MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB review

The GeForce RTX 3060 12GB is a bit of a strange case. Actually, there is nothing particularly wrong with this GPU – the strange thing is, when the GeForce RTX 3080 10GB debuted, the green company was ensuring everyone that 10GB video memory is just fine even for 4K gaming. Some months later, they released this mid-range GPU with 12GB of VRAM buffer which is more than you got with the RTX 3070 Ti or even with the RTX 3030 10GB.

On the other hand, the memory configuration is tied with the memory bus, and in this scenario, the 12GB memory option sounds like a logical choice for a 192-bit bus (the other possible variant is 6GB VRAM which should be extremely too low for some of today’s games).

So, we got a mid-range GPU that has a bigger VRAM buffer compared to its bigger sibling – the RTX 3060 Ti 8GB. However, even the competition from the red team (AMD Radeon RX 6600 and Radeon 6600 XT) offers 8GB of video memory as well. If we put the still-not-normalized GPU pricing aside, the RTX 3060 12GB looks like a decent mid-range video card, at least on paper.

For today’s review, we got the MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB for testing – this one feature a massive dual-fan cooling solution (for a GPU of this caliber), a metal backplate, it doesn’t come with a million glowing RGBs, and we think this one should be a near-silent product given our previous experience with the MSI RTX 3060 Ti GAMING X OC which has a similar cooling design.

You can check the current price of MSI RTX 3060 12GB Gaming X here: Buy from Flipkart.com

Contents


Specs Sheet

 

  MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB
Architecture Ampere
GPU chip GA106
Shader units 3584
ROPs 48
TMUs 112
Transistors 12000M
Base Clock (MHz) 1320
Boost clock (MHz) 1837
Memory clock (MHz) 1875
Memory size (MB) 12288
Memory type GDDR6
Memory bus width (bit) 192
Default board power limit 170W
Max board power limit 180W
Power Connectors 8-pin + 6-pin
Recommended PSU 550W
Dimensions 276 x 131 x 51 mm
Weight 996g
I/O 3x Display Port v1.4a, 1x HDMI 2.1
Max Resolution 7680×4320
DirectX version 12.2
Technology 8nm
RTX capabilities Yes
Release date 02.2021

Test Configuration

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K
Motherboard: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon
RAM: 2x16GB DDR5 G.SKILL Trident Z5 6000MHz CL36
Power Supply: EVGA P+ 1300W
Cooling: COUGAR AQUA 360
Monitor: LG 43UN700-B
Case: Open test bench

Software

OS: Windows 11 x64 with the latest updates
Drivers: NVIDIA 516.59 drivers

Drivers

The GPU drivers for the MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB can be found in the following link:
https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/drivers/

What’s in the box?

As we said in the introduction, this video card looks almost the same as the MSI RTX 3060 Ti GAMING X OC. The box is the same, the same goes for the accessories and for the overall look of the GPU. The package weighs 1567 grams while the GPU weight is a bit below one kilo – 996 grams. The box is super sturdy and inside of it, the GPU is well-secured as well.


Design and looks

No surprises here, this is a typical MSI design and this cooler can be found in some other video cards from the same brand. Speaking of which, the GPU is 276 mm long and it should fit with ease in most modern ATX and mATX cases. The video card takes 2.5 slots so it can possibly block one PCIe slot depending on what motherboard you have.

The pair of fans is called TORX FAN 4.0 and it’s their latest and greatest version which in theory should be better compared to the previous variants in terms of cooling. Aside from that, the fans look good and modern while the shroud around them is made from plastic which doesn’t feel cheap on the touch and it’s sturdy at the same time. Yes, a metal shroud is a rare find these days.

For powering the graphics card, you have to connect an 8-pin and a 6-pin PCIe cable as well. This sounds like overkill for a GA106-based GPU but it’s weird that the maximum power limit is just 180W – that’s too low for an 8-pin + 6-pin configuration.

The metal anti-bending strap is here again – it looks good, and it provides some additional reinforcement to the overall sturdiness of the card. The backplate is made of metal and it has some cut-outs so the hot air can be dissipated more quickly.


Synthetic benchmarks, BIOS, and overclock

So, let’s test the GPUs’ raw performance with the aid of some popular benchmarks like 3DMark Fire Strike, 3DMark Time Spy, and Unigine Superposition. Let’s the stock results.

Now, let’s see the OC results.

