With the launch of its new “Ampere” GPU structure, Nvidia has pushed a torrent of nice new graphics card releases in latest months, from a uncommon five-star entry (the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Version, final October) to the more moderen, additionally stellar GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Version. Playing cards like these convey the brand new GeForce RTX 3060 (examined right here within the $329.99 EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G) into some fairly powerful firm.
Our check card, targeted squarely on the wants of players taking part in at both 1080p or 1440p, is a greater successor to the GeForce RTX 2060 Founders Version. It does the job, but it surely does not wow us as a lot as the remainder of the Ampere line. For PC builders obsessive about holding their desktops compact, the compact profile of EVGA’s card is its major promoting level. Most different consumers shall be higher served in gaming with a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and even an RTX 2060 (on low cost, if you’ll find one) as an alternative. Certain, 2020 was a loopy 12 months, however with the Patriots failing to make the Tremendous Bowl and Nvidia releasing its first ho-hum RTX 30 Sequence card, might this be a harbinger of an excellent extra topsy-turvy 2021?
The Design: Filling a Founders Version-Measurement Gap
So far within the GeForce RTX 30 Sequence, Nvidia has spearheaded every of its GPUs’ debuts with an Nvidia-designed Founders Version card to symbolize the pack. These playing cards have been full with a revolutionary new PCB as much as 50% smaller than the boards on previous-gen RTX playing cards and a push-pull cooling system in contrast to something we have seen earlier than.
Sadly the GeForce RTX 3060 is the primary GPU within the RTX 30 Sequence to not get the identical remedy. No Founders Version RTX 3060s shall be made obtainable as part of this launch, which leaves it as much as third-party producers to ship the RTX 3060 items with more-recognizable designs of their very own.
EVGA’s GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G is a dual-slot, two-fan graphics card that measures barely shy of 8 inches lengthy (7.94 inches, to be actual), simply over 1.5 inches shorter than Nvidia’s Founders Version design of the RTX 3060 Ti. For anybody who values a compact set up profile over practically the rest, this card may be the higher selection over the chunkier RTX 3060 Ti Founders Version.
The cardboard makes use of a single conventional eight-pin energy connector on the highest of the cardboard. Shifting to the backplane of the cardboard, it is all commonplace fare for the RTX 30 Sequence, with three DisplayPort 1.4b ports, plus one HDMI 2.1 output.
The oft-seen VirtualLink from the RTX 20-Sequence “Turing” playing cards seems to be lengthy within the mud for Nvidia at this level, so anybody nonetheless holding out for a type of could be higher served going with a RTX 20 Sequence card as an alternative. (Not that it is helpful for way more than as a USB-C port.)
GeForce RTX 3060 Specs: An RTX 3050 by Any Different Identify…
Let us take a look at some specs first. We’ll see how the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G stacks up in opposition to the 2 GeForce playing cards it is meant to succeed, the RTX 2060 and 2060 Tremendous, in addition to AMD’s closest competitors, within the Radeon RX 5700 XT and Radeon RX 5700…
First, the apparent: aren’t these two playing cards issued out of order? Save for a fringe case or two through the years, Nvidia releases the “Ti” variant of its numerous GPUs of their stack after the unique mannequin goes on sale, not the opposite manner round. However the RTX 3060 Ti certainly debuted first, on the finish of 2020. Second, there’s the distinction in underlying GPU dies. Whereas the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 relies on the GA106 die, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti relies on GA104 (the identical die within the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080). Why has Nvidia determined to separate a card tier in half through the use of totally different dies? We will not say, however whatever the reasoning, the tip result’s two very totally different RTX 3060s, one Ti and one not, that may as nicely have been launched years aside, so far as benchmarks go.
The RTX 3060 GPU comes with twice the obtainable VRAM of its predecessor, doubling the 6GB from the RTX 2060 Founders Version to 12GB within the newer card. That is additionally 4GB greater than the RTX 3060 Ti, and, on the drafting board, this could give the RTX 3060 a viable lead over its predecessors in additional intensive titles operating at resolutions of 1440p or larger. However, as we’ll get into within the benchmarks, all the additional VRAM on the planet might not be sufficient to obscure the RTX 3060’s personal misbranding.
