NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, the successor to the RTX 2060 Super?

While the availability of the RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, 3080 and 3090 is still complicated, NVIDIA is launching a new graphics card model, the RTX 3060, completing its catalog of gaming products from the bottom up.

WE love

  • Allows you to play in Full HD and QHD
  • Accessible ray-tracing (in Full HD with DLSS)
  • Reasonable temperatures
  • Low noise pollution

We don’t like

  • Very average energy efficiency
  • Little difference in performance with an RTX 2060 Super
  • The actual price far from the NVIDIA recommended price

Verdict :

Let’s be clear: if you already have a first-gen GeForce RTX, this RTX 3060 will be of no use to you. Barely faster than a GeForce RTX 2060 Super, the change is not worth the effort. On the other hand, if you are currently equipped with an old GeForce GTX 1060, or an equivalent model, the purchase of this RTX 3060 from MSI could be interesting, especially taking into account the low availability of the models. more powerful. With sufficient performance to play in Full HD or QHD, however, it will be necessary to activate DLSS to benefit from ray-tracing in Full HD (and draw an end to the higher definitions). The other good point remains the integration of all the technologies provided by the Ampere architecture. It remains to be hoped that the real prices will not once again soar…


The Ampere graphics card family is growing today with the arrival of a new model: after the GeForce RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070 last September, then the RTX 3060 Ti more recently, it is the turn of the GeForce RTX 3060 to make its appearance in the NVIDIA catalog. But this time, unlike the other models in the manufacturer’s range, there is no Founders Edition: the GeForce RTX 3060 will be offered exclusively by graphics card manufacturers, and not by NVIDIA directly.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio – Crédit : Igor’s Lab

Today is the model Gaming X Trio de MSI which passes to the test bench. For this version, the manufacturer has taken its classic three-fan cooler, adapted to the PCB of this RTX 3060. Enough to take over from the RTX 2060 and 2060 Super?

Reference model) GeForce RTX 3070 GeForce RTX 3060 Ti MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio GeForce RTX 2060 Super
GPU GA104-300 GA104 GA106-300 TU106-410A
Gravure 8 nm Samsung 8 nm Samsung 8 nm
12 nm
Transistors 17.4 billion 17.4 billion 13.25 billion 10.8 billion
Die size 395,2 mm² 395,2 mm² 276 mm² 445 mm²
CUDA Colors 5888
46 SM
38 SM
28 SM
30 SM
Colors Tensor 184 152 112 240
RT Cores 46 38 28 30
GPU frequency (base / boost) 1500 MHz / 1730 MHz 1410 MHz / 1665 MHz 1320 MHz / 1852 MHz
(FE : 1777 MHz)
1470 / 1650 MHz
Memory 8 Go GDDR6 8 Go GDDR6 12 Go GDDR6 8 Go GDDR6
VRAM frequency 1750 MHz
(14 Gbps)
1750 MHz
(14 Gbps)
1875 MHz
(15 Gbps)
1750 MHz
(14 Gbps)
Memory bus 256 bits 256 bits 192 bits 192 bits
Bandwidth 448 Gbps 448 Gbps 360 Gbps 448 Gbps
TDP 220 W 200 W 170 W 175 W
Interface PCIe Gen4 16x PCIe Gen4 16x PCIe Gen4 16x PCIe Gen3 16x
Video outputs 3 x DP 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.1
3 x DP 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.1
3 x DP 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.1
2 x DP
1 x HDMI
1 x DVI
Power connectors 1 x 8-pin (reference model)
ou 1 x 12-pin (Founders Edition)
1 x 8-pin (reference model)
ou 1 x 12-pin (Founders Edition)
2 x 8-pin 1 x 8-pin (reference model)
NVLink Non Non Non Non
Recommended retail price 519 € 419 € 329 $
(reference model)
399 $

If the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti used the same GPU as the RTX 3070, simply cut off from a few CUDA Cores, RT Cores and Tensor Cores, it is a “new” GA-106 GPU which takes place on the RTX 3060, with the consequence direct drastic reduction in die size. If the number of CUDA Cores, RT Cores and Tensor Cores is once again reduced compared to its big sister, this GeForce RTX 3060 fortunately benefits from all the advances and innovations brought by the Ampere architecture. We thus find jumble of second generation RT Cores, better engraving finesse, AV1 codec hardware support, HDMI 2.1 support as well as RTX IO technologies, NVIDIA Reflex, NVIDIA Broadcast or NVIDIA Studio.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio – Crédit : Igor’s Lab

In terms of raw performance, this RTX 3060 in its reference version displays 12.7 TFLOPS via shaders, and 24.9 TFLOPS via RT Cores. MSI’s Gaming X Trio model achieves 13.3 TFLOPS thanks to the few additional MHz in Boost mode. In any case, this is much more than what the RTX 2060 Super offers: 7.2 TFLOPS “only” (via the CUDA Cores).

