NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best?

We compare the MSI, Inno3D, COLORFUL and EVGA custom GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards against each other, which one is best?

@anthony256
Published Fri, Apr 2 2021 8:50 AM CDT

Introduction

NVIDIA launched its GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card last week and now that I'm through the 4 custom cards that were sent to me, I thought I'd do a roundup of them all.

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VIEW GALLERY - 78 IMAGES

The new GeForce RTX 3060 is the new mid-range member of the Ampere family, offering up GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER levels of performance -- and if available in better numbers (or at all) -- on the cheap. The MSRP for the GeForce RTX 3060 is meant to start at $329 but unfortunately GPU prices are out of control right now.

In a perfect world you'd be able to buy the GeForce RTX 3060 so let's pretend we're there right now -- and you can buy the GeForce RTX 3060. This article will help you at least cover 4 of the custom variants of the RTX 3060 that I've had through my doors.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Reviews

Everything You Need to Know About The RTX 3060

NVIDIA's previous-gen GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card was a super-popular mid-range graphics card, offering 1920 CUDA cores from its GPU compared to the 3584 CUDA cores on the new GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card.

But the big upgrade comes in the VRAM with 6GB on the GTX 1060 blowing up into a huge 12GB on the RTX 3060, both on a 192-bit memory bus with the GTX 1060 rocking 336GB/sec of memory bandwidth the new RTX 3060 boasts 360GB/sec memory bandwidth.

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The Contenders

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO

MSI has the chunkiest custom GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card in our RTX 3060 Roundup, with a large triple-fan cooler that keeps the card nice and cool. The backplate also has venting on the end of the card, and some great RGB lighting on the RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO that isn't too over-the-top.

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Inno3D GeForce RTX 3060 iCHILL X3 RED

Inno3D is chunkier in its own ways, with the front of the RTX 3060 iCHILL X3 RED having a huge grill at the top -- and even more if you attach the required crystal plating to the card for some more RGB effects.

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COLORFUL iGame GeForce RTX 3060 Advanced OC

COLORFUL has a triple-fan cooler on the GeForce RTX 3060 Advanced OC 12G-V but it is not as tall as the MSI and Inno3D custom RTX 3060s but maintains the triple-fan cooler.

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EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC BLACK GAMING

The smallest of the bunch is EVGA with its fantastic little pocket rocket GeForce RTX 3060 XC BLACK GAMING graphics card, a small mITX offering that still keeps cool with its dual-fan and small design.

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Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

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ASUS provided a rather large upgrade to my GPU testing lab -- or rather, I kept the ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitor after my review on it. The 43-inch 4K 144Hz panel is just glorious to look at -- it's huge, the DPI for Windows 10 when set perfect for your viewing distance is kiss-fingers-emoji good. It's just amazing -- for work, and gaming.

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Sabrent sent over their huge Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD, which will be my new Games install SSD inside of my main test bed.

I'll be making some changes over the coming months to the GPU test bed here for TweakTown, to both the Ryzen 9 5900X and then Intel's new Core i9-11900K to do some proper PCIe 4.0 testing between the chipsets for GPUs + super-fast load times into games on these new super-fast Sabrent SSDs.

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Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.

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Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

I've recently upgraded my GPU test bed -- at least for now, until AMD's new Ryzen 9 5950X processor is unleashed then the final update for 2020 will happen and we'll be all good for RDNA 2 and future Ampere GPU releases. You can read my article here: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced.

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Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4000 | TweakTown.com

3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

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3DMark TimeSpy

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Heaven - 1080p

Heaven benchmark

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

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Benchmarks - 1080p

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 117 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 1440p

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4014 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 110 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 119 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 113 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 116 | TweakTown.com

Benchmarks - 4K

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4014 | TweakTown.com

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 109 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4006 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 118 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 112 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Roundup: Which Custom Card Is Best? 115 | TweakTown.com

What's Hot, What's Not

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  • Best out-of-the-box performance: You know what, it's the Inno3D RTX 3060 iCHILL X3 RED which out of the box -- at least for my sample -- had the GPU clocked at around 1960MHz, compared to 1927MHz on the MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO and 1920MHz for the COLORFUL iGame RTX 3060 Advanced OC.
  • Best performance: It's really a tie... I mean, they're all so near identical it's not funny. When overclocked the cards all have virtually the same performance with the COLORFUL iGame RTX 3060 Advanced OC and Inno3D RTX 3060 iCHILL X3 RED being the two stand out performers here.
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  • Best overclocker: MSI wins here with the RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO reaching 2182MHz, with Inno3D and COLORFUL coming in at around 2115-2120MHz max and the smaller mITX EVGA RTX 3060 comes in last with 2100MHz as the best OC out of the RTX 3060s so far.
  • Best cooling: MSI once again with their kick ass TRI FROZR cooling on the RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO having the Ampere GPU sitting at 58C, up against 62C for both the COLORFUL and Inno3D RTX 3060 cards and 67C for the mITX EVGA RTX 3060.
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  • Best style: I think it's between MSI and EVGA... I mean they both look fantastic, they ALL look fantastic. But MSI has a great look that is not too chunky with its RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO and I seriously dig the teeny-tiny size of EVGA's cute-but-powerful RTX 3060 XC BLACK GAMING.

Final Thoughts

Out of the four custom NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards that I have here, there is no 'overall winner' as they are all within a stones throw of one another when it comes to performance.

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But where the differences lay are in the different little tweaks and changes and designs between the cards, so while the MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO is a performance and OC champ -- the EVGA RTX 3060 XC BLACK GAMING offers nearly the same performance in a card that is nearly half its size.

If you come from that perspective -- size and brute power in a small package, EVGA walks away with the winning GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card. It all comes down to perspective.

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Are you an Iron Man fan? Then the COLORFUL iGame RTX 3060 Advanced OC is a great card, with an Arc Reactor-style cooling design that really stands out. The issue with the COLORFUL graphics cards is that they're not in all markets, but if you can find one and read this review then you'll dig the Iron Man-influenced design.

Wrapping things up, the overall winner if there had to be one would be the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 GAMING X TRIO for brute performance while EVGA would win for pocket-rocket awesomeness with their GeForce RTX 3060 XC BLACK GAMING graphics card. If you can find any GeForce RTX 3060 for an upgrade (at a reasonable price, I hope) you will have a great 1080p and 1440p gaming graphics card on your hands for today, and even for some of tomorrow's games.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Reviews

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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