Nvidia has released another Ampere GPU and it’s the most affordable yet: The RTX 3060 Ti starts at $399 but make no mistake, this is no entry-level GPU. With performance surpassing the outgoing RTX 2080 Super, this GPU is well suited to 1440p high FPS gameplay. With advanced technologies like RTX cores and DLSS 2.0 for upscaling, it brings high-performance graphics to a price point not seen before. In this build guide, we’ll take you through the best system $1200 can buy featuring the RTX 3060 Ti.
RTX 3060 Ti Gaming PC Build – The Parts List
|CPU||Intel Core i5-10600K||$267|
|CPU Cooler||Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition||$37|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z490 AORUS ELITE||$189|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200 CL16||$64|
|Storage||Western Digital Blue SN550||$94|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti||$399|
|Power Supply||EVGA GD (2019) 600 W 80+ Gold||$88|
At $400 the RTX 3060 Ti is the most affordable Ampere GPU released so far. This new architecture from Nvidia brings a huge step forwards in performance with this $400 card exceeding the performance of the last generations $700 RTX 2080 Super—That’s this generations mid tier card faster than all but the highest end of the Turing GPU offerings from just 2 years ago. This card will approach or exceed 100FPS in demanding AAA titles at 1440p, with even Red Dead Redemption 2 hitting around 80FPS with settings turned up to High. It has the advantage of a lower power draw than the higher end cards in the lineup, with a 650W Power supply being adequate to power it’s 200W demands. This increases the value of this graphics card and reduces the additional spend needed to build a well-rounded system. This GPU forms the core of the best bang for buck gaming system currently available – so we’ll select parts that allow it to achieve it’s potential without overspending.
Related: RTX 3060 Ti vs RTX 2080 Super
To properly take advantage of the RTX 3060 Ti you need a well-balanced system with a high-performance CPU. This is because the GPU is capable of high frame rates in well-optimised titles so long as the CPU is up to the task. We’ve opted for the Intel i5-10600K in this instance to maintain the value of the build: whilst the Ryzen 5 5600X is slightly higher performance, it’s also more expensive and at present stock is hard to find. The Intel i5-10600K nearly equals it in performance in high framerate titles, but most of the time the GPU will be the limiting factor so there will be no performance difference at all. We’ve paired this CPU with a Hyper 212 Black Edition, which is a great value and capable CPU cooler to reduce temperatures and noise and keeps the total CPU cost to $300.
We’ve opted for this Aorus Elite AC branded Z490 motherboard from Gigabyte for a number of reasons. Firstly Gigabyte offers strong VRM performance across their Z490 range, meaning you can comfortably overclock the power-hungry Comet Lake CPU without excessive heat or instability. The Aorus Elite AC has 12+1 Phase VRM with 50 Amp Mosfets to ensure stable power to the CPU. This motherboard is also capable of taking the more powerful i7-10700K or even the 10-core i9-10900K in future if you wish to upgrade, as well as being forwards compatible with upcoming Rocket Lake ‘11th gen’ intel CPUs.
The Aorus Elite AC uses a Realtek 2.5G Ethernet controller, whilst many of the competition uses an Intel ‘I225V’ which unfortunately suffers from packet loss in some earlier revisions: Rather than hunt through retailer sites to ensure you don’t get a defective LAN chip, this motherboard avoids the issue entirely. The rest of the specifications are excellent with good USB connectivity, inbuilt WiFi, three M.2 slots and a high quality ALC1200 Audio Codec. This motherboard is a strong pairing with the i5-10600K and will allow the RTX 3060 Ti to really shine. Regarding the lack of PCIe 4.0 functionality: Testing shows that this doesn’t negatively impact GPU performance at all, and neither is the increased speed of a PCIe 4.0 SSD beneficial to gaming or worth the additional costs of those high-performance SSDs. Therefore the specification of this motherboard and CPU is in keeping with the bang-for-buck nature of this build, giving you maximum gaming performance without overspending.
