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Time To Upgrade Your GTX 1060??? – ASUS ROG RTX 3060 STRIX

Today we will take a look at the latest edition not only from NVIDIA but also ASUS. The ROG STRIX 3060. Yes this is the weird 12GB 3060, 4GB more VRAM than its big brother the 3060Ti.

A long long time ago Linus did a video about how much VRAM you need and where you would need it. The main focus for more VRAM is to be able to handle higher resolutions. But he also stated that higher end GPU’s usually have more VRAM and that it is not always viable in more entry level cards because the actual GPU chip can utilize the higher amount of VRAM properly. So why did NVIDIA opt for more VRAM on the 3060 than even the 3080 has. At first we thought that it would be a brilliant card for crypto mining because of the high amount of VRAM, but then NVIDIA threw a curveball and are now limiting the mining capabilities by 50% on the 3060. So our question is yet again why does the 3060 have 12GB of VRAM?

Specs

But anyway enough of my ranting, lets go over the rest of the specs, the 3060 has 12GB of VRAM, 3584 cuda cores, 112  3de gen Tensor cores, 28 2nd gen RT cores. Specs wise its around a 45% increase compared to the RTX 2060 with the new gen cores. 

We are lucky enough to have the OC model with clock speeds that run at 1882MHz in gaming mode and then boosts to 1912MHz in OC mode. 

Even though the 3060 has more VRAM its slower with a 192 bit memory bus vs the 256 bit on the Ti version. However memory bandwidth is more at 15Gbps vs the 14Gbps on the Ti, So although you have more memory it is slightly slower. 

Price

The MSRP for the 3060 is $329. But we have already seen that pre order prices have sky rocket even before the launch. Some retailers have pushed the prices up by 50%. So at those retailers this specific ASUS model will retail for $500. Which was the same price as a RTX 3070 at launch. This is really getting ridiculous now to be honest. 

Design

Now before we get into the benchmarks, let’s talk about how insanely good this STRIX card looks. The big RGB strip on the side and the fan shroud make it what it is. It’s elegant but at the same time looks like a proper gaming card. There is no LED bleed anywhere and the RGB manages to NOT be tacky. Even when switched off the card still looks good with its silver and black fan shroud. The backplate looks like brushed aluminum with the RGB ROG eye logo on the tail end. All the RGB goodness can be controlled through the Armoury crate software, and the RGB strip and LOGO are both ARGB. Like the other STRIX cards you also get a small switch for P and Q modes and then to finish off, a big air vent for heat to escape from, right by the tail end of the GPU.

Cooling

Now speaking about heat escaping, the STRIX design has always been very good at cooling if not the best out of the box coolers on a GPU. The 3060 is no different as under stress tests the 3060 only managed to reach a max under gaming load 63c.

Now the reason for the good cooling is thanks to what ASUS calls an AXIAL-tech fan design. This loosely translates to a smaller hub that has longer blades with a barrier ring to increase downward airflow. The 2 side fans also spin in a counter clockwise direction with the middle one in a clockwise direction. This reduces turbulence and eliminates unnecessary noise. If the GPU is under 50c the fans will also stay off.

Now the big 2.7slot design is because of a massive polished heatsink. It’s polished to make it look shiny and pretty. No i’m just joking they actually polish it so it has an even smoother and flatter surface, this means that there is better contact with the DIE’s that improves thermal transfer.  

Features

Something nice to see is that at the rear of the card are 2 PWM fan connectors. If fans are connected to these headers, they can be tuned with a curve that is based on CPU and GPU temps. Now in a future update on the armoury crate software, you will be able to link your CPU and GPU temps to the ARGB AURA lighting strip. This will then display temps as a color so you can just take a quick look at your GPU to make sure nothing is melting yet. 

Now if you want to try and melt stuff, you have to use the GPU tweak II software from ASUS to boost performance and all that, PC melting stuff. Luckily the STRIX cooling is good so no melting this bad boy!

IO

For IO the 3060 strix is actually very well equipped. It has 2x HDMI 2.1 and 3x DP 1.4a.

It also has a TDP of 170w and a single 8 pin connector, so a 500w power supply would be perfect.

But that’s it for the technical specs and prices, let’s get into what we are all here for. The Benchmarks!

BENCHMARKS

First up is AC valhalla. All the settings were on ultra and with that said on 1080p we reached 66FPS which is a 24% decrease from the 3060Ti the same amount was true for 1440p as well. But with 4K there was a 35% performance decrease. I wonder what the 12GB of RAM is for?

Rainbow 6 siege was our next title to test. But yet again the 3060 was dead last on our charts. Falling way behind with a total average of 30% on DX11 against the 3060Ti. Using Vulkan it managed to catch up a little bit but still being 23% behind.

Lets see if the 3060 can redeem itself in Far cry new dawn. 1080p was a close enough call, only being 20% behind the 3060Ti which was our top performer here so far. 1440p in Far cry was a very close race between the GPU’s… well until the 3060 came into play. Being a whopping 27% behind the 3060Ti, which might not sound like too much but there is only a 13% difference here between the 3060Ti and 3090. And then yet again another 36% slower than the 3060Ti in 4K. That extra VRAM does not seem to be doing too much at this point. Anyway onto the next game. 

