In February 2021, the GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card came out. NVIDIA cards that end in “60” are considered the more budget-friendly group of NVIDIA’s products.
The RTX 3060 has performed admirably for the past few years and can still handle mostly everything thrown at it, but with the release of Unreal Engine 5, its future is uncertain.
Should you upgrade your GeForce RTX 3060? Let’s talk about it!
Why Ditch the GeForce RTX 3060?
NVIDIA’s budget-friendly line of graphics cards is heavily praised and recommended by people knowledgeable in technology. The reason that these cards are praised so widely is because, despite the price, the cards generally perform just slightly under their more expensive siblings. All-in-all, the “60” line of graphics cards is considered to be the best bang for your buck.
If this is the case, then why should you consider upgrading the GeForce RTX 3060? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for in your GPU as well as what you currently have. For some people, the RTX 3060 could still be well worth keeping.
There are two different variants of the GeForce RTX 3060 that currently exist. When the card first launched, it had launched with 12GB VRAM included. However, in a later release of the card, only 8GB VRAM was included. Depending on when you got your GeForce RTX 3060, it could be substantially less powerful due to the smaller included VRAM.
Why would having 4 fewer gigabytes make your GPU perform so much less powerfully? Well, VRAM (video RAM) is used by your GPU to track and manage the software that is currently being run. To put this in simpler terms, a higher VRAM allows your PC to store more video data at any given moment.
For a long time, 8GB of VRAM was considered to be the bare minimum that someone would need for gaming. However, in recent years, this has changed at a rapid pace. Modern video games that have been developed for the Xbox Series X and PS5 regularly surpass the need for 8GB of VRAM. Even the budget-friendly Xbox Series S console has 10GB of VRAM at its disposal. Despite having 10GB, many believe that even the Xbox Series S is struggling with VRAM limitations. It goes to follow that 8GB for your GPU is not going to cut it for modern gaming.
If you happen to be someone who was lucky enough to get the GeForce RTX 3060 prior to the VRAM decrease, your GPU won’t be bottlenecked as heavily. However, if you have the 8GB VRAM variant of the GPU, it is likely a good time to upgrade.
As of right now, the going price for a used GeForce RTX 3060 is just slightly below the price of what it cost at launch. This estimate is based on looking through websites such as eBay at recently sold listings. The key to tech reselling is that the value decreases consistently over time until tech has become worthless. While this isn’t true for something like collectible video game consoles, GPU units do not retain their value as superior versions become cheaper.
With the resale value in mind, people who sell their used GPU soon could potentially make their initial investment back. This earned money can then be put back into a new GPU, offering you a substantial price decrease. When it comes to price, it is likely that there will never be a better time to sell in the future.
Unreal Engine 5
As previously mentioned, the April 2022 release of Epic’s Unreal Engine 5 game engine could potentially lead to the death of the GeForce RTX 3060. In particular, the RTX 3060 cards that lack the additional 4GB VRAM will struggle a lot to run Unreal Engine 5 games.
As of this year, many recent and upcoming games are being made in Unreal Engine 5. Below is a list of just some of the upcoming Unreal Engine 5 releases.
- Black Myth: Wukong
- Unnamed Witcher Game
- Kingdom Hearts 4
- Warhammer 40,000: Speed Freeks
- Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II
- Dark and Darker
- Silent Hill 2 Remake
- S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl
- Tekken 8
There are some games already released that run on Unreal Engine 5 and can still be played on the RTX 3060 flawlessly. Fortnite is one such example. However, Fortnite is not a graphically intensive game by any means.
As more graphically intensive games get released on the engine, the RTX 3060 may struggle to run these games at optimal settings and with 4K resolution or ray-tracing technology.
Why Keep the GeForce RTX 3060?
For people who own the GeForce RTX 3060, especially those who own the 12GB VRAM variant, it isn’t all bad news. If you do not care about running brand-new games at the highest available settings, you may not need to upgrade. If you do not have the spare cash to burn, you shouldn’t feel pressured to upgrade.
