Mobile GeForce RTX 3060 Turned Into A Desktop Card Gets Benched With Surprising Results

mobile rtx 3060=jieshuo
Do you remember last year when Chinese crypto-miners were snatching up GeForce RTX 30-series laptops to use their GPUs for mining? The mobile GPUs never got a hash rate limitation, unlike the desktop models, so desperate miners started propping up piles of laptops and pointing fans at them to make them mine faster.

That's really inconvenient and space-inefficient—not to mention expensive and wasteful—so crafty crypto-miners started slapping down mobile GeForce RTX GPUs on desktop graphics cards. This practice isn't new; we reported on it in March and it had already been going on for a bit at that time.

chinese listing
A listing for a similar card.

We were a little curious what one of these cards could do in gaming, but at the height of the GPU shortage, they were going for as much as $550. Now that prices have come down significantly, Korean YouTube channel BullsLab (who we've reported on before) picked up one of the cards on AliExpress for ¥2450 RMB (about $360) and put it through its paces in a gaming workload.

The cards are strange, to say the least. Being based on the mobile GeForce RTX 3060, they come with the fully-enabled GA106 GPU, which means that they get the full allotment of 3,840 shaders instead of the standard desktop card's 3,584. However, where the desktop GeForce RTX 3060 card comes with 12GB of video RAM, the mobile version only has 6GB.

shady chinese drivers
BullsLab had to get the hacked drivers over Telegram. Check out this shady readme.

Aside from those cuts, these cards are essentially similar to the standard GeForce RTX 3060 with one huge, tremendous caveat—the NVIDIA drivers won't install on them. BullsLab had to get the drivers over Telegram from the AliExpress seller, and they come with a dubious note to simply click "Yes, YES, INSTALL" on anything that pops up. Concerning, but it all seems to have worked out in their case.

Note the clock and temperature of the 3060M card, on the left.

The GPU that he received was limited to 80W rather than the 115W TDP of the card in his laptop or the massive 170W rating of the desktop part. Despite that, it performed very well, boosting 200-300 MHz higher than the laptop part, thanks to the big dual-fan cooler strapped to it.

bullslab 3dmark results
3DMark results. Left to right: Desktop, "3060M" card, and then laptop.

The high clock in combination with the extra compute resources allowed the RTX 3060 to strike very near to the desktop part despite being saddled with less than half the power limit. It's impressive performance, and it makes us wish NVIDIA had offered these chips as a "3060 SUPER" or similar. While the card tested is locked down, it's easy to imagine a GPU like this hitting sky-high clocks with a little tweaking.