RTX 3060 review: solid performance but at what cost?

RTX 3060 review: solid performance but at what cost?

It’s a weird time to review your graphics card. I spent the last week or so testing the GeForce RTX 3060, Nvidia’s latest GPU, but only managed to do so because the company sent a review unit to Polygon. If you’re in the crowd, it’s nearly impossible to get your hands on an Nvidia or AMD graphics card. This is the result of a convergence of factors, most notably the shortage of semiconductors worldwide (which limits production capacity) and rising values. Cryptocurrency like Ethereum (This increases the demand for GPUs, as they can be used in mining operations.)

This is all relevant to reviewing the RTX 3060 specifically because it’s the cheapest offering in Nvidia’s 30-series GPUs, with MSRP starting at $ 329.99. This happens to be a price EVGA RTX 3060 XC black for gaming, The card that Nvidia sent us because the company isn’t producing the Founders Edition for the RTX 3060.

Pricing players seeking a new graphics card at the moment might have to buy something overpriced and / or get a different GPU than the RTX 3060. Since the RTX 3060 is a very good mid-range graphics card for people. It looks forward to playing games at a resolution of 1440p. But we don’t live in a vacuum so the best I can do is evaluate the GPU itself and provide some context about the current market.

Note the single 8-pin power connector on top of the card.
Photo: EVGA

Nvidia released the RTX 3060 in late February, about three months after the RTX 3060 Ti launched. This card, which starts at $ 399, offers a great deal of headroom at 1,440p, although it isn’t designed for 4K gaming. On the other hand, the RTX 3060 is a 1080p GPU at its core that can also handle 1440p. This made me particularly interested in trying it, because my desktop is connected to a 1080p screen – well, 1920 x 1200 60Hz screen, to be exact – and because its CPU, a 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-7500 , Is an older chip that barely meets the minimum specifications of some of the latest games.

The RTX 3060 that I have been testing is a standard two-slot GPU with a pair of large fans that keeps the card fairly quiet. I’ve noticed there’s an increase in noise on my current Gigabyte RTX 2060 Super – when it starts up, the RTX 3060 is a bit louder – but it makes sense, given that Gigabyte GPU It includes three fans.

The EVGA Card Portfolio consists of a single line of three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.1 output. (I can’t test Any HDMI 2.1 features Because I don’t have a screen that supports it.) And unlike the more powerful RTX 3060 Ti, where the Founders Edition relies on Nvidia’s new 12-pin power connector, the RTX 3060 gets a traditional eight-pin single connector. It consumes 170 watts of power, with a recommended power supply of 550 watts.

Two sisters wearing futuristic powered armor shoot Nazis in Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Pitched battle in Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
Photo: MachineGames / Bethesda Softworks

As far as how powerful the RTX 3060 is, well, it’s not a slam-dunk upgrade unless you’re coming from something old like a GTX 10-series card, for example.

Now, this is probably not surprising for a GPU that’s the cheapest ray-tracing card since Nvidia lowered the price of the RTX 2060 to $ 299 in January 2020. And since I’m coming from the RTX 2060 Super – it’s only a generation old After it was released in July 2019 – I wasn’t expecting the RTX 3060 to astonish me. In fact, its performance will depend a lot on the specifics of your PC and, of course, the games you are playing.

The RTX 3060 could definitely offer some significant advantages over the RTX 2060 Super (and clearly older GPUs). Attempt Wolfenstein: Youngblood At 1920 x 1200 at maximum settings, the average frame rate in both the Riverside and Lab X benchmarks jumped from about 124 fps with the RTX 2060 Super to around 170 fps with the RTX 3060 – an increase of about 38%.

