MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio Review — a sexy, silent and cool dragon!
MSI took the cooler from their GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio and slapped it onto the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio for some really impressive cooling. You will have to pay top dollar for the privilege though.
3 Year Warranty
+ Included GPU brace is a nice touch
+ Amazing design that looks aggressive without trying too hard
+ Impressive attention to details
+ Generous application of RGB
+ Sturdy build
+ Cooler runs very efficiently: silent and effective
- Graphene backplate doesn't give feel as premium as metal backplates
- Pricey for a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is pretty much the sweet spot in the GeForce RTX 30 series lineup for now, bringing performance that’s pretty close to the GeForce RTX 3070 at a nice discount. But the difference in cost does shrink with the more premium GeForce RTX 3060 Ti cards, and today we will be taking a look at one of them, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio. Let’s go.
The packaging of the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is decidedly more premium than the other AIB cards we have checked out from ASUS and GIGABYTE. Instead of a hard paper sleeve, we actually have a printed cardboard box that protects yet another cardboard box inside. The front here offers very little info, instead allowing you to feast your eyes on the beauty that is the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio.
Over on the back, MSI decided to highlight a few of their key features. While the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio may slot in rather low in hierarchy of GeForce RTX 30 series cards, the Gaming X Trio lineup is one of MSI’s premium lineups, slotting in just below the new SUPRIM and flagship Lightning series from previous generations.
In the box you get quite a bit of documentation, including two guides on how to install the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio into your rig. One of them is cartoonish with Lucky guiding you along, while the other is more conventional with diagrams showing you how to put the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio into your build. Differentiating the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio from the rest of the cards out there is an included graphics card support, to prevent any sag from marring the sleek appearance of the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio.
MSI went with a very nice design this generation. Gone is the weird asymmetrical fan setup of the previous generations of Gaming X Trio cards, and we now have three 90mm fans. We will talk more about them in a bit. This design is shared with the higher-end cards in the Gaming X Trio family as well, and I am not complaining one bit. The shroud sports a nice mix of angles and a mild dual-tone finish that adds a touch of aggressiveness to the card, without making it look like they are trying too hard like the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 series cards.
The backplate here is pretty contentious: instead of going with an aluminium backplate, this here is a composite graphene backplate. It is quite a bit thicker than the average aluminium backplates, but this feels like plastic, which is not what you want on a card with premium ambitions like the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio.
It does seem to conduct heat better than your average plastic backplate, but I do think that a regular aluminium backplate would still outperform this when it comes to sheer heat dissipation. With that said, backplates are generally there to provide structural support rather than provide cooling outright.
At the rear end of the backplate, MSI incorporated a few slits to allow air to flow directly through the heatsink. Given the small slits, I kinda doubt a lot of air will flow through these holes here, but I guess some is better than none.
The side of the card is pretty exposed, which allows the chunky fin array to peek out. There’s plenty of area for exhausting hot air, which is what you want. You can also spot the anti-sag brace near the I/O bracket of the card, which also serves to help cool the power delivery system near the I/O bracket.
Dual 8-pin power connectors feed the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio, which might seem unnecessary, but this card does tout a 240W TGP that is just slightly above the combined 225W that the PCIe slot and a single 8-pin PCIe power connector can supply within spec. I am glad that MSI didn’t go with a 6-pin though, as two 8-pins definitely look better than a 8 + 6-pin arrangement.
MSI emphasized the design of their heatsink quite a bit. While most brands will just slap flat fins onto heatpipes and call it a day, MSI created airflow guides to increase the surface area of the fins to improve heat dissipation. The overall thickness of the card already allows for more surface area than what’s necessary to cool the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, so it’s interesting that MSI saw it fit to add an extra step to the design of the heatsinks on the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio.
The top edge of the heatsinks are also quite unique, with a wavy pattern to it. This is supposed to disrupt unwanted harmonics to reduce noise. You might also notice that the fan blades are linked, but only on every other blade. This is what MSI calls their TORX FAN 4.0, which should offer increased static pressure. This is an interesting difference in design, with semi-linked blades instead of the full ring around the fans like seen with the ASUS Axial-tech fans and also the fans on the Ampere Founders Edition cards.
For I/O, you get the NVIDIA reference three DisplayPort 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1 output. The bracket appears to be nickel plated to better endure the elements, with a generous amount of perforation. Given the design of the heatsink, you probably won’t get much hot air out of the card this way, but as with the backplate cutout, some is better than none.
