The Bottom Line
- + Decent 1080p and 1440p performance
- + Incredible power efficiency
- + USD 299 price is lower than the RTX 3060's launch price
- + DLSS 3 is great, even at 1080p
- - Less memory than the GeForce RTX 3060
- - 1440p performance is a little lacking
- - Stiff competition at this price point
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
When NVIDIA announced its new GeForce RTX 4060 family of graphics cards, covering both the GeForce RTX 4060 reviewed here and the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, it publicly stated that these mainstream options for the new Ada Lovelace generation were targeting 1080p gaming. When AMD announced its mainstream RDNA 3 GPU, the Radeon RX 7600, it also noted that it is designed for 1080p. It's not hard to see why this is the case; 1080p is the most common resolution PC gamers utilize, per the latest Steam Hardware Survey Results.
The top five gaming GPUs, according to Steam, are the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, GeForce GTX 1060, GeForce RTX 3060, GeForce RTX 2060, and GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU. And it's this sector where upgrading to something like the GeForce RTX 4060 makes sense. Of course, there's the argument that mainstream GPUs in 2023 should target 1440p and not 1080p, but that's not quite right. There's a big difference between 1080p gaming using high and ultra settings in 2023 versus doing the same on what you'd consider a 1080p GPU from 2016. Visual fidelity has increased in step with GPU power.
And this is all a roundabout way of saying that the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X Black 8G OC delivers when it comes to 1080p performance in modern titles, alongside being super efficient and the sort of brand-new GPU you'd consider upgrading to if your PC is rocking either the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 or GeForce RTX 2060 - of which there are many out there.
As far as 1440p gaming goes, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X can deliver high frame-rate performance in several titles, thanks in part to performance-boosting technology like DLSS 2 and DLSS 3's Frame Generation that can be found in major releases. Yes, with the GeForce RTX 4060, NVIDIA makes the case that DLSS 3 works across the entire GeForce RTX 40 Series line-up. DLSS 3 in Cyberpunk 2077, Diablo IV, Hitman, and many more games help the GeForce RTX 4060 punch well above its weight class. Let's dig in.
The Ada Lovelace Generation
Below is a summary of the GeForce RTX 40 Series technology, applicable to all models.
There was a time when outright visual quality was the main driver for determining how advanced real-time rendering, especially in games, had progressed. There was also a time when pure grunt in raw hardware power determined how good a game could technically look and how fast it ran. We're now at a point where visual quality and performance go hand-in-hand, with raw power only being a part of the equation.
The GeForce RTX 40 Series, the Ada Lovelace generation, is a lineup of GPUs built on a cutting-edge process node while leveraging and evolving all of the advances in AI and hardware-based ray-tracing that NVIDIA helped become mainstream with the GeForce RTX 30 Series.
Named after mathematician Ada Lovelace, considered the world's first computer programmer, the GeForce RTX 40 Series is built on TSMC 4N process technology - a giant leap forward over the Samsung 8nm process used in the GeForce RTX 30 Series Ampere generation. From a pure numbers perspective, the full NVIDIA Ada GPU features 76.3 billion transistors, up to 18,432 CUDA Cores (70% more than the previous gen), and delivers clock speeds over 2.5 GHz while maintaining the same power requirements of the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.
Ada also introduces the latest generation of RT and Tensor Cores, with the latter introducing brand-new hardware responsible for the next iteration of AI rendering - DLSS 3. NVIDIA's DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling is one of the reasons why raw power is no longer the be-all-end-all; it's an AI-based form of upscaling that can provide a sizable boost to in-game performance without sacrificing visual fidelity. In fact, in some cases, it can improve upon native rendering.
For this reason alone, DLSS and other forms of algorithm-based upscaling have become some of the most talked about bits of technology in the PC gaming space.
Free frames, enough said.
DLSS 3 combines DLSS Super Resolution (DLSS 2) with NVIDIA Reflex to reduce system latency and the brand-new hardware-accelerated Frame Generation technology. Three bits of rendering tech = DLSS 3. And it's exclusive to the GeForce RTX 40 Series.
And it's here where NVIDIA is looking to do what it has done for real-time graphics upscaling to the idea of frame-interpolation - or what they call Motion Plus in the TV world. Which, to be fair, is not a fair comparison on account of tech like Motion Plus being - well - terrible. But the fundamental idea is the same, albeit using specialized AI hardware in the GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards to generate and create entire frames.
So far, the results, although not without flaws, are impressive - with dramatic improvements to overall performance (in the smoothness stakes) seen in games like Cyberpunk 2077, F1 22, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, and more.
As seen with DLSS 3, the Ada generation is much more than "smaller = more," with NVIDIA introducing back-end technology in the form of Shader Execution Reordering - which effectively ensures render tasks happen more efficiently and without running into bottlenecks. This means a leap forward in the real-time rendering of hardware-intensive ray-tracing effects.
