Nvidia’s new RTX 3000 graphics cards represent a significant improvement over the last-gen RTX GPUs, but finding the latest and greatest can be a challenge. Supply might loosen up a little next month with the launch of Nvidia’s latest GPU, the RTX 3060. It will retail for just $329, so it might be affordable even after the inevitable reseller markup! What a time to be alive.
The RTX 3060 will occupy the mid-range in Nvidia’s lineup. As part of the RTX series, it supports advanced features like DLSS and ray tracing. DLSS uses AI to analyze images and upscale resolution to make game rendering more efficient. Ray tracing, meanwhile, creates more realistic lighting by tracing light paths live during game rendering. Those features will make it a solid upgrade over the RTX 2060 and GTX 1060 that it replaces, at least in theory.
The RTX 3060 is distinct from the 3060 Ti, which Nvidia unveiled last month. The 3060 has the GA106 GPU with 3584 CUDA cores, 112 TMUs, and 12GB of RAM. The Founder’s Edition card will have a TDP of 170W, but OEMs will no doubt create custom versions that boost a spec here or there that might require a little more juice. Interestingly, the 3060 starts at 12GB of RAM, whereas the 3060 Ti has just 8GB. That card does have more than 1,000 extra CUDA cores, though.
Nvidia hasn’t offered specific performance numbers, but a chart it shared (above) shows the 3060 handily beating the last-gen 2060 in games like The Division 2, Cyberpunk 2077, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider by small but noticeable margins. The difference between the 3060 and the 1060, however, is massive. Nvidia shows a 100 percent boost in some games, while others that are unplayable (>10fps) on the 1060 can manage over 60fps on the 3060. That’s with ray tracing and DLSS enabled.
With the lower starting price, Nvidia is promoting the RTX 3060 as “Ampre for every gamer.” Cards on the Ampere architecture like the RTX 3080 and 3070 have been almost impossible to purchase lately. Even if you found one in stock at a reputable retailer, the asking price was between $500 and $700. With the shortage, the only units available much of the time are marked up by resellers to $1,000 or more.
Initially, Nvidia will be the only source for the stock RTX 3060. More OEMs will launch versions of the product on Amazon, Best Buy, and other sites soon after the February launch.
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