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GeForce RTX 4060 Review: A Top Budget GPU Buy for 1080p

The $299 Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 graphics card is an excellent representative of its upper-entry-level class.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
4 min read
Asus Dual RTX 4060 standing on a blue and yellow checkerboard surface, fan side forward and tilted by the bottom of the end bracket
Lori Grunin/CNET

As Nvidia works its way down through the price ranges with its graphics card announcements, the starting-at-$299 GeForce RTX 4060 sits as the entry-level priced model using the current architecture. The company isn't offering a house-branded Founders Edition version of an RTX 4060, but you're likely to see a slew of them from partners given the popularity of the price class. And the Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 model we tested is an excellent choice for the money.

Will the company release an even cheaper, desktop version of an RTX 4050? Probably. And if you're on a tight budget and just looking for playable 1080p, it's probably worth waiting a while until that happens or to see what's on sale toward the end of the year. But if you want to buy now, the RTX 4060 is your cheapest bet that's worth the money. 

asus-dual-rtx-4060-8gb-gpu-4069.jpg

Asus Dual RTX 4060

Like

  • Doesn't require PCIe 5 power adapter
  • Should fit in most midsize, entry budget PCs

Don't like

  • A bit large for its performance class

The RTX 4060 is targeted at roughly the same gamer as the RTX 4060 Ti, just about 20% less of one. In this case, it means mid-to-high-quality 1080p up to entry-1440p gamers. The 4060 Ti is bigger, takes a bit more power and requires the 8-to-12-pin PCIe 5 power cable adapter, though, which may make it less suitable for a budget-system upgrade, depending upon the size and age of your PC. It's a slightly better fit for upgrades, new builds with low-power -- a power supply of 600w or less -- or compact systems where you can't fit or support a triple-slot, 11-inch long card, making it a solid choice as an upgrade from a 20-series or older card.

But also like the 4060 Ti, it's not quite as attractive for using as a budget GPU for video-editing or some other types of creative tasks for the same reason: Lower bandwidth bottlenecks it for applications that don't benefit from Nvidia's method of relying on cache memory to compensate.

All current-generation Nvidia graphics cards still incorporate DisplayPort 1.4 rather than 2.1, but this card really can't run fast enough to need the higher bandwidth -- you really can't run anything in 4K at demanding frame rates with this card. And if you can, then switch to the HDMI 2.1 connection.

Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060

Memory 8GB GDDR6
Memory bandwidth (GBps) 272
Memory clock (GHz) 8.5
GPU clock (GHz, base/boost) 1.83/2.46
Memory data rate/Interface 17Gbps/128 bits
RT cores 24
CUDA Cores 3,072
Texture mapping units 96
Streaming multiprocessors 24
Tensor cores 96
Process 4nm
TGP/min PSU (watts) 115/550
Max thermal (degrees) 194F/90C
Bus PCIe 4.0x8
Size 2 slots; approx. 9 in./23cm long
Launch price $299
Ship date June 28, 2023

The Asus model we tested is pretty light, mostly because it uses a lot of plastic and has a ton of empty space for airflow along with vents on three sides. The backplate looks pretty easy to remove if you want to add liquid cooling, though the card doesn't run too hot, so you probably don't need it.

Performance

Nvidia's rationale for the RTX 4060's narrower memory path (128-bit vs. 192-bit for the RTX 3060) and overall reduced memory bandwidth is to highlight "effective" memory bandwidth. The higher effective number comes from the increase to 24MB L2 cache, up from 3MB in the last-generation 192-bit GPU, bringing it to 272GB/sec. actual vs. 453GB/sec. effective. 

Cache is a fast-retrieval location for frequently and recently used data, which applies to elements like game textures and ray trace calculations. Graphics editing operations tend to be sensitive to reusing data -- editing implies you're changing things. So performance gains there stem from faster clock speeds and Ada-architecture improvements, such as more efficient processing and a smaller fabrication process. 

A view of the back and backplate of the Asus Dual RTX 4060 card against a blue and yellow checkerboard background

The backplate looks pretty simple to remove, and the card uses a common 8-pin connector rather than a PCIe 5 12-pin connector.

Lori Grunin/CNET

That's not to say it doesn't fit exactly in the performance lineup where you'd expect it to be -- averaging roughly 20% below the 4060 Ti and 20% higher than the RTX 3060. 

It's also roughly equivalent to the Radeon RX 7600. Or better. Or worse. The only generalizable performance comparison between the two is for ray tracing, where (as much as it pains me to say it) AMD ray tracing: please, no, don't. Nvidia continues to vastly outstrip AMD in that quarter.

But a lot of people don't care about ray tracing. While I like the improved image quality it delivers, it's still a luxury compared to the more visceral improvements I see by increasing resolution, even by using Nvidia's DLSS optimization technology to compensate for the performance hit, or non-RT quality settings. 

In other words, it's not clear whether the current $30 you save by opting for the RX 7600 over the RTX 4060 is worth it. My gut says that the RTX 4060 Ti offers some better future-proofing, plus it can bump some current borderline playable games across the border for its $100-plus price premium, but if your choice is to spend that money on a better GPU or put it toward more storage, memory or a better headset, mouse or keyboard, I'd lean toward one of the latter.

As for the Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060, though, it's an excellent choice if you opt to go for an RTX 4060.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (1440p)

A750 LE 80RTX 3060 82RX 7600 82RTX 4060 96RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) 117RTX 4070 163
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

3DMark Time Spy graphics test

RTX 3060 8,628RTX 4060 10,560RX 7600 10,771A750 LE 13,018RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) 13,477RTX 4070 18,013
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

RTX 3060 5,269RTX 4060 6,040A750 LE 6,984RX 7600 7,401RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) 7,695RTX 4070 10,413
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Guardians of the Galaxy (1080p at maximum quality with ray tracing)

RX 7600 23RTX 3060 68RTX 4060 79RTX 4060 Ti 98RTX 4070 132
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

3DMark Speed Way (DX12 Ultimate)

RX 7600 1,955RTX 3060 2,157RTX 4060 2,359A750 LE 2,366RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) 3,181RTX 4070 4,479
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark DXR (DirectX Ray Tracing)

RTX 3060 19.47RX 7600 19.5RTX 4060 26.91A750 LE 29.57RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) 38.04RTX 4070 51.82
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

SpecViewPerf 2020 SolidWorks (1080p)

A750 LE 131.94RTX 3060 198.65RX 7600 217.38RTX 4060 247.49RTX 4060 Ti (8GB) 293.01RTX 4070 397.58
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

GPUs tested

Short nameCard tested
A750 LE Intel Arc A750 Limited Edition
RTX 3060 Asus Dual RTX 3060 OC Edition
RTX 4060 Asus Dual RTX 4060
RTX 4060 Ti Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 Ti Founders Edition
RTX 4070 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Founders Edition

Test PC configuration

Custom PC Microsoft Windows 11 Pro (22H2); 3.2GHz Intel Core i9-12900K; 32GB DDR5-4800; 2x Corsair MP600 Pro SSD; Corsair HX1200 80 Plus Platinum PSU, MSI MPG Z690 Force Wi-Fi motherboard, Corsair 4000D Airflow midtower case