Best RTX 3060 Graphics Card

The high-end GPU contenders from both Nvidia and AMD are pretty good options, but we all know that most of you reading this are interested in what the mid-end market has to offer. Consider that the RTX 3070 is priced at $500 while its competitor the RX 6700XT is priced at $475. Additionally, the RTX 3080, RX 6800 XT, and others in this bracket are well over $650.

These kinds of price tags are not accessible or reasonable for most people. The main focus in 2021 and 2022 will probably be pointed towards the RTX 3060.

With an MSRP of $329 and performance close to the 1080Ti or 2070 Super, it’s definitely one of the contenders for the best price per performance.

Remember that the GTX 1060 was (and still is) one of the most dominant GPUs on the Steam Hardware Survey for the past five years.

Will the 3060 be the next 1060? Well, we have to wait and see. Until then, let’s talk about the best RTX 3060 variants on the market.

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The Pros:

  • Unique color and design, perfect for white-themed builds
  • Solid cooling and noise levels

The Cons:

  • Weak overclocking capabilities

This one is a little bit special because we rarely get to see white GPUs on the market. And when we do, they are scarce, so finding the right information for it can be a bit difficult. Fortunately, there’s tons of information available regarding Zotac’s GeForce RTX 3060 AMP White Edition and in abudance (given the situation).

Zotac might not be as popular as some other brands on the market, but it still a reliable manufacturer that provides GPUs with adequate cooling. With this RTX 3060, we can say they have delivered another high-quality product to the market.

Pricing

Finding the correct pricing for this GPU or rather any RTX 3060 that we are going to put on this list is going to be difficult. At the time of writing, the world’s largest semiconductor/chip manufacturer TSMC has trouble meeting supply with demand.

However, with a bit of digging, we’ve found a few price offers and estimates for RTX 3060 AMP White Edition. These estimates put the card at a price point of $440 while prices on Amazon skyrocket up to $1000. The current market is that bad.

If we go by these estimates, that’s $110 over the official MSRP of the RTX 3060.

Design

At the front, we can clearly see that the RTX 3060 AMP White Edition comes with a dual-fan design with an all-white plastic shroud. The entire design is quite clean and Zotac has picked the perfect white color for those that want to build a white-themed build. A lot more inviting than all the other generic black/grey GPUs on the market.

White dominates all around the card including the fans, the plastic shroud on the front, side, and black. On the side, we do get “ZOTAC GAMING” branding which has RGB lighting, and “GEFORCE RTX” right next to it.

On the back, there’s a backplate covering the PCB. It is plastic, unfortunately, so we don’t expect this backplate to help with thermals.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

Zotac’s official specifications claim this GPU’s engine clocks can push up to 1867 MHz. However, real-life benchmarks show different outcomes.

During heavy gaming loads, the core’s frequency pushes up to 2000 MHz and then stabilizes back at around 1925 MHz.

In terms of overclocking, you won’t be able to get much out of this card. Based on user reviews, this GPU’s core clocks can be overclocked to about 2000 MHz. It is definitely better than the clocks out of the box, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Thermals

Based on the pricing, design, and performance, the RTX 3060 AMP White Edition seems like a solid GPU. However, to support all of these three points above, we’ll need to see favorable thermal performance too.

During extended loads of gaming, the GPU peaks at just 64°C which is not bad at all. The clocks stay consistent too throughout this entire test. What is even more impressive is the fact that the fans don’t ramp up more than 1700 RPM, keeping the noise at just 32 dBA.

The Pros:

  • Adequate overclock
  • Smallest of the bunch

The Cons:

  • No RGB
  • Runs hotter than other variants

EVGA has been partnered with Nvidia for GPU manufacturing for quite a long time now. And, with every new GPU release, EVGA has delivered a formidable competitor to MSI’s, Gigabyte’s, or ASUS’s products.

The same can be said with RTX 3060 XC. It may not be the best, but for a mid-end dual-fan GPU, it’s a pretty solid choice. Should you go for this one? Well, let’s check out its performance and other advantages.

Pricing

As mentioned previously, finding any concrete info on the pricing of RTX or RX cards can be a hassle. But, with data available on websites such as Amazon and reviewers, we can get a rounded number for the price of EVGA’s card.

Based on several sales on Amazon during the release week of the RTX 3060 and several reviews, it seems like the price ranges between $400 and $450. So, best-case scenario, you would have to pay $70 over the Founders Edition.

Design

Design-wise, it is nothing we haven’t seen before. It has the exact same design as the RTX 3060 Ti XC. Nothing particularly interesting, but is not always a bad thing.

On the front, we see the two twin fans with several small bumps that supposedly improve air circulation. There’s minimal branding on the front, so the design is pretty clean. Moving to the side, we see a bit of branding for GeForce, RTX, EVGA, and no RGB, sadly.

On the back, we get a metal backplate with thermal pads on the bottom which should improve the overall thermals of the GPU. Additionally, the plate itself has dozens of small honeycomb-like holes. Visually, it looks pretty good, but we believe it could also improve cooling.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

Official specs claim a boost clock of 1882 MHz while real-life benchmarks show the clock frequency reaching 1970 MHz and then averaging back at around 1910 Mhz.

Fortunately, there is room to push the frequency further. Overclocking can take the core clocks up to 2120 MHz. Not bad. Certainly better than Zotac’s card.

