8GB of GDDR6 memory limits future 4K gaming potential
Higher power draw than other RTX 3060 Ti models
Louder than other RTX 3060 Ti models (but still very acceptable)
No dual BIOS switch
The EVGA FTW3 Ultra is the fastest GeForce RTX 3060 Ti we’ve tested. It runs a little louder and draws more power than rival models, but it’s nothing to be concerned about. This is a good graphics card.
The $450 GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra stands as EVGA’s best-in-class initial offering for Nvidia’s fantastic 1440p GPU, shipping with a healthy factory overclock and extra sensors that provide temperature readings for areas throughout the graphics card.
EVGA attacked the 3060 Ti FTW3 from a different angle than it did for its beefier RTX 3070 and 3080 cards, however, as well as most of the aftermarket 3060 Ti models we’ve seen so far. While those pricier FTW3 incarnations come loaded with massive coolers and just-as-massive premiums, the 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra opts for a more restrained design that should fit into even tiny gaming PCs. Better yet, EVGA charges a mere $50 extra for the FTW3’s improvements—a smart call, as it avoids pushing too close to the (ostensibly) $500 starting price of the step-up GeForce RTX 3070.
Of course, graphics card prices are through the roof and utterly unpredictable these days, so that jockeying might wind up being academic in the real world. You can expect to find this card commanding a steeper-than-advertised premium for now.
EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra specs, features, and design
EVGA’s core technical setup largely mirrors Nvidia’s official specifications, which we covered in depth in our GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition review. It offers the same 8GB of GDDR6 memory over a 256-bit bus, the same cut-down GA104 “Ampere” GPU with 4,864 CUDA cores, and the same 600-watt power supply recommendation. That’s all to be expected as they’re built with the same underlying technology, though EVGA does spice things up in key areas.
Here’s a look at the FTW3 Ultra’s spec sheet:
EVGA gooses the clock speeds quite a bit. The FTW3 Ultra is rated for 1,800MHz clock speeds out of the box thanks to a hefty factory overclock. That’s well beyond the 1,665MHz reference speed (which Nvidia’s Founders Edition uses) and faster than the 1,755MHz speed of the Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti, even though the more expensive Asus card has a much more substantial cooler.
To augment the higher speeds, EVGA raised the power limit of the FTW3 by 40W versus Nvidia’s Founders Edition. You can bump that by another 20W (eight percent) in overclocking software like EVGA’s own fantastic Precision X1.
Higher power limits help GeForce graphics cards hit (and hold) higher clock frequencies due to the way Nvidia’s GPU Boost algorithm behaves. Most modern GeForce cards game at much higher speeds than they’re rated for. The EVGA RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra is no exception, hovering at just under 2GHz during most gaming sessions. The FTW3 Ultra also supports real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s vital DLSS technology.
As with most modern custom graphics cards, however, the biggest difference for the EVGA FTW3 is its bespoke physical design.
Despite bearing the same name, the RTX 3060 Ti version of the FTW3 doesn’t try to match the capabilities of the pricier RTX 3070 and 3080 FTW3 models. Those cards—and the aforementioned Asus TUF 3060 Ti—sport gargantuan triple-slot coolers loaded down with thick, heavy metal heatsinks, multiple BIOS switches, and extra features galore. The EVGA RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 takes a much more streamlined approach that seems better tailored for this more mainstream (though still expensive) price point.
The 3060 Ti incarnation of the FTW3 Ultra is a hair over two slots thick, meaning its heatsink isn’t as beefy as the one you’ll findon its higher-end cousins. That means it should fit more easily into most PCs, including some small form-factor cases. Many custom RTX models mimic Nvidia’s Founders Edition with a shortened PCB, including cutouts in the backplate to let the rearmost fan push air directly through the card. EVGA opted to use a full-length PCB across the FTW3 Ultra’s 11.2-inch span but included large cutouts to still allow air to flow through, with corresponding openings in its fetching metal backplate.
The full-length PCB means that EVGA was able to put the FTW3’s dual 8-pin power connectors at the rear of the card, which is where you’d ideally want them. By comparison, cards with shorter PCBs plop their connectors in the center edge of the card, which isn’t always aesthetically pleasing. EVGA recommends a 600-watt power supply with the RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra.
The slimmed-down version of EVGA’s iCX3 custom cooler still includes three large fans embedded in its black shroud, complete with an idle fan stop feature that shuts them off when you aren’t stressing the GPU with games or other visually intense tasks. Under the shroud, you’ll find the shorter heatsink sitting atop a unified copper block for the GPU and memory, augmented by five copper heatpipes that snake throughout the card. In practice, the design works very well, delivering very good thermal performance under load with reasonable noise levels.
Unfortunately, the RTX 3060 Ti model lacks the dual BIOS switch found on the pricier FTW3 offerings (as well as the Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti). Dual BIOS switches come in very handy if things go awry during overclocking endeavors. It’s a bummer to see it excluded, but the omission makes sense to help the RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 hit its more mainstream price point. This version of the FTW3 Ultra also lacks dedicated fan and RGB header connections found on the more extravagant models.
