Last Updated on January 3, 2022 by ViCadia
The GeForce RTX 3060 is a brand new mid-range graphics card from NVIDIA that brings a new level of rendering performance to the mainstream market. Traditionally, the XX60 series of graphics cards from NVIDIA have always been the most popular among gamers, and we believe that RTX 3060 will achieve the same success. Given the fact that this is a performance-segment GPU, the RTX 3060 seems to be pitted against both the Radeon RX 5700 XT, and the GeForce RTX 2070, although it remains to be seen how it will stack up against the upcoming Radeon RX 6600 XT.
The GeForce RTX 3060 features a new G106 graphics processor that packs 13,250 million transistors, 3584 shading units, 112 TMUs, and 48 ROPs. Compared to the RTX 3060 Ti, the new, non-Ti RTX 3060 has 26% fewer cores, and 40% fewer ROPs. The new card also uses a more narrower 192-bit bus, however, it comes with four extra gigabytes of GDDR6 VRAM, clocked at 15 Gbps. In total, the new RTX 3060 features 12GB of VRAM, while the more expensive RTX 3060 Ti features only 8GB of VRAM. Yes, we know, it’s weird.
This GPU also features a base clock speed of 1320 MHz, and a boost clock speed of 1777 MHz. The card also comes with a more energy-efficient TDP of 200 watts, and the suggested PSU for powering up this GPU should feature at least 550 W. Just like all the other NVIDIA RTX 30 series graphics cards, the new RTX 3060 comes with support for ray tracing rendering, and NVIDIA Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology.
When it comes to gaming, the new GeForce RTX 3060 is around 16% faster than the last-gen GeForce RTX 2060, and is around 25% slower than the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. Generally, the RTX 3060 is roughly on par with the Radeon RX 5700 XT, except it features support for ray tracing, which AMD’s card doesn’t. The RTX 3060 was designed to be used as the ultimate 1080p gaming graphics card, as it can deliver more than 60 FPS on ultra settings in the latest AAA titles, such as the Red Dead Redemption 2, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, and Cyberpunk 2077. Obviously, the card is capable enough of smoothly running less graphically demanding games at 1440p resolution, which means, it can also be used for playing competitive online first-person shooters at high refresh rates. Speaking of 4K performance, the RTX 3060 is too weak to deliver favorable results, which is why going with the RTX 3060 Ti seems like a better option.
Since NVIDIA isn’t offering Founders Edition of the RTX 3060, this card is only available in different AIB variants. Each variant, however, features different cooling and GPU clock speeds, so we have compiled a list of the best aftermarket models in order to help you pick the right card. Scroll down to see more.
Best Overall: EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming
Boost Clock: 1777 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Length: 202 mm | Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin | Outputs: 3 x DP, 1 x HDMI
- Great performance at 1080p and 1440p
- Compact dimensions
- Decent overclocking potential
- Simple heatsink design
- Fans can get a bit too loud under full load
- No dual BIOS switch
The EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming isn’t the fastest, nor the quietest, nor the most stunning AIB variant of the RTX 3060, however it perfectly balances price with impressive performance, and as such is probably one of the best custom designed RTX 3060 cards overall. The card features a GPU boost clock of 1,777 MHz, and it comes with a decent dual-fan cooler that is able to provide solid cooling performance.
At 1080p resolution, this card can deliver 70 FPS on average in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla on ultra settings, and up to 130 FPS in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) without DLSS. It can also deliver up to 80 FPS on average in Metro Exodus with ray tracing set to ultra, which is quite impressive performance. Speaking of its thermals and acoustics, the card produces around 38 dBA of noise under full load, which is tolerable, and its compact dual-fan cooler is capable enough of keeping the GPU core from reaching temps higher than 75°C. This card also comes with a protective backplate, and full support for resizable BAR.
Best Cooling: MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X TRIO
Boost Clock: 1852 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Length: 323 mm | Power Connectors: 2 x 8-pin | Outputs: 3 x DP, 1 x HDMI
- Factory pre-overclocked
- Amazing overclocking potential
- Fantastic acoustics and thermals
- Attractive design
- Low TDP
- Very long PCB (may not fit in smaller cases)
- High retail price
The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X TRIO is a premium AIB variant of the RTX 3060 that stands of par with the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3060 OC. However, compared to the ASUS’ model, this card offers far better bang for the buck, which is why it is on our list. The Gaming X TRIO comes with a 4.2% higher boost clock speed, and it requires two 8-pin power connectors to run. This, however, isn’t a drawback, as having two power connectors means that this card features fantastic overclocking potential. If you like tweaking, then you’ll like this card, as it will allow you to easily push its memory to 16 Gbps, and its core clock to 2000 MHz mark.
But besides being a good overclocker, the RTX 3060 Gaming X TRIO features splendid cooling solution that will simply leave you speechless. Under full load, the card produces around 30 dBA of noise, which is barely audible, while its GPU core never goes past 60°C. This card can also boast with an impressively low TDP of 175 W, which is a rarity to see in an aftermarket RTX 3060 card. In our opinion, this card is the best AIB variant of the RTX 3060, and its only flaw is its rather high retail price.