The GeForce RTX 3060 is still a great GPU and, if needed, can easily last you a few more years. The general life expectancy of a GPU is five to eight years and, as we mentioned before, the GeForce RTX 3060 has only been around for two.
GeForce RTX 3060 Upgrades
If you do decide to upgrade your GeForce RTX 3060, however, we’re here to help with that. In this section, we are going to cover some of the potential upgrades you could consider. We will also talk briefly about how these cards perform better than the GeForce RTX 3060 and what they offer you.
GeForce RTX 4060 Ti
- VRAM: 8GB GDDR6
- Supports DisplayPort 1.4a, HDMI 2.1, DLSS3, and PCIe 4.0
- Includes dual cooling fans (Axial-tech desgn)
- Features NVIDIA's Ada Lovelace architecture
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is a generation newer than the 3060 (as the number would imply) and is the Ti version, meaning it’s even stronger than the initial RTX 4060.
As this card is part of the “60” line, it is still considered a budget-friendly option. The general cost of the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is around $400.
One important thing to note about the GeForce RTX 4060 Ti is that it also only hosts an 8GB VRAM. If you have the 12GB variant of the RTX 3060, the RTX 4060 Ti will be a downgrade in VRAM. However, the rest of the RTX 4060 Ti is still a large improvement in core count, base and boost clock speed, and TDP. Overall, the 4060 Ti is an improvement and retains the reasonable prices that the “60” line is famous for.
The GeForce RTX 4060 Ti can be found on Amazon.
GeForce RTX 4090
- NVIDIA Ada Lovelace Streaming Multiprocessors: Up to 2x performance and power efficiency
- 4th Generation Tensor Cores: Up to 2X AI performance
- 3rd Generation RT Cores: Up to 2X ray tracing performance
- Axial-tech fans scaled up for 23% more airflow
- Dual Ball Fan Bearings last up to twice as long as conventional designs
- PCIe 4.0
- 24GB GDDR6X
- HDMI 2.1a, DisplayPort 1.4a
For those of you who have the cash to spare and simply want the best of the best, we recommend the GeForce RTX 4090.
This card begins at a whopping $1,599 and it is considered to currently be overkill and will overperform in every situation it is put into. Even NVIDIA refers to the card as the “ultimate GeForce GPU.”
If you do end up being interested in the GeForce RTX 4090, this card will offer you a lot. From the ray-tracing technology that makes the RTX line stand out to up to 8K HDR gaming, the RTX 4090 is a powerhouse of a GPU. We’ve covered VRAM quite a lot in this article, and the RTX 4090 will not disappoint with a massive 24GB VRAM.
Check out the GeForce RTX 4090 on Amazon.
AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- 16GB of GDDR6 Memory
- Powered by AMD RDNA 2
- HDMI 2.1
- WINDFORCE 3X Cooling System
For those interested in a graphics card that isn’t made by NVIDIA, AMD is the company you’re seeking, and the Radeon RX 6800 XT is where it’s at.
When compared to NVIDIA products, the Radeon RX 6800 XT is most closely comparable to the GeForce RTX 4070. When compared to the RTX 3060, the Radeon RX 6800 XT has a faster clock speed, more teraflops, and a much faster memory bandwidth.
The Radeon RX 6800 XT offers 16GB VRAM, which is considered the sweet spot by many people. When it comes to price, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT sits comfortably in between our previous two recommendations at approximately $500.
Take a look at the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT on Amazon.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was a great GPU for its time and is still held in high regard today. There are many reasons to want to keep it, but there are also many reasons to want to upgrade the RTX 3060.
If you would like to upgrade but none of the provided upgrade options appeal to you, we recommend looking at some of the other options on the market. The GPU market is quite vast with many different options that may fit your needs.
Check out our post comparing some of the top graphics cards on the market!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Maryia_K/Shutterstock.com.