MSI applies RGB very liberally on this card, unlike their peers. There’s a huge RGB strip along the side of the backplate, and the MSI logo is also illuminated. The lighting is not really diffuse, which is a slight bummer to me, as you can visibly spot where the LEDs are under that white plastic strip.
The fan shroud also gets three “claw marks” along the diagonal of the center fan. It looks very aggressive and I absolutely dig it, but if you prefer a more understated look in your build, you can always turn them off.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (GA104)
|Clocks||Base Clock: 1410MHz
Boost Clock: 1830MHz (+165MHz over FE)
|Cores||4864 CUDA Cores
152 Tensor Cores
38 RT Cores
|Display outputs||3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power connector(s)||2 x 8-pin|
|Interface||PCIe 4.0 x16|
|Dimensions||32.3 x 14.0 x 5.6 cm|
|CPU||Intel Core i9-10900K @ 5.1GHz|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS MASTER|
|Memory||2 x 8GB T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3600MHz CL14|
|Storage||120GB Kingston UV400 SATA SSD
960GB Kingston UV500 SATA SSD
1TB Kingston KC2500 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD
1TB Seagate FireCuda SSHD
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V1200 Platinum|
|GPU Driver||NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Drivers 461.09|
The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio outperforms the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition in Superposition, although not by a huge margin. While it does tout a relatively large difference in boost clocks in the specifications, the final effective boost isn’t that far off thanks to NVIDIA’s boost algorithms at play.
For some reason it slots itself below the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition in 3DMark Time Spy. Once again, not by a huge margin anyway, so it is almost negligible.
3DMark Port Royal sees it deliver a slightly higher score than the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition. Of course, when compared against the higher-tier GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition, it doesn’t stand a chance in every benchmark.
At 4K, the only games I would consider playable on the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is Death Stranding and Far Cry 5. Even with the help of DLSS, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is clearly not suitable for 4K gaming, especially if you want to add raytracing into the equation.
Things begin to look up at 1440p, with the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio capable of really playable frame rates in a number of titles. Turning on DLSS improves the situation significantly, especially in titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Control which tout very complex raytracing effects. If the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti didn’t tout DLSS, the situation would have been quite dire at this resolution with all the intense raytracing effects that the latest titles sport.
Finally, at 1080p, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is capable of delivering well above 60FPS in most titles. Of course, DLSS is still quite necessary if you really want to enjoy raytraced effects in your games. Otherwise, you are set for a really great experience at this resolution.
Pitted against the Founders Edition card, we see differences ranging from -2% to +20% at 1080p. I must mention that Godfall‘s improvement is definitely well above what you would expect from a small boost in clocks, with a possibility of the gains being attributed to game and driver updates as well.
Meanwhile at 1440p, the gap shrinks across most games, with both cards offering the same frame rates in most games. For some reason, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio underwhelms in Dirt 5 at 1440p. Once again, Godfall posts the biggest difference at 19%.
As you would expect, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is capable of much cooler temperatures, delivering all that great performance you saw earlier while also running cooler than the Founders Edition card. With it coming with a triple fan cooler which means it is not only longer, but also thicker than the Founders Edition, this is definitely expected.
What makes it all the more impressive is that the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio posted those cool temperatures without breaking a sweat at all. The fans spin at a leisurely 1158RPM on average, which is absolutely inaudible over the noise of the CPU cooler. Put it in a case, and you won’t hear anything from the card under load.
Even with these slow fan speeds, the GPU stayed below 68°C throughout our test, despite a rather lofty 240W TGP limit. The low temperatures and high TGP allowed the GPU to boost up to 1965MHz, with average clocks of around 1920MHz. Notably, it is only around 40MHz faster than the Founders Edition, but that’s still a nice uplift, with real-world results as seen above.
I must admit, I was already sold on the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio by its design. But putting that aside, the attention MSI paid to improve cooling and reduce noise levels is very commendable, especially in a lower-end card like the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio. Now, what about the pricing? Well, MSI asks for RM2699 for the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio, which is still pretty reasonable, because I really like what I am seeing on this card, both in terms of aesthetics and performance.
MSI probably over-engineered the cooling for the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti which contributed to the increased cost, but cooling is something that’s usually worth paying more for. For a card that runs this quietly, I am quite impressed by the relatively low temperatures. My only concern with this card is with its non-metal backplate, but given that the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti doesn’t have memory modules on the back of its PCB, I guess it is not too much of an issue.
Our thanks to MSI Malaysia for sending us the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio for review.