In the dynamic landscape of graphics cards, where newer and more powerful models often steal the spotlight, Nvidia is making headlines by reaffirming its dedication to the tried-and-true GeForce RTX 3060. Almost four years since its initial launch, the RTX 3060 continues to hold its ground as a popular mid-range choice, defying the onslaught of newer technologies introduced with the Ada Lovelace architecture.
Recent reports from Videocardz indicate that Nvidia is poised to continue shipping RTX 3060 chips well into the first quarter of the coming year. This revelation comes at a time when critics consistently argue that the RTX 40-series is overpriced, especially with the RTX 4060, a supposed successor to the RTX 3060, failing to deliver a significant performance boost.
Priced at $299 MSRP, the RTX 4060 may seem like an attractive alternative, especially considering its improvement over the RTX 3060’s $329 launch price. However, a quick scan on popular online retailers like Amazon reveals RTX 3060s available for as low as $289. With a mere $11 price difference, one can’t help but question why third-party vendors are still investing in the production of new RTX 3060 models based on the aging GA106 chip.
Speculations arise that Nvidia is offering the older Ampere GPUs at an enticing price, incentivizing board partners to continue manufacturing new RTX 3060 models with a lowered MSRP. This strategy, while unconventional in a market that typically favors newer releases, underscores the enduring popularity and cost-effectiveness of the RTX 3060.
Market analysts suggest that Nvidia’s decision to prolong the life of the RTX 3060 may also be a strategic response to the success of AMD’s last-gen Radeon RX 6000 cards, particularly the budget-friendly RX 6600 and RX 6700 XT, priced at around $190 and $310, respectively. In a market where affordability plays a crucial role, a competitively priced RTX 3060, perhaps hovering around $260, could find a receptive audience.
One significant factor influencing the extension of the RTX 3060’s lifespan is the conspicuous absence of the RTX 4050. Currently, the lowest-tier Ada Lovelace desktop card is the RTX 4060, utilizing the same AD107 GPU found in the laptop RTX 4050. However, the mobile GPU features 512 fewer shaders, half the L2 cache, and one less memory controller, resulting in a 96-bit memory bus and 6GB of VRAM.
The potential release of a desktop RTX 4050, priced between $200 and $240, using the same chip as its mobile counterpart, faces skepticism. Such a product might offer marginal improvements over the older RTX 3050 unless substantial clock speed enhancements are introduced.
By keeping the RTX 3060 available at a lower cost, Nvidia not only maintains a competitive edge but also ensures the utilization of its AD107 chips across various product lines, including the RTX 4060, laptop RTX 4050, and RTX 2000 workstation products. Simultaneously, board partners benefit from affordable GA106s, allowing the creation of new and diverse models for different market segments.
Despite being four years old and lacking support for DLSS with Frame Generation, the RTX 3060 remains a reliable and formidable graphics card, particularly for 1080p gaming. While its longevity may not extend another four years, the fact that it is still a topic of discussion speaks volumes about its enduring relevance in the ever-evolving world of graphics cards. As Nvidia continues to stand by its stalwart RTX 3060, the prospect of a truly budget Ada card appears to be growing more distant, leaving consumers and enthusiasts intrigued about the future of mid-range GPU options.