Here we are, heading into a long weekend at the end of June and Nvidia has dropped its latest graphics card, the Nvidia RTX 4060, and maybe people are letting the heat get to them because tech critics are falling all over themselves to dump on it.
Meanwhile, I'm staring at the same card that all these reviews are frothing about wondering if I reviewed a different card because the numbers I saw simply do not justify the level of vitriol leveled at this card.
Instead, I think there's something else going on here, namely that people are pissed at Nvidia, and they're taking it out in frustration on one of the company's best products.
When reviewers are the ones doing the review bombing
All this came up yesterday thanks to The Verge doing an RTX 4060 review roundup, highlighting all the bad press the card is getting. I was not one of them, and there are a number of reviewers who reviewed the card positively, including TechRadar's former components queen, Jackie Thomas.
Meanwhile, there are many others who led off their reviews with some variation of "Nvidia's screwing us all over again!" and this is a huge red flag. We aren't reviewing Nvidia, we're reviewing a product, and on its merits, the RTX 4060 doesn't deserve the hate it's getting.
It reminds me of when pissed-off internet fanboys of some franchise don't like that a girl gets introduced as a protagonist and then review bomb a movie or game the second it hits the theater or store shelves before there is any way to even have played it or gotten a ticket to see the damn thing.
It's known as review bombing, and we're seeing something similar here. There has been an air of incredible frustration with Nvidia in recent months, and it seems to have given a lot of otherwise level-headed folks the vapors. Has Nvidia absolutely bungled a number of recent launches? Absolutely.
The Nvidia RTX 4080 was frankly a disaster, and while the Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti and RTX 4070 are fantastic, the Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti makes very little sense as a purchase when you can get the RTX 3060 Ti for cheaper and not lose that much in terms of performance.
Nvidia has also been inflating the price of its GPU by a frankly shocking degree this generation, something that is absolutely on Nvidia. So I get the anger, I'm as mad about it as everyone else, which is why I loved the AMD RX 7600 as much as I did for offering a great GPU at a decent price.
With the RTX 4060, Nvidia actually got a lot of things right and to a degree shows that the company might actually have listened to everyone fuming about its previous releases. Of all the cards to complain about, the RTX 4060 isn't it.
Expecting a scaled down RTX 4090 is stupid, and let's talk about the RTX 3060 Ti...
What about the actual criticisms of the RTX 4060?
I think a huge problem here is the expectations set by some of the initial Nvidia Lovelace cards. The RTX 4090 is an absolute monster that runs circles around anything the RTX 3090 Ti could do. Even the RTX 4080 — which, again, you should only buy if you absolutely need to — delivers incredible performance.
But I think a reminder is in order here: the Nvidia RTX 4090 is so powerful that it has on rare occasions caught fire. The RTX 4070 and RTX 4070 Ti, which are more accessible at least, are genuinely the standout stars of this generation, and their raw performance is significantly better gen-on-gen, but are still more modest improvements over their predecessors than the RTX 4090 was over the RTX 3090.
The RTX 4060 is a reasonable improvement over the RTX 3060, but as I noted in my review of it, it still falls short of the RTX 3060 Ti. Therefore it must absolutely suck, right?
The Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti is arguably the best graphics card made this decade, all things considered. It was lightning in a bottle by being perfectly priced while performing way above its weight class. Chalk it up to the perfect synergy of memory bus width, power consumption, and any other number of factors and you get a card that is very hard to replicate. It's why the RTX 4060 Ti was such a disappointment, even though the RTX 4060 Ti is actually a better card.
The RTX 4060 is a great graphics card and if you don't already have an RTX 3060, you should defintitely consider it
The RTX 4060 isn't a perfect card. There are issues with it, but I did all the same testing that everyone else did, and as a baseline, this card is an absolutely reasonable upgrade in performance.
Now the assumption is that a graphics card generation should roughly equal the next-higher tier of the last generation, and that makes sense in a world where the next-higher tier gave you 20% better performance than a base tier.
The RTX 4060 is about 21% better than the RTX 3060, which by all rights would have put it at the RTX 3060 Ti level if the RTX 3060 Ti was a normal graphics card. The RTX 3060 Ti isn't a normal graphics card.
The RTX 3060 Ti has about 33% better performance than the RTX 3060. That's like it jumped a whole class of graphics card. It makes a very strong case that it is a better purchase than even the RTX 3070.
If you can find the RTX 3060 Ti at roughly the same price as the RTX 4060, then there is definitely a strong case for you to buy the RTX 3060 Ti. I would even argue that if you own the RTX 3060, the RTX 4060 isn't enough of a jump to warrant spending the money.
But most gamers aren't running RTX 3060s. They're running RTX 2060s or earlier. For those gamers, the RTX 4060 will be an absolute revelation, and its performance gen-on-gen is strong enough that if this were any other product, it would get 4 out of 5 stars from just about everyone.
Add in the fact that it uses substantially less power than the RTX 3060 or RTX 3060 Ti, and you have a fantastic budget graphics card that you can just pop into your rig as is and get immediate improvements in frame rates and features. And it does so for less than the RTX 3060 cost at launch.
In short, if you need this kind of card, it's fantastic, and you shouldn't feel like you're getting cheated just because some aren't happy that Nvidia couldn't recapture the pure magic of the RTX 3060 Ti.
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John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.
You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.
Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).