3Dmark Fire Strike Graphics Score 3Dmark Time Spy Graphics Score Unigine Superposition Blender
MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB Stock 22516 8618 5088 2470
MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB OC 24311 (+8%) 9415 (+9%) 5484 (+8%) 2720 (+10%)

The gain from overclocking is around 9% on average.

BIOS 

You can have a look at the BIOS of the GPU and its stock clocks. The RTX 3060 12GB is a more efficient chip compared to the GA104-based RTX 3060 Ti and in our case, the cooler of the MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB is almost the same as the one that can be found on the MSI RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X LHR – this leads to some advantages. The first one is the idle temperature – 32°C is a great result. We will speak about the other pros in a minute.

As you can see from the BIOS information, the stock power limit is 170W and it can be increased to just 180W – such a shame. Some not-so-premium RTX 3060 12GB from other brands have bigger TGP limits compared to the card that we’re reviewing.

Overclock
We’re using Unigine Heaven 4.0 in 4K for monitoring the stock and OC frequencies while testing for stability. Let’s inspect the stock frequencies. The advantage of having such a big cooler on an efficient chip like the GA106 is the temperatures under load as well as the low sound levels coming from the fans. The results are great – 58°C core temperature and 1200 RPM fan speed. This is definitely a ner-silent and cool under load video card.

We tried some OC as always. Undervolting the GPU to exactly 1.0V is giving us some room for frequency increase. In this scenario, we aren’t lucky enough because the maximum possible GPU core clock is 2055 MHz. Still, the Samsung memory overclocks good – +1250 MHz (8750 MHz effective clock). Overall, the clock frequencies that we were able to reach using this particular GPU are decent. Keep in mind that the core is undervolted and compared to the stock results, the temperature, and the fans rotating speed are the same as the stock ones – 58°C core temperature and 1200 RPM for the fans. No matter the fact that the GPU is faster because of the bumped clocks, the temperatures, and the noise levels are not increased – neat.

Gaming tests

Stray Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
1080p 189 fps
1440p 119 fps
4K 58 fps


 

Far Cry 6 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 95 fps
1440p 69 fps
4K 39 fps


Diablo Immortal Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, V.High (Check settings)
1080p 355 fps

God Of War Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Original (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 78 fps
1440p 60 fps
4K 37 fps

 

Forza Horizon 5 Full HD, V.Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
1080p 73 fps
1440p 62 fps
4K 44 fps


 

Days Gone Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 109 fps
1440p 75 fps
4K 40 fps


 

Death Stranding Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, V.High (Check settings)
1080p 132 fps
1440p 96 fps
4K 54 fps

 

Call Of Duty Warzone (Caldera) Full HD, V.Low (Check settings) Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 116 fps
1440p 84 fps
4K 48 fps


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 99 fps
1440p 79 fps
4K 49 fps


 

FIFA 22 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 370 fps
1440p 304 fps
4K 200 fps


 

Resident Evil Village Full HD, Performance (Check settings) Full HD, Balanced (Check settings) Full HD, Graphics P. (Check settings) Full HD, Max (Check settings)
1080p 201 fps
1440p 130 fps
4K 65 fps


 

 

Cyberpunk 2077 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 68 fps
1440p 42 fps
4K 18 fps


 

Cyberpunk 2077 Benchmark Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 68 fps
1440p 42 fps
4K 18 fps


 

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 73 fps
1440p 57 fps
4K 34 fps


 

eFootball PES 2021 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
1080p 236 fps
1440p 154 fps
4K 77 fps


cs-go-benchmarks

 

CS:GO Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
1080p 496 fps
1440p 359 fps
4K 177 fps


 

 

DOTA 2 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 212 fps
1440p 186 fps
4K 103 fps


GTA-V-benchmarks

 

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Full HD, Normal (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 67 fps
1440p 45 fps
4K 23 fps


 

For Honor Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
1080p 161 fps
1440p 108 fps


Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 399 fps
1440p 267 fps
4K 137 fps

 

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Lowest (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
1080p 86 fps
1440p 56 fps
4K 28 fps

Doom Eternal Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, U.Nightmare (Check settings)
1080p 203 fps
1440p 144 fps
4K 72 fps


 

Red Dead Redemption 2 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
1080p 27 fps
1440p 19 fps


 

Metro Exodus Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
1080p 36 fps
1440p 28 fps


 

Gears 5 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 107 fps
1440p 77 fps
4K 41 fps

