EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra review: Speed and sensors

The EVGA FTW3 Ultra is the fastest GeForce RTX 3060 Ti we've tested.

Credit: Brad Chacos/IDG

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.

So how does the EVGA FTW3 Ultra’s design stack up against other versions of Nvidia’s RTX 3060, our favorite graphics card of 2020? Let’s dig in.

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 rtx 3060 ti ftw3 specs EVGA

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.

evga rtx 3060 ti ftw3 ultra 2 Brad Chacos/IDG

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.

evga rtx 3060 ti ftw3 ultra 6 Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA RTX 3060 Ti FTW3 Ultra is slightly thicker than a standard two-slot graphics card, but no three-slot monstrosity. It should fit easily in most cases.

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.

evga icx3 cooler EVGA

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.

evga rtx 3060 ti ftw3 EVGA

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.

evga rtx 3060 ti ftw3 ports EVGA

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.

As an RTX 30-series GPU, the FTW3 Ultra supports AV1 decoding, HDMI 2.1, Nvidia Reflex, RTX IO, Nvidia Broadcast, Shadowplay, and more. Check out our RTX 3080 Founders Edition review for a fuller list of GeForce features.

But enough design talk. Let’s get to the benchmarks.

Next page: Our test system, gaming benchmarks begin

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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