On the plus side, overclockers will adore the inclusion of EVGA’s abundant iCX sensors. As we said in our EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 review: “Precision X1 also lets you tap into the not one, not two, but nine iCX3 sensors that EVGA embedded throughout the card, letting you see temperature readings for different parts of your GPU, memory, and voltage regulation systems. EVGA introduced iCX technology in the GeForce GTX 1080 Superclocked 2 following a (mostly overblown) cooling controversy. It remains a killer exclusive feature for graphics card nerds.”
EVGA’s Precision X1 software also lets you control the customizable RGB lighting built into the logo on the edge of the card. ANote that the company now uses black trim for the “lips” on the ends of this card, rather than the garish red clown color found on earlier EVGA RTX 30-series GPUs. Hallelujah. The FTW3 Ultra’s outputs mimics Nvidia’s reference specs, pairing a single HDMI 2.1 port paired with a trio of DisplayPort 1.4 connections.
Wrapping things up, EVGA is known for being very responsive to customer feedback. The company gets high marks around the web for its stellar customer service and EVGA Step-Up Program. It won the hearts of enthusiasts yet again in recent weeks when it instituted a queue-based system for orders on its RTX 30-series offerings, in the face of ongoing overwhelming demand for Nvidia’s new GPUs.
But enough design talk. Let’s get to the benchmarks.
Next page: Our test system, gaming benchmarks begin
Our test system
Our dedicated graphics card test system is a couple of years old, but it’s packed with some of the fastest complementary components available to put any potential performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU, especially at the higher resolution these graphics cards target. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.
Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($300 on Amazon) overclocked to 5GHz all cores
EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($105 on Amazon)
Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard
64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($355 on Amazon)
EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($352 on Amazon)
Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow
2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($70 each on Amazon)
Graphics card prices are skyrocketing, but we’re listing the contenders by MSRP. You aren’t likely to find the cards this cheap in the real world, but it’s the only reliable value metric available right now. Expect to pay quite a bit more on the street.
We’re comparing the $450 EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti against the $460 Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti, as well as Nvidia’s own RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition. We’ve also included data for the $500 RTX 3070 Founders Edition and $700 RTX 3080 FE, as well as the Founders Edition models of the last-gen $500 RTX 2070 and $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti. On the AMD front, we included results for the $580 Radeon RX 6800, and last-gen’s $350 Radeon RX 5700 XT, which is still being sold.
We test a variety of games spanning various engines, genres, vendor sponsorships (Nvidia, AMD, and Intel), and graphics APIs (DirectX 11, DX12, and Vulkan). Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets unless otherwise noted, with VSync, frame rate caps, real-time ray tracing or DLSS effects, and FreeSync/G-Sync disabled, along with any other vendor-specific technologies like FidelityFX tools or Nvidia Reflex. We’ve also enabled temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) to push these cards to their limits. We run each benchmark at least three times and list the average result for each test.
Because the EVGA RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra’s performance largely aligns with that of all RTX 3060 Ti models—albeit a few frames faster thanks to its higher clock speeds—we’re going to refrain from offering commentary for each game. Check out our original GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition review for a game-by-game breakdown, as well as ray tracing and DLSS performance results.
Gaming performance benchmarks
Watch Dogs: Legion
Watch Dogs: Legion is one of the first games to debut on next-gen consoles. Ubisoft upgraded its Disrupt engine to include cutting-edge features like real-time ray tracing and Nvidia’s DLSS. We disable those effects for this testing, but Legion remains a strenuous game even on high-end hardware with its optional high-resolution texture pack installed. No card can maintain a 60-frames-per-second average with Ultra graphics options enabled, and the game allocates more than 8GB of memory even at 1440p. Oof.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Yep, PlayStation exclusives are coming to the PC now. Horizon Zero Dawn runs on Guerrilla Games’ Decima engine, the same engine that powers Death Stranding. Ambient Occlusion can offer iffy results if set to Ultra, so we test with that setting at Medium. Every other visual option is maxed out.
Next page: gaming benchmarks continue
Gears Tactics puts it own brutal, fast-paced spin on the XCOM-like genre. This Unreal Engine 4-powered game was built from the ground up for DirectX 12, and we love being able to work a tactics-style game into our benchmarking suite. Better yet, the game comes with a plethora of graphics options for PC snobs. More games should devote such loving care to explaining what flipping all these visual knobs mean.
You can’t use the presets to benchmark Gears Tactics. It intelligently scales to work best on your installed hardware, meaning that “Ultra” on one graphics card can load different settings than “Ultra” on a weaker card. We manually set all options to their highest possible settings.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood is more fun when you can play cooperatively with a buddy, but it’s a fearless experiment—and an absolute technical showcase. Running on the Vulkan API, Youngblood achieves blistering frame rates, and it supports all sorts of cutting-edge technologies like ray tracing, DLSS 2.0, HDR, GPU culling, asynchronous computing, and Nvidia’s Content Adaptive Shading. The game includes a built-in benchmark with two different scenes; we tested Lab X.
