MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio Review: Ada Lovelace for 1080p is here!

Last week, Nvidia announced the latest additions to their 4000 series/Ada Lovelace-based video cards. The new GPUs hit the scene with a more affordable price point and a bit less vRAM, which is a hot topic of conversation in many forums. Starting at $399 for the RTX 4060 Ti 8GB version and $499 for the 16GB, on the outside looks like a good deal. But you’ll see by the conclusion the value proposition of this less expensive 1080p-targeted card isn’t where we want it to be. Like its older brothers, you get everything that makes up Ada Lovelace, including 4th-gen Tensor cores, 3rd-gen Ray Tracing cores, DLSS3 capability, 8th-gen AV1 encoders, and more.

MSI sent us the RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio version with an oversized, 3-slot Tri-FrozR 3 cooling solution, improved power delivery, and increased core clock speeds from the factory. Below, we’ll take a detailed look at the specifications and features and discuss the performance profile of this 1080p graphics card against its peers and the competition.

Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti Founders Edition
Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti Founders Edition

ADA Lovelace Architecture and Technologies

For those who read our RTX 4090 Suprim Liquid X, the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X review, RTX 4070 Ti Suprim X article, or even the RTX 4070 we recently completed, the Ada Lovelace architecture shouldn’t be anything new. Below we’ve kept a lot of the information in there but updated it with the RTX 4060 Ti details in case you’re new or want a refresher.

Nvidia Ada Lovelace Core
Nvidia Ada Lovelace Core

Nvidia’s new Ada Lovelace architecture is fabricated on TSMC’s 4N manufacturing process. The smaller process allowed Nvidia to dramatically increase the transistor count, which turns into more cores (70% more CUDA cores than GA102). The entire core consists of a whopping 76.3 billion transistors, which they state makes it one of the most complex chips ever made.

With the new core, the Ada architecture also operates at higher clock frequencies using “… high-speed transistors in critical paths that could otherwise restrict the rest of the chip”. The RTX 4060 Ti and its AD106 variant have base clocks of 2,310 MHz on the core and 1,150 MHz (18 Gbps effective) on the 8GB GDDR6X using a 128-bit bus. Power consumption is listed as 160W (Total Graphics Power) with partner cards like our MSI, likely increasing that limit.

The AD106 GPU on the RTX 4060 Ti comes equipped with 3 Graphics Process Clusters (GPCs), 17 Texture Processing Clusters (TPCs), 34 Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs), and a 128-bit memory interface (4x 32-bit memory controllers). Nvidia states the TFLOP rate for the FP64 cores is 1/64th the TFLOP rate of FP32 operations, and the small FP64 core count is included to ensure compatibility with FP64 code, including Tensor Core code.

RTX 4060 Ti Block Diagram
RTX 4060 Ti Block Diagram

The third generation RT core in these Ada GPUs adds a dedicated unit called the Opacity Micromap Engine and the Displaced Micro-Mesh Engine (DMME). The former evaluates Opacity micromaps that are used to accelerate alpha traversal. The DMME allows the Ada RT core to ray trace complex objects and the environment with significantly less BVH build time and storage costs which, when simplified, makes for a much faster and more efficient pathing. Together, Nvidia claims the Ada 3rd-gen RT core is the most powerful Nvidia has ever made.

Ada Streaming Multiprocessor
Ada Streaming Multiprocessor

Another significant improvement over the previous generation is the upgrade from DLSS 2.0 to DLSS 3.0. The new sauce inside is a new frame generation technique that combines optical flow estimation with DLSS to improve the gaming experience. In other words, inserting accurately synthesized frames between existing frames enhances the frame rate and provides a smoother gaming experience. The most significant performance uptick, you’ll see, is with using DLSS.

The Tensor cores have also been updated. Compared to Ampere, Ada provides more than double the FP16, BF16, TF32, INT8, and INT4 Tensor TFLOPS and runs the Hopper FP8 Transformer Engine, delivering over 1.3 PetaFLOPS of tensor processing on the 4090.

For those who like to stream content, Nvidia’s NVENC encoder and existing optimizations for OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) eliminated the need for a dedicated PC for video capture so you can play and stream at the PC without sacrificing quality or performance. Ada takes that further, incorporating support for AV1 video encoding the 9th gen NVENC hardware encoder. Previous generations only decoded but didn’t encode. The AV1 encoder is said to be 40% more efficient than the H.264 encoder found in the 3000 series GPUs. With this update, users can increase from 1080p to 1440p while running at the same bitrate and quality. The 4080 and 4090 use two NVENC encoders for the work.