The Ada generation also levels up NVIDIA's already formidable content creation chops with the arrival of AV1 encoding for better video quality for streamers without sacrificing anything in the way of performance or more bandwidth.
Specs and Test System
Here we can see how the specs and hardware stack up for the GeForce RTX 4060 compared to the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3060 and this generation's GeForce RTX 4060 Ti.
Compared to the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB, the GeForce RTX 4060 does more with less - which is strange for a gen-on-gen upgrade. Like with the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, you've got a brand-new GeForce graphics card with fewer CUDA Cores than its predecessor, fewer RT and Tensor Cores, a cut-down memory interface, and less VRAM to boot. In the current climate of VRAM capacity being extremely important for the immediate future of PC gaming, at a glance, looking at the GeForce RTX 4060 specs is enough to fill you with a bit of dread.
Of course, there are significant differences between GeForce RTX 30 Series's Ampere architecture and the newer Ada Lovelace architecture found across the GeForce RTX 40 Series. RT and Tensor hardware has improved considerably; adding AI-specific hardware for DLSS 3 and Frame Generation is a testament to that. On the plus side, you've got an almost 700 MHz increase in Boost Clock speeds and a massive increase to L2 Cache, which does help improve the 1% low performance for smoother gaming. It also helps compensate for the shift to 8GB for the GeForce RTX 4060 - though it would have been nice to see both this and the RTX 4060 Ti arrive in 12GB form.
The MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X Black 8G OC is an MSRP model that features the baseline spec outlined by NVIDIA, with an OC Mode of a very modest 2505 MHz available via MSI Center or manually with MSI Afterburner. For this review, we used out-of-the-box specs. As the entry-level model from MSI, it still features a solid (albeit mostly plastic) build and is lightweight and compact to boot, with dimensions of 199 x 120 x 41 mm. The sort of GPU that could fit into any case.
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060
- Model: MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X Black 8G OC
- Interface: PCI Express 4.0
- CUDA Cores: 3072
- Tensor Cores: 96 (4th Generation)
- RT Cores: 24 (3rd Generation)
- Clocks: Boost: 2460 MHz, OC via MSI Center
- Memory: 8GB GDDR6
- Memory Speed: 17 Gbps
- Memory Interface: 128-bit
- Total Memory Bandwidth: 272 GB/s (453 GB/s effective)
- L2 Cache: 24576 K
- Display Connections: 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.1 x 1
- Power Connectors: 1 x PCIe 8-pin cable
- Recommended PSU: 550W
- What's in the Box: MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X 8G OC, Quick Start Guide
Kosta's Test System
- Motherboard: MSI MPG X670E Carbon Wi-Fi
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
- Cooler: Corsair iCUE H100i RGB PRO XT Liquid CPU Cooler
- RAM: 64GB (2x32GB) Corsair DOMINATOR PLATINUM RGB DDR5 DRAM 5200MHz
- SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 4TB, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 8TB
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W
- Case: Thermaltake Core P3 Tempered Glass Snow
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro 64-bit
Physical Design and Cooling
MSI's Ventus range of graphics cards has been around for several years and, over that time, has seen several improvements and refinements made to the construction and cooling. The MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X Black 8G OC sits on the smaller side with a two-slot design, a short length, and twin fans used to keep the GPU cool. Under load, you're looking at temperatures in the 60-65 degrees Celsius range and fans spinning at roughly 35-40% or 1400 RPM.
Although plastic, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X also features a reinforced backplate that adds to the overall quality, with an all-black finish that is subtle and free from any RGB lighting. It's a small, compact, no-frills physical design that's more than okay for a mainstream GPU. It's also silent, with the TORX FAN 4.0 system turning off when the temperature drops below a certain threshold, and due to the overall size, it barely makes a sound when they spin up.
Connection-wise, you've got three DisplayPort 1.4 ports on the back, alongside a single HDMI 2.1 port, which is standard for the GeForce RTX 40 Series.
Benchmarks - 15 Game Averages
The Games and Tests
In 2023 PC gaming is a complicated and varied space, from indie games to major blockbuster releases and titles that push hardware and technology to their limit with the adoption of effects like real-time ray-tracing.
This is all a way of saying that the 15 in-game benchmarks we've chosen (and run at 1080p and 1440p) represent a wide range of styles, not only in terms of genres, like first-person shooters and racing games but also in the API technology (DirectX 11, 12) and cutting-edge features like ray tracing and upscaling technology.
Results include DLSS and FSR 2, where possible, as both technologies are the sorts of things, especially in 1440p and 4K, which you'd turn on. Six of the 15 game benchmarks also feature ray tracing, a great way to see the additional benefit of NVIDIA's DLSS and Frame Generation technology. Also, each title is set to ultra-equivalent quality settings to push GPU hardware and minimize CPU bottlenecks at higher resolutions.
