Upon examining the specifications, my preference leaned towards the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 over the 4060, primarily due to my hesitation to invest in a card with less than a 192-bit memory interface, despite the 4060 boasting an additional 10fps in most games. Upon conducting tests and observing how this card rendered my 8-year-old i5-6500 a significant bottleneck, the outcomes surprised me.
Commencing with the OC edition, the core clock automatically surged beyond the advertised boost clock speeds, reaching as high as 2000+ MHz out of the box for me. Utilizing MSI Afterburner, I managed to push the card to 2200+ MHz in modern games like Forza Horizon 5 and Red Dead Redemption 2, all while maintaining temperatures below 67°C.
Remarkably, this card marked the first time I encountered a stock fan curve that I found satisfactory. Unlike my previous card, which reached 83°C, prompting me to resort to custom fan curves from additional programs like Precision X OC during every gaming session, the RTX 3060’s fans kick in at 55-60°C, keeping temperatures generally below 65°C, and rapidly reducing them to 40°C before shutting off completely. The gaming experience is notably quiet, whether the fans are active or not.
Transitioning from a 1060, the disparity is substantial. Most games effortlessly achieve 90-120fps on high/ultra settings at 1080p, with only a few demanding titles (such as RDR2) posing a challenge, even with my aging i5. Experimenting with upscaling in some games, I managed to maintain a steady 60fps at the very least. While initially skeptical about DLSS (especially considering Nvidia’s decision to equip the 4060 and 4070 with a 128-bit card and claim that DLSS 3 would compensate for it), I’ve found it to be a valuable feature.
Priced at around $280, this upgrade from my $220 1060 purchase nearly 8 years ago is commendable. Perhaps I should have considered spending a bit more for a 4060 or maybe a 3060 Ti. However, for a “budget” build, this card undeniably delivers satisfying performance.