 

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra High (Check settings)
1080p 73 fps
1440p 56 fps
4K 39 fps


 

Hearthstone Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
1080p 1201 fps
1440p 1078 fps


 

World Of Tanks Encore Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 205 fps
1440p 131 fps
4K 65 fps


 

Minecraft Full HD, Minimum (Check settings) Full HD, Maximum (Check settings)
1080p 238 fps
1440p 232 fps
4K 234 fps


 

League Of Legends Full HD, V.Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, V.High (Check settings)
1080p 730 fps
1440p 751 fps


 

Rocket League Full HD, H.Performance (Check settings) Full HD, H.Quality (Check settings)
1080p 360 fps
1440p 318 fps
4K 169 fps


 

Overwatch Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Epic (Check settings)
1080p 225 fps
1440p 153 fps
4K 81 fps




 

PUBG Full HD, V.Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 167 fps
1440p 111 fps
4K 58 fps

 

Borderlands 3 Full HD, V.Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Badass (Check settings)
1080p 80 fps
1440p 55 fps
4K 30 fps

 

Team Fortress 2 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
1080p 281 fps
1440p 282 fps


 

Far Cry New Dawn Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 125 fps
1440p 93 fps

The Witcher 3 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 113 fps
1440p 84 fps
4K 46 fps


 

Need For Speed Heat Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 117 fps
1440p 86 fps
4K 50 fps


 

Apex Legends Full HD, Min. (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
1080p 180 fps
1440p 111 fps
4K 68 fps


 

Battlefield V Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
1080p 156 fps
1440p 118 fps
4K 65 fps

 

ARK: Survival Evolved Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Epic (Check settings)
1080p 57 fps
1440p 38 fps
4K 20 fps

 

Warframe Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings)
1080p 300 fps
1440p 197 fps


Temperatures and comfort

In this test we use 100% on the GPU, monitoring its frequencies and chip temperature.

30 min Cyberpunk 2077 on 4K Ultra details Clock Core Temperature GPU Hot Sport Temperature Power FAN RPM
MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB Stock 1819 Mhz 61°C 71°C 169.6W 1290 RPM


Cyberpunk 2077 on 4K and Ultra details is punishing the core clock harder compared to the 1080p resolution – 1819 MHz. However, the core temperature and the noise coming from the GPU are virtually the same across all three resolutions.

Verdict

The MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB has enough power for playing on 1080p and 1440p with greatly bumped visuals. Gaming on 4K resolution is possible too with lowered visual quality which depends on the game you’re playing – if the particular title supports DLSS it’s the easiest way to boost your FPS on 2160p resolution (or you can just simply lower the visuals until reaching comfort FPS values). The tested GPU has a good build quality – the card feels solid, it comes with a metal backplate and a metal anti-bending strap that protects the card from damage during installation, and GPU sag isn’t a problem at all. The shroud is plastic but it doesn’t feel cheap and it’s sturdy. The video card isn’t glowing like crazy which may be a con or a pro for some of you depending on your personal preferences.

Using the MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB as is (ergo, on stock clocks and voltage) is just fine – the GPU is always cool and quiet and it’s hard to hear the fans spinning at all if the video card is fitted in a decent case with some amount of airflow. Overclocking the graphics card isn’t complicated if you have previous experience and the only downside (as always) is the fact that this process takes some time. However, we were pretty pleased with the results that we saw – the performance bump was just 9% but aside from that, the thermals of the GPU and the noise from the fans remained unchanged compared to the stock levels. This is possible thanks to the beefy cooling solution that can be found installed on other more expensive and faster MSI GPUs.

The MSI RTX 3060 GAMING X 12GB is a product that doesn’t have a lot of cons, the main disadvantage should be the modest TGP limit which can be increased to just 180W while the GPU is configured with one 8-pin and 6-pin power inputs. However, the performance of the card is good and it can be considered as a super budget 4K gaming solution if you don’t mind spending some time tweaking the in-game visual settings or/and using DLSS at the same time.

You can check the current price of MSI RTX 3060 12GB Gaming X here: Buy from Flipkart.com

Pros

  • Nearly silent under heavy load
  • Compact
  • Has a metal backplate
  • Cool and quiet during gaming
  • Idle fan stop
  • Has HDMI 2.1, PCI-Express 4.0, DLSS, and ray tracing
  • 8nm tech process


Cons

  • 180W TGP is too low
  • Plastic shroud

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