The majority of PC part launches from established companies are successes, as professionals usually try to design good products for the purpose of attracting customers.
From time to time, however, the human beings at such companies make mistakes, or go overboard on the alcohol, or let the engineers dream a little too much. The past week gave us a rare and beautiful opportunity to see not one but two hugely entertaining slipping-on-banana-peel-tier product launch failures, with a pratfall each from nVidia and AMD.
The RTX 4060 Ti
This new card is more power-efficient than old cards.
This card has DLSS 3. You do not fancy acronyms? The card can generate “fake” frames and insert them between real frames. How good is it? Well, it’s simply bad for competitive multiplayer games and any games that require fast reflexes, since players of those don’t want to be fed ‘interpolated’ (false) info about what’s happening in the game. But for slower-paced singleplayer titles, some people like DLSS because the visual artifacts it introduces are outweighed for them by the illusion of smoother performance.
Or that nuanced situation is the way it might be for DLSS and DLSS 2… Kitguru gives us the numbers that put this feature decidedly in the “meh” category here: There are more than 50,000 games on Steam, of which 34 have the DLSS 3 option. Thirty four, not a typo.
Oh boy! Why are we looking at a $400 card aimed at 1080p gaming? We had that solved four years ago. Some reviewers (who are certainlyTM not compensated by nVidia) have been parroting the fact that the 4060 Ti’s $400 price “is the same as the MSRP of the 3060 Ti,” forgetting that the 3060 Ti launched at the height of the pandemic, and was one of the many reasons the phrase “pandemic pricing” entered the mainstream. A non-pandemic mid-tier card should be priced between $200 and $300. $400 is much closer to high-end pricing, not mid-tier.
And what kind of performance are we getting for $400? Regression, in some scenarios! Yes, that’s right; there are some prominent games where the shiny new 4060 Ti has LOWER performance than the cheaper 3060 Ti that was launched two years ago! We are not even comparing nVidia to AMD, but nVidia to two-years-ago nVidia, and the 4060 Ti still looks bad.
In truth, trying to find justification for the existence of the 4060 Ti at its current price is futile. Who can benefit from this card? Someone who wants 3060 Ti performance… but wants to pay $400 instead of $330? If you are giving me performance from two years ago and the same VRAM capacity as two years, then at least give a price cut, not a price increase for fake frames! Greedy, nVidia, greedy!
The RX 7600
This new card is more power-efficient than old cards. Déjà vu?
The card has no regression in performance. In all scenarios, it performs better than the RX 6600 and RX 6650 XT. Slightly better. Very slightly. Humanly-imperceptible, negligibly-higher difference in performance. We are talking 2% better.
Unbelievably, after seeing nVidia embarrass themselves with the above-discussed launch, AMD decided it wanted to immerse itself in its own pile of
steaming glowing praise from the community. As reported in the prior section, the RX 7600 is nearly indistinguishable from the RX 6650 XT, last year’s refresh of the RX 6600 (which in turn launched two years ago). Except, of course, the RX 6600 is $200. So, if you have $70 that you just want to throw into the trash, AMD has you covered with the $270 RX 7600.
What is happening here? Your guess, friendly reader, is as good as mine. AMD had a golden opportunity to one-up nVidia, but instead decided to ape nVidia’s mistake. Why just be greedy like nVidia, when you can be both greedy… and foolish? Even the numbers are the same: $70 surcharge for either card, for performance that has been available for two years.
At least there is no regression in performance… You pay a noticable chunk of extra money, and get sliiiiightly better performance. And, hey, if we are comparing the RX 7600 to the RX 6650 XT, it is only an extra $20 for 2%. That’d seem just about reasonable, if those two GPUs had launched around the same time from two different companies!
Of the two, AMD’s launch is less horrid. Not good by any stretch of the imagination, just not a full-on disaster. And that is only because someone at AMD recovered from the hangover and realized what was happening, and reduced the launch price at the last second. Kudos to you, whoever you are. As a result of your panicked price adjustment, we will be begrudgingly adding the RX 7600 to the Very Good tier of our build chart, where it will sit behind our main recommendation in that tier (which is its older and cheaper and 2% different RX 6650 XT sibling).
The RTX 4060 Ti can wait for a price cut, or until the RTX 3060 Ti runs out-of-stock.
Please note: While these two launches were a joke, and we have pointed and laughed, it does not mean that these companies make bad products. We have seen tonnes of other launches, and 90% of the time, those products have been recommended in prominent positions in the chart from day one.
But there is no such thing as a perfect company with a 100% successful record, and we must tell you, friendly reader, about the badly launched products as well as the good ones. If AMD and nVidia were to come to their senses tomorrow and implement a price cut to make these products more reasonable, everyone would be much happier.
In the meantime, enjoy this meme.