Thermals

When it comes to thermal performance, it’s a bit disappointing. The twin fans ramp up to 2150 RPM during gaming sessions which can get a bit loud, reaching 35 dBA. You would think that such an aggressive fan curve would drop the temperatures, but they average around 70°C.

Of course, you can always adjust the fan curve to better suit your expectations, but you could do that with any card. We care about the out-of-the-box experience.

The Pros:

  • Best overclocker
  • Cool and quiet out of the box

The Cons:

  • No apparent disadvantages other than its size

MSI’s Gaming X Trio branding has been proven to provide excellent performance, thermals, and adequate noise levels. Whether it’s AMD’s RX 6800 XT, RX 6900 XT, or Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, it’s always a great card.

Evidence shows that the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio brings that same kind of experience.

Let’s see exactly what this GPU can deliver.

Pricing

The estimated cost for this card is about $470 which is more expensive than the previous two cards on this list. Again, you should keep in mind that prices in the future could be much different than at the time of writing this article.

Either way, let’s see whether this card is worth at all over the Founders Edition.

Design

If you have been keeping up with the rest of the GPUs in Nvidia’s and AMD’s lineup, you will notice that the design for this 3060 is the exact same one.

A triple-fan setup at the front, with a few slits for RGB, black plastic shroud with a few metallic-like finishes. The Gaming X Trio is considerably longer/larger than some of the dual-fan 3060s. It’s 323mm long. Keep that in mind when shopping for a PC build.

On the side of the card is where you would be getting most of your RGB. There is a diffused LED strip along the side corner of the GPU and an MSI RGB logo right under it.

At the back, we get a plastic backplate which MSI claims is mixed with graphene to improve thermals, but that probably isn’t the case even if we consider the thermals pads at the bottom of the backplate.

But, even though it is plastic, visually the back of the card looks pretty good.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

The product specifications page claims 1852 MHz for boost clocks. In reality, the card clocks up at least 50 MHz higher on average while it maxes out at around 1960 MHz.

Fortunately, this card can be pushed quite high with a bit of overclocking. Based on the experience of several users, RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio clocks at 2170 MHz which is pretty impressive. Better than the EVGA and considerably faster than Zotac’s OC of the RTX 3060 AMP.

With this level of overclocking, one could see an in-game improvement of about %10. But, with this improvement, you will also see an increase in power usage and temperature. Whether overclocking is worth it, that’s up to you.

Thermals

Thanks to the three fans on the front, the thermal performance on this GPU is more than good. After a long session of gaming, GPU temperature doesn’t rise above 62°C all while the fans spin only at 1250 RPM. In other words, it’s both quiet and cool.

This is probably why it has so much room for overclocking.

The Pros:

  • Great OC headroom
  • Excels in cooling
  • Low noise levels

The Cons:

  • The design could use some tinkering

Just like with the Gaming X Trio, the Gaming OC is already a pretty popular design from Gigabyte that can be found on most other cards. By now it has been pretty successful in terms of cooling, so we’re interested to see how it will handle the RTX 3060.

Pricing

Again, pricing is a tough subject these days. Even after going through several day-one reviews, there’s no information regarding the price of Gigabyte’s RTX 3060 Gaming OC.

We do know that it is definitely not priced as same as the Founders Edition at $329 and based on the estimated prices of some of the other variants, you can probably find this one between the $400 and $450 mark.

It should be cheaper than the MSI card.

Design

Another card with a triple-fan setup surrounded by a shroud with neutral colors. Mostly black with silver/grey accents. A simple, but objectively clean design. No particular remarks here.

If you care about RGB lighting, you will be glad to hear there is a small Gigabyte logo on the side that is supported with LED lights.

The backplate is completely metal. That is something we always commend since it always helps with thermals.

There’s a cutout on the right end of the backplate which should be another benefit for thermal performance, but it does add to the aesthetic vibe of the card. Most of the backplate is silver or rather grey and has Gigabyte branding with white font.

Performance And Overclocking Capabilities

During heavy loads, Gaming OC’s clocks spike up to 1950 MHz and stabilize down at around 1900 MHz which is about 70 MHz more than the official rating.

Fortunately, those three fans provide enough cooling to tinker with the frequency and get some solid gains. By maximizing the power slider in MSI Afterburner, 2100 MHz is achievable and it can stay stable. Your mileage may vary.

Thermals

Evidence shows that the Gaming OC cooler doesn’t allow the card to go above 61°C. That’s better than MSI’s variant and significantly cooler than EVGA’s XC.

Although the fans do tend to spin up, in a case with adequate circulation, noise levels shouldn’t be going over 32-33 dBA.

Which RTX 3060 GPU Is Best For You?

With this list of the best RTX 3060 graphics cards, which one is exactly the best? Which one should you get?

The Best Overall award has to go to MSI’s RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio. Its price tag isn’t much higher than the rest of the options. It’s quiet, cool and fast. It satisfies every need possible.

If you are trying to get the Best Value out of your money, it is probably best to go for Gigabyte’s RTX 3060 Gaming OC. It might not be on the same level as the Gaming X Trio, but it’s quite similar in cooling and performance.

Naturally, if you are able to get your hands on any of these cards, including EVGA’s XC and Zotac’s AMP White Edition, go ahead. Every single one of these variants is a choice you cannot go wrong with.

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Branko Gapo
Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. That is why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.