NVIDIA's sudden configuration change of the RTX 3060 GA106 GPU puts AiBs in a quandary, no Founders Edition being planned
NVIDIA announced the GeForce RTX 3060 with 12 GB VRAM during its CES 2021 event. The company didn't delve a lot into the specifications, but we were aware since long that the card would feature 3,584 CUDA cores with a 1.78 GHz boost clock. Now, we are getting to know that NVIDIA may have originally had other plans with respect to the RTX 3060's configuration.
NVIDIA's add-in-board (AiB) partners such as Galax are now confirming that that the RTX 3060 uses a GA106-300 GPU. The GA106-300 will have default clocks of 1,370 and 1,777 MHz for base and boost clock, respectively. AiBs often offer overclocked versions of these GPUs, so word is that they are still evaluating the exact clock speeds for their models.
Videocardz reports NVIDIA changed the specifications of the RTX 3060 just two weeks before official announcement. Apparently, the company changed the CUDA core count from 3,840 to 3,584. This seems to have caused some confusion among AiB with respect to the specs, particularly the clocks.
For instance, PNY seems to indicate that the RTX 3060's core clocks as 1,627 MHz and 1,852 MHz for the base and boost clocks, respectively whereas Palit specifies the corresponding values as as 1,320 MHz and 1,777 MHz. It is possible that PNY's clocks actually pertain to an RTX 3060 6 GB that hasn't seen light of the day yet.
AiBs seem to have a consensus on other specifications of the RTX 3060, though. This includes the GA106-300 GPU being fabbed on an 8 nm process, 12 GB of GDDR6 VRAM that runs on a 192-bit 15 Gbps memory interface, 3,584 CUDA cores, 28 RT cores, and 112 Tensor cores.
The other interesting information we are getting to know is that the RTX 3060 may not come in a Founders Edition SKU and will likely be only available via AiBs, according to a report from French publication Cowcotland. In fact, clues for this were evident during the launch event itself.
NVIDIA's presentation showed a mockup render with a new blower-type cooler — something that we haven't seen in any Ampere card so far. The render also didn't reveal any visible power connector. The RTX 3060 has a 170 W TDP, but it still requires an 8-pin power connector.
What this likely means is that the render shown off during NVIDIA's CES presentation was just for marketing purposes and not a real card. This begets the question whether the rumored RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti will also forego having Founders Editions or not. We should be knowing in the months ahead, so stay tuned.