NVIDIA recently released its new GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card. It’s the successor to the RTX 2060, and according to NVIDIA it is the “ultimate upgrade for GTX 1060 gamers“. Right now, I can tell you that it is better and substantially faster than the GTX 1060. But the problem is, can you even get one? By the time I published this review, all RTX 3060 are gone. It only took around 5 mins or less and all 3060 were instantly sold out. For now, let’s take a look at the GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX graphics card. Perhaps in the (near) future, this review will be useful in your decision-making. Go ahead and find out how the RTX 3060 performs in our review below.
- GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX Review
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Reference Specifications
- GALAX RTX 3060 EX Packaging and Closer Look
- The Test Setup
- GALAX RTX 3060 EX Noise and Temperature
- GALAX RTX 3060 EX Synthetic Benchmarks
- 1080p Game Benchmark Results
- 1440p Game Benchmark Results
- Ray Tracing + DLSS Benchmark Results
- Price and Availability
- GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX Review Conclusion
GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX Review
NVIDIA is marketing the RTX 3060 as “the ultimate upgrade for GTX 1060 gamers”. Yes, I agree, it would have been a nice upgrade for gamers who are still rocking a GTX 1060. And for those who don’t want to spend extra on a higher-end graphics card. The sad thing is, they’re gone, all gone, almost instantly.
If there were enough supply and prices were not inflated; I bet it wouldn’t take long until the GTX 1060 would be dethroned from Steam’s hardware survey as the most popular graphics card. The problem is, there isn’t enough (silicone) supply.
Anyway, moving on, the GeForce RTX 3060 would be the ideal graphics card for 1080p 60fps gaming with modern-day titles. It features second-generation RTX architecture, with 12.7 shader TFLOPs, 24.9 RT TFLOPs, and 102 Tensor TFLOPs.
The RTX 3060 also offers 12GB GDDR6 memory, in addition to the 3584 CUDA cores. But most of you can tell that the 12GB of memory is more or less marketing stuff. I don’t think you need that amount of memory for 1080p gaming.
Not to mention its memory runs slower compared to the GDDR6 memory on the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070. The RTX 3060 has a memory clock of 7501 MHz, 360 Gb/s memory bandwidth, and runs on a 192-bit memory interface.
GALAX RTX 3060 EX Features
The GALAX RTX 3060 EX graphics card that I have is very similar to the RTX 3060 Ti EX we previously reviewed. It features the same design and cooling solution; and comes with factory overclock settings, as well as a custom PCB design. It features a slightly higher boost clock speed of 1807MHz out of the box.
But the out of the box speed doesn’t matter a lot. Thanks to NVIDIA’s GPU Boost technology and the substantial heatsink paired with custom PCB design; the GALAX RTX 3060 EX can boost higher than 1807MHz easily.
In addition, the RTX 3060 has an HDMI 2.1 out that enables support for 4K@120Hz. It features AV1 decode as well, which provides better compression and quality compared to existing codecs like H.264, HEVC, and VP9. AV1 is said to provide ~50% bitrate savings over H.264. You can check out more features of the 3060 below.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Features
- Programmable Shader: Increased to 2 shader calculations per clock versus 1 on Turing – 12.7 Shader-TFLOPS compared to 6.5 TFLOPS.
- Second-gen RT Cores: Ray-triangle intersection throughput is now doubled so that the RT Core delivers 24.9 RT-TFLOPs, compared to Turing’s 19.5.
- Third-gen Tensor Cores: New Tensor Core automatically identifies and removes less important DNN weights and the new hardware processes the sparse network at twice the rate of Turing—102 Tensor-TFLOPS with sparsity compared to Turing’s 51.6 TFLOPS.
- NVIDIA Broadcast for AI-powered Video and Voice: Turn any room into a home studio with AI – taking your live streams and video chats to the next level with AI-powered audio and video effects like noise removal, virtual background, and webcam auto frame.
- NVIDIA Reflex: Low Latency Technology: Acquire targets faster, react quicker, and increase aim precision through a revolutionary suite of new GeForce and G-SYNC technologies to optimize and measure system latency in competitive games.
- Next-gen process technology: New 8N NVIDIA custom process from Samsung, which allows for higher transistor density and more efficiency.
- NVIDIA Studio: RTX-Accelerated Content Creation: RTX 30 Series brings faster rendering and AI performance, more graphics memory, and exclusive NVIDIA AI tools such as Omniverse Machinima to help you finish creative projects in record time.
