The RTX 3060 is a GPU that offers solid performance in Full HD, also managing to handle the 1440p well, too bad only for the high price.
Video cards with Ampere architecture have carved a furrow with the past. The performances of the models presented are excellent, there are few doubts about this, but it is a pity that the availability of the cards is very low and the prices, consequently, are higher than those in the list. Scalpers and miners have won so far, most of the GPUs have ended up in their hands. In the case of the new RTX 3060, however, at least the miners could be cut off, given the limitations imposed via software for reduce the power in Ethereum mining.
A move that could bring a breath of fresh air, at least for the RTX 3060s that will arrive on the market. One of the first to land in Italy is from ROG Strix, a card that turned out to be well made and with solid performance in Full HD, with a few more gems added by Asus, but sold at too high a list price.
ROG has created two variants of this Strix, with the “OC” capable of reaching slightly higher frequencies. We have tried this one, which comes with a complete bundle of everything you need. Inside the package we find the classic quick instruction manuals and velcro strips to keep the cables in order, in addition of course to the video card. The first contact highlights the materials used, unlike the higher class models there is a greater presence of plastic, which surrounds the heatsink, however it is a good quality polycarbonate and apparently very solid, while on the back a metal backplate, which helps dissipate heat and makes the board structure more rigid.
The dissipation system is formed by three fans with Axial-Tech design: the central one rotates clockwise, the others counterclockwise, to improve the flow of air inside the heatsink. The system works with the fans off up to 50 degrees, in this way, during less intense use, the noise generated by the video card is completely eliminated.
The heatsink has been designed to optimize the transport of heat from the graphics chip to the fins, thanks to an extremely smooth surface in contact with the GPU, which allows for improved heat exchange. The card occupies almost three slots, the thickness is considerable, but as we know ROG always offers increased heat dissipation systems, to improve performance, even at the expense of the overall size.
Dimensions that, fortunately, do not reach those of the most powerful models, with a length of 300 mm, short enough to fit into smaller houses.
The feeding takes place via a single 8-pin connector, ROG recommends a 550W power supply if the card is used with a mid-high-end processor, paired with an i9 or a Ryzen 9 instead the Taiwanese house indicates a 650W power supply.
Looking at the card you can see two peculiarities. The first is a selector that allows you to choose between performance mode and silent mode: those who want less noise can decide to slightly lower the performance, even if we have not felt the need since the noise generated is minimal.
The other particular element is two PWM headers for fans installed next to the power connector. Here you can connect the fans of the case, in this way from the configuration software of the card it is possible to manage the speed of the fans and therefore the noise generated by the PC, excluding the CPU dissipation system.
Available connections include two HDMI 2.1 and three DisplayPort 1.4. Obviously there is RGB lighting, located in the upper edge and on the back, also manageable by the Armory Crate Software.
Technical features and benchmarks
The RTX 3060, unlike the higher models, will not come in the Founders Edition variant, only partner-made models will be available, such as this ROG Strix. The card is based on an 8nm GA106 GPU and counts 3584 CUDA Core Ampere, 112 Tensor Core and 28 RT Core (in the RTX 3060 Ti there are 4864/152/38 respectively). In all, 12 GB of GDDR6 RAM is available, 4 GB more than what we saw in the review of the RTX 3060 Ti, but with a smaller bus, at 192 bits, compared to the 256 bits of the superior model.
We said at the beginning that NVIDIA has placed limits on the power generated by this GPU in Ethereum mining, compared to the potential of the GPU the hash rate is reduced by 50%, this should discourage miners from buying the RTX 3060, which should be available in larger quantities than the other models, or at least that’s the hope.
On the performance front, in our tests the RTX 3060 placed itself between the RTX 2060 Super and the RTX 2080, with a gap, compared to the RTX 2060 Super, which varies according to the title used. In Gears 5 for example the performance is very similar, while in Forza Horizon 4 the increase is more marked in favor of the RTX 3060. Metro Exodus shows improvements especially in Full HD, while Shadow of the Tomb Raider sees a net advantage of the RTX 3060 compared to the RTX 2060 Super, which we find in part also in The Division 2. With Ray Tracing active the new generation RT Cores are able to detach the RTX 2060 Super without problems, also the feedback on the DLSS is positive, which as always manages to give a excellent boost to performance.
In general we are faced with a card superior to the RTX 2060 Super in every test, in some cases it manages to detach it more in others less, but the performance jump is still palpable and allows you to play any game in Full HD, making 1440p is also accessible and, if you are satisfied with 30 fps, even 4K in some cases.
During the tests the ROG Strix RTX 3060 remained very cool, at idle it settles at around 39 degrees but with the fans off, while under stress it reaches a peak of 57 degrees, all with real frequencies ranging from 1860 to 1950 MHz.
Performance is in line with a $ 329 Ampere GPU, which NVIDIA recommends for this model. The problem is that, taking a look at the costs of the upcoming variants, buying an RTX 3060 for similar figures is a mirage. This ROG Strix RTX 3060 will arrive on the Italian market at a list price of € 599, Asus will always bring the TUF variant to € 549, as well as a cheaper model from € 499. A fee too high and above all too far from what NVIDIA announced. In the current market, characterized by high prices, a right place for these models could be between 399 and 449 euros (figure in line with the RTX 3060 Ti FE), once this threshold is exceeded it becomes difficult to recommend an RTX 3060.
The RTX 3060 is a GPU designed to bring the Ampere architecture to a lower price range. This is its primary task, and the $ 329 NVIDIA recommended cost seemed to be heading in the right direction. Unfortunately this is not the case, the model we tested, at the top of the ROG range, with its € 599 becomes unappetizing, as well as the custom variants of the other brands if offered at similar prices. In general, the performances offered exceed those of the RTX 2060 Super and in some cases even reach those of the RTX 2080, even with active Ray Tracing the difference compared to the previous model can be seen. The problem is not the performance, but the price, so we hope that over time the cost of the RTX 3060 will become more accessible, so as to bring the Ampere architecture to a wider audience.