Next generation game consoles have been getting all the headlines lately (Jon Scarr is keeping you on top of the rapid-fire developments on that front). However, PC gamers have also had their fair share of big developments. This fall kicked off with huge news for PC gaming when Nvidia held a launch event for its all-new GeForce RTX 30 series video cards, powered by Ampere (Nvidia’s second-generation RTX architecture). Suddenly PC gamers weren’t feeling like console owners are getting all the cool new toys.
Here’s what you need to know about the Nvidia RTX 30 series video cards. The first two in the RTX 30 series launched in September, and the RTX 3070 began pre-order starting October 29. The latest news is the pending arrival of a new addition to the original RTX 30 series, the RTX 3060.
A series of world firsts
Nvidia has stacked the GeForce RTX 30 cards with “firsts.” They are the first gaming-class graphics cards capable of supporting up to 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM. They’re the first video cards with HDMI 2.1 support for both 4K and single-cable 8K gaming. They’re the first with onboard support for the AV1 video codec. Nvidia Founder Edition models are the first gaming video cards with dual axial flow through cooling.
RTX 3070, RTX 3080, RTX 3090 and now RTX 3060
There were originally three video cards being released as part of this series. That has now been expanded to four.
The most affordable of the original release series was the GeForce RTX 3070 with 5,888 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM. Next up is the GeForce RTX 3080 with 8,704 CUDA cores and 10GB of GDDR6X VRAM. The ultimate option is the GeForce RTX 3090, with 10,496 CUDA cores and 24 GB of GDDR6X VRAM.
The all-new release is the GeForce RTX 3060 (and 3060 Ti).
The GeForce RTX 3060 is aimed at mainstream gamers, with support for maximum effects and high frame rates at 1440p and 1080p. Those looking for an upgrade path from the GeForce GTX 1060 now have an affordable option. With 3,584 CUDA cores and 8G of DDR6 VRAM, the GeForce RTX 3060 offers double the raster performance and 10 times the ray tracing capability of the GeForce GTX 1060.
Quieter, more efficient, and more affordable
Ray tracing was a huge deal when the first generation RTX video cards were released, but it becomes a far more compelling feature with the new RTX 30 series. These cards employ the new Nvidia DLSS deep learning neural network with dedicated AI processors for ray tracing performance that’s up to double that of the first generation. The demos of real-time ray tracing being powered by these new cards was truly mind-blowing.
The RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 both use new GDDR6X VRAM, the world’s fastest graphics memory. The dual axial flow design of the Founder’s Edition cards improves cooling by 55%, which will reduce fan noise.
Despite all the advances in technology and huge performance gains, the new Nvidia cards are expected to be priced below their first generation counterparts.
A huge leap forward in gameplay + more
The new GeForce RTX 30 series video cards represent a huge leap forward in gameplay. No wonder with the amount of graphics horsepower in play. For example, the mid-range RTX 3080 features 8704 CUDA cores and a 1.71GHz boost for a total of 30 teraflops of performance. That’s mores than double the top specs of those next-gen game consoles.
You can see the difference the RTX 30 cards make to AAA titles like Doom Eternal in this comparison to previous generation cards supplied by Nvidia.
It’s not just gameplay that gets a big boost. These cards support Nvidia Broadcast, with AI-enhanced video and voice output. Creative apps also run faster thanks to Nvidia Studio upgrades.
Enough with the torture, when can I get my hands on one of these new video cards?
The initial shipment of RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards was quickly snapped up. If you missed out, don’t despair, Nvidia is pumping out new video cards as quickly as it can. The company and its partners are churning out as many GeForce RTX 3060 cards as possible in advance of the launch. Multiple 3rd party vendors are also releasing cards based on the new architecture including MSI, EVGA, Zotac, and ASUS.
Here’s how to order the Nvidia RTX 30 series video cards at Best Buy
You can find all the RTX 30 Series Graphic Cards at BestBuy.ca including the the cards offered by Nvidia’s partner vendors. Check back for availability, including the launch of the new GeForce RTX 3060 video cards.
Demand has been extremely high so far for the new RTX 30 series, so be watching closely for when the RTX 3060 card pre-order link goes live. In the meantime, be sure to check Best Buy’s massive selection of PC games, accessories, and gaming PCs.