Also, it's just fun to max out a game's visual settings and see the results. Here's the breakdown of games, graphics settings, and what's being tested.
And with 15 games, a special shoutout goes to Sabrent for providing us with the storage to ensure we can keep everything installed - and then some - with both the Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus-G M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 4TB and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Plus-G M.2 PCIe Gen 4 SSD 8TB offering exceptional performance, capacity, and reliability.
We can keep all our benchmark software installed while also installing every new game release that comes our way.
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Ultra High-quality settings, with the in-game benchmark tool used.
- Borderlands 3: Ultra quality settings, with the in-game benchmark tool used.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: Ultra quality setting, in-game multiplayer benchmark tool used.
- Cyberpunk 2077: Ultra quality setting, in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Cyberpunk 2077 (RT): Ray tracing Ultra quality setting, in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- DOOM Eternal (RT): Ultra Nightmare quality setting with ray-tracing enabled, the opening of Mars Core campaign level used to benchmark.
- F1 22 (RT): Ultra High-quality setting with ray tracing, one lap of the Bahrain track benchmarked. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Forza Horizon 5 (RT): Extreme quality setting with ray tracing enabled, in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- Hitman (RT): Ultra-quality settings with ray-tracing, Dubai scene benchmarked. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included. A May 2023 update to the game has greatly improved performance, so comparison results are limited.
- Horizon Zero Dawn: Ultimate quality setting, in-game benchmark used.
- Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (RT): Ultra quality setting with ray tracing enabled, the in-game benchmark tool used.
- Rainbow Six Extraction: Ultra quality settings and in-game benchmark tool used.
- Red Dead Redemption 2: Maximum quality settings, with in-game benchmark tool used. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS results are included.
- The Division 2: Ultra quality settings with in-game benchmark tool used.
- Total War: Warhammer III: Ultra-quality settings with the in-game Battle Benchmark tool used.
15 Game Average FPS - 1080p Results
Covering non-DLSS or Frame Generation enhanced performance, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X delivers impressive 1080p results. Compared to the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3060 12GB (and a premium OC model from ASUS, no less), you're looking at a 17.4% uplift. The GeForce RTX 4060's MSRP of USD 299 means it competes directly with AMD's new mainstream RDNA 3 offering, the Radeon RX 7600. Regarding raw 1080p performance across 15 games, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X outperforms AMD's latest mainstream GPU by around 8.6% while consuming approximately 30% less power.
The two GPUs do trade blows in some games, with the Radeon RX 7600 pulling ahead in titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Borderlands 3. For the most part, the GeForce RTX 4060 stays comfortably ahead, especially regarding ray tracing - an area where NVIDIA remains the leader.
The MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X continues the amazing Ada Lovelace efficiency story, where you're getting a generational uplift in performance alongside better efficiency. Compared to the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X is roughly 19% slower for 1080p gaming. Compared to the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, it's approximately 5.6% slower. Still, triple-digit 1080p performance, on average, is excellent to see, especially when each title is set to max or near-max visual quality settings.
15 Game Average FPS - 1440p Results
The MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X is a 1440p card, delivering outstanding results in several titles; the drop-off from 1080p to 1440p sits at around 30%, so it's also not. The performance uplift over the GeForce RTX 3060 drops to 13.1%, while the lead over the Radeon RX 7600 increases slightly to 9.5%. Then again, DLSS 2 Super Resolution is available in most PC games in 2023. Suppose you factor that in (which you should because it's fantastic technology even at lower resolutions). In that case, performance will increase dramatically without impacting visual fidelity when using the Quality preset.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II's 1440p performance jumps up from 64 fps to 98 fps. F1 22 jumps up from 55 to 92 fps; the list continues. Although not included in these benchmarks (but will be at some point in the future), Diablo IV runs exceptionally well at 1440p, with both DLSS 2 and Frame Generation on the RTX 4060.
Also, when looking at a GPU like the GeForce RTX 4060, tweaking settings to maximize performance is a part of the deal - especially regarding 1440p. The good news is that NVIDIA's Optimal Playable Settings in GeForce Experience is available for the new RTX 4060 on day one to help make that process seamless and automated.
Benchmarks - 3DMark FireStrike
3DMark FireStrike is a DirectX 11 test that has been around for many years and covers quite a large portion of games released over the past decade - at least in terms of the API and graphics technologies used. The three tests cover the resolutions - 1080p, 1440p, and 4K. Using the baseline 1080p test, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X delivers a 21% improvement over the GeForce RTX 3060. However, it falls behind the Radeon RX 7600 by around 7%-a strange result and something not reflected by the actual in-game benchmarks.
