Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB Review: Hope Springs Eternal

If the GeForce RTX 3060 12GB can come close to its official $329 asking price, it’s a great product for mainstream gamers. But in today’s market, even with reduced mining performance, that’s an unlikely if, as its performance lands right between the RTX 2060 Super and 2070 Super.

The Nvidia RTX 3060 12GB brings a new level of performance to the mainstream market–sort of. Officially, the RTX 3060 launches today with prices starting at just $329. Realistically? You’re as likely to find one at that price as you are to find an RTX 3060 Ti at $399, RTX 3070 at $499, or RTX 3080 at $699 — not entirely impossible, perhaps, but highly unlikely. Nvidia’s Ampere architecture now powers many of the best graphics cards, and they’re all seeing massive levels of demand from both gamers and cryptocurrency miners. Nvidia has added firmware and driver code to detect Ethereum mining, which should help a bit, but when people are willing to pay extreme scalper pricing on eBay, even for cards like the GTX 1660 Super and RTX 2060, everything in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy is pretty much sold out right now. Nvidia is even working with partners to bring back previous generation Turing and Pascal cards.

None of that makes this a bad GPU, but we expect the RTX 3060 to be just as difficult to acquire as any other modern GPU. Eventually, the current Ethereum mining boom will fade away, but it could take a year or more before we see the end of chip shortages. That shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point, but if you’ve been hoping for a reasonably priced gaming PC upgrade, it’s a depressing state of affairs. 

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