With these pretty interesting and rather different results, I’ve gone in to check the actual potential of each card’s cooling solution by doing some noise normalized testing at 40 dBA. With that being set, all four cards were somewhere in the realm of 14 to 1500 RPM of fan speed. Here Gainward once again showed its cooling potential by keeping the temperature at 72°C at that noise level, while Gigabyte was a close second with 74°C. Palit and Zotac basically had the same temperature, within a measurement error, although Palit’s fans were spinning, at least according to the readout, at around 100 RPM more than it, with that it still had the same noise profile as the Zotac with 1400 RPM of fan speed. Looking at this, it seems like Gigabyte could easily have still decent temperatures with an even lower noise floor if you would to manually adjust the fan speed around 1.500-1.600 RPM, and the same goes for the Gainward, so it’s not all as it seems at first, which why it’s important to look at the same thing, but from a different angle, because it can be a positive surprising turn out for you, as was the case with Gigabyte’s Eagle model.
Gainward RTX 3060 Ti Ghost OC leads the pack
This pretty much clears up which one of these four is the best cooling wise, but what about other things? Although it’s not that important to the majority of users, some of you will probably like to see what’s the power draw of these cards, so here’s a side by side comparison of the power meter for each model.
Coming down to the next important thing in line after cooling and performance, that, of course, being the design of the card, before all the top shroud and back-plate, their perceived build quality, amount of RGB, and so on. Looks-wise, personally, I like the looks of the Twin Edge and Eagle models, although both of them have not that attractive RGB solution. Zotac’s one doesn’t have it all, the logo just glows in white, while Gigabyte has a really weak one, with this a bit tacky addition of a see-through acrylic piece. All of them have plastic back-plate, except Zotac’s one, which looks pretty decent, although I really like this honeycomb solution with RGB implementation on Palit’s and Gainward’s model turned out to be, gives them a cool look. The other trio does feel a bit cheaply made under the finger, especially Eagle on the back, but that’s just my subjective feel.
Of course, all of them have their own software utility, with the ability to control and adjust the fan speed manually, setup and save different profiles, OC scanner or automatic OC, temperature, clock, memory speed readout and so on, while they all do it equally good or bad, depending on how you look at it, for example, Gigabyte uses two separate apps to control RGB and the card, which is completely unnecessary. I like how Gainward’s and Palit’s are pretty feature-packed too, although they’re the same app with just different skin, and Zotac is also holding on pretty good in this area too, definitely going in the right direction since I’ve tried it last time, although I always do prefer MSI Afterburner
Coming down to the price, well, honestly, I don’t know what to tell you here, as I mentioned at the beginning, at the moment all of them are way overpriced compared to the original MSRP for the RTX 3060 Ti series. Pricing all over the place, It’s impossible to conclude anything here in relation to other things that each of these cards offers, but at least you now have a clear line-sight in terms of which of them has the most effective cooling, while the rest of it is up to you.
That’s it for this time, thanks for checking out my RTX 3060 Ti comparison, if you have any question feel free to hit me in the comments section of my YouTube video listed above, you can contact me via my social media channels!