Details aside, the table below lists the specifications for the new ADA GPUs, including our review sample, MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio.

Specifications and Features

Nvidia RTX 4000 Series Specifications 
ModelMSI RTX 4060 Ti (8GB)
RTX 4090
(24GB)
RTX 4080
(16GB)
RTX 4070 Ti
(12GB)
RTX 4070
(12GB)
ArchitectureAda Lovelace
(AD102, AD103, AD104, AD106)
Manufacturing TSMC 4N (5 nm)
CUDA Cores4,35216,3849,7287,6805,888
RT Cores
(Gen 3)
34144806046
Tensor Cores
(Gen 4)
128576320240184
Texture Units
(3rd Gen)
128576320240184
ROPs481921128064
L2 Cache32 MB96 MB64 MB48 MB36 MB
Base Clock (MHz)
2,3102,2302,2102,311,920
Boost Clock (MHz)
2,670
2,5202,5102,6102,610
Memory8 GB
GDDR6
24 GB
GDDR6X
16 GB
GDDR6X
12 GB
GDDR6X
12 GB
GDDR6X
Memory Speed (Gbps)
2881008736504504
Memory Bus128-bit384-bit256-bit192-bit192-bit
Supplementary
Power
PCIe 5.0 12-pin
2x 8-pin
PCIe 5.0 16-pin
3x 8-pin
PCIe 5 12-pin
2x 8-pin
PCIe 5 12-pin 2x PCIe 8-pinPCIe 5.0 12-pin
2x 8-pin
Standard Display
Connectors 
HDMI (2.1)
3x DisplayPort (1.4a)
Max Resolution8K (7680 x 4320)
TDP160 W450 W320 W285 W215 W
Release Date5/24/2310/12/2211/15/221/5/234/13/2023
MSRP$399/$449$1599$1,199$799($599)

The MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio

MSI’s RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio hits the scene with improved power delivery, the large Twin Frozr 3 cooling solution, and a 160W+ TBP out of the box. Our card sources its power from a single 8-pin PCIe connector, but note that the FE versions use the PCIe 5.0 12(+4) 12VHPWR connector. MSI recommends a 550W power supply which is plenty even when using a flagship-class processor.

The 4060 Ti, like the 4070 Gaming X Trio before it, has one BIOS, so any performance tweaks or fan speed adjustments must be made through software. The 2,670 MHz boost clock is one of the faster among its peers, but as many already know, performance among them will be very close. Nvidia’s pricing for the FE model is $399. You can expect this and flagship versions from other card partners to cost more.

The Suprim X SKU stops at the 4080, so the Gaming X Trio is the flagship part. They’ll also release the less expensive Gaming X (dual fan solution – $429.99) along with the Ventus 3x (three-fan cooling – $409.99) and Ventus 2x (dual fan – $399.99). They all use a custom cooling solution, but the Ventus is based on the reference card hardware specification (power delivery).

As far as looks go, the Gaming X Trio is a large card extending well past the width of ATX motherboards. The black and silver design gives way to three 120mm Torq 5.0 fans blowing through a 2-slot heatsink. The fans also utilize MSI’s Zero Frozr technology that keeps the fan off until cooling is needed. The fans never spun up at idle/desktop or watching videos, and the card was completely silent. Even when fully loaded, the cooling solution was barely audible over the system it was installed in. MSI’s cooling solutions for this generation of video cards do an exceptional job at keeping the hot running bits below running well within specification.

For those into RGB lighting, the Gaming X Trio sports an RGB feature on the face via two sets of three lines of RGBs across the center fan and the top of the card, illuminating the MSI branding. This configuration won’t take over the inside of your chassis but is bright enough to show off the internals. Adjustments to the lighting are made through the Mystic Light application in MSI Center.

TriFrozr 3
TriFrozr 3

TRI Frozr 3 Thermal Design
Stay Cool and quiet. MSI’s TRI FROZR 3 thermal design enhances heat dissipation all around the graphics card.

Torq Fan 5.0
Torq Fan 5.0

TORX FAN 5.0

Design improvements to TORX FAN 5.0 result in +23% airflow compared to an axial fan and +10% airflow compared to TORX FAN 4.0.

Core Pipes
Core Pipes

Core Pipes

Core Pipes are precision-crafted to make maximum use of the available space. A squared section of heat pipes fully touches the vapor chamber to spread heat along the entire length of the heatsink.

Backplate
Backplate

GOT YOUR BACK

Fine details elevate the backplate, such as its brushed metal finish and the beveled edges polished with a light-gold color. Thermal pads beneath the sturdy plate provide additional cooling to the graphics card.