So it’s time for our second AC game this time it’s Odyssey. At least this time the gap was not that big as it almost reached 90FPS on very high settings on 1080p. 1440p was not bad either, only being 17% behind the 3060Ti. But yet again 4K was the downfall for the 3060, with yet another 37% performance gap between itself and the 3060Ti. 

Now we have seen previously with our 3090 reviews that Horizon zero dawn likes a lot of VRAM so maybe this time the 3060 will conquer them all with its strange amount of VRAM. So let’s see. 1080p and 1440p it was 28% behind the 3060Ti and 4k a wholesome 34%. I really thought this would be the game where it would do better, guess not. 

Okay let’s see with a fast paced game like Apex legends. So in 1080p it managed to get 198FPS which is very good actually only being 4% behind the ummm 2080 Super. Which is still a formidable task. In 1440p it got 139FPS making it a very good 1440p 144HZ card for this game. But it was also 44% behind the 3060Ti in both 1440p and 4K.

Time for the all new but can it run Cyberpunk! So 1080p we hit over 60FPS which is good,with DLSS on we got 85,throw ray tracing in there and it almost halves going to 44FPS and then with no help from DLSS it goes down to 25FPS. We were certain the 3060 will run 1440p decent enough and we weren’t wrong, normal rasterized test it got 41 FPS and with the help of DLSS it got over 60FPS, but when you throw RT in there, it starts becoming very laggy with only 29FPS with the help of DLSS and only 15FPS without it. We didn’t think that it would run at all on 4K but low and behold we were right again. We did run and see what it would be like on 4k with only RT on and it was unplayable doing about 7FPS, which is actually 4FPS better than the 3060 Ti got. Maybe the VRAM did actually help a little bit this time. 

In control running at 1080p with DLSS on and off as well as RT we got an average of about 20% less than that of the 3060Ti. 1440p there was a 30% difference on average and 4K was even worse being about 38% behind the 3060Ti. 

Wolfenstein Youngblood was our last RT game to test. 1080p it was an average of 26% behind the 3060Ti but actually beat the 2080 Super in every test! 1440p was a different story though falling behind again by a margin of about 30%. 4K was more or less the same results, but we did see that with RT on without DLSS the 12GB of VRAM did seem to help in this game, where the 3060 actually did 10% better than the 3060Ti but only on 4K with ray tracing on.

Our last game to test was COD MW. This is a very popular title and high frames does count a lot in this game so let’s see what the 3060 is capable of. In 1080p the 3060 was unfortunately dead last again only reaching 159FPS that’s a disgusting 42% behind the 3060Ti, it is worth mentioning that the 3060Ti was the top card in this test though actually beating all the other 30 series cards as well. In 1440p the gap didn’t seem to close up, it actually got worse, where the difference was now 46% between the 3060 and 3060Ti. 4k the 3060 came very close to reaching 60FPS but was still lacking behind by a margin of 48%. 

Benchmark results

So from these benchmarks we can see that this is actually a useless card.

On all the press details Nvidia gave the only cards they could compare it to was a RTX 2060 Non Super and a 5 year old card the GTX 1060, also no mention on which 1060 really.

Also they state that it has 10x the Ray tracing performance compared to a card that doesn’t even have it, how is that an achievement. And Ray Tracing has not become the standard Nvidia.

Ok then how does the 3060 actually compare against the 5 year old GTX 1060 6GB?

VS 1060

For the tests against the 1060 6GB we benchmarked APEX legends, control and COD MW . We also compared their 3D mark scores against each other.

So first up was Apex, the 3060 did manage to perform a whopping 160% more than the 1060 6GB both being on medium settings. 

Control was second and in rasterized tests with medium settings it beat the 1060 by 103% and of course because you get the advantage of DLSS with the 3060 we switched that on and it boosted to 200% more FPS than the 1060

And lastly was CODMW, with the both cards in low settings the difference was 60%. I guess that wasn’t enough of a challenge to utilize the 12GB of VRAM.

And finally we get to the synthetics. So for 3D mark firestrike we got a graphics score of 22 267 thats a 65% increase over the 1060 6GB. In TimeSpy we got a score of 8441 which is a staggering increase of 85% over the 1060. 

Conclusion

Anyway this is a mining card that can’t mine properly. Or maybe it is a good upgrade from a 1060. But good luck finding one, and I would be quite angry if I wanted to upgrade from a 1060 and skipped the 3070 to wait for the more affordable 3060, just for it to come out and be the same damn price as the 3070! The worst part of all is the mining will probably go on for the rest of the year, or etherium goes to proof of state or the bullish market comes to an end, which again looks to be at the end of 2021 or until NVIDIA will be able to produce enough cards, which was a problem even before mining was a thing again. So in short I wouldn’t get my hopes up to get a 30 series GPU at a reasonable price this year. Looks like 2020 was a good year for gaming because we all had more time to game with the lockdowns and such, now 2021 is a bad year for gaming cause theres no GPUs to buy that won’t cost a kidney.  The biggest shame is the ASUS STRIX is a beautiful card with amazing cooling and one of the best AIB partner card designs on the market, but unfortunately NVIDIA dropped the ball down the grand canyon with the engineering with the 3060. It makes no sense at all, to buy this card even if you could get it for $329. I would much rather spend the extra money and get the ASUS STRIX 3060Ti for a tonne more performance that will future proof me much longer as well. Sorry ASUS the STRIX is amazing but you got let down by NVIDIA this time around.  And with that terrible disappointment it’s time to end…

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Written by Ruan Bronkhorst

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