Nvidia used to be a gaming hardware company through and through but now that it has struck gold with AI tech. After the release of its latest series of consumer graphics processing units (GPUs) and particularly the most recent GeForce RTX 4060, it’s clearly putting a fraction of its previous efforts into the tech.

Is Nvidia’s 4060 Really That Bad?

Nvidia’s lowest tier of GPUs, the ‘60 class’, has long been the most popular class of gaming graphics cards. 4 of the top 5 GPUs that use Steam, the premier PC gaming platform, are in the 60 class and the 5th is an older, even lower-end card (the GTX 1650).

Nvidia’s new card in the class, the 4060, isn’t horrible by any means. It’s better than the 3060 in most ways. It’s faster, more power-efficient and it’s even a bit cheaper (which is quite unusual for Nvidia).

Despite the fact that it beats out the previous generation 60-class card, it isn’t as much of an upgrade as is common in the GPU industry. The hardware was also actually downgraded compared to the 3060 in some ways.

The amount of video memory or VRAM on the card was dropped from 12 GB in the 3060 to 8 GB in the 4060. Today’s newest video games (especially PC ports like The Last of Us) rely more and more on large amounts of VRAM so this could be a significant problem for the newest games.

The 4060 also has fewer CUDA cores with 3,072 compared with the 3060’s 3,584. It runs on half the number of PCIe lanes as the previous generation card as well, which can become a data bottleneck, causing performance problems when the card’s VRAM limit is reached.

These hardware downgrades are made up for by superior software, especially its DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling tech. DLSS essentially allows for better picture quality and performance with less hardware by using AI.

Popular YouTube media group Linus Tech Tips ran an incredible 1,100 tests comparing the 4060 with other popular GPUs.

They found that the 4060 struggles to even tie with the 3060 Ti. Most notably, AMD cards crush the card in value and performance. The 4060 usually falls behind AMD’s RX 7600 which is $30-50 cheaper. Even worse, the RX 6700 XT is dramatically better and only about $10 more.

Image Courtesy of Linus Media Group

In the end, the 4060 delivers better performance than the 3060 in most cases but not by much.

The Early History of Nvidia

Nvidia was founded in 1993 by the current CEO Jensen Huang and 2 of his engineer friends: Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang

Like many of today’s largest tech companies, Nvidia was born in one of the founders’ homes in an apartment in Fremont, California. The name was a combination of “Nv,” standing for “next version” and invidia, a Latin word meaning “envy.”

The main goal of the company was to speed up the computing industry with their envied ‘next version’ tech. It would take nearly a decade before Nvidia’s tech was truly envied worldwide, however.

Before 1999 the company had achieved reasonable success making a 2D and 3D video graphics accelerator chip they called the RIVA TNT. By the end of the year, Nvidia released the very first GPU to power 3D simulations and games: the GeForce 256.


As it released better and better GPUs and developer tools, Nvidia graphics cards started a revolution of 3D graphics. They were incorporated into Xboxes and eventually PlayStation 3 consoles as well, making the company many hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the largest developments that drove this success was a developer toolkit called CUDA which the company released in 2006. It enabled the creation of complex 3D games and all manners of applications by harnessing the power of the GPU in a new way.

Nvidia Transitions From Gaming to AI

CUDA eventually gave Nvidia a massive edge in the AI hardware industry but it remained focused on consumer GPUs for more than a decade. Nvidia is now losing its edge in gaming, with its gaming revenue crashing nearly 50% in Q4 2022 as it focuses on AI.

Despite the painful drop in gaming revenue. It’s hard to blame the company. Its AI business made up for the losses in gaming that quarter and has sent the stock flying in 2023. Its revenue was actually down 13% from a year ago in Q1 but investors are focusing on the bright future Nvidia’s edge in AI tech is likely to bring.

Speculation of future success has driven the $NVDA stock up over 275% since October 2022 and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

There are other good reasons why Nvidia’s gaming revenue is down so much too. For one, the consumer GPU business is much more competitive nowadays. Nvidia’s main rival in the space, AMD, finally became competitive in the past few years and its recent RX 7000 series GPUs beat out most of their Nvidia 40 series counterparts in value if nothing else.

Other companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon are building their own chips to function best with their devices and software. This way they don’t need the immense experience of building the best hardware possible to make comparable chips.

It no longer makes business sense to stop diverting resources to AI and away from gaming for Nvidia so unless something massive in either industry changes, AMD may become the king of GPUs soon.

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