Ball Bearing
Ball Bearing

Ball bearings

Two sets of durable ball bearings spin the TORX FANs for years of intense and lengthy gaming sessions.

Zero Frozr
Zero Frozr

ZERO FROZR

The fans completely stop when temperatures are relatively low, reducing the noise significantly when active cooling is not needed. The fans will automatically start spinning again when the heat is on during gaming.

Retail Packaging and Accessories

The retail packaging for the MSI’s RTX 4060 Gaming X Trio is the same as the 4070s we looked at, using a lot more color than the flagship Suprim X. The black box displays the card, branding, and some colorful designs akin to the Max Headroom era in the late 80s (did I date myself there?). The back of the box reveals the card’s features and specifications. After opening the box, you’ll see the card sitting snuggly inside form-fitting foam and an anti-static bag for protection. MSI includes a GPU support bar and instructions in the box.

Meet the MSI RTX 4070 Gaming X Trio

MSI RTX 4070 Gaming X Trio
MSI RTX 4070 Gaming X Trio

MSI’s Gaming X Trio SKU sports a premium appearance and utilizes an effective yet quiet cooling solution in the Tri Frozr 3 cooler. The frosted lines flanking the middle fan have RGBs below to provide a little bling on the front. The top of the card also sports RGB lighting to illuminate additional branding. Ultimately, it’s a beautiful card with a neutral design that doesn’t stick out and blends in with most build themes.

A Closer Look…

Focusing on the I/O, we see the typical fare for this generation on the 4060 Ti as well – three DisplayPort ports (v1.4a) and one HDMI (v2.1) port. The former supports a maximum resolution of 8K (7680×4320), while the HDMI port handles up to 4K @ 120Hz. The Gaming X Trio’s Tri Frozr 3 cooler sends most of the air inside the case while some seeps through the IO plate.

Power is sent through the ‘old’ 8-pin PCIe connector, not the new 12+4-pin PCIe 5.0 12V connector (with our MSI). Note the FE version does use the new power connector.

Gaming X Trio I/O – 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI

8-pin PCIe power required!
8-pin PCIe power is required!

We broke the card down and got some pictures of the stubby PCB and massive heatsink, among other details. MSI used Samsung 16 Gb 20 Gbps rated vRAM, the AD106-350-A1 chip, upgraded power delivery from the base card/spec, including 8-phases dedicated to the GPU core using 50A MOSFETs.

Below is a screenshot of GPU-Z showing the clocks we achieved at stock speeds. The MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio has a listed boost clock of 2,670 MHz, which ran much higher (upwards of 2,790 MHz+) throughout our testing.

GPUz - stock
GPUz – stock

MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio on the test bed…

MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio on the test bench
MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio on the test bench

Test System and Benchmark Methods

Test System Components
MotherboardGigabyte Z690 Tachyon ($349.99)
CPUIntel i9-12900K (stock)
CPU CoolerCorsair iCUE H150i
MemoryKingston Fury Beast 2×16 GB 5200 MHz CL40 ($161.99)
SSDMushkin Helix 1TB NVMe (OS + Applications – $80)
Power SupplyEVGA 850 W P6 ($119.99)
Video CardMSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio ($) / 531.93 driver

 

Our test system is based on the latest (at the time of publishing) mainstream Intel z690 platform and uses the i9-12900K 8P,8E/24t CPU. The DRAM is in a 2×16 GB configuration at 5200 MHz with CL40 timings, a middle-of-the-road option balancing performance, and cost. The CPU runs stock.

Since the last update, we have made some changes and updated titles. More details can be found in the GPU Testing Procedure article, which we have updated with our latest benchmarks. Below is a quick summary for easy reference.

  • UL 3DMark Time Spy – Default settings
  • UL 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) – Default settings
  • UL 3DMark Port Royal – Default Settings (Ray Tracing capable cards only)
  • Unigine Superposition – 1080p High, 1080p Extreme
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – DX12, “Highest” preset
  • The Division 2 – DX12, Ultra preset, VSync Off
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – Ultra High preset, VSync Off
  • Far Cry 6 – Ultra defaults, HD Textures enabled
  • F1 2021 – DX12, Very High defaults, Bahrain track, show FPS counter.
  • Metro: Exodus – DX12, Ultra defaults

Synthetic Benchmarks

Our first set of benchmarks hails from Underwriters Laboratories, which acquired Futuremark in 2014. Earlier in 2018, a rebrand occurred, and since that time, Futuremark is now UL. The benchmarks have not changed, just the name. We chose to stick with 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) and 3DMark Time Spy as these tests give users a good idea of performance on modern titles.

