Nvidia has announced that its entry-level RTX 3060 graphics card will go on sale on Thursday, February 25,, confirming an earlier rumor. Nvidia also revealed that there are no plans for a Founder’s Edition reference card this time around.
While the 3060 is undoubtedly the budget option of the RTX 30 range, it’s certainly no slouch. Although it has fewer CUDA cores than the 3060 Ti (3,584 compared to 4,864) and a lower bandwidth 192-bit memory interface, it does come with an extra 4GB GDDR6 video memory to compensate, giving it a total of 12GB.
We’ll have to wait for official benchmarks to see how this affects real-world performance, but suffice it to say this will still be a huge improvement to anybody coming from a GTX 1060 or even an RTX 2060.
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Anybody eager for a day-one RTX 3060 should be ready to log on at 9am PT or 12PM ET when Nvidia says the cards will officially launch. Though if recent GPU history is anything to go by, just being ready with a web browser won’t guarantee success. Demand for Nvidia’s previous RTX 30 cards has massively outstripped supply, and it would be extremely surprising if that weren’t the case here, especially with the RTX 3060 starting at a very competitive $329.
While demand for a weaker card could be lower than the mad rush for RTX 3080s, if enough Bitcoin miners and scalper bots are put off, it may not be low enough for the average buyer to notice the difference. After all, competition for new graphics cards has been so fierce that this week Nvidia decided to revive production of the RTX 2060 and GTX 1050 Ti – a mid-range card that first debuted in 2016.
Anybody hoping for a swift end to these shortages looks set to be disappointed, too. Last week European retailer Alternate put a statement on its website saying that RTX 30-series GPU supply will get worse in the first quarter of 2021 due both to a shortage of raw materials and Chinese New Year celebrations, which results in temporary factory closures.