Benchmarks - 3DMark TimeSpy and Port Royal
With 3DMark TimeSpy being DirectX 12-based, it's a more relevant synthetic benchmark for modern games. Here we see the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X deliver a score 15% higher than the GeForce RTX 3060. Compared to AMD's mainstream Radeon RX 7600, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X's score is around 2% lower but roughly the same. Even though the 4K score is 15% higher than the GeForce RTX 3060, it's not at the level you'd consider the GPU 4K-capable.
3DMark Port Royal is a synthetic ray-tracing benchmark, an area where NVIDIA's new Ada Lovelace architecture excels. Here we see the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X deliver a score 12.6% higher than the GeForce RTX 3060 and 10.7% higher than AMD's mainstream Radeon RX 7600. It's underwhelming as we expected this to be the test where the GeForce RTX 4060 pulls away from its predecessor and competition. Still, actual in-game benchmarks paint a different picture, but the RT performance for the GeForce RTX 4060 isn't quite where it should be.
That said, DLSS Super Resolution and Frame Generation let you play Cyberpunk 2077 on the demanding RT Ultra setting with near 100 fps performance, so there's that.
Benchmarks - 1080p Gaming
Benchmarks - 1440p Gaming
Benchmarks Summary, Ray-Tracing Performance, and DLSS 3
The MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X delivers when it comes to 1080p gaming. However, the 20% uplift over the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3060 is not that exciting when looking at raw performance numbers. The improved efficiency is a big plus, and with only 110W of power being consumed when gaming, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X story begins to take shape.
One feature exclusive to the GeForce RTX 40 Series is the addition of DLSS 3 and Frame Generation, and the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X delivers when it comes to 1080p gaming with DLSS 3 enabled. Outside of the following benchmarks, I also spent several hours playing Diablo IV with DLSS enabled and was surprised by how good it looked and how responsive it was - even with a speedy Rogue build. NVIDIA's groundbreaking tech scales remarkably well.
For Cybeprunk 2077, using the RT Ultra setting, the triple-digit frame-rate result with DLSS 3 represents a 2.8X increase over native 1080p rendering. In Forza Horizon 5, with RT enabled using the game's Extreme visual quality setting, you're looking at a more modest 1.2X increase. For F1 22 and Hitman 3, two titles with great ray-tracing implementations, it's an impressive 2X increase over native 1080p rendering.
As seen with the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, DLSS 3 and Frame Generation is also a technology suitable for 1080p gaming, which owners of the mainstream GeForce RTX 40 Series cards can tap into.
Temperature and Power Efficiency
The GeForce RTX 4060 is the next power-efficient GeForce RTX 40 Series card from NVIDIA, where its 115W rating is not only less than the previous generation's GeForce RTX 3060 but also substantially lower than its direct competitor's - the Radeon RX 7600, which features a power rating of 165W.
Across our 15-game benchmark suite, we can see that the average power draw sits close to the 115W limit, with the 110W used when gaming in 1080p sitting lower than even the GeForce RTX 3050. Low power draw is one thing; it's the fact that the GeForce RTX 4060 delivers a 20% increase in performance over the GeForce RTX 3060 while using 30% less power that makes it all so impressive.
As mentioned earlier, the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X remains cool and quiet when in use, and as per the numbers captured during a stress test, we see that temperatures sit in that sweet spot 60-65 degrees range with a hot spot of 72.3 degrees Celsius, with moderate fan speeds. For a small compact card, these are excellent results.
There's no Founders Edition model for the GeForce RTX 4060, but as NVIDIA supplied the MSI GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X for this review, it's our first review of the new mainstream Ada Lovelace GPU. Even though it's a relatively small unit, physically speaking, a lot is happening underneath the hood. In addition to providing a nice generational uplift over the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB regarding both 1080p and 1440p performance, you've also got incredible power efficiency making this one of the most eco-friendly GPU releases in years.
On top of that, there's the new architecture and technology like DLSS 3's Frame Generation and little things like AV1 encoding for content creators. The second NVIDIA adds AV1 encoding to ShadowPlay, that'll become a killer feature for all gamers. Regarding DLSS 3, yes, it works at 1080p, and yes, it both looks good and feels great across most titles - from Cyberpunk 2077 to Diablo IV.
In the end, there are some shortcomings, namely the 8GB limitation in memory and the slower memory bus. Also, outside of DLSS 3, the performance increases are fine but generally unexciting for a market segment that is the most competitive. Thanks to previous generation models being sold with significant discounts, the USD 299 price point for the RTX 4060 is the best we've seen from NVIDIA this generation, but maybe not as aggressive as it needs to be in the current climate.
That said, MSI's GeForce RTX 4060 Ventus 2X itself is an excellent mainstream choice for PC gaming, a great little unit that delivers when it comes to 1080p and 1440p gaming and something that takes full advantage of groundbreaking tech like DLSS Super Resolution and Frame Generation.