3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) is a DX11-based test that runs at 1080p resolution. UL says the graphics are rendered with detail and complexity far beyond other DX11 benchmarks and games. 3DMark Time Spy is a DX12 benchmark designed for Windows 10 PCs. It supports new API features such as asynchronous computing, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, running at 2560 x 1440. 3DMark Port Royal is the first Ray Tracing benchmark designed for Windows PCs and graphics cards with Microsoft DirectX Raytracing capabilities.

Results from the synthetic benchmarks show the RTX 4060 Ti falling just behind the RTX 3070 TUF we reviewed a couple of years back and just ahead of the RX 6700 XT.

Gaming Benchmarks

We have updated our testing suite for gaming benchmarks to bring more modern titles into the mix and gone are Battlefield V, F1 2018, Far Cry 5, AOTS:e, and World of Tanks, which have been replaced with Metro Exodus, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, F1 2022, and Far Cry 6. We kept The Division 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The games should provide a good view of the card’s overall performance with many DX12-based. One thing worth noting with these high-end cards, they aren’t made for 1080p gaming, so the gaps between cards tend to get minimized.

1920 x 1080 (1080p) Results

In 1080p gaming, our card pushed all titles to over 100 FPS+ and a couple over 144 FPS. For 60-120Hz gamers, it’s a solid 1080p/Ultra card. At this, still common and low resolution, the meager 8GB of vRAM has no issues in our tested games. That isn’t to say some out there can already break that mark. However, they are few and far between and can typically be mitigated with settings (assuming it’s not a poorly optimized game).

2560 x 1440 and 4K UHD Results

Below are the higher resolution results starting with 2560 x 1440 and the gaining-in-popularity 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) resolution.

WQHD 2560x1440
WQHD 2560×1440
4K UHD, 3840x2160
4K UHD, 3840×2160

At 2560×1440, we didn’t run into any vRAM limits at this resolution, though if you want to play games and not have any worries, the 16GB version of the card should easily satisfy requirements for a while. 4K UHD resolution showed Far Cry 6 was crushed by a lack of vRAM, rendering it unplayable in these settings. Otherwise, the card doesn’t have enough horsepower to be a 4K/60/Ultra card in the first place. At the middling 1440p, it could easily handle all of our titles over 60 FPS, often reaching close to or above 100 FPS.

Ray Tracing and DLSS Testing

After enabling Ray Tracing and DLSS, we tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry 6, and F1 2022 at 1440p and 4K. At 1440p, the card still proved capable of using ray tracing but took a significant performance hit. Running the higher 4K UHD and ray tracing, the card struggled in Far Cry and SOTR. Enabling DLSS brought frames back up significantly and without a noticeable loss in image quality. You’ll certainly want to allow DLSS where available for the best experience with this card and ray tracing enabled; otherwise, the FPS may not be enough.

Folding @ Home Performance

For all of the folding @ home community, we had a chance to let this run for a full 48 hours and then some. From the looks of our small sample size, this card outputs around 4M PPD depending on the OS, WU, and other factors. You can see 5/20 the full 24-hour results at stock speeds and another full day after. During the testing, the card ran at 2,895 MHz (average), peaking at about 161 W and averaging ~130 W. System power consumption varied, but our test system pulled between 220 and 235 W at the wall when folding. Temperatures reached 54°C, with the fans activating and spinning around 40%. At this speed, they were practically inaudible in the open-air chassis/test bench.

RTX 4060 Ti 8GB F@H

Overclocking the MSI RTX 4070 Gaming X Trio

For overclocking, we used the latest version of MSI Afterburner without issue. The OC Scanner also did the job of finding a stable overclock. Ultimately, we settled on +120 MHz for the core and +200 for the memory (there’s a lot more in the tank here). While the scores didn’t go up much (a couple of percentage points) on these mid-resolution benchmarks, there was still some improvement. This card also allows for a significant 21% power limit increase. With these settings, the card peaked at 2,8880 MHz and ran around that speed consistently through most of our benchmarks. Even when overclocked, the card peaked at 163W.

Just be careful when overclocking that your performance is increasing. Instead of crashing due to instability (which still can happen), chances are you will see performance drop first, so keep an eye out for the results.

GPUz - Overclocked
GPUz – Overclocked

Temperatures and Power Use

We test power consumption by running through the game benchmarks of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and F1 2021 at stock speeds and while overclocked. We monitor temperatures throughout this testing, with the peak temperature listed in the data below. The benchmarks are extended (time) to allow the card to settle to simulate actual gaming conditions more accurately.

