GeForce RTX 4060 review: Not thrilling, but a super-efficient $299 workhorse

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PNY's take on the basic $299 version of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060.
Enlarge / PNY’s take on the basic $299 version of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060.

Andrew Cunningham

Nvidia’s GeForce 1060, 2060, and 3060 graphics cards are some of the most widely used GPUs in all of PC gaming. Four of Steam’s top five GPUs are 60-series cards, and the only one that isn’t is an even lower-end GTX 1650.

All of this is to say that, despite all the fanfare for high-end products like the RTX 4090, the new GeForce RTX 4060 is Nvidia’s most important Ada Lovelace-based GPU. History suggests that it will become a baseline for game developers to aim for and the go-to recommendation for most entry-level-to-mainstream PC gaming builds.

The RTX 4060, which launches this week starting at $299, is mostly up to the task. It’s faster and considerably more power efficient than the 3060 it replaces, and it doesn’t come with the same generation-over-generation price hike as the higher-end Lovelace GPUs. It’s also a solid value compared to the 4060 Ti, typically delivering between 80 and 90 percent of the 4060 Ti’s performance for 75 percent of the money.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t small things to gripe about. Stepping down from the 3060’s 12GB of memory to a stingier 8GB doesn’t feel great, especially when poorly optimized PC ports seem to want as much video memory as they can get. It’s only a modest speed upgrade over the RTX 3060. And DLSS Frame Generation, the big new 4000-series feature that Nvidia plays up in all of its announcements, is less impressive on midrange cards than it is on high-end ones.

The RTX 4060

RTX 4090 RTX 4080 RTX 4070 Ti RTX 4070 RTX 4060 Ti RTX 4060 RTX 3060 Ti RTX 3060
CUDA Cores 16,384 9,728 7,680 5,888 4,352 3,840? 4,864 3,584
Boost Clock 2,520 MHz 2,505 MHz 2,610 MHz 2,475 MHz 2,535 MHz ? 1,665 MHz 1,777 MHz
Memory Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 128-bit 128-bit 256-bit 192-bit
Memory Clock 1,313 MHz 1,400 MHz 1,313 MHz 1,313 MHz 2,250 MHz ? 1,750 MHz 1,875 MHz
TGP 450 W 320 W 285 W 200 W 160 W 115 W 200 W 170 W

The RTX 4060 Ti was an outlier compared to the 3060 Ti, shipping with fewer of Nvidia’s CUDA cores and half the memory bandwidth and leaning on boosted clock speeds, additional L2 cache, and other architectural upgrades to close the gap. The result was a card that didn’t always feel like much of an upgrade, especially at higher resolutions.

The RTX 4060 is more like the 4080 or 4070 Ti, narrowing the memory interface a bit compared to the RTX 3060 (from 192-bit to 128-bit) but providing a small increase to the number of CUDA cores along with the additional L2 cache and boosted clocks. This is a more reliable upgrade formula that should make the 4060 feel like an upgrade all of the time and not just some of the time.

Like the 4060 Ti, the 4060 uses Nvidia’s AD106 GPU die, but with more of the CUDA cores and other hardware switched off. There are fewer CUDA cores and less L2 cache (24MB for the 4060, compared to 32MB for the 4060 Ti), among other things. But less hardware running at lower speeds means less power usage, and the 4060’s maximum power usage is just 115 W, compared to 160 W for the 4060 Ti, 170 W for the old 3060, and 165 W for AMD’s Radeon RX 7600—the 4060’s closest competitor in AMD’s 7000-series lineup.

Like the other 4000-series cards, the 4060 adds support for Nvidia’s DLSS 3 upscaling and frame rate-boosting technologies, plus hardware-accelerated encoding support for the AV1 video codec.

As far as we can tell, Nvidia isn’t making a Founders Edition version of the 4060, leaving the job to its card partners. Our review model is an RTX 4060 8GB Verto provided by PNY, and it’s the kind of no-frills card you’d expect to get for $299. It’s a reasonably sized card that should fit well in any micro ATX case and most mini ITX cases, its two-fan cooler keeps the GPU running cool and quiet, and it gets all its power from a single 8-pin connector so you don’t need to worry about a bulky 12VHPWR adapter (or finding a new ATX 3.0 power supply). It doesn’t have LEDs or a particularly flashy design, but it gets the job done.

As with PNY’s version of the 4060 Ti, even this relatively modest cooler design hangs a few inches past the end of the actual graphics card; hopefully this will lead to even more-compact designs, though it seems like the GPU makers have spent most of their time and attention on three-fan triple-slot overkill versions of the 4060 Ti.

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