Subsequent, there’s the worth hole. The EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G, together with many different fashions of RTX 3060, will retail beginning at $329, simply $70 lower than the MSRP of the RTX 3060 Ti ($399). And whereas that card did wow us with higher-than-expected leads to nearly each check we ran, it nonetheless does not account for the numerous hole in price-to-performance between itself and its non-Ti variant.
The efficiency makes excellent sense, although, when you think about the variations between GA106 and GA104. So the massive query is why this GPU known as an “RTX 3060” in any respect.
It is seemingly this card would have gotten larger marks if it have been marketed (and priced) extra consistent with its efficiency. Say, for instance, if the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti had launched because the RTX 3060 again in December, and this present RTX 3060 we’re reviewing at present had been bumped all the way down to a brand new entry-level ray-tracing card (and I am simply spitballing right here): the “RTX 3050.” However as an “RTX 3060,” the named successor to the RTX 2060 and the RTX 2060 Tremendous (each nice playing cards in their very own proper), the GA106 die simply is not as much as the position.
Let’s Discuss About Inventory, Child
After which there’s the inventory scenario. By this level, it is no secret that graphics playing cards of all shapes, stripes, sizes, and types are experiencing a inventory squeeze at ranges not seen for the reason that first cryptocurrency mining increase a number of years again, and the issue solely seems to be getting worse because the months go on.
This time round it is a double-header, with COVID-related delays and cryptocurrency worth surges hitting Nvidia and AMD from either side. As folks discover themselves spending extra time indoors, the demand for PC elements (particularly gaming-focused ones) has risen throughout the board. Desktop GPUs and CPUs are already promoting out minutes after they launch, and once you add cryptocurrency’s second renaissance on prime of it—as of this writing, Bitcoin was buying and selling above $45,000, a several-hundred-percent enhance from the identical time final 12 months—you’ve got acquired the proper recipe for scalpers, excessive costs, and shopping for battles with bots.
As a response, Nvidia introduced that the GeForce RTX 3060 would be the first graphics card within the RTX 30 Sequence to be launched with a hash limitation baked into the hardware-level directions of the GPU. The corporate claims this limiter shall be “uncrackable,” and may, a minimum of in concept, discourage cryptocurrency mining operations from utilizing bots to comb up the inventory earlier than anybody else has an opportunity to order their spot within the checkout line. (Scalpers, however, might nicely nonetheless attempt to gouge players.)
In case that is not sufficient to discourage them, although, the corporate additionally introduced a completely separate line of crypto-mining-specific playing cards beneath the “Nvidia CMP HX” model. (CMP is for “Cryptocurrency Mining Processor.”) These CMP playing cards will particularly focus their efforts on mining cash like Ethereum extra effectively than commonplace GPUs, whereas additionally (hopefully) liberating up the remainder of the availability chain to players as an alternative.
It is unlikely that the introduction of Nvidia CMP HX playing cards at an undetermined level someplace “throughout Q1 and Q2” will have an effect on the inventory of RTX 3060 playing cards which can be launching at present, however we applaud the corporate for making an effort, in any case, to satisfy each markets’ ravenous demand for playing cards.
Testing the RTX 3060: Nvidia’s First RTX 30-Sequence Folly?
PC Labs ran the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G by means of a sequence of DirectX 11- and 12-based artificial and real-world benchmarks. Our PC Labs check rig is Intel-based and employs a PCI Categorical 3.0, not 4.0, motherboard. It is geared up with an Intel Core i9-10900K processor, 16GB of G.Ability DDR4 reminiscence, a solid-state boot drive, and an Asus ROG Maximus XII Hero (Wi-Fi) motherboard. Given our checks with the Core i9-10900K and up to date Ryzen 9 CPUs, this rig is one of the best affordable configuration of the second in 2021 to chop the CPU out of the equation for body charges. (Learn extra about how we check graphics playing cards.)
For our testing, we targeted a few of the effort on the esports facet of the RTX 3060 with video games like Counter-Strike: International Offensive (CS:GO) and Rainbow Six: Siege. We additionally ran the cardboard by means of the remainder of our commonplace benchmark routine, which checks a card’s skills to deal with AAA video games on the highest doable high quality settings, in addition to the way it performs in artificial benchmarks that stress the cardboard in quite a lot of methods.
