There was a brief moment where the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 was a half-decent buy. It was regularly available in stock for a few months and offered a good balance of performance and price. Recently, however, it’s been increasingly hard to find and steadily going up in price, while AMD has returned fire with the Radeon RX 6600 XT.
Despite having very similar nomenclature to the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, the standard RTX 3060 is quite a different GPU. It’s based on Nvidia’s 276mm² GA106 die, rather than the GA104 die used in the 3060 Ti. At full strength, this chip has 3,840 stream processors cores and 30 RT cores. However, the GeForce RTX 3060 has two of its Streaming Multiprocessor blocks disabled, giving you 3,584 stream processors and 28 RT cores. It’s quite a step down from the 38 RT cores and 4,864 stream processors in the RTX 3060 Ti.
That wouldn’t be a problem if the RTX 3060 was cheap, but with the Radeon RX 6600 XT currently going for $480 and out-performing the $540 GeForce RTX 3060 in every meaningful test, there’s simply no reason to pay the extra $60 for the RTX 3060 at the moment. What, even in ray tracing, you may ask? Yep, even in ray tracing.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 performance
At 1,920 x 1,080, the Radeon RX 6600 XT out-performs the RTX 3060 in Metro Exodus with High ray tracing, with the same average but a higher 99th percentile result.
The GeForce RTX 3060 is much quicker in Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing enabled, and it’s around twice the speed of the last-gen RTX 2060, but the point is moot because its average of 35fps and 99th percentile result of 31fps isn’t smoothly playable.
You can get a playable frame rate by enabling DLSS, but it looks unpleasantly blurry at 1,920 x 1,080. With this level of hardware you’ll want to play this game without ray tracing, and at non ray-traced Ultra settings there’s barely a sliver of bog roll between the two GPUs’ performance.
With Nvidia’s key competitive weapon out the way, the GeForce RTX 3060 really struggles to compete with AMD’s Radeon RX 6600 XT. The latter’s 58fps 99th percentile and 79fps average in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla dwarfs the RTX 3060’s respective 43fps and 58fps results. Enable Resizable BAR and the difference expands to 26fps when it comes to average frame rates.
Likewise, the Radeon’s 99th percentile of 44fps is substantially higher than the RTX 3060’s result of 35fps in Metro Exodus at 1,920 x 1,080. The Radeon is quicker in Doom Eternal too, though not by a huge amount.
Don’t get us wrong – the GeForce RTX 3060 is clearly a capable 1,920 x 1,080 gaming GPU that can handle playable frame rates – if you’ve already bought one, it will continue to do the job fine. If you’re buying a ~£500 GPU now, though, it’s clearly been superseded.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 pros and cons
- Amazing retail price
- Beats the RTX 2080 Super
- Decent 1080p ray tracing performance
- Sometimes hard to find in stock
- Struggles at 4K
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 specs
The GeForce RTX 3060 specs list is:
|Stream processors / CUDA cores:||3584|
|RT cores:||28 (2nd-gen)|
|Tensor cores:||112 (3rd-gen)|
|Base clock||1320 MHz|
|Max boost clock:||1777 MHz|
|Memory clock:||1875 MHz (15 GHz effective)|
|Card interface:||16x PCIe 4|
|Power connectors:||1 x 8-pin|
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 price
At the time of review, the price of the GeForce RTX 3060 is far higher than is reasonable, severely knocking its value. Wait until it’s back closer to its $329 / £300 launch MSRP before taking the plunge.
Price: Expect to pay $600 / £540
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 review conclusion
Don’t be confused by the name – the GeForce RTX 3060 is significantly less powerful than the RTX 3060 Ti, and its current pricing makes it uncompetitive. AMD’s Radeon RX 6600 XT is also still overpriced at $480, of course (remember when 1,920 x 1,080 gaming GPUs used to cost around $200?), and the GeForce RTX 3060 is still a decent 1080p gaming GPU, but if you’re looking to buy a new card in this price range, the Radeon is now the better option.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 doesn’t quite earn a spot on our best graphics card guide so check that list out for our recommendations.
Still a capable 1,920 x 1,080 gaming GPU, but it’s now soundly beaten by the cheaper Radeon RX 6600 XT.