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Gigabyte RTX 3060 Gaming OC Review – What Was Nvidia Thinking???

Today we are going to take a look at the brand new RTX 3060 Gaming OC from Gigabyte and find out Nvidia dropped the ball on the RTX 3060.

Ever since NVIDIAs announcement of the 3060 12GB we have been very curious as to how it would perform and who the target market will be. The higher amount of VRAM would suggest it is more aimed towards crypto mining than gaming. But that was quickly stopped by NVIDIAs recently announcing that they will limit mining by 50%. So will you be able to upgrade your GTX 1080 and get a decent performance boost? Or is this only an upgrade option for a GTX 1060? 

Specs

Specs wise the 3060 has 12GB of VRAM, 3584 cuda cores, 112  3de gen Tensor cores, 28 2nd gen RT cores. On paper that’s around a 45% increase compared to the RTX 2060 with the new generation cores. Also even though the 3060 has more VRAM it’s slower with a 192 bit memory bus vs the 256 bit on the Ti version. But memory bandwidth is more at 15Gbps vs the 14Gbps on the Ti, So although you have more memory it is slightly slower. 

Now our biggest concern with this 3060 was the strange amount of VRAM, why 12GB? If it can’t mine what was the purpose of that? Was it intended more for content creators, I don’t think so? Or maybe streamers, I don’t think so again. Most likely what happened was that NVIDIA did plan to sell this more to miners, but because of the backlash from gamers they decided to maybe just for once listen to the people that made them who they are today. US GAMERS! 

But this is where we run into a big problem, the pricing. Because the 12GBs again where aimed towards miners but now the gamers need to pay more for memory that will almost never use.

Price

The RTX 3060 was supposed to have an MSRP of $329, however with the whole GPU shortage, retailers now also went the scalper route. With price hikes of  up to 50% more, going all the way up to $520. That’s more than what the RTX 3070 cost at launch. 

Design

But now moving on to the design of the Gigabyte Gaming RTX 3060. It pretty much just looks like a smaller and a bit more plastic RTX 3060Ti.  We still feel that Gigabyte went a bit too safe on the design for the Gaming series. The flat looking fan shroud has some groove marks in it to try and give it some dimensions. And the two tone black and silver plastic adds some styling but not much. You do get the white vision model as well which has the same design but the white just adds a bit more styling for me personally. But you do have the Aorus cards if you do want a bit more of a gaming look.

The silver aluminum backplate is still nice with some Gigabyte branding, and some other graphics.

Now you may have noticed that the 8pin sits almost in the middle of the GPU. Where we previously saw it at the tail end, which you could also see the wiring to the pin which we weren’t the biggest fans of. Now the reason for the move of the connector, is that apparently this was a weak point on some of the other cards and the connector would break. Now the connector is directly on the PCB which makes it much stronger and more reliable, but it is in the middle of the card which doesn’t look too great to me personally. You also have a small illuminated Gigabyte logo and RGB strip,  And then on the right a huge gaping hole for better heat dissipation. 

Cooling

Now this huge gaping hole, that’s obviously part of the cooling solution for the gaming OC design. But it’s not the only thing keeping this card cool. We still have the windforce 3x cooling system like with the other gaming OC cards. But somehow the fan fins look smaller compared to the other cards we reviewed. Also the middle fan spins clockwise and the outer fans anticlockwise to reduce turbulence for improved cooling. As for how it performed, under gaming load we hit a max of 69c which is not too bad.

IO

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

Due note that we did use the press drivers for the tests so performance may differ with upcoming driver releases.

BENCHMARKS

First up is 2x AC games,  Valhalla on ultra and  1080p we managed an average of 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?

For AC Odyssey, 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. 

In Rainbow 6 Siege 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.

In Far Cry new dawn on 1080p it was a close enough call, only being 20% behind the 3060Ti which was our top performer so far. In 1440p it 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.

Now we have seen previously with our 3090 reviews that Horizon zero dawn likes a lot of VRAM. So maybe this is the game for the 3060, on 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. 

Next up  Apex legends. So in 1080p it managed to get 198FPS which is very good actually only being 4% behind the 2080 Super. In 1440p it got 139FPS, 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 we got 85, which is also good. But throw ray tracing in there and it almost halves going to 44FPS and then with no help from DLSS it goes down to 25FPS. How about 1440p, well on 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 15 FPS without it. 

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. 

Our last game to test was COD MW. In 1080p the 3060 was unfortunately dead last again only reaching 168 FPS that’s 35% 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 was also 35% between the 3060 and 3060Ti. 4k the 3060 was just able to reach 60FPS but was still lacking behind by a margin of 36%. 

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. Which they also stated

VS 1060 6GB

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

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 mine…. uhhh I mean gaming card, designed for gamers of course. Not at all for miners, NVIDIA would never do that. But yes we actually do feel that this was more a mining card than a gaming card, obviously it can game. But as we saw with the benchmarks it wasn’t such a big increase in performance over its previous gen counterpart. I mean the 3060Ti went up against a 2080 super. That’s jumping up 2 classes in performance. Same with most of the other new 30 series GPUs. But the 3060 gets compared to the previous 2060 more than any other card? So are you buying a 2060 then for $500? We really feel that NVIDIA could have dropped the price by 10-20% and cut the 12GB of  192bit VRAM down to 8GB 256bit. But that’s just what we feel. Cause paying the same price as a 3070 for 30% less performance than a 3060Ti is not worth it for you to upgrade your 1080 from. 

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Written by Ruan Bronkhorst

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