Nvidia’s CES 2021 virtual presentation yesterday gave us quite a lot of news, but the biggest by far was the reveal of the RTX 3060, a new mainstream Ampere GPU starting at $329 and available this February. However, no official specs were revealed until today, and even then the specs spark the conversation of whether it is truly worth the upgrade.
The ¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ will feature 12GB of GDDR6 memory, as previously reported, as well as 3584 CUDA Cores. The 3060 will also include a boost clock speed of 1.78GHz and a base clock speed of 1.32GHz. Comparing to the slightly better RTX 3060 Ti, both GPUs tend to trade blows in that regard, but ultimately the 3060 comes out slightly behind despite the higher VRAM.
RTX 30 series specs
Card Base Clock (GHz) Boost Clock (GHz) CUDA Cores RT Cores Memory Type Memory (GB) TDP (W) Price (USD) Release date RTX 3090 1.40 1.70 10,496 82 GDDR6X 24 350 $1499 September 24th RTX 3080 1.44 1.71 8,704 68 GDDR6X 10 320 $699 September 17th RTX 3070 1.50 1.73 5,888 46 GDDR6 8 220 $499 October 29th RTX 3060 Ti 1.41 1.67 4864 38 GDDR6 8 200 $399 December 2nd ¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ 1.32 1.78 3584 28 GDDR6 12 170 $329 Late February 2021
As said in Nvidia’s press release, the ¬¬gc_id:3540[GTX 1060]¬¬ is the most popular graphics card on Steam, accounting for roughly 10.99% of the share among users as of writing this. The next GPU down has a share of 6.25%, followed by the ¬¬gc_id:4051[RTX 2060]¬¬ at 4.69%, which is quite a steep difference.
What this shows is that the XX60 series from Nvidia is by far the most popular, bringing the snazzy new architecture and features of a new generation down to a more affordable price point (setting GPU price increases aside), and it’s clear that Nvidia is really trying to target the 3060 to those who are still rocking the 1060 after all these years.
But looking at the official specs which have just been revealed, the 3060 is not that much better than the previous gen RTX 2060, and doesn’t provide a lot of reason to go for it over the slightly more expensive but better performing RTX 3060 Ti.
Let’s take a look at the specs for the RTX 3060 alongside the 3060 Ti as a possible upgrade, and even the RTX 2060 and GTX 1060 for comparison over previous generations:
GPU CUDA Cores Base Clock (GHz) Boost Clock (GHz) Memory Bus Width Price ¬¬gc_id:5016[RTX 3060 Ti]¬¬ 4864 1.41 1.67 8GB GDDR6 256-bit $399 ¬¬gc_id:5015[RTX 3060]¬¬ 3584 1.32 1.78 12GB GDDR6 192-bit $329 ¬¬gc_id:4051[RTX 2060]¬¬ 1920 1.37 1.68 6GB GDDR6 $349 ¬¬gc_id:3540[GTX 1060]¬¬ 1280 1.51 1.71 6GB GDDR5 $299
The performance benchmarks released by Nvidia also show how little the 3060 is of an upgrade to the 2060. Nvidia claims a 2x performance boost over the 1060 in traditional rasterization and a 10x performance increase in ray tracing. But compared to the 2060 the increase isn’t a hell of a lot.
When it comes to traditional rasterization, the 3060 provides a very minimal jump over the 2060, but it’s clear the true value lies in ray tracing and DLSS performance where the 3060 manages to clear 60fps at 1080p resolution.
So if you're really into ray tracing and using that sweet DLSS tech - which even more games are starting to adopt - then yeah the RTX 3060 should be a decent upgrade over the RTX 2060, but much more substantial over the GTX 1060.
However, most games still use traditional rasterization techniques, which is where other specs make a bigger difference. Stuff like Texture Units or ROPs matter more when it comes to rasterization and judging by the rest of the RTX 30 series lineup, Ampere provides a smaller jump in these areas than it does in CUDA Cores.
Likely due to this, Nvidia has yet to release the official numbers on the exact TMUs and ROPs featured inside the RTX 3060. But if you take the ratio of Texture Unit and ROP increases on other RTX 30 GPUs and apply it to the 3584 CUDA Cores of the 3060, you actually end up with less TMUs and slightly more ROPs than the 2060. On top of that, the clock speeds are only a marginal amount higher than the 2060.
All that shows the RTX 3060 is in a bit of sticky situation. Despite everything mentioned above it is still a decent enough upgrade to convince GTX 1060 owners to make the jump, and even possibly some RTX 2060 users. However, given the state of the price increases due to import tariffs, manufacturing costs, shipping costs, and even stock issues, the 3060 is not in a great position to overtake the 1060 just yet.
Obviously we’ll have to wait for some third party benchmarks before making a proper decision on performance benefits. But for now, the 3060 is in a bit of a confusing position.
What do you think? Is the RTX 3060 worth the upgrade now? What if you took away the GPU price increase and stock issues? Is the 3060 Ti more worth it? Or is it just simply better to wait for the RTX 40 series? Let us know!