NVIDIA this morning has sent over a quick note revealing the release date for their next GeForce desktop video card, the RTX 3060. The mainstream(ish) video card, previously revealed at CES 2021 with a late February release date, has now been locked in for a launch on February 25th, with prices starting at $329.

As a quick recap, the RTX 3060 is the next card down in NVIDIA’s Ampere architecture consumer video card stack. Using the new GA106 GPU – which is already shipping in RTX 3060 laptops – the RTX 3060 follows the traditional price/performance cadence for video card launches, with NVIDIA releasing a cheaper and lower performing video card for the mainstream-enthusiast video card market. NVIDIA’s 60-tier cards have long been the company’s workhorse parts for 1080p gaming – as well as some of their highest-volume parts in North America – and the RTX 3060 is expected to fill the same role within the Ampere/30-series family.

NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison
  RTX 3060 RTX 3060 Ti RTX 2060 GTX 1060
CUDA Cores 3584 4864 1920 1280
ROPs 64? 80 48 48
Boost Clock 1.78GHz 1.665GHz 1.68GHz 1.709GHz
Memory Clock 14Gbps? GDDR6 14Gbps GDDR6 14Gbps GDDR6 8Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 192-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit
VRAM 12GB 8GB 6GB 6GB
Single Precision Perf. 12.8 TFLOPS 16.2 TFLOPS 6.5 TFLOPS 4.4 TFLOPS
Tensor Perf. (FP16) 51.2 TFLOPS 64.8 TFLOPS 51.6 TFLOPS N/A
Tensor Perf. (FP16-Sparse) 102.4 TFLOPS 129.6 TFLOPS 51.6 TFLOPS N/A
TDP 170W 200W 160W 120W
GPU GA106 GA104 TU106 GP106
Transistor Count ?B 17.4B 10.8B 4.4B
Architecture Ampere Ampere Turing Pascal
Manufacturing Process Samsung 8nm? Samsung 8nm TSMC 12nm "FFN" TSMC 16nm
Launch Date 02/25/2021 12/02/2020 01/15/2019 07/19/2016
Launch Price MSRP: $329 MSRP: $399 MSRP: $349 MSRP: $249
Founders $299

NVIDIA has already published most of the specifications for the card back in January. Including the fact that it offers 28 SMs (3584 CUDA cores), and 12GB of GDDR6 running on a 192-bit memory bus. As with previous 60-tier cards, the non-power-of-two memory bus means that NVIDIA is shipping with a somewhat odd amount of memory, in this case 12GB, which is actually more than what comes on even the RTX 3080. However with the only other option being an anemic-for-2021 6GB, NVIDIA is opting to make sure that the card isn’t for want of VRAM capacity.

Meanwhile, for better or worse the RTX 3060 is all-but-guaranteed to fly off of shelves quickly. With every video card more powerful than a GTX 1050 Ti seemingly getting shanghaied into mining Ethereum, desperate gamers will be fighting with hungry miners for supplies. Even with the 192-bit memory bus, I would be shocked if the RTX 3060 wasn’t profitable, especially with Ethereum reaching record highs. So for anyone thinking of grabbing the card, best be prepared to camp out at your favorite retailer or e-tailer on that Thursday morning.

On a final note, unlike the other RTX 30 series cards launched to date, NVIDIA will not be producing any Founders Edition cards for the RTX 3060 series. So all of the cards released will be AIB cards with their own respective designs. And, if tradition holds, don't be surprised if we see the AIBs outfit their cards with premium features and raise their prices accordingly.

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  • Yojimbo - Saturday, February 13, 2021 - link

    Why? That's somewhat like being baffled that a cheaper car has a bigger gas tank, except the size of the gas tank carries no status. I guess it has something to do with an innate notion of hierarchy.

    Practically speaking, though, a graphics card just needs enough VRAM. The 3060 has quite a bit more than it needs because of marketing and the technical specifics of VRAM products. For a certain amount of compute, a graphics card needs a certain minimum memory capacity and a certain minimum memory bandwidth. But the capacities and bandwidths come in chunky steps. Apparently it's more expensive to have a wider memory bus than needed than to have more capacity than needed. NVIDIA doesn't want 6 GB, perhaps mostly for marketing reasons, or perhaps it's getting very close to the minimum VRAM they think the card needs. But if they wanted to go with 8 GB they'd need to increase the memory bus width and add more memory controllers to their die. That extra bandwidth would mostly be wasted, so they chose to waste the extra 4 GB of memory capacity instead by going with the smaller bus width and the higher capacity chips to result in 12 GB of VRAM.
    Reply
  • edzieba - Sunday, February 14, 2021 - link

    It's based on memory bandwidth requirements, not memory capacity requirement. Capacity requirements are FAR below what people think they are even at 'extreme' resolutions (an 8k framebuffer is barely over 125MB). Just looking at 'utilised capacity' tells you basically nothing about actual capacity requirements: any half-competant game engine will try and fill VRAM with every asset in that level up until full capacity or running out of data to load. All that data is marked as flushable, and will instantly be overwritten if required for actual in-flight data (i.e. cached data is functionally identical to empty VRAM). Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, February 15, 2021 - link

    I think many people are making guesses about where VRAM requirements might go in the near future based on the latest crop of consoles, which isn't entirely unreasonable. I think it's fair to have questions like that when you're coughing up $500+ for high-end hardware! Reply
  • Yojimbo - Monday, February 15, 2021 - link

    People are just nervous about running out of scarce resources. There's no reason to it. They aren't making any guesses. But regardless, what does that have to do with a higher-tier card having a lower RAM capacity than a lower-tier card? Is that the kind of reason you mean? Worrying that the higher-tier card has too little because the lower-tier card has more? Reply
  • Sttm - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    Where is my 16gb 3080Ti at? Reply
  • fcth - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    Newest rumors say the 3080 Ti will only get 12GB (though presumably the full 384-bit memory bus from the 3090 will be enabled to accommodate the extra chips) Reply
  • Alistair - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    It isn't that exciting except for the possibility of being in stock. The 3060 Ti is a much better GPU for almost the same price. Reply
  • Spunjji - Monday, February 15, 2021 - link

    Indeed. Ampere only really comes into its own at 1440p or above. Reply
  • powerarmour - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    Hey maybe we'll actually get an Ampere review! (too soon?) Reply
  • fcth - Friday, February 12, 2021 - link

    I'm still hoping the review will be live by the time we can buy the cards at MSRP! Reply

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