RTX 4060 vs RTX 3080 – which one is the winner?

It's a showdown between Ampere and Ada with the RTX 3080 vs the 4060

RTX 4060 vs RTX 3080 - which one is the winner? Image shows the RTX 3080 in front of blurred PC screens

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Are you ready to embark on a journey into the capabilities of gaming graphics? Today, we compare two formidable contenders from Nvidia’s 40 series and 30 series, the RTX 4060 vs the RTX 3080. These cards respectively represent the new Ada Lovelace architecture and the trusty Ampere architecture; so is it worth going for the newer budget graphics card that’s Ada equipped, or the last-gen GPU that still seems to hold its own?

To help make your decision that bit easier, we’ve put together this detailed comparison that dives deep into the specs, performance, and overall value of the RTX 4060 and the RTX 3080. For a full exploration of the capabilities of the former, we recommend checking out our RTX 4060 review to further unpack the 4060’s benchmark performance and market placement. Now, let’s jump into the comparison.

Quick answer

To put it simply, which one you go for depends on your needs and budget. The RTX 4060 is great in 1080p, and as a budget-friendly card it’s one of the cheapest ways to get Ada architecture and DLSS 3 frame generation. However, despite being over three years old, the RTX 3080 is still considered one of the best 4K cards in terms of price to performance value, and is potentially going to continue getting more affordable: unfortunately, it’s still found priced around $600, which is a lot more than the $299 asking price of the 4060.

ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 4060 OC Edition

Asus Dual GeForce RTX 4060 OC Edition graphics card with dual-fan cooler design.

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MSI NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB GAMING X TRIO Ampere Graphics Card

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RTX 4060 vs RTX 3080 specs and performance

Here’s a specs comparison table of the RTX 4060 vs 3080, which showcases the unique features of each card:

FeatureRTX 4060RTX 3080
GPU Cores30728704
Texture Mapping Units (TMUs)96272
Base Clock1395 MHz1440 MHz
Boost Clock1695 MHz1710 MHz
Memory8 GB GDDR610 GB GDDR6X
Memory Speed14 Gbps19 Gbps
Memory Interface256-bit320-bit
Power Consumption170 W320 W
TDP170 W320 W
RTX 4060 vs RTX 3080 specs comparison table

As you can probably tell, the difference in the price of the two cards is also reflected in the difference in their specs. The RTX 3080 is somewhat of a beast, with 8704 GPU cores, a boost clock of 1710 MHz, 10 GB VRAM, and a 320-bit memory interface. What this creates is a GPU that excels in high FPS 4K gaming. In all its specs aspects, the 3080 outperforms the 4060: unfortunately, this includes power consumption. With a TDP of a massive 320W, a setup that’s built to push the 3080 to its limits needs to consider the best cases for the RTX 3080 to optimize cooling potential.

Next, let’s investigate the RTX 4080 specs-wise. As an entry-level GPU, the 4080 is one of the weakest of the current-generation Ada graphics card lineup, but altogether it makes a decent unit for 1080p gameplay on a budget. It features 3072 GPU cores, a boost clock of 1695 Mhz, 8 GB VRAM, and a 256-bit memory interface. Its cutting-edge architecture and optimized processing cores provide a level of efficiency that rivals the 3080, with a power consumption of just 170W.

RTX 4060 vs RTX 3080 performance showdown

As expected from both its specs and its reputation, our own benchmarking tests conducted by WePC’s Sebastian Kozlowski show the card largely archives its goal of providing 1080p frame rates of 60fps and above. Even demanding games, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, and Far Cry 6 didn’t create any problems for the 4060, even when played at ultra settings. While the performance is a bit more varied for 1440p gaming, you still get great results from titles such as Rainbow Six Seige at 241 FPS, and CS:GO at 299 FPS. It’s worth noting that these benchmarks don’t include DLSS or ray tracing, and the addition of these features might make your results even more varied.

GameRTX 4060 at 1080pRTX 4060 at1440p
Cyberpunk 20777748
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla10674
Far Cry 612484
Rainbow Six Siege392241
Shadow of the Tomb Raider163101
RTX 4060’s native performance in 1080p and 1440p at max settings

A review of the RTX 3080 over on our sister-site WePC.com means we can get some comparison benchmarks of the older but more powerful GPU. It won’t come as a surprise that this card was benchmarked in 1440p and 4k rather than 1080p, and as an older card, it’s also unfortunately been reviewed using different games. However, that doesn’t make the results any less impressive. Doom Eternal averaged 239 FPS at 1440p and 143 FPS at 4k, and other demanding titles such as Red Dead Redemption 2 came in at 94 FPS at 1440p and 67 at 4k.