One of the best games of 2019, Metro Exodus is one of the best-looking games around, too. The latest version of the 4A Engine provides incredibly luscious, ultra-detailed visuals, with one of the most stunning real-time ray tracing implementations released yet. We test in DirectX 12 mode with ray tracing, Hairworks, and DLSS disabled for our basic benchmarks.
Borderlands is back! Gearbox’s game defaults to DX12, so we do as well. It gives us a glimpse at the ultra-popular Unreal Engine 4’s performance in a traditional shooter.
Strange Brigade is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test using the Vulkan renderer, which is faster than DX12.
Next page: gaming benchmarks continue
Total War: Troy
The latest game in the popular Total War saga, Troy was given away free for its first 24 hours on the Epic Games Store, moving over 7.5 million copies before it went on proper sale. Total War: Troy is built using a modified version of the Total War: Warhammer 2 engine, and this DX11 title looks stunning for a turn-based strategy game. We test the more intensive battle benchmark.
The latest in a long line of successful racing games, F1 2020 is a gem to test, supplying a wide array of both graphical and benchmarking options, making it a much more reliable (and fun) option that the Forza series. It’s built on the latest version of Codemasters’ buttery-smooth Ego game engine, complete with support for DX12 and Nvidia’s DLSS technology. We test two laps on the Australia course, with clear skies on and DLSS off.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Shadow of the Tomb Raider concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous. Square Enix optimized this game for DX12, and recommends DX11 only if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with DX12. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider and includes optional real-time ray tracing and DLSS features.
Rainbow Six Siege
Like GTA V, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege still dominates the Steam charts years after its launch, and it’ll be getting a visual upgrade for the next-gen consoles. The developers have poured a ton of work into the game’s AnvilNext engine over the years, eventually rolling out a Vulkan version of the game that we use to test. By default, the game lowers the render scaling to increase frame rates, but we set it to 100 percent to benchmark native rendering performance on graphics cards. Even still, frame rates soar.
Next page: Power, thermals, noise, and conclusion
Power draw, thermals, and noise
We test power draw by looping the F1 2020 benchmark at 4K for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter, which measures the power consumption of our entire test system. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion.
This isn’t a worst-case test; we removed the Core i7 8700K’s overclock and specifically chose a GPU-bound game running at a GPU-bound resolution to gauge performance when the graphics card is sweating hard. If you’re playing a game that also hammers the CPU, you could see higher overall system power draws. Consider yourself warned.
EVGA’s FTW3 Ultra uses a lot more power than the other RTX 3060 Ti models we’ve tested. It’s the highest-clocked model of the three tested, with a higher default power limit, and it includes an extra fan and more RGB lighting. It draws even more power than the step-up RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800! But while that’s worth noting here, those extra features are good for performance-oriented gamers, and you shouldn’t let the increased power demands turn you off this card.
We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2020 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.
Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition used a radical, expensive cooler design to achieve its fantastically low temperatures, but EVGA’s reasonably sized FTW3 Ultra runs even cooler. It posts one of the best results in this chart—though it can’t come near the absolutely frigid temps of the monstrous triple-slot Asus TUF.
Achieving such cool thermals in the standard-sized design comes at a slight cost though. The FTW3 Ultra is a wee bit louder than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition, though it’s still far from loud. It sounds like a standard graphics card rather than a quiet one (unlike the utterly silent Asus TUF). Since EVGA’s card runs so cool you could manually adjust the fan curve to run slower—and thus quieter—if you don’t mind slightly higher temperatures.
Should you buy the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra?
The EVGA GeForce FTW3 Ultra offers a competent custom spin on Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, which itself is a drop-dead fantastic GPU for 1440p or high-refresh rate 1080p gaming. It’s perfectly capable of playing games with ray tracing enabled as well, especially if you flip on Nvidia’s DLSS technology. EVGA’s card is the fastest RTX 3060 Ti we’ve tested thanks to its higher power limits and clock speeds, albeit by a very slim margin. It’s faster than the RTX 2080 Super, the second most-powerful card released last generation.
That comes with some tradeoffs however, as the FTW3 Ultra draws much more power and makes slightly more noise than Nvidia’s RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition. It’s not loud whatsoever, though. Tinkerers will appreciate EVGA’s abundant iCX temperature sensors and sublime Precision X1 management software. The lack of the dual-BIOS switch found in pricier RTX 30-series FTW3 offerings is a bummer on the other hand, but not a deal breaker. (The Asus TUF RTX 3060 Ti includes a dual BIOS if you want one.) And EVGA’s custom support experience excels compared to most graphics card vendors.
Usually, we break down the pros and cons of various graphics cards more deeply in our conclusions, but value is hard to judge in today’s market, where graphics cards sell out in seconds and keep getting more expensive. The EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra is a solid version of a spectacular GPU. If you can find one in stock for roughly the same price as other custom RTX 3060 Ti models—whatever those prices may be when you read this—it earns our recommendation. The Asus TUF is also worth considering if you place a premium on frigid, silent, almost overengineered cooling over EVGA’s higher clock speeds, power limits, and overclocking-friendly software.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.