GeForce RTX 3060 Review: NVIDIA's Most Affordable Ampere Yet

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060: VR, 3DMark And Unigine Benchmarks

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards represented in this article on a MSI X570 Godlike motherboard, equipped with a Ryzen 9 5950X and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR4 RAM clocked at 3,200MHz. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" defaults, then we disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory's clock was dialed in to its optimal performance settings using its XMP profile and the solid state drive was then formatted and Windows 10 Professional x64 was installed and fully updated. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed all of the drivers, games, applications and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests. For all of the tests,  Radeon RX 6000 series cards were tested using their "Balanced" performance profile with Smart Access Memory (Resizable BAR) enabled.

nvidia geforce rtx 3060 angle 2

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i9 Powered
Hardware Used:
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
(3.4GHz - 4.9GHz, 16-Core)

MSI X570 Godlike (AMD X570 Chipset)
16GB G.SKILL DDR4-3200

Samsung SSD 970 EVO
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 FE
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Super
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
AMD Radeon RX 6800
Relevant Software:
Windows 10 Pro x64 (20H2)
AMD Radeon Software v20.8.3
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v461.64

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark (Time Spy, Fire Strike, Port Royal, DXR)
Unigine Superposition
Crytek Neon Noir
Metro Exodus
Red Dead Redemption 2
Gears Tactics
FarCry: New Dawn

Unigine Superposition
Pseudo-DirectX / OpenGL Gaming
Superposition is the latest benchmark from Unigine, powered by the UNIGINE 2 Engine. It offers an array of benchmark modes, targeting gaming workloads as well as VR, with both DirectX and OpenGL code paths. There is an extreme hardware stability test built-in as well. Unigine Superposition uses the developer’s unique SSRTGI (Screen-Space Ray-Traced Global Illumination) dynamic lighting technology, along with high quality textures and models, to produce some stunning visuals. We ran Superposition in two modes using the DirectX code path – 1080p Extreme and VR Future -- to compare the performance of all of the graphics cards featured here.

unigine superposition
Unigine Superposition

unigine 1 geforce rtx 3060

unigine 2 geforce rtx 3060

The new GeForce RTX 3060 fall in just behind the GeForce RTX 2060 Super in Unigine Superposition's 1080P Extreme, but it destroys the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and the most popular GPU currently in use by gamers (according to Steam), the GeForce GTX 1060.

unigine 3 geforce rtx 3060

unigine 4 geforce rtx 3060

unigine 5 geforce rtx 3060

Superposition's VR Future benchmark also has the new GeForce RTX 3060 dominating the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1060, and it once again drop is behind the GeForce RTX 2060 Super, but this time the Radeon RX 5700 XT slots in between them.

Testing Rift And Vive Readiness
UL's VRMark is designed to test a PC’s readiness for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. The benchmark does not, however, require that one of the headsets is attached to the PC to run and it uses an in-house graphics engine and content to ensure comparable results between different platforms. We ran the "Blue Room" VRMark test at defaults settings here, which is currently the most taxing test offered by the tool.

vr mark thumb
Futuremark VRMark

vrmark 1 geforce rtx 3060

vrmark 2 geforce rtx 3060

VRMark tells essentially the same story as Unigine's VR Future test. All of the cards we tested finish in the same order between the two benchmarks.

UL 3DMark Time Spy
Direct X 12 Performance
3DMark Time Spy is a synthetic DirectX benchmark test from UL. It features a DirectX 12 engine built from the ground up to support bleeding-edge features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multithreading. Time Spy is designed to test the DX12 performance of the latest graphics cards using a variety of techniques and varied visual sequences. This benchmark was developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of the UL Benchmark Development Program, to showcase the performance and visual potential of graphics cards and other system resources driven by close-to-the-metal, low-overhead APIs.

time spy
3DMark Time Spy

time spy 1 geforce rtx 3060

time spy 2 geforce rtx 3060

In the DX12-based 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the new GeForce RTX 3060 just -- ever so slightly -- misses the mark set by the GeForce RTX 2060 Super. The RTX 3060, however, continues to thrash the previous-gen GeForce RTX 1660 Ti and older GeForce GTX 1060.

UL 3DMark Fire Strike
Synthetic DirectX Gaming
3DMark Fire Strike has multiple benchmark modes: Normal mode runs at 1920x1080, Extreme mode targets 2560x1440, and Ultra mode runs at a 4K resolution. GPU target frame buffer utilization for normal mode is 1GB and the benchmark uses tessellation, ambient occlusion, volume illumination, and a medium-quality depth of field filter. The more taxing Extreme mode targets 1.5GB of frame buffer memory and increases detail levels across the board. Ultra mode is explicitly designed for high-end and CrossFire / SLI systems and cranks up the quality even further. GT 1 focuses on geometry and illumination, with over 100 shadow casting spot lights, 140 non-shadow casting point lights, and 3.9 million vertices calculated for tessellation per frame. GT2 emphasizes particles and GPU simulations.

3d mark fire strike
3DMark Fire Strike

fire strike 1 geforce rtx 3060

fire strike 2 geforce rtx 3060

3DMark's DX11-based Fire Strike Ultra benchmark has all of the cards finishing in the same order as Time Spy as well, though the GeForce GTX 2060 Super has a slightly larger lead over the RTX 3060.

UL 3DMark Port Royal
DXR Ray Tracing Benchmark
Port Royal was released earlier this year as an update to UL’s popular 3DMark suite. It is designed to test real-time ray tracing performance of graphics cards that support Microsoft DirectX Raytracing, or DXR. Although DXR is technically compatible with all DX12-class GPUs, the graphics card must have drivers that enable DXR.
3mark port royal dxr
3DMark Port Royal

port royal 1 geforce rtx 3060

port royal 2 geforce rtx 3060

3DMark's Port Royal benchmark requires DXR-enabled drivers, so the Radeon RX 5700 XT drops out of the charts. The performance trend we've seen up to this point continues, however, with the GeForce RTX 3060 finishing just shy of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super. The GeForce GTX cards -- though capable of running DXR workloads -- lack dedicated hardware to accelerate ray tracing workloads, and fall way behind as a result.

We also played with the DirectX Ray Tracing Feature test, which was recently released as an update to 3DMark. This test requires dedicated ray tracing hardware and software and this juncture, so the GeForce GTX cards make an exit as well...

dxr 1 geforce rtx 3060

The second generation RT cores in the GeForce RTX 3060 propel it ahead of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super here, though it can't catch the much pricier Radeon RX 6800.

Related content