The video card market has been a little like groundhog day for four or five months now with card demand being through the roof and availability being limited. Big jumps in cryptocurrencies have brought mining back in vogue as well which has exacerbated things as well. Well, today is the big day for the new Nvidia RTX 3060 which was announced back in January. Nvidia has already put miners on notice that they are taking firmware and software action to limit mining performance, at least with Etherium with the hope that their new cards can get into gamer's hands. This is extremely important because the RTX 3060 follows up the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060 which were huge sellers. Today I’m going to check out the EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black and see how the new GPU performs in EVGAs more compact dual-fan SFF friendly design.

Product Name: EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black

Review Sample Provided by: EVGA/Nvidia

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

What is the RTX 3060

Before getting into the RTX 3060 I wanted to touch a little more on why the xx60 cards are so important. Just looking at the Steam hardware survey the GTX 1060 still tops the charts with 9.75%  of steam users still running the 1060 which came out 5 years ago this July. The GTX 1050 Ti is right behind the 1060 with 7.07% of the market and the slightly newer GTX 1650 is sitting at 4.95% as well. Not to mention the RTX 2060 rounding out the top 5 at 3.72%. Those four cards alone are 25.49% of the entire market share. That is a lot of people who wanted great performance at a good value and a lot of those have been on the market for a new card for a while. The GTX 1060 has dropped 1.61% over the past five months and that is even before the new 3000 series of cards has its new non-Ti xx60 model. Will Nvidia’s actions with the driver, firmware, and silicon to limit hash rates help and show gamers some relief? Well, it is only Ethereum specific and from what I understand doesn’t stop other coins so we will have to wait and see. But Nvidia’s reaction does show just how important the RTX 3060 is.

So the RTX 3060 is based on NVidia's Ampere architecture, just like the rest of their 3000 series of cards has been but they did make a few changes. Below I have put together the specifications of the RTX 3060 along with the RTX 3060 Ti that sits above it in the current product stack and then I have the original RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060 as well because those are the cards that I imagine people will be upgrading from the most and that the RTX 3060 replaces. As far as the GPU goes, the RTX 3060 is significantly smaller than the RTX 3060 Ti, the Ti has 38 SMs where the RTX 3060 has 28. This took the number of CUDA cores down from 4864 to 3584. When we go back and compare that to the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1060 though you can see how big of a jump it is still. The jump from the 1060 to the 3060 is 180% and the 2060 was 86.6%.

The smaller GPU size from the Ti to the 3060 can be seen on the Tensor cores and RT cores as well with Tensor cores being 112 from 152 and ray tracing cores at 28 from 38 (just like the SMs). The 1060 didn’t have either so we can’t compare there but the RTX 2060 did have the older versions. For the 260 its Tensor core count is higher due to it having the older 2nd gen version and two more of the RT Cores with the older 1st gen design. As for clock speeds, the RTX 3060 is clocked higher than the RTX 3060 Ti with a boost clock of 1777 MHz vs 1665 MHz and the same goes for the memory which is clocked at 7501 MHz vs 7000 MHz.

The biggest change and the one that might seem the weirdest is Nvidia's decision to give the RTX 3060 12GB of video memory when the RTX 3060 Ti only had 8GB. In fact, the RTX 3070 also had 8GB and even the RTX 3080 was lower at 10GB. One thing is for sure though, the extra memory isn’t going to hurt. It will also help the RTX 3060 have a longer life, much like the GTX 1060 with its 6GB of memory at the time when 4GB was more common. More video memory doesn’t mean more bandwidth though, the RTX 3060 has a 192-bit memory controller just like the RTX 2060 and GTX 1060 before it where the RTX 3060 Ti has a 256-bit controller. Even with the higher clock speed, the more cut down Ampere GPU pulls less wattage than the 3060 Ti with the TGP of the 3060 at 170 watts.

The other big part of the original RTX 3060 announcement was the MSRP of the card which was put at $329. Given the push back on the RTX 2060 being at $349 when it launched due to its larger die size, it is great to see the MSRP come back down. Of course, MSRPs are completely out the window right now with just how limited stock for GPUs has been with retailers already showing significantly higher prices for their RTX 3060’s. So until all of that chances, MSRP’s don’t apply at all sadly.

Specifications

GTX 1060

RTX 2060

RTX 3060

RTX 3060 Ti

FE

SMs

10

30

28

38

CUDA Cores

1280

1920

3584

4864

Tensor Cores

N/A

240 (2nd Gen)

112 (3rd Gen)

152 (3rd Gen)

RT Cores

N/A

30 (1st Gen)

28 (2nd Gen)

38 (2nd Gen)

Texture Units

80

120

112

152

ROPs

48

48

48

80

GPU Boost Clock

1709 MHz

1680 MHz

1777 MHz

1665 MHz

Memory Clock

8000 MHz

7000 MHz

7501 MHz

7000 MHz

Total Video Memory

6144 or 3072 MB GDDR5

6144 MB GDDR6

12,288 MB GDDR6

8192 MB GDDR6

Memory Interface

192-bit

192-bit

192-bit

256-bit

Memory Bandwidth

192.2 GB/s

336 GB/s

360 GB/s

448 GB/s

TGP

120 Watts

160 Watts

170 Watts

200 Watts

Launch MSRP

3GB $199
6GB $249/$299(FE)

$349

$329

$399

 

Now before diving into any GPU review I do always double-check the specifications of the card against what is showing up in GPUz. The EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black card that EVGA and Nvidia partnered up to send over for the launch is designed to have the base specs of the RTX 3060 as listed above. So we can see that we do have the 1777 MHz GPU boost clock speed and the 1875 MHz memory clock does add up to 7500 MHz (I’m not sure where Nvidia gets that extra 1 on their specifications, but it is close enough). GPUz also documents the BIOS version I tested on, that we had Samsung memory, and the driver version I tested with which is the pre-launch driver provided by Nvidia.

image 1

 

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