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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
The NVIDIA Ampere hype train keeps on rolling. Following on from multiple high-end GPU launches in late 2020, the graphics giant has gradually extended the reach of its latest-generation architecture and today's introduction of GeForce RTX 3060 marks another milestone as Ampere becomes available for under £300.
This is a price point where large volumes are expected to ship, and whereas RTX 3060 Ti was essentially a pared-down version of RTX 3070, RTX 3060 is a purpose-built solution and represents a first outing on desktop for the all-new GA106 GPU.
RTX 3060: Where does it fit in?
|RTX 3090||RTX 3080||RTX 3070||RTX 3060 Ti||RTX 3060||RTX 2080 Ti||RTX 2080 Super||RTX 2080||RTX 2070 Super||RTX 2060|
|Launch date||Sep 2020||Sep 2020||Oct 2020||Dec 2020||Feb 2021||Sep 2018||July 2019||Sep 2018||July 2019||Jan 2019|
|Die Size (mm²)||628.4||628.4||392.5||392.5||276||754||545||545||545||445|
|Base Clock (MHz)||1,400||1,440||1,500||1,500||1,320||1,350||1,650||1,515||1,605||1,365|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1,695||1,710||1,725||1,665||1,777||1,545||1,815||1,710||1,770||1,680|
|L2 cache (KB)||5,120||5,120||4,096||4,096||2,304||5,632||4,096||4,096||4,096||3,072|
|Power Connector||12-pin||12-pin||12-pin||12-pin||8-pin||8-pin + 8-pin||8-pin + 6-pin||8-pin + 6-pin||8-pin + 6-pin||6-pin|
The detailed specification table provides an excellent comparison, and the numbers are often logical and sometimes unexpected. Built on the same 8nm process as its high-end peers, RTX 3060's relatively small 276mm² die employs 3,584 shaders arranged across 28 streaming multiprocessors. That's two short of the GPU's full complement of 30 leading, one would assume, to better yields, and this configuration results in 112 Tensor Cores and 28 RT Cores.
Not a lot, on paper, though remember this second-generation RTX architecture is considerably more efficient, and RTX 3060's 28 RT Cores are far better-suited to ray-tracing demands than the 30 RT Cores of an RTX 2060.
A boost clock of 1,777MHz results in nearly 13TFLOPs of compute performance - a 20 per cent cut over RTX 3060 Ti - but what sets the baby Ampere GPU apart from most in the range is the surprise memory configuration. This time around, Nvidia has opted for a large 12GB pool of GDDR6 memory operating at 15Gbps and communicating via a slightly narrower 192-bit bus.
Though RTX 3060 is ostensibly a 1080p gaming card first and foremost, the size of the frame buffer leaves the door open to high-quality 1440p, and the overall feature-set offers plenty of appeal. In addition to offering the latest Ampere smarts, RTX 3060 can be powered via just a single eight-pin PCIe connector and is certified to a 170W TDP, resulting in compatibility with a wide range of desktop PCs.
Great at 1080p, Decent at 1440p
Benchmarks from leading review sites put the RTX 3060 right where expected; around 20 per cent behind the meatier RTX 3060 Ti. Looking to previous generations, it is interesting to note that this Ampere GPU is effectively a match for the former range-topping GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and represents a significant upgrade over an ageing GeForce GTX 1060.
There's enough muscle here to drive modern titles at a 2,560x1,440 resolution, and a large 12GB frame buffer offers an element of future proofing, too.
Solid performance at the target resolutions is allied to latest-generation ray tracing tech. 3DMark's dedicated feature test suggests that RTX 3060 can deliver over a 50 per cent performance boost over the previous-generation RTX 2060 when focussing purely on ray-tracing credentials.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 brings the magic of the Ampere graphics architecture to the sub-£300 market. Designed specifically for high-quality 1080p or 1440p gaming, the newest RTX 3000 Series card employs a smaller, more efficient die yet touts plenty of muscle where it matters and packs a future-proof 12GB frame buffer. Add latest-generation RTX smarts to the mix and you have an affordable graphics upgrade that is enticing in more ways than one.
A wide range of GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards are listed right here at Scan Computers.