With a market struggling to regain normalcy after the crisis triggered by the pandemic, talking about graphics cards has become rather difficult; not so much as regards the technical aspect, but above all, because users are unable to find the new models of AMD and NVIDIA GPUs at prices close to those of the list or otherwise acceptable.
Without going any further – on when and to what extent the situation could normalize – the last few weeks have actually shown timid signs of recovery with prices that, at least for the cheaper solutions, have fallen significantly in the face of a much better availability than this. spring. The card we will test today is located in this market segment, the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming OC, a custom version of the NVIDIA RTX 3060 announced in February.
On paper, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 would be the ideal card for gamers, an excellent successor to the GeForce GTX 1060 and RTX 2060 which, statistics in hand, represent the most popular solutions among gamers looking for the best possible compromise between performance and price.
The improvements made by the NVIDIA Ampere architecture are also reflected in this model which, compared to the previous generation, offers a clear leap in performance in all areas, including compatibility with the latest NVIDIA standards and technologies.
Let’s touch on the price issue immediately, if only to avoid unnecessary controversy about the usefulness of a card which, unfortunately, is still difficult to buy at the price list (if not in particular situations).
NVIDIA announced the GeForce RTX 3060 at 339 euros, a figure that in reality would have been “very indicative” even in a normal market situation; the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming OC variant should be in the $ 450/480 range (just over $ 400), but it is currently impossible to buy any of these cards for less than $600/650.
Objectively the situation is this, therefore, waiting for further signs of recovery, we just have to see what the custom model packaged by Gigabyte offers.
Table of Contents
GeForce RTX 3060 uses an NVIDIA Amps GA106 from 3584 Cuda Core, a much more powerful chip than the old TU 106 (RTX 2060) but at the same time, presents a clear performance gap compared to the big sister GeForce RTX 3060 Ti ( Review).
In fact, the latter can count on the excellent Ampere GA104 GPU with a good 4,864 Cuda Core, which is 35% more processing units against a list price – we are talking about Founders Edition – equal to 425 euros (+ 25% approximately ). But let’s see the technical characteristics of the RTX 3060 in detail:
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming OC 12GB
GeForce RTX 3070 FE
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti FE
GeForce RTX 3060 FE
Gigabyte RTX 3060 Gaming OC
GeForce RTX 2060
12 GB GDDR6
12 GB GDDR6
As we will see shortly in the benchmarks, the efficiency of the Ampere architecture compared to Turing is evident; just look at the different configurations of RT Core and Tensor Core – on paper in clear favor of the RTX 2060 – to realize the leap in performance offered by NVIDIA with the GeForce RTX 30 series. If this were not enough, the company also offers a serious update for the VRAM department that goes from the “canonical” 8GB to 12GB GDDR6 (15 Gbps).
Moving on to the Gigabyte RTX 3060 Gaming OC, this is one of the four options that the Taiwanese company offers for this precise NVIDIA model; the Gaming OC series is placed immediately below the AORUS products and is characterized by a high-performance dissipation system with higher clock rates than the Founders Edition.
Obviously we are in a much lower price range than the top-of-the-range Gigabyte Gaming OC variants, a feature that is immediately evident when we pick up the card, equipped with a plastic cover that did not particularly impress us. All this, however, is balanced by a fairly original design, a not excessive footprint (considering the heatsink), and a much more refined metal backplate.
Like other models of the Gaming OC series, the Gigabyte RTX 3060 also uses a WindForce 3X heatsink, equipped with three 80mm alternating rotation fans that support semi-passive mode; the dissipating aluminum body disposes of the heat extracted from three copper heat pipes, in our opinion perfectly sized to the characteristics of the GPU.
On the external side of the card, there is the company logo with software customizable RGB LEDs (RGB Fusion 2.0) and the PCI-E 8pin power connector; as for the allocation of ports instead, there are two Display Port 1.4a and two HDMI 2.1. Finally, let’s not forget that the GeForce RTX 3060 was the first NVIDIA card to introduce the limitation for the hash-rate, while the support for the various proprietary technologies (DLSS 2.0, Reflex, Studio, etc.) remains unchanged.
Usage, Temperature, and Overclocking
The GeForce RTX 3060 is also an attractive card from an energy point of view, it has a TDP of 170W and even when we overclocked it did not prove particularly demanding from this point of view. Before seeing how it behaved in our tests, however, we propose the hardware platform used for the occasion:
Let’s start immediately with the consumptions which, as can be seen from the following graph, do not differ much from the ancestor GeForce RTX 2060, resulting in about 10% lower when compared to those of a GeForce RTX 3060 Ti.
As for temperatures, Gigabyte’s WindForce 3X is confirmed as one of the most effective solutions for triple fan heatsinks, demonstrating, among other things, excellent temperature management even when we use automatic settings.
In this mode the fans are turned off when the card is at rest, managing the various loads on the GPU with a maximum rotation speed that is around 70% of their capacity; as seen for the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Ti Vision OC then, we do not recommend using the fixed fan at 50% as the operating temperatures in gaming tend to be slightly high.
Finally, we come to the operating frequencies and overclocking capabilities of the card which, in the conditions, we saw above, reached a maximum of 2,002 MHz when the fan was set to 100%. For overclocking, on the other hand, by acting on the Power Limit (about + 20%) we were able to achieve good stability at 2,205 MHz against a peak consumption of the card measured in 208W.
For our test on the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming OC, we compared the four cards under review with three different resolutions, 1080p, 1440p, and 2160p respectively. As for the titles used instead, we did not discount the GeForce RTX 3060, choosing some of the most demanding; in detail:
In the now-classic 3DMark, we immediately notice that the Gigabyte RTX 3060 Gaming OC is positioned substantially close to the old Radeon RX 5700 XT which is advantageous above all in the 3DMark Fire Strike. Moving on to games instead, the card manages to handle all titles with ULTRA details abundantly above 60 FPS with a peak of 87 FPS on Gears 5.
With results of this kind, in which we can define some of the most demanding games currently on the market, you will understand how the GeForce RTX 3060 – in this case in the custom variant of Gigabyte – will be able to manage practically all the titles with details maxed in FHD; with some sacrifice on details, the performance is excellent even in 1440p which, at the same time, is the ideal terrain of the older sister GeForce RTX 3060 Ti.
As for ray-tracing and 4K gaming, we are talking about areas where the GeForce RTX 3060 struggles, especially when we go up with resolution and details; if you are interested in the graphic effects of RTX technology we can tell you that with this card you can not expect much and even 1080p you will have to ask for help from DLSS 2.0 to have a satisfactory frame-rate.
The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming OC proved to be a decidedly balanced graphics card, obviously, if we take into consideration the performance offered with what should be its real price, that is about 400/420 euros; otherwise, at current costs, we cannot recommend it, as well as no overpriced product/card. The current market situation, however, gives us hope for the last quarter of the year, so those who play in FHD and need an upgrade must be patient and wait for prices to drop further.
At that point, getting your hands on this card will be a good deal as the performance leap compared to the previous generation is clear and this Gigabyte variant is to be seriously considered especially due to the excellent dissipation system.
GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming OC is very quiet and operates with excellent operating temperatures with any type of load; thanks to the triple fan heatsink we also have a good margin for overclocking which, with an increase of about 200 MHz, also allows us to obtain an additional performance boost with consumption that we can define as good (in the order of 200W). In conclusion, we can say that GeForce RTX 3060 is the ideal card if you want to play at 1080p max; those looking for a more “substantial” frame rate or aiming to take advantage of a QHD monitor can easily do so by giving up some details without particular problems (perhaps playing on Alto).