Additionally keep in mind that nearly each check we run (apart from the esports titles) is finished on the highest doable high quality preset or settings. When you’ve got a higher-hertz gaming monitor and also you’re apprehensive your card may not make the frame-rate grade, it might nonetheless be doable with the suitable card and a mix of decrease settings. Not solely that, however many of those titles (together with Dying Stranding, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and F1 2020) have each DLSS and FidelityFX CAS with Upscaling built-in instantly into the sport. This could imply boosts of as much as 40% extra efficiency on prime, relying on the setting and the cardboard you are taking part in with.
And so, onward to our check outcomes. Word: If you wish to slim down our outcomes under to a particular decision (say, the decision of the monitor you propose to recreation on), click on the opposite decision dots within the chart legends under to suppress them and see fewer outcomes. Our listing of AAA titles consists of a mixture of latest AAA titles like Purple Lifeless Redemption 2 and F1 2020, in addition to some older-but-still-reliable pillars of the benchmarker’s toolkit, like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5.
Testing Outcomes: Artificial Benchmarks
Artificial benchmarks might be good predictors of real-world gaming efficiency. UL’s circa-2013 Fireplace Strike Extremely continues to be a go-to as an approximation of the load levied by mainstream 4K gaming. We’re trying solely on the check’s Graphics Subscore, not the Total Rating, to isolate the cardboard efficiency. In the meantime, we additionally ran 3DMark’s Time Spy Excessive check, which is an effective check of how nicely a card will do particularly in DirectX 12 video games at 4K decision. Lastly, there’s Port Royal, which is strictly a check for RTX playing cards proper now, measuring how nicely they deal with ray-tracing duties. (Thus why clean outcomes for the AMD playing cards on that one.) Additionally listed below are a handful of GPU-acceleration checks (Furmark and LuxMark); extra particulars on these on the “how we check” hyperlink above.
In runs like 3DMark, the RTX 3060 XC Black regarded to hit driver-level ceilings in each our Fireplace Strike Extremely and Port Royal runs, a consequence that proved anomalous from the remainder of our artificial testing, however not by a lot. These outcomes sign the beginning of a protracted street for the RTX 3060 XC Black, the place it nearly at all times finds itself trailing the RTX 3060 Ti Founders Version by a margin that make it onerous to place them in the identical class.
Testing Outcomes: Latest AAA Video games
Now, on to the real-world video games that you may play. We usually utilized in every case (for these AAA video games) the very best in-game preset and, if obtainable, DirectX 12. In distinction, the multiplayer-focused and esports titles (corresponding to CS:GO and Rainbow Six: Siege) developing within the subsequent chart group have been set barely under prime element settings to maximise body charges.
The RTX 3060 XC Black (just like the RTX 2060 and 2060 Tremendous earlier than it) proves to be a contested consideration for anybody who desires to play AAA video games at both 1440p or 1080p, nonetheless 4K players will wish to lean extra closely into the efficiency of playing cards just like the RTX 3070 to get them over the sleek 60-frame-per-second (fps) end line. That stated, it is nonetheless behind the place it ought to be, and it does not justify its place sufficient with these outcomes to face out in the best way Nvidia might need meant.
Testing Outcomes: Multiplayer Video games
Although most of PC Labs’ recreation checks are maxed out in graphical constancy to push the playing cards to their restrict, multiplayer gaming is all about sustaining one of the best steadiness between graphical constancy and body fee. With that in thoughts, we have saved CS:GO, Rainbow Six: Siege, and Ultimate Fantasy XIV tuned to one of the best mixture of mandatory enhancements in settings (larger anti-aliasing and decrease shadows, for instance), whereas nonetheless making an attempt to maintain body charges for 1080p video games above 144fps.
Why 144fps? That is a coveted goal for extremely aggressive esports players who’ve high-refresh-rate 144Hz or larger gaming displays. For extra informal gamers with extraordinary 60Hz displays, a stable 80fps or 90fps at your goal decision, with some overhead to stop dips beneath 60fps, is ok.
This is a crucial class of video games for the RTX 3060 to nail; the cardboard is priced to straddle the road between midrange AAA players and ultra-high refresh multiplayer esports obsessives. In these checks, the RTX 3060 handles its job simply advantageous. (Few playing cards besides these on the low finish wrestle right here.) Nonetheless, it was nonetheless 27% slower than the RTX 3060 Ti in Rainbow Six at 4K, a standard consequence as we have seen from the remainder of the checks above.