The ‘anti-mining’ mechanism implemented on the RTX 3060 is illustrated in video

Performance between the RTX 2060 Super and the 2070 Super

We collaborated with our colleague Igor Wallossek, from the German site Igor’s Lab, to carry out performance measurements of this GeForce RTX 3060 from MSI. These were carried out on a benchmarking platform bringing together a AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT processor overclocked to 4.5 GHz, an MSI MEG X570 Godlike motherboard, two 16 GB DDR4-3600 G-Skill TridentZ Neo memory modules (CL16-16-16-36 1T), a 2TB Gigabyte Aorus NVMe PCIe Gen4 SSD and a 1300 watt Seasonic Prime Titanium power supply, all taking place in a Raijintek Paean case.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio – Crédit : Igor’s Lab

MSI’s RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio was opposed to other gaming cards in the same market segment: RTX 3070 and 3060 Ti on the NVIDIA side, RX 6800 with and without SAM on the AMD side. It has also been compared to Previous generation GeForce RTX (2080 Ti, 2080 Super, 2070 Super and 2060 Super), and to Radeon RX 5700XT et Radeon VII.

The panel of games used to measure the performance of these cards includes 10 recent titles: one in DirectX 11, six in DirectX 12 and three using the Vulkan API. All games have been tested en Full HD et WQHD, with the highest possible graphics settings.

Benchmarks en Full HD et QHD

NVIDIA presents its GeForce RTX 3060 as a replacement for the “old” GTX 1060, and the results in Full HD and QHD do indeed tend to confirm this point. If you already own an RTX 2060 or RTX 2060 Super, Switching to an RTX 3060 will actually not bring much performance.. On average, the difference in Full HD between the MSI RTX 3060 (a slightly overclocked model from the factory as a reminder) and an RTX 2060 Super is in fact only about ten percent. Whatever the game, it falls between a 2060 Super and a 2070 Super. The performance remains sufficient to play in Full HD and even QHD in good conditions.

Benchmarks en Full HD avec ray-tracing (DXR)

To test the ray tracing performance of this new GeForce RTX 3060, we focused on three DXR compatible games: Control, Metro Exodus and Watch Dogs Legion. The tests were carried out in Full HD, with the graphics settings set to maximum.

The gap between the RTX 2060 Super and MSI’s RTX 3060 is a bit higher when activating ray-tracing in games, with NVIDIA’s new GPU sometimes even managing to slightly exceed an RTX 2070 Super, with Control for example. However, you will almost necessarily have to activate DLSS to reach a framerate acceptable.

A silent card, with average energy efficiency

The proprietary three-fan cooling system of this MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio clearly works wonders. With 31.4 dB (A) measured in play, it is very quiet, proof that the cooler is far from being faulty.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio – Crédit : Igor’s Lab

On the temperature side, we stay below 55 ° C (measurement carried out on the PCB, behind the GPU) with the Control game. GDDR6 memory chips do not rise above 52 ° C, while the hottest point of the power stage reaches 67 ° C, a very reasonable temperature for this type of component.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio

If the consumption of the card is on average only 164 W, respecting in passing its official TDP, the energy efficiency of this RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio is however less good than expected. In Full HD, we are at 1.50 watts per IPS: it is significantly worse than the RTX 3060 Ti FE and RTX 3070 FE. Fortunately, energy efficiency remains better than the first generation RTXs. In QHD, the average consumption climbs to 169W, at the limit of the card’s TDP. The energy efficiency decreases slightly since we reach 2.16 watts per IPS: it is still worse than that of the RTX 3060 Ti FE and RTX 3070 FE, but better than the RTX Turing (RTX 2060 Super, 2070 Super or 2080 Super).

Yannick Guerrini

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