Introduction

An update before we begin, our review is being published post-launch for this video card, which launched on February 25th. The reason for this was shipping delays. NVIDIA sent us a video card well ahead of time, and of no fault to them, it was shipping delays due to factors like the recent winter storms that delayed the arrival of our GPU an entire week late. We received it literally the day after the launch. It was certainly planned to have the review published on launch date, but it was outside of our and NVIDIA’s control. Big thanks to NVIDIA and EVGA for working with us through this delay.

NVIDIA is continuing to roll out its lineup of Ampere-based GPUs.  This was expected, despite the shortage and supply issues of current generation GPUs this year.  The Ampere architecture was always intended to encompass a series of GeForce RTX video cards up and down the price scale.  You have your high-end cards, midrange, and finally lower-end.  Therefore, the launch of a new GPU is not shocking news and will provide gamers an upgrade from the previous generations bringing new features. 

The video card that launched on February 25th is the GeForce RTX 3060 which sits in just under the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti.  To date, this is the cheapest by price Ampere video card, and at the lower end of the GPU series lineup.  The official “MSRP” is $329 for base model GeForce RTX 3060 video cards.  We put MSRP in quotes because this time, there will be no Founders Edition model from NVIDIA.  That means that in reality, the manufacturers (add-in-board partners) will actually decide the pricing on their products. The GeForce RTX 3060 is entirely provided by add-in-board partners this time.

GeForce RTX 3060  

The new GeForce RTX 3060 pulls everything from the current Ampere architecture.  It uses the new 2nd generation RT Cores and 3rd generation Tensor Cores as every GeForce RTX 3000 series GPU does.  That means it is going to be much more powerful at Ray Tracing and DLSS compared to even last generation’s Turing architecture.  The GeForce RTX 3060 should provide a nice improvement in Ray Tracing and DLSS compared to video cards like the GeForce RTX 2060 just from the last generation. 

Of course, it will also provide a big upgrade from video cards even older, like the very popular GeForce GTX 1060 (Pascal architecture) video card.  Because it is based on the Ampere architecture the GeForce RTX 3060 also allows new NVIDIA technologies.  It supports NVIDIA Broadcast, NVIDIA Reflex, NVIDIA IO, AV1 decode, and HDMI 2.1 support.

Let’s look at the numbers.  The GeForce RTX 3060 is based on Samsung 8nm manufacturing process, same as all the other RTX 30 series GPUs.  It has 28 SMs and 3584 CUDA Cores.  It has 112 (3rd generation) Tensor Cores and 28 (2nd generation) RT Cores.  It has 112 texture units and 48 ROPs.  The GPU Boost Clock will be 1777MHz. It has 12GB of GDDR6 VRAM at 15GHz on a 192-bit bus which provides 360GB/s of memory bandwidth.  The TGP is 170 Watts. 

SpecsGeForce RTX 3060 TiGeForce RTX 3060GeForce RTX 2060
Process / Arch.Samsung 8nm / AmpereSamsung 8nm / Ampere12nm FinFET / Turing
SMs382830
CUDA Cores486435841920
RT Cores38 (2nd Gen)28 (2nd Gen)30 (1st Gen)
Tensor Cores152 (3rd Gen)112 (3rd Gen)240 (2nd Gen)
Texture Units152112120
ROPs804848
GPU Boost1665MHz1777MHz1680MHz
Memory Clock14GHz15GHz7GHz
Total VRAM8GB GDDR612GB GDDR66GB GDDR6
Bus Width256-bit192-bit192-bit
Bandwidth448GB/s360GB/s336GB/s
TGP200W170W160W

Intended Audience

What is the targeted gaming use and user base for the GeForce RTX 3060?  Well, this video card is squarely targeted at providing a high-end 1080p gaming experience in modern games utilizing Ray Tracing and DLSS.  It should allow playable Ray Tracing performance in modern games at 1080p.  Turn on DLSS and the experience should be smooth with Ray Tracing.  It should even, in our opinion, allow some 1440p (without Ray Tracing) playable performance depending on the game. 

NVIDIA is looking at the GeForce RTX 3060 as an upgrade from the very popular GeForce GTX 1060 video card which released in 2016.  A lot of gamers may still be holding on to their GeForce GTX 1060 video cards, at least as the STEAM survey seems to indicate.  It was a very popular video card, and very powerful for the time.  However, it lacks the kind of performance needed today. Plus, it doesn’t have hardware support for Ray Tracing and DLSS. The GeForce GTX 1060 is also further held back today because it only came in 6GB or 3GB VRAM variants.  It also lacks some of the newer NVIDIA technologies. 

That’s where the new GeForce RTX 3060 comes in.  It’s a perfect upgrade path from the GeForce GTX 1060.  The GeForce GTX 1060 launched with an MSRP of $299 for the 6GB model.  The new GeForce RTX 3060 is $30 more but comes with 12GB of GDDR6. 

Even looking back to just the last generation, the equivalent upgrade comes from the GeForce RTX 2060.  The GeForce RTX 2060 launched in early 2019, over a year ago. It launched at $339, but over the course of its stay did get a price drop to $299.  Therefore, it is also, or was, at a similar price range as the GeForce RTX 3060.  The GeForce RTX 3060 has 12.7 Shader-TFLOPS, 24.9 RT-TFLOPS, and 37.6 Total TFLOPS for Ray Tracing compared to the GeForce RTX 2060s 6.5 Shader-TFLOPS, 19.5 RT-TFLOPS, and 26 Total TFLOPS for Ray Tracing.  The GeForce RTX 3060 should really allow useable Ray Tracing at 1080p where the GeForce RTX 2060 just could not.

Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

Join the Conversation

5 Comments

  1. Quality review as always Brent!

    I’m currently targeting this card for my kids machines, as they only have 1080p monitors and this will make sure they’re taken care of for years to come.

Leave a comment