For those who’re searching for an excellent finances card to energy reliably quick body charges in most multiplayer video games, your greatest wager continues to be (even in 2021), midrange playing cards like these based mostly on the GeForce RTX 1660 Ti (we reviewed an MSI GeForce RTX 1660 Ti Gaming X 6G) or the AMD Radeon RX 5600XT. (For that one, we examined a Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 5600XT.)
Testing Outcomes: Legacy AAA Titles
Subsequent, let’s have a look at how the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 does with some past-their-prime AAA titles. We ran some fast checks on some oldies-but-goodies that also provide the AAA gaming expertise. These legacy checks embody runs of Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Canines, Tomb Raider (2013), and Bioshock: Infinite, the final being a recreation that has no enterprise nonetheless being as nicely optimized as it’s right here in 2020.
To spherical us out, the legacy checks inform extra of the identical story we have already seen in earlier benchmarks. The RTX 3060 is recurrently slower than the RTX 3060 Ti by a ratio that outstretches the worth hole between the 2, and its positive factors over the RTX 2060 (10% total) aren’t sufficient to promote us on the concept the 2 playing cards are presupposed to be a era aside from each other.
Overclocking and Thermals: A Selection for Compact Builders
We ran a 10-minute stress check in 3DMark Port Royal on the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G, and located that the cardboard was hovering round a max of 68 levels C, a full 8 levels hotter than the RTX 3060 Ti Founders Version, which hit a max of simply 60 levels C in the identical run.
In testing the overclocking capability of the RTX 3060, I used to be in a position to obtain a steady OC profile of +225MHz on the increase clock pace, whereas including 300MHz to the reminiscence clock. This amounted to simply over a 12% increase in clock, which translated to roughly 4% extra efficiency throughout video games like Far Cry 5, and a few artificial 3DMark runs. Not big, however not nothin’.
Verdict: Struggling From Success
In practically each check we ran, artificial or in any other case, the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G was anyplace between 20% to 50% slower than the RTX 3060 Ti, whereas solely costing roughly 20% much less. The cardboard was additionally slower than the AMD Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700 XT in a number of runs, and it simply barely manages to outpace the GeForce RTX 2060 Tremendous by a number of proportion factors, typically.
The underwhelming launch of the RTX 3060 appears extra a results of expectations set by Nvidia’s basic card-marketing names than the fault of the engineers on the firm, who till now have issued nice RTX 30-Sequence GPUs at costs that mirror the generational hole between 20 Sequence and 30 Sequence.
Previous to the GeForce RTX 3060, Nvidia was three for 3 on Editors’ Selection awards from PCMag on its Founders Version playing cards within the RTX 30 Sequence. And whereas there’s nothing unsuitable with EVGA’s design right here, the GPU engine powering the works beneath the shroud is in the end the trigger for concern.
For the primary time since final September, a brand new GPU getting into into the RTX 30 Sequence line will not be receiving an Editors’ Selection award from us. If you’ll find one, the GeForce RTX 2060 Tremendous will do the job practically in addition to the EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G, and maybe for a decrease value relying on the supply. In the meantime, AMD-faithful consumers can relaxation straightforward that each the RX 5700 XT and RX 5700 nonetheless present viable options to the RTX 3060, although their place within the market is shaky with the stellar RTX 3060 Ti hanging round within the rafters.
We all know the video-card inventory scenario is brutal on the market, and that you will be fortunate to search out any of the options to this card anyplace near their launch costs for the time being. However skip the eBay gougers on this one and, when you merely have to pay an excessive amount of cash for a video card, let it’s an RTX 3060 Ti as an alternative.
EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming 12G Specs
|Graphics Processor||Nvidia Ampere GA106|
|GPU Base Clock||1320 MHz|
|GPU Enhance Clock||1777 MHz|
|Graphics Reminiscence Sort||GDDR6|
|Graphics Reminiscence Quantity||12 GB|
|Variety of Followers||2|
|Card Size||7.94 inches|
|Board Energy or TDP||170 watts|
|Energy Connector(s)||1 8-pin|