The image below shows the diagram of a full GA106 chip. Disable the two SMs and you get the GPU chip used on every RTX 3060 graphics card; since there are only 28 SMs enabled.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Reference Specifications
|RTX 3060||RTX 3060 Ti||RTX 3070||RTX 3080||RTX 3090|
|Fab Process||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung|
|Base Clock||1320 MHz||1410 MHz||1500 MHz||1440 MHz||1400 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1777 MHz||1665 MHz||1730 MHz||1710 MHz||1700 MHz|
|Memory Clock||15 Gbps||14 Gbps||16 Gbps||19 Gbps||19.5 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||360 GBps||448 GBps||512 GBps||760 GBps||936 GBps|
|Power Connectors||8-pin||8-pin||8-pin||2x 8-pin||2x 8-pin|
|Graphics Card Power||170W||200W||220W||320W||350W|
|Starting at (MSRP)||$329||$399||$499||$699||$1,499|
GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards latest pricing and availability:
Check RTX 3060 on Ebay.com here
GALAX RTX 3060 EX Packaging and Closer Look
The box or packaging of the RTX 3060 EX is identical to the RTX 3060 Ti EX’s packaging. The only difference is the “Ti”, the rest is the same.
Not only that the retail box is identical, but the cooler design and overall look of the RTX 3060 EX are also the same as the RTX 3060 Ti EX. Is that a bad idea? I don’t think so. Most AIB partners are doing the same thing. If you look at MSI’s Gaming X Trio variant; they all look the same, despite the GPU difference. The same can be said with other brands like Asus, Gigabyte, EVGA, etc.
The good thing about Galax’s EX variant is that it is not a reference design. It features a custom PCB design and a factory overclock settings. The graphics card measures approximately ~285mm in length, ~124mm in height, and occupies about 2.5″ PCI slots. The front cooler shroud is a combination of metal and plastic; while the backplate is all metal.
There are also two 102mm “Wings” fans with 11 transparent blades. The RGB LEDs are located in the center of the fans, illuminating the surrounding fan blades. These fans are very silent, despite its unique appearance.
Like most RTX 30 series graphics cards, the RTX 3060 EX has three DisplayPorts 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1. A single 8-pin PCIe power connector power the graphics card. Notice that the 8-pin connector is reinforced by metal. If I am not mistaken, the headers right next to the power connector are RGB and fan headers for synching with the system.
The Test Setup
For our graphics card reviews, I’m using a Z490 motherboard powered with an Intel Core i7-10700K. It is paired with a DDR4-4000 memory. Below are the rest of the specifications of the system:
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro 64bit version 2004|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-10700K (running stock)|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG Z490 GODLIKE|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix MAX RGB DDR4-4000|
|Graphics Card||GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX|
|OS Drive||WD Black SN750 with Heatsink|
|Game Drive||Crucial MX500 2TB SSD, Kingston KC600 1TB SSD|
|Power Supply||Seasonic Prime TX-1000|
|Chassis||Thermaltake Core P3|
For this review, I used NVIDIA driver version 461.64 – an NVIDIA-provided driver for the RTX 3060. The graphics card was tested in three resolutions – 1920×1080 FHD, and 2560×1440 WQHD.
For synthetic benchmarks, I used 3DMark’s benchmark suite. I also used the following games to test the graphics card: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Gears 5, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Horizon Zero Dawn, Monster Hunter World, Red Dead Redemption 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Division 2, and The Witcher 3.
Finally, I also included some ray tracing with DLSS benchmarks using three game titles. The games are Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion. Below is the GPU-Z screenshot of the GALAX RTX 3060 EX.
GALAX RTX 3060 EX Noise and Temperature
The GALAX RTX 3060 EX graphics card features 0db operation, a.k.a fan-stop feature. This means that the GPU and the memory are passively cooled by the aluminum heatsink. Its idle to light load temps play around ~41° Celsius, give or take; depending on what apps or software is running. It’s a very acceptable and normal temperature for a passively cooled GPU.
FurMark was used to test how high its temperature can go at full load. After around 15 minutes, the temperature settled at around 66° Celsius. That’s a few degrees cooler than the RTX 3060 Ti EX. Also, the fan speed was running at around 44% only; resulting in a very silent operation. My unit doesn’t produce any coil-whine noise as well.
Now let’s see how the RTX 3060 EX performs. Unfortunately, I don’t have a GTX 1060 to compare it with, but I have included a 2060 (Super) and GTX 1660 Super for comparison.
GALAX RTX 3060 EX Synthetic Benchmarks
Let’s do some synthetic benchmarks first. For the synthetic benchmark results, I used 3DMark’s graphics benchmark tests. On the left-hand side are graphics scores, while on the right-hand side are the average frames per second (FPS). Below are the results I got.