This G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-3200 CL16 RAM kit is sufficient for all current games. Intel isn’t as RAM speed sensitive as Ryzen, allowing us to take advantage of slightly lower-priced and more readily available RAM. This kit is from G.Skill who is a trusted brand and runs at 3200MHz. It has CL16 16-18-18-38 timings for good performance and a stable XMP overclock with one click in BIOS, and using a dual-stick kit means you benefit from dual-channel operation which maximizes the bandwidth and improves performance. This is a rock-solid RAM kit and provides enough memory at a high enough speed to ensure great performance from this PC.
With SSD prices dropping all the time it makes sense to specify a large SSD for the operating system and games. This is a solid choice from Western Digital with their SN550 1TB NVMe SSD, and whilst it may not post the highest scores in benchmarks, our own testing shows it to be no slower in real-world performance (booting and game loading) than much more expensive options. Therefore it’s an ideal drive for a gaming and general-purpose PC. Running this in the primary M.2 Slot keeps a second M.2 slot free for future upgrades, and simplifies both storage and set up with just one drive.
Phanteks have a strong reputation for high performance and attractive cases with great cooling capability. The Phanteks P400A has a mesh front panel allowing maximum airflow into the case, to ensure ample cooling for the CPU and GPU. A PSU shroud keeps cabling neat inside whilst a tempered glass side panel shows off the bits you do want people to see. It’s an ATX mid-tower and has a standard layout for ease of build and maintenance, but there’s plenty of options to mount radiators, multiple fan configurations and additional drives as you need or PC expand with time. There are alternative versions if you’d prefer: The P400A Digital includes 3 RGB front case fans, and there are white variants too, but this case represents a great starting point and can be configured however you choose. If you don’t opt for the P400A Digital, We’d recommend adding a pair of 140mm fans of your choice to this case to act as intake, and ensure case temperatures are kept low.
One of the blessings of the RTX 3060 Ti against its higher strung siblings it the reduced power requirements. Whilst the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 demand much more expensive power supplies, the relatively frugal 250W draw of this GPU mean we can specify a cheaper but still very capable Power supply. With choice restricted and prices elevated owing to supply issues, we’ve opted for the EVGA GD series in 600W format here. This is a new design, refreshed in 2019 and meeting Gold efficiency requirements. It’s non modular, which means all required cables come permanently attached to the power supply. That’s not a problem – in fact it simplifies the build process and if you wish to customise your cabling then extensions are cheaper and easier to find than full custom cables for a modular power supply. This PSU also has the full suite of protection features to prevent damage to itself and your system in the event of any faults. It’s backed by EVGA’s 5 years warranty, to provide you with peace of mind.
Best 1080p 240Hz Monitor for RTX 3060 Ti
The Alienware AW2521HF is a specialist 1080p monitor with 240Hz refresh rate and a very fast response time: This is the perfect monitor to take advantage of the very high frame rates this PC’s CPU and GPU combination will deliver at 1080p. If you’re a competitive player in titles like Rainbow 6 Siege, CoD Warzone, or even Fortnite then a faster framerate can make the difference between winning and losing. This monitor uses G-Sync compatible Adaptive Sync technology to display frames as soon as they’re ready, reducing lag and eliminating tearing. It’s the perfect complement to this system if fast-paced shooters are your favoured games.
Best 1440p All-rounder Monitor for RTX 3060 Ti
The RTX 3060 Ti really shines at 1440p resolution, where it can bring detailed worlds to life in intricate detail. To really immerse yourself in games like Cyberpunk 2077 or Red Dead Redemption 2, we’d recommend this 27” 1440p monitor, the M27Q, from Gigabyte. It uses an IPS panel for rich vibrant colors and includes a 144hz refresh rate and Freesync premium to ensure tear-free high frame rate action. It’s great value and keeps it on-trend with the theme of this PC: Maximising bang for buck around the new value champion, the RTX 3060 Ti.
Overall, this system delivers an epic high FPS 1080p or all-round 1440p Gaming experience, at just $1200. This is a level of performance we couldn’t dream of at the price only a year ago. Nvidia’s Ampere has brought this within reach, with the RTX 3060 Ti providing a gaming experience you had to spend $800 on the GPU alone to rival in the previous generation. This is an excellent gaming PC at a price you can afford.