At CES 2021 , Nvidia has launched a wide range of graphics cards , both for laptops and even for a new one Ampere office graphics card : the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 . One of the great things I've noticed, however, is that a few SKUs now have a bloated VRAM spec, and that kind of makes the whole Nvidia RTX 3000 line a bit confusing.
At the top of the new mobile stack, you have the RTX 3080 with 16 GB, Mays the RTX 3080 for desktop has 10GB. Likewise, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 has 12GB of VRAM, while the RTX 3060 Ti - a graphics card that should be more powerful and 20% more expensive - has less. of VRAM to 8 GB.
This ultimately comes down to the limitations of the 192-bit memory bus around which the RTX 3060 is designed, rather than the 256-bit bus of the RTX 3060 Ti . But that makes this graphics card a little confusing for the average consumer.
(Image credit: Nvidia)
Let's talk memory
When Nvidia announced the RTX 3060, it highlighted the 12 GB of video memory and the 13 TFLOP shader, but omitted most of the base specs. Well, luckily Nvidia has now posted them on its website.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 has 3,584 CUDA cores, with a boost clock of 1.78 GHz. For comparison, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti has 4,864 CUDA cores, with a boost clock of 1.67 GHz.
However, the most striking difference here comes down to memory. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is built around a 192-bit bus, down from the 256-bit bus on the RTX 3060 Ti. means that Nvidia essentially had to choose between 6 GB and 12 GB of VRAM on the RTX 3060. And that depends on how theVRAM.
Each GDDR6 memory chip has a total 32-bit data path, meaning that a GPU with a 192-bit bus must use six GDDR6 chips. These chips come in either 1GB or 2GB variants, which is why the 6GB or 12GB limitation exists in the first place.
This also explains why the mobile version of the RTX 3080 has 16 GB of VRAM, while the desktop version is still limited to 10 GB. Nvidia has not released the full specifications of the RTX 3080 , but we reached out to Nvidia for clarification. We were told:
"The RTX 3080 Laptop GPU is the flagship of the laptop line. As a flagship we make it as feature rich as possible, including the availability of 16GB for those who want the highest specs a laptop could support "
Nvidia also clarified that the RTX 3080 on mobile has a 256-bit memory bus, which means by the same ic log that it would be limited to 8 GB of VRAM or 16 GB.
To the credit of Nvidia, It seems that when he designed these two GPUs he chose to use the limitations of the memory interface to at least try to give more value to consumers, rather than limiting the RTX 3080 mobile to 8GB or the 6GB RTX 3060, although that would avoid some confusion.
(Image credit: Nvidia)
Let's clarify some of this confusion
While Nvidia's decisions about these upcoming GPUs make a lot of sense, we can't help but think of someone There is a graphics card on the market that may not be familiar with the hardware world. computer science. You see two graphics cards on the shelf, one is the RTX 3060 Ti and the other is the RTX 3060. The names on the cards are so similar - the RTX 3060 has more memory and that is. is cheaper, so its not hard to imagine that someone will pick it up thinking they are getting the best value.
But since Nvidia seems to be targeting the same general audience as the GTX 1060 - namely 1080p gamers - it's important to note that a graphics card with 12GB of VRAM is unlikely to do a ton of difference on an 8gb card at th resolution. There is something to say about card durability, and we get it, but 8GB of VRAM will probably be more than enough for 1080p gaming in the years to come.
Because the RTX 3060 Ti has 35% more CUDA cores than the RTX 3060, with this larger memory bus it will likely be much faster in most games. However, keep in mind that we haven't tested the RTX 3060 yet, so we don't really know what performance will look like in the real world.
However, it 's going to be fun to see exactly where this card fits in the market and what the best graphics card will be for people looking for strong 1080p performance. One thing is clear, however: aftermarket graphics card makers are going to have to find a way to make the differences between the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3060 clearer to consumers.