When it comes to raw power, the RTX 3080 delivers unrivaled performance and gaming experience to the RTX 4060. It boasts impressive clock speeds and extensive memory bandwidth to elevate your gaming experience. 

4060 vs 3080 – innovative features

The RTX 3080 introduces advanced ray tracing capabilities that bring lifelike visuals to your screen. Witness the magic of real-time reflections and shadows that add depth and realism to your games. 

Not to be outdone, the RTX 4060 introduces Ada, an AI-powered feature that enhances gameplay like never before. Ada adapts to your gaming style, optimizing settings to ensure a smooth, immersive experience. With Ada in your corner, you can expect unparalleled performance tailored to your preferences.

The 4060 will also sport Nvidia DLSS and frame generation, two incredibly powerful features that allow the card a performance boost, and better benchmarks in certain games, like Cyberpunk 2077. This is what makes 40 series GPUs more lucrative, despite not having higher Cuda cores, RT cores, and the like.

RTX 4060 vs RTX 3080 price comparison

Now, let’s talk about price. The RTX 3080 is a flagship card with a premium price tag, catering to those who demand the absolute best in graphics performance. It’s also the older of the two, and was launched back in September 2020 with an MSRP of $699. On the other hand, the RTX 4060 came out in June 2023, and has a way more budget-friendly starting price of $299. But since each card came out, has either card dropped in price or become even more affordable? We’ve created some graphs on the reputable price tracking site (Camelcamelcamel) to get a sense of what these cards have currently been going for on Amazon.

(image source: Camelcamelcamel)

As you can see from the graph above that uses the PNY GeForce RTX 3080 as an example, the pricing has remained fairly stable over the time it’s been available on Amazon. However, it seems it did see a massive price drop from just last month, coming down from $679.99 to $639.99. Of course, it’s naturally hoped that as the card reaches its fourth year its price will further fall as it starts to get phased out by the next-gen RTX GPUs.

A line graph displaying price fluctuations for the RTX 4060 and RTX 3080 on Amazon, showing new and used prices over a selected time period with indicators for the lowest, highest,
(image source: Camelcamelcamel)

On the other hand, the RTX 4060 offers a more budget-friendly option without sacrificing too much on the power front. Our example here uses the MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 4060 on Amazon, and as you can see, the card is yet to dip below its MSRP of $299. This isn’t too surprising, given that the RTX 4060 isn’t even a year old yet. To point out the obvious, it’s still basically half the price of the RTX 3080, so comes in as a perfect choice for smaller systems or those building a gaming PC on a budget.

Can the RTX 4060 deliver comparable performance to the RTX 3080?

The RTX 4060’s advanced architecture and optimized processing cores provide impressive performance. While it may not match the raw power of the RTX 3080, its efficient design and AI-enhanced features, such as Ada, ensure a smooth and immersive gaming experience.

Is the RTX 4060 better than the RTX 3080?

In terms of overall power, performance, and gaming prowess, no, the RTX 4060 is not better than the RTX 3080. This is simply because of the card design and target audience: it is a smaller, midrange card that makes the Ada Lovelace architecture more accessible to gamers who don’t have over $500 to spend on a GPU. So, if you’re on about value for money instead of 4k gaming, then it could be said that the RTX 4060 is the better GPU when compared to the 3080.

Our Verdict

In the battle between the RTX 4060 and the RTX 3080, it’s clear that both cards have their strengths. The RTX 3080 dominates in sheer power and performance, delivering an extraordinary gaming experience. 

However, the RTX 4060 brings a unique edge with Ada, its AI-enhanced feature. It offers an enticing balance of performance and affordability, catering to a wider range of gamers. Ultimately, the choice comes down to your priorities and budget. So, which one will you crown as the champion?

Camilo is a contributor for PC Guide. He's been into tech since he was a teen, surfing through the web and local stores trying to find the cheapest way to play the latest Half-Life on his old Windows