Based on the synthetic benchmark results that I got; the RTX 3060 performs similarly or a hairline faster than the RTX 2060 Super, give or take. It trails behind the RX 5700 XT and the RTX 2070 Super; I was expecting that it would be on par with the RTX 2070 Super. But not bad for a “~$329” graphics card. Let’s see how it performs in games.
1080p Game Benchmark Results
The GeForce RTX 3060 is targeted towards 1080p gaming. So let’s see how it fares in modern-day game titles in this resolution. Below are the results I got for the Galax RTX 3060 EX card.
On a 1920×1080 resolution, the RTX 3060 performs quite well. It’s generally faster than the RTX 2060 Super and often close to the RX 5700 XT’s performance. However, there is a substantial performance difference between the RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti. Perhaps getting a 3060 Ti is the better option, especially if you are using a high refresh rate monitor.
1440p Game Benchmark Results
The RTX 3060 doesn’t break sweat driving games at 1080p. It’s capable of playing games above 60fps at ultra or highest graphics settings. But how about on a 2560×1440 resolution. Below are the results I got for the Galax RTX 3060 EX.
Based on the results I got, the RTX 3060 is still a capable 1440p graphics card. Although, in some game titles, you may need to tone down the graphics quality to get an average of 60fps and above frame rates.
I did not test the RTX 3060 on 4K resolution since it’s not the target of this graphics card. For 4K gaming, I still recommend an RTX 3080 graphics card for that job. In the meantime, let’s check out how the RTX 3060 performs when it comes to ray tracing and DLSS.
Ray Tracing + DLSS Benchmark Results
For the ray tracing and DLSS benchmarks, I was only able to test the RTX 3060 EX in two game titles; namely Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion. On the left-hand side, you can see results using traditional rasterization at the highest or ultra graphics settings. While on the right-hand side, RT and DLSS are enabled and are set to ultra and quality settings respectively. Below are the results I got for the Galax GeForce RTX 3060 EX.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a very demanding and graphics-intensive game. Even with traditional rasterization, the RTX 3060 is having difficulty maintaining 60fps on a 1080p resolution. Moving up to 1440p resolution, you’ll have to sacrifice some level of detail and graphics quality to maintain a 60fps average frame rate.
Unfortunately, ray tracing is very heavy and demanding. You won’t be able to get an enjoyable and smooth gaming experience, even with the help of DLSS. This game is just too graphics intensive. You might be able to get a higher frame rate with RT + DLSS turned on, but you’ll have to settle for a lower graphics quality.
On the other side, if you are not interested in ray tracing effects; enabling DLSS will help you get higher frame rates. There are several options for DLSS, but I recommend the DLSS quality option for the best level of detail and clarity.
The same can be said with Watch Dogs Legion. This game is also graphics intensive, but not as heavy compared to Cyberpunk 2077.
Price and Availability
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $329 USD. I don’t have the MSRP for the GALAX RTX 3060 EX variant yet. But I think it will be priced higher than NVIDIA’s MSRP.
Unfortunately, given the current situation (silicone shortage); I don’t think that you’ll be able to get one at a decent price. It’s either these RTX 30 series cards are out of stock, or sold at a very high and unreasonable price. I just hope that the supply issue would be resolved soon.
GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards latest pricing and availability:
Check RTX 3060 on Ebay.com here
GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX Review Conclusion
Galax’s EX design is not new to me. I previously reviewed the RTX 3060 Ti EX and I find that graphics card to perform quite well. The same can be said with the RTX 3060 EX; since both cards use the same design and cooling solution. It features a custom PCB design, a large aluminum heatsink, and two silent 102mm fans.
It’s quite difficult to recommend a graphics card nowadays considering the insane prices. However, if were to base the RTX 3060’s price at around $330 USD; this is definitely a solid card for 1080p gaming. If you’re still using a GTX 1060, this would be a great upgrade.
However, I don’t think it would be a good upgrade for those who own an RTX 2060 or RTX 2060 Super. The RTX 3060 is only slightly faster than the RTX 2060 Super. It would make more sense if you get an RTX 3060 Ti or RTX 3070 instead, coming from an RTX 2060 Super. Again, assuming that availability and pricing are not an issue.
If you are torn between the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3060; I would get the RTX 3060 Ti instead. The performance difference is simply substantial and perhaps worth paying the extra. Again, at this time, it’s hard to talk about “value”; no-thanks to supply shortage and the insane prices that retailers are selling it for.
Finally, if you can get or find one for a reasonable price; the GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX is a good solid card for 1080p gaming. Not so much for 1440p though, but it’s still capable. Although, I would recommend the RTX 3060 Ti or the RTX 3070 if you plan to upgrade to a 1440p monitor, or if you already own one.