Once I turned on ray tracing (which Young blood Supports reflections only), the improvement was less but still impressive. On Riverside, the average frame rate increased from 88 fps with the RTX 2060 Super to 109 fps with the RTX 3060, an increase of nearly 24%; At Lab X, the number increased from 75 fps to 91.5 fps, an increase of 22%. It was able to recover some frames while preserving the image quality by enabling Nvidia Deep Learning Ultra-sampling (DLSS) Technique.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood Criteria

Standard RTX 2060 Super RTX 3060 improvement
Standard RTX 2060 Super RTX 3060 improvement
Riverside 123 169.5 37.8%
X lab 124 172 38.7%
Riverside (RTX on) 88 109 23.9%
X Lab (RTX Run) 75 91.5 22%
Riverside (RTX & DLSS on) 97 125.5 30.1%
X Lab (RTX & DLSS Playback) 75 92 22.7%

All tests were performed at a resolution of 1920 x 1200 at maximum settings (“Mein leben!”). The numbers represent average frames per second during testing, averaging more than two stages.

It also got good results with the RTX 3060 in control-Excellent ray tracing display. I previously played through the entire game with the RTX 2060 Super, with all five ray tracing effects appearing along the way. In stress tests like the driveway over the NSC control room and intense fights in the central research lobby, the frame rate usually hovers in the 45-60 fps range. Of course, that was with DLSS enabled, which makes the game at an internal resolution of 1280 x 800 – two-thirds of the original 1920 x 1200 screen. By playing with the RTX 3060 using the same settings, the frame rate was usually in the more playable range of 60-75 frames in The second, with rare declines in the mid-1950s.

However, my Crunchy PC had a completely different experience with Hitman 3, A game whose complex basic emulation is highly dependent on CPU power. If you’re stuck with a 4-year-old CPU and not even a Core i7 chip, like me, then jot down my results.

At 1920 x 1200 at maximum settings, my RTX 2060 Super replacement for the RTX 3060 resulted in frame rate improvements below 10% for the game’s two benchmarks – from 99.92 fps to 106.92 fps in Dubai (7.01%) and from 103.85 fps 112.99 fps in Dartmoor (8.8%). When I turned on SuperSampling at 1.3x (for 1440p game playback approx) and 2x (for 4K zoom), the gains became smaller. With SuperSampling enabled twice, Dartmoor only increased the average frame rate from 42.68 fps to 43.87 fps – only 2.79%.

Agent 47 stands in front of a Dartmoor shotgun glass case in Hitman 3

Scene from Hitman 3Dartmoor level.
Photo: IO Interactive

So what’s the verdict? In my experience, you should be able to play games at high to maximum settings with the RTX 3060 if you are playing at 1080p / 1200p. And you’ll notice a huge benefit if you’re upgrading from anything older than Nvidia’s 20-series cards; Even with ray tracing enabled, you can play at 60 frames per second as long as the game in question also supports DLSS.

But people with 1440p monitors will be better served by the RTX 3060 Ti instead (if they can find it in stock, that is). While it is possible that we start seeing a plethora of games that would make the most of the RTX 3060’s 12GB GDDR6 video memory, it is hard to imagine 8GB of RAM on other Nvidia 30 series cards. (Except for RTX 3090) It’s getting big soon. And in it RTX 3060 review at The VergeMy colleague, Sean Hollister, found that the RTX 3060 Ti “almost always” performed “between 15 percent and 35 percent faster” than the RTX 3060 when playing at maximum settings at 1440p. At $ 399 – the $ 70 bonus, or 21.2%, over the RTX 3060’s MSRP – you’ll simply get better value.

Of course, as I indicated, it all depends on the actual ability to find any of these graphics cards (and at their retail prices, to boot). If you ever get the chance to buy the RTX 3060 and it makes sense for your particular situation – screen resolution, lifetime of the GPU to replace, and your budget – this is a solid card that should provide a noticeable upgrade. You will have to make this call yourself.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is now available. (Theoretically.) This review was done with the EVGA RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming by Nvidia, on the author’s PC, which has an Intel Core i5-7500 CPU and 16GB of RAM. All tested games were installed on a 2TB 7200 RPM hard drive. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find Additional information on Polygon’s ethics policy is here.

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