Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 review: It's fine

Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 is a competent graphics card in a time where being good enough is all it takes to sell out.

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Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2020 benchmark at 4K for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter, which measures the power consumption of our entire test system. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

This isn’t a worst-case test; this is a GPU-bound game running at a GPU-bound resolution to gauge performance when the graphics card is sweating hard. If you’re playing a game that also hammers the CPU, you could see higher overall system power draws. Consider yourself warned.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming draws a bit more power than the RTX 2060, which makes sense given its slightly higher power requirements. This GPU’s energy requirements aren’t as staggering as they are for the higher-end RTX 30-series GPUs. It’ll be interesting to see how AMD’s eventual Radeon rivals will compare.

Interestingly, Nvidia GPUs prevent the computer from fully going into idle in the five minutes of downtime we use for this test, though it does so after a longer duration. That’s new to this Ryzen 5900X platform; we didn’t see it on our old Intel-based testbeds, nor with AMD Radeon graphics cards installed. We’ll have to change our methodology going forward and poke around the behavior to understand it more fully. 

We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2020 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

EVGA’s XC Black Gaming runs very quiet and impressively cool, taming the modest RTX 3060 GPU with ease. No complaints whatsoever. The blower-style coolers on the last-gen Radeon cards sure are warm and loud, though.

Next page: Should you buy the GeForce RTX 3060?

At a Glance
  • Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 is an okay graphics card for no-compromises 1080p gaming in a time where being good enough is all it takes to sell out. EVGA's custom XC Black Gaming version offers no frills but runs cool and quiet.

    Pros

    • No-compromises 1080p gaming
    • 12GB of memory
    • Nvidia's excellent software/features: G-Sync, DLSS, Reflex, and more
    • EVGA's XC Black Gaming is small, cool, and quiet

    Cons

    • 1440p gaming often requires visual tweaks to hit 60fps
    • Slightly more performance, slightly less price vs. last gen
    • MSRP is higher than we'd like
    • Hard to find at MSRP in today's wild GPU market
    • No backplate or other frills in EVGA's XC Black Gaming
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