Temperatures on the air-cooled MSI RTX 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio reached 55°C in F1 2021 and 54°C SOTR at stock settings. Once overclocked, temperatures increased slightly in SOTR, peaking at 66°C and 55°C in F1 2022. Longer gaming sessions will increase the temperatures, but this gives you a general idea of the Tri Frozr 3’s capabilities. It does a great job of keeping temperatures in check and doing so quietly.

Temperature
Temperature

Power use for the RTX 4060 Ti peaked at 320 W (total system power) at stock and reached 325 W while overclocked in SOTR. A high-quality 550W power supply will be plenty to support this card and a flagship-class processor.

Power Consumption (System)
Power Consumption (System)

Conclusion

Nvidia’s RTX 4060 Ti 8GB arrives on store shelves as one of the more affordable options in the Ada Lovelace generation. For under $400, you get a 1080p 100FPS+/Ultra-class gaming card that can handle games at 2560×1440 at more than 60 FPS. It’s 4K UHD where this card struggles and doesn’t make the 60 FPS mark – and it lacks adequate vRAM for that high of a resolution already today. But for 1080p, it will get you going and have the game looking like the devs intended. The Gaming X Trio is MSI’s flagship SKU and is priced at $449, similar to other high-end SKUs from the competition. With clock speed differences (and therefore performance) minimal among them, the discerning factor for most users is looks, noise, and price.

We saw great results with our MSI 4060 Ti Gaming X Trio and its massive 3-fan heatsink and cooling solution (Tri Frozr 3), and keeps this ~160W card running nice and cool in relative quiet. The cooling also supports MSI’s Zero Frozr feature, where the fans stay off until the card reaches a specific temperature. This is great for keeping silent when using light loads or just on your desktop. Performance-wise, the card was slightly faster than a 6700XT from AMD and marginally slower than an RTX 3070 and ended up, FPS-wise, as a great 1080p card capable of driving high refresh rate monitors. It will be interesting to see how AMD’s budget cards compare against this one.

As always, there’s a ton of competition in the space outside of the Founders Edition, including Gigabyte (Aorus, Gaming, Aero, and Eagle), Asus (Strix, TUF, Dual), PNY, Zotac, and more. MSI offers several models, including a Gaming and Gaming X (2-fan/shorter versions) and the Ventus 2x/3x version (fan count) SKUs which follow the reference specifications. There’s something for everyone, including small form factor users.

While the video card gets a MEH, it has everything to do with the silicon these partners have to deal with. MSI did a great job with its iteration as the Gaming X Trio presents itself as a worthwhile upgrade over the FE. I think many consumers would be more excited to have a 12-16GB card with additional bandwidth and, quite simply, more performance out of the SKU. Perhaps 16GB at $399 would be much more enticing for specification chasers. MSI’s Gaming X Trio adds its spin to the FE, bringing users a higher-quality card than the reference models that look good and keeps the card cool while quiet. If the RTX 4060 Ti is the card of choice, the MSI Gaming X Trio version should be on the shortlist as a better-looking and quiet running card. Make sure your chassis fits the large card.

Click Here to see what this means
Click Here to see what this means

 

– Joe Shields (Earthdog)

About Joe Shields 326 Articles
Joe started writing around 2010 for Overclockers.com covering the latest news and reviews that include video cards, motherboards, storage and processors. In 2018, he went ‘pro’ writing for Anandtech.com covering news and motherboards. Eventually, he landed at Tom’s Hardware where he wrote news, covered graphic card reviews, and currently writes motherboard reviews. If you can’t find him benchmarking and gathering data, Joe can be found working on his website (Overclockers.com), supporting his two kids in athletics, hanging out with his wife catching up on Game of Thrones, watching sports (Go Browns/Guardians/Cavs/Buckeyes!), or playing PUBG on PC.

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Last week, Nvidia announced the latest additions to their 4000 series/Ada Lovelace-based video cards. The new GPUs hit the scene with a more affordable price point and a bit less vRAM, which is a hot topic of conversation in many forums. Starting at $399 for the RTX 4060 Ti 8GB version and $499 for the 16GB, on the outside looks like a good deal. But you'll see by the conclusion the value proposition of this less expensive 1080p-targeted card isn't where consumers want it to be. Like its older brothers, you get everything that makes up Ada Lovelace, including 4th-gen Tensor cores, 3rd-gen Ray Tracing cores, DLSS3 capability, 8th-gen AV1 encoders, and more.

Click here to read more!

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