At its CES 2021 conference, Nvidia introduced the expected GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card. After the RTX 3060 Ti, which the company launched before Christmas, it is another card aimed at players with a relatively normal computer budget.
After all, Nvidia herself presents the card as the successor to the highly successful GeForce GTX 1060, which still rules the rankings as the most numerous (at least those from Steam). It is necessary to add that the card deserved it thanks to its then acceptable starting price tag and good performance, which reached the high-end of the then previous generation, so hopefully this will also apply to the RTX 3060.
In terms of price, Nvidia positioned the card below CZK 10,000, more precisely the recommended CZK 8,800. This time, however, the company leaves the specific form of the models to the partners; Nvidia itself will not publish its Founders edition. We can thus expect the price under the leadership of third-party manufacturers to rise, especially for premium editions with improved cooling. And, of course, the limited availability that we somehow expect from Ampere cards will do its thing, given the still unsatisfactory stocks of the previous four models.
According to the Nvidia press release, the RTX 3060 should be twice as powerful in rasterization as the GTX 1060 and 10 times more powerful in ray-tracing rendering. However, I would not take the second example as relevant data, because ray-tracing could only be turned back on on Generation 1000 cards and their chip is not adapted to it (it has no acceleration RT or core tensor).
Personally, I also don’t like comparisons with the older generation of Pascal, not with the previous one (Turing). From Nvidia’s point of view, of course, it makes sense: The increase in performance will be greater on paper, in addition, the company can address the owners of older graphics cards in the sense: “It’s time to upgrade!” would know the difference from its predecessor RTX 2060 or RTX 2060 Super.
In addition, Nvidia has released only one chart, which shows the RTX 3060 as a card capable of running even the latest games on 60 FPS in Full HD, but unfortunately we do not know the level of graphic detail. In addition, some games are measured with RTX and DLSS technologies, which can significantly distort the differences.
At first glance, however, it seems that we cannot expect such a significant difference compared to Turing as the previously introduced new Ampere. I tried to estimate what the numbers represent the individual dots in the graph, and it turned out that, for example, the difference between RTX 3060 and RTX 2060 in The Division 2 is about 19%. That would be enough for the RTX 2070 level, which shows the same difference in this particular game, but not for the RTX 2080, which is about 40% higher than the RTX 2060 in The Division 2.
At the same time, the new 3000 series cards were able to increase the price / performance ratio of the last generation even more significantly; for example, such an RTX 3070 outperforms the RTX 2080 Ti chip, while its price is officially halved (approx. CZK 15,000 versus CZK 30,000+). I can’t see it for such a jump with the RTX 3060, the card would have to offer performance exceeding 2070 Super for its price. But of course, it is never possible to deduce from one game with certainty, so take my estimates with caution.
The RTX 3060 is interesting for its graphics memory, as it reaches an unusual 12 GB in this category. It is a type of GDDR6 with a not yet officially announced clock (I assume it will be 12 or 14 GHz) and 2GB chips. The bus remains 192bit, so the company had to install 6 chips (6 * 32bit) on the card, each with a capacity of 2 GB (be 1GB pieces, the VRAM will be 6 GB in total). This is in contrast to the rest of the Ampere array, where even the top game model RTX 3080 has “only” 10 GB of VRAM (320bit bus, ie 10 chips of 1 GB), the rest of the models 8 GB.
Such an unusually high memory for a card of this class, moreover on a relatively narrow bus, reminds me a bit of earlier low-end graphics at the time when switching to GDDR5 memory. At that time, some manufacturers liked to install cheaper graphics with a large portion of slow GDDR3 memories, trying to give the impression of a powerful gaming product, but in reality, their low throughput hampered the card. But I doubt that will be the case, if Nvidia used 14 GHz GDDR6 memory, it would make throughput of enough 336 GB / s.
Compared to the GTX 3060 Ti, however, the number of CUDA cores has decreased, the RTX 3060 carries 3548 of them, which is 26% less. On paper, it tries to balance the beats in the boost that the card has officially set above (1780 MHz versus 1670 MHz). What difference this makes in performance is still a question to which independent tests will answer.
As a representative of the new generation, the RTX 3060 does not neglect any of Nvidia’s new technologies: ray-tracing acceleration, DLSS, Nvidia Reflex or the newly announced Resizable BAR function, a technology for direct processor access to the graphics card’s memory. It will be supported by all RTX 3000 cards after firmware and driver updates, but you still need a compatible board. Resizable BAR should work with both AMD and Intel processors, and motherboard manufacturers should clarify and release support in the coming weeks.
It is also important for owners of new TVs that this is the cheapest card with the new HDMI 2.1 interface so far. This allows you to turn on Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and, above all, adaptive display and graphics card synchronization on supported displays. You know the function more by the marketing names G-Sync (Nvidia) and FreeSync (AMD), but it also exists as a VESA standardization under the name VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). And it is via HDMI 2.1 that the VRR already works natively.
New generation consoles have the same output, so the TV with this interface will certainly grow rapidly on the market. If you also bought a new TV because of the new consoles, you can also use its features when playing on a PC (but I repeat, only for supported TV models).
GeForce RTX 3060 should arrive on the market at the end of February for a price starting at CZK 8,800 (officially published on the Nvidia website).
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