All of our recent graphics card articles carry a giant implicit asterisk. The GPU market is—to use a family friendly term—insane. With this kind of volatility, trying to apply any kind of price/performance analysis, and then issue a judgment based on that, is fraught with danger. Any Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is a terrible buy at $600 or more. At its RRP of $330 it's better, but where will it be in six months? $279? That would make things interesting.
So, let’s try to ignore crypto and supply-based market shenanigans and look at the card for what it is: Meet the Gigabyte RTX 3060 Eagle OC.
Ostensibly the Gigabyte Eagle is its budget oriented 1080p gaming card that brings the Nvidia Ampere RTX feature set down to a supposedly affordable price point. But while the standard Eagle is set at the RTX 3060's MSRP of $330, the OC version is another $150 on top at the moment in the US. For a shade higher GPU frequency and the exact same cooler. In the UK, however, the difference is just a tenner. We did say the market was insane...
The GeForce RTX 3060 is the first card equipped with the GA106 GPU. Logically you’d think that the RTX 3060 shares a lot in common with the RTX 3060 Ti, but actually they're completely different beasts, using very different GPUs.
The RTX 3060 comes with 3,584 active CUDA cores compared to the 4,864 of the RTX 3060 Ti. The Ti’s wider 256-bit bus vs the 192-bit bus of the RTX 3060 means there’s a large bandwidth deficit too. Then there’s the amount of memory. Nvidia chose to equip the RTX 3060 with 12GB of GDDR6 memory. Even the mighty GeForce RTX 3080 doesn’t have that much!
While we’re happy to see the RTX 3060 equipped with more memory, it makes you wonder if Nvidia missed a trick by not including more on the higher end models that can really make use of it.
Lithograpy: Samsung 8nm
CUDA cores: 3,584
RT Cores: 28
Tensor Cores: 112
GPU Boost clock: 1,807MHz
Memory bus: 192-bit
Memory capacity: 12GB GDDR6
Memory speed: 15Gbps
Memory bandwidth: 360GB/s
Power: 1x 8-pin
Outputs: 2x Display Port 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.1
The Gigabyte RTX 3060 Eagle is Gigabyte’s entry level GeForce RTX 3060. We have the OC version which gets a boost clock bump to 1807MHz, an increase of 30MHz over the non-OC Eagle. It’s powered by a single 8-pin power connector. It’s also a genuine two slot card which will appeal to users with SFF systems.
The card is surrounded by a grey shroud and backplate which features a large cut out to allow air to pass out the back, much like we saw with the Nvidia Founders Edition cards. You won’t find excessive RGB bling or a monster triple fan cooler here, but then there’s no real need for it on this class of card. Why spend all the extra money on a premium RTX 3060 that costs as much as an RTX 3060 Ti?
The Gigabyte RTX 3060 Eagle OC includes two HDMI 2.1 ports along with two DP 1.4a ports. Few non-Gigabyte cards include dual HDMI and this might be a deal maker if you wish to jump aboard the HDMI 2.1 train (that LG CX OLED says hello…). You can do things like connect your PC to a home theater receiver or something like a VR headset at the same time.
The RTX 3060 Eagle’s cooler is a pretty basic one. It has to work surprisingly hard to keep the relatively thrifty GA106 GPU under control. During a stress test the peak recorded temperature was 69°C at a fan speed of 77 percent. You’d think this would make it a loud card, and it is clearly audible, but thankfully it makes a non-invasive kind of tone.
If you've ever put up with an intrusive blower style cooler, the RTX 3060 Eagle’s cooler won’t bother you at all, though if silence is a top priority for you, there are quieter RTX 3060’s out there.
1080p gaming performance
1440p gaming performance
The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3060 Eagle OC performed a little better than we expected given its relatively small factory overclock. The MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X wins by a nose, but we’d expect it to with its higher boost clock. The RTX 3060 itself doesn’t really deliver the wow moments we experienced when looking at the earlier Ampere GPUs though.
If you’re running an RTX 2060 or RTX 2070 you won’t get much of a performance upgrade, though you will get the improved RTX feature set, which is becoming more and more mainstream with popular titles like Fortnite and Minecraft including ray tracing support.
A brief overclock test wasn’t particularly successful, mostly due to temperatures. As the cooler has to work pretty hard already, there isn’t a lot of headroom to push power limits or allow the boost algorithm to stay at its best before the cooler gets stretched to the limit. You will gain a few percent, but our advice would be to leave the card at stock.
The Gigabyte RTX 3060 Eagle is welcome example of a card that’s here to do a job, out of sight and mind. It’s a good choice for gamers with 1080p screens. Even the most demanding of titles are fully playable and thanks to that 12GB of memory, 1440p is doable to. Plus, you get to enjoy the updated RTX feature set. The Eagle isn’t the quietest card around but it’s not attention grabbing intrusive. You could go for a premium triple fan version if you want more overclocking headroom, but at those prices you’re getting towards RTX 3060 Ti territory.
The RTX 3060 doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and it's likely that stock levels and inflated pricing issues will persist for the foreseeable future. Basically, you’d be crazy to pay some of the ridiculous prices being asked by some retailers, as exemplified by the offensive price premium the Eagle OC version has over the standard RTX 3060 Eagle card in the US right now. Let’s hope that in a month or two or three, the market settles and we can all focus on gaming again without these dark clouds hanging over the industry.