Nvidia has already taken the covers off its GeForce RTX 3000-series graphics cards. The GeForce RTX 3090 is a mighty $1,499 flagship, the $699 GeForce RTX 3080 is spearheading the main thrust for 4K gaming, and the GeForce RTX 3070 offers a high-end GPU that’s relatively affordable at $499.
But if Nvidia’s new GeForce graphics cards follow the same cadence as their predecessors, we should be expecting to see the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 arrive at some point. And there have been murmurs and leaks that have suggested it could arrive relatively soon.
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Nvidia hasn’t mentioned anything about the RTX 3060; it hasn’t even released the RTX 3070 yet. But here’s what we know so far about the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 release date
The GeForce RTX 2060 was released in January 2019, some four months after the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070 were released. So we’d expect the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 to arrive some time in January 2021.
However, AMD has its Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards due to be announced October 28. And they appear set to bring in powerful GPUs at prices that potentially undercut Nvidia’s new graphics cards. As such, we’d not be too surprised to see Nvidia try to bring forward the RTX 3060’s theoretical release date to steal AMD’s next-gen Radeon thunder.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 price
Logic would suggest the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 would cost near enough the same as the RTX 2060 did at launch. That graphics card started at $349, so we’d expect the RTX 3060 to be roughly in the same ballpark.
But Nvidia has seemingly driven down the price of its powerful graphics cards, with the $699 RTX 3080 offering more power than the $999 RTX 2080 Ti did at launch. So the RTX 3060 could sit closer to the $300 mark than we might expect.
In an ideal world, $250 for a mainstream next-gen GPU would be perfect. And it would help bring back a time when making a powerful gaming PC for $1,000 was a distinct possibility.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 specs
Nvidia hasn't even hinted at what specs the GeForce RTX 3060 could have. But it would use the graphics giant’s latest Ampere architecture, that delivers a big boost in graphics performance as well as ray-tracing rendering power.
We’d expect the RTX 3060 to be a lesser take on the RTX 3070, which comes with 8GB of GDDR6, a 256-bit memory bus interface, 5,888 CUDA cores, and a boost clock speed of 1,730MHz. So that would potentially translate to 6GB of GDDR6, likely the same memory bus, and fewer CUDA cores; we’d expect the boost clock speed to be roughly the same as the RTX 3070.
Ultimately, this is all an educated guess. Usually, the GeForce xx60 cards tend to use a different GPU to the GeForce xx70 cards, rather than just throttled erosion of the latter. That generally translates to a mainstream graphics card that offers solid performance at a reasonable price, though not necessarily a PC gaming bargain.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 performance
We know the GeForce RTX 3070 will target gaming at between 1440p and 4K resolutions at fast frame rates with ray-tracing turned on. High-end 4K gaming still seems to be the realm of the RTX 3080.
With that in mind, we predict the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 will target high-fidelity and high frame rate gaming at 1440p, a resolution that’s becoming increasingly popular amid PC gamers. We’d expect games to run at frame rates that top 60 frames per second with all graphical settings maxed out. And at 120fps and above with a few settings turned down or the resolution dropped to 1080p in very demanding games.
And we’re hoping that the boost in ray-tracing that the Ampere architecture delivers will result in a graphics card that makes gaming with ray-tracing at 1440p something that won’t tank frame rates. This will be important given the next-generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles are coming with hardware-accelerated ray-tracing support.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 outlook
If the rumors and our predictions come to fruition, then the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 should be a rather impressive mainstream graphics card.
Its predecessor was arguably a little too expensive for what it offered when it launched early 2019. But we suspect Nvidia will have taken that onboard and produce a graphics card that either comes in at a compelling price or really justifies a price tag over those of rivals.
Speaking of rivals, AMD Big Navi and the Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards are set to be a threat to the new GeForce GPUs. But Nvidia has a strong record of delivering impressive graphics tech as well as performance. So we doubt it’ll shy away from any upcoming graphic battles.
And for PC gamers that’s a very good thing, as it means more powerful and innovative GPU tech for potentially more competitive prices. Roll on 2021.