NVIDIA just released the new RTX 3060 graphics card, successor to last gen’s RTX 2060. But NVIDIA considers the RTX 3060 as the “ultimate upgrade for GTX 1060 gamers“. Today we check out MSI’s GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio 12G graphics card. It features the same aesthetics, design, and cooling solution as the other Gaming X Trio RTX 30 series graphics cards. The RTX 3060 is an efficient GPU, with a TGP of only 170W. This makes the Gaming X Trio somewhat an over-the-top cooling solution for this GPU. So how does MSI’s RTX 3060 performs paired with a chunky cooler? Find out in our MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio review below.
- MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Graphics Card Review
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Reference Specifications
- Packaging and Closer Look
- The Test Setup
- Noise and Temperature
- MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Synthetic Benchmarks
- 1080p Game Benchmark Results
- 1440p Game Benchmark Results
- RTX 3060 Ray Tracing + DLSS Benchmark Results
- Price and Availability
- MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Review Conclusion
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Graphics Card Review
NVIDIA is marketing the RTX 3060 as “the ultimate upgrade for GTX 1060 gamers”. Unfortunately, I don’t have an RTX 1060 on hand to compare it with. But, I agree, it would have been a nice upgrade for gamers who are still using a GTX 1060. Unfortunately, you might not be able to get one at this time. Better hold on to that GTX 1060, or whatever X060 GPU you have; and wait for supply and availability to normalize.
Anyway, moving on, the GeForce RTX 3060 would be the ideal graphics card for 1080p 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 a marketing gimmick. 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 1875MHz, 360 Gb/s memory bandwidth, and runs on a 192-bit memory interface.
MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Specific Features
The MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio graphics card that I have is very similar to the RTX 3070 Gaming X Trio we previously reviewed. If I am not mistaken, all of MSI’s Gaming X Trio features the same cooler design and aesthetics. They do have a Gaming (X) variant with a dual-fan design. And I think the dual fan version is just the right size for an RTX 3060.
This card features MSI’s Tri Frozr 2 thermal system and is composed of three components. It has the new Torx Fan 4.0 fan that helps push more focused air through the heatsink. It also features precision-machined “Core Pipes” that are said to offer “maximum contact” over the GPU. And finally, a new Airflow Control heatsink design helps reduce the noise produced by air gushing through the aluminum fin stack.
MSI is also using a graphene backplate on this graphics card. But I am not a fan of this backplate. It’s like plastic with a matte finish and it scratches easily. My 3070 Gaming X Trio with the same backplate already has several scratches on its backplate.
When it comes to performance, this graphics card features a faster boost clock speed of 1852MHz. For comparison, the reference boost clock speed is 1777MHz. Its memory speed is not overclocked and runs at 15Gbps, similar to most RTX 3060 cards.
Also, thanks to NVIDIA’s GPU Boost technology you can expect that these RTX 30 series cards will boost higher than what speeds mentioned on their specs sheet. The GPU will boost higher as long as it can draw more power and temperatures are cool enough. Based on our testing, this RTX 3060 can boost up to around 1915MHz on full load.
The GeForce RTX 3060 GPU 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|
MSI RTX 3060 Graphics Cards latest pricing and availability:
Gaming X Trio: available on Amazon.com here
Gaming X (Twin Frozr): available on Amazon.com here
Ventus 2X: available on Amazon.com here
For US/Global: check Ebay.com here
Packaging and Closer Look
MSI’s packaging remains unchanged except for the box art and GPU name. The company is using the same box quality, paired with sufficient padding for the graphics card inside. I also appreciate that the box is not too big or thick as well.
I like how the new Gaming X Trio looks, its design, and its aesthetics. It looks way better than the previous Gaming X Trio on the RTX 20 series, in my opinion. There’s a small touch of RGB lighting at the middle portion. And the three Torx Fan 4.0 are symmetrical and look great with the “angular design” on the shroud.
The RGB bar on the front-side portion feels like an afterthought. It’s okay, but it doesn’t look as good compared to the RGB light bar on MSI’s RTX SUPRIM series. It looks like it was just put there for the sake of having RGB. That’s just my opinion though.
MSI, please replace the Graphene backplate…
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of the graphene backplate. At first, I thought it was cool since it is lightweight and the matte finish looks good. However, it scratches easily, leaving marks that ruin the aesthetics of the graphics card.
Overall, I like the design and look of the Gaming X Trio variant. But I feel that it’s a bit overkill for an RTX 3060. I think the Gaming X Trio, with a triple-fan design, is best suited for the RTX 3070, 3080, or 3090 GPUs. Those GPUs have higher TGP compared to the RTX 3060.
There is a dual fan Gaming X variant, photos below. I think its size and design are more appropriate for an RTX 3060 GPU. But if you want that triple-fan look and low temperatures at full load, albeit being more expensive, you have this option. Good thing MSI didn’t release an RTX 3060 SUPRIM X variant; because that would be ridiculous already.
The MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio has three DisplayPort 1.4a and a single HDMI 2.1 output connectors. There are ventilation holes on the display output area, but hot air doesn’t exhaust through those holes. The hot air coming from the heatsink is blown sideways.
Size-wise, aside from having a chunky cooler, the card measures 323mm in length, 140mm in width, 56mm in thickness; and weighs around 1.47Kg. The aluminum heatsink fins have this unique “airflow control” that improves airflow dynamics. You can see the “deflectors” at the rear end. Each aluminum fin also features “wave-curved 2.0 fin edges” that help reduce noise.
The MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio has a power consumption of 170W and requires at least a 550W PSU. It draws power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. I also took a close-up photo of the capacitors at the back. I know MSI wants to show off the capacitors used on this graphics card. But I’d rather have them covered by the backplate; for protection.
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||MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio|
|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 461.72. The graphics card was tested in two 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 Call of Duty Cold War, Cyberpunk 2077, and Watch Dogs Legion. Below is the GPU-Z screenshot of the MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio.
Noise and Temperature
The cooling solution on this graphics card is simply over the top. It’s like using a Noctua NH-D15 or a 240mm AIO liquid cooler to cool a Core i3 or Ryzen 3 processor. At idle to light load situations, the GPU’s temperature hovers at around ~45° Celsius. The fans do not spin during this state, making the graphics card completely silent.
Firing up FurMark and letting it run for more than 10 minutes, the GPU’s temperature settled at around 62° Celsius. That’s very impressive or should I say as expected considering the size of its cooler. To top it off, even at full load, the fan only ran at around 39% or around 1275 RPM; resulting in a very silent operation even in a full load.
Now let’s see how MSI’s RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio 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.
MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Synthetic Benchmarks
As you can see from the results above; the RTX 3060 performs slightly faster than the RTX 2060 Super. It trails behind the RTX 2070 Super. I was expecting that it would be on par with the RTX 2070 Super, or perhaps a bit faster. Let’s see how it performs in games.
1080p Game Benchmark Results
The GeForce RTX 3060 is targeted towards 1080p gaming. Let’s see how it fares in modern-day game titles in this resolution. Below are the results I got.
The MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio performs quite well on a 1920×1080 resolution. It’s generally faster than the RTX 2060 Super and almost on par with the RTX 2070S in some games. However, I noticed that there is a substantial performance difference between the RTX 3060 and 3060 Ti.
1440p Game Benchmark Results
Now let’s see how this graphics card fares on a 2560×1440 resolution. This is a resolution that is getting more and more popular and has been steadily replacing 1080p these past couple of years. Below are the results I got for the MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio.
It looks like that the RTX 3060 is still capable of playing games at 1440p. Though I think that would depend on how graphics-intensive the game is. For the most demanding titles, you might want to lower the graphics settings. Or use DLSS if the game supports this feature.
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.
RTX 3060 Ray Tracing + DLSS Benchmark Results
For the ray tracing and DLSS benchmarks, I tested the game in CoD Cold War, 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.
Cyberpunk 2077 is a very demanding and graphics-intensive game. Even with traditional rasterization, the RTX 3060 is having difficulty maintaining 60fps, ultra graphics, 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 a very expensive task for this graphics card. You might need to use DLSS “performance” instead of “quality”, and lower some of the ray-tracing effects to achieve a 60fps average frame rate. The same can be said with Watch Dogs Legion. It’s not as graphics-intensive as Cyberpunk 2077, but it’s still heavy on the GPU.
The RTX 3060 can handle CoD Cold War in 1080p resolution very well. But at 1440p, it’s not ideal to enable ray-tracing effects. You can enable DLSS and it will help boost frame rates. But if you enable both, you’ll have to sacrifice or lower the other graphics settings to achieve a 60fps average.
Price and Availability
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $329 USD. I don’t know what is the MSRP of the MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio. But Newegg is listing it for $539.99, and it’s out of stock.
At the time I published this review, I don’t think that you’ll be able to get an RTX 30 series card at a decent price. It’s either these graphics 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. For the latest pricing and availability, you can check out the links below.
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Graphics Cards latest pricing and availability:
Gaming X Trio 12G check at Amazon.com here
Gaming X 12G check at Amazon.com here
Ventus 2X 12G OC check at Amazon.com here
For US/Global: check Ebay.com here
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Review Conclusion
The GeForce RTX 3060 is a very capable 1080p graphics card. It can also offer playable frame rates at 1440p. Although, at 1440p resolution, you may need to adjust the graphics settings to get an average of 60fps or above. Performance-wise, it’s generally a good graphics card for 1080p gaming. It doesn’t offer a significant upgrade for RTX 2060 (Super) users, but GTX 1060 users will certainly get a huge boost. Although, availability at his point is a big question.
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. Well, depending on how much that “extra” is. If we base it on MSRP, then it’s fine. But given the current situation, the cards are selling for double or triple their MSRPs. And I think it’s simply not worth it.
Aesthetically speaking, the MSI RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio looks great. It has a dark color theme that should blend well with most build or gaming PC. The RGB lighting is minimal, with a few lines on the front cooler shroud and an RGB light bar on the front-side area. Speaking of the light bar, I guess that and the backplate are the only things that I can nitpick about this card.
The cooling performance of the RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio is excellent. Its big chunky heatsink paired with three Torx 4.0 fans keeps the GPU’s temperature at only around 62° Celsius, full load. The fans run very silently since they typically don’t spin at more than 50% of the fan speed.
I don’t see any problem or issue with this graphics card. But I think it’s unnecessarily big and long for an RTX 3060 GPU. It does sag a bit due to its weight. There is an anti-sag bracket, but I would rather not use it since I need the other PCI slots to be free.
At the end of the day, I think the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio is a great graphics card for 1080p gaming. Maybe the cooling solution is a bit over the top, but it runs cool and very silent. If you can find one at a reasonable price and you don’t have any plans on moving up to a higher resolution, this graphics card will not disappoint.