Best Design: Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 3060 ELITE 12G
Boost Clock: 1867 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Length: 296 mm | Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin + 1 x 6-pin | Outputs: 2 x DP, 2 x HDMI
- Stunning aesthetics
- Powerful RGB lighting
- High boost clock speed
- Much faster than other RTX 3060 models
- Quite expensive
Being less expensive than both the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X TRIO, and ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3060 OC, the AORUS RTX 3060 manages to present itself as an affordable premium RTX 3060 card that is able to offer a lot of features for a fairly good price. Starting off with the design, the AORUS RTX 3060 features a stunning cooler with three large alternate spinning fans and subtly integrated RGB lighting. The card also features an impressively large protective backplate with engraved AORUS logo, and a large cutout for improved airflow.
But besides looking great, this card also packs quite a punch in terms of performance. The AORUS RTX 3060 comes with a 1867 MHz boost clock speed, and features one 8-pin and one 6-pin power connector for better overclocking support and power delivery. On average, the card is around 5-10% faster than the Gigabyte RTX 3060 Eagle 12 at 1080p resolution, and around 3-7% faster at 1440p resolution. The card also runs fairly silent under full load, and its average GPU core temperature never goes above 63°C.
Best Budget: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge
Boost Clock: 1777 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Length: 224 mm | Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin | Outputs: 3 x DP, 1 x HDMI
- Nice-looking heatsink
- Factory pre-overclocked
- Cheaper than most RTX 3060 cards
- Compact dimensions
- Weird placement of power connectors
- Noisy fans under full load
Usually the best looking products are also the most expensive ones, but that’s not the case with the ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3060 Twin Edge graphics card. Right now, this is one of the best-looking and the most affordable custom designed RTX 3060 cards currently available on the market. Compared to other models of the RTX 3060, this card can boast with futuristic heatsink design, and a stylish metallic backplate. But besides looking good, this card also hides a few secrets under its hood. The ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge comes with a single 8-pin power connector, and it also features an upgraded IceStorm 2.0 cooling solution which keeps its temps at bay.
Performance-wise, this card can deliver more than 60 FPS on average on ultra settings in games such as Watch Dogs: Legion or Cyberpunk 2077, as well as 100 FPS in Battlefield V and Call of Duty: Warzone at 1440p resolution. Due to the fact that it features only two fans, this card runs hotter than other triple-fan models of the RTX 3060, and is slightly more audible while running under full load. Despite that, the card can easily reach 1800 MHz boost clock speed if you decide to overclock it. All in all, this is a very nice 1440p graphics card that is quite affordable and looks fantastic.
Best Compact RTX 3060: ASUS Phoenix GeForce RTX 3060 12GB
Boost Clock: 1807 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Length: 177 mm | Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin | Outputs: 3 x DP, 1 x HDMI
- Ultra compact dimensions
- Perfectly suited for mini-ITX builds
- Features full sized GA106 chip
- Competitive price
- 2.5 slot design
- Runs very hot under full load
- Fan can get pretty loud
Built specifically for mini-ITX PC builds, the ASUS Phoenix GeForce RTX 3060 12GB is probably the shortest RTX 3060 card that you can buy right now. Measuring only 177 mm in length, this card is perfectly suited for small form factor (SFF) PC builds, as well as for tiny HTPCs. Underneath its small heatsink, the ASUS Phoenix RTX 3060 hides a full-sized GA106 chip, which sports a boost clock speed of 1807 MHz, while its 12GB of VRAM run at 15 Gbps.
Obviously, ultra small size comes with certain compromises. The ASUS Phoenix RTX 3060 features only one fan with dual-ball bearing design, and is not very-well suited for overclocking due to its modest cooling solution, and the presence of only one 8-pin power connector. Due to that, the card tends to run fairly hot under full load, often reaching 70°C. Another major drawback of this GPU is that it features a 2.5 slot design, which means it isn’t able to fit inside two expansion card slots. Overall, this is a decent SFF 1440p graphics card, but don’t expect too much from it in terms of acoustics and thermal performance.
Honorable Mention: MAXSUN GeForce RTX 3060 iCraft OC 12G S1
Boost Clock: 1807 MHz | Memory: 12GB GDDR6 | Length: 317 mm | Power Connectors: 1 x 8-pin | Outputs: 3 x DP, 1 x HDMI
- Great aesthetics
- Good 1080p and 1440p performance
- Factory pre-overclocked
- Cheaper than other RTX 3060 models
- RGB lighting can’t be customized
- Mediocre cooling performance
Last but not least, there is the MAXSUN GeForce RTX 3060 iCraft OC 12G S1 graphics card. Although this AIB variant of the RTX 3060 is made by a Chinese brand called MAXSUN, this is a 100% legit RTX 3060 graphics card, which quite honestly, isn’t very cheap. There are several reasons for that. First of all, the MAXSUN iCraft OC 12G S1 features a full sized GA106 processing chip, as well as GDDR6 memory modules made by Samsung. The card also comes with a slightly increased boost clock speed, and it features a pretty big triple-fan cooling solution.
Being primarily designed for Chinese market, the MAXSUN GeForce RTX 3060 comes with few compromises which make it less expensive compared to other RTX 3060 cards made by premium brands such as ASUS or EVGA. For example, this card features a pretty simple but chunky heatsink with four aluminum heat pipes, which offers poorer cooling performance compared to copper-based heatsinks. Also, the card features stunning but uncontrollable RGB lighting, which some users may strongly dislike. Overall, this is a proper RTX 3060 graphics card that is able to deliver great gaming experience, but it suffers from some minor design flaws.