Time to set your alarms, folks, as Nvidia have confirmed that the RTX 3060 is definitely coming out on Thursday February 25th, suggesting that previous rumours about its release date were, in fact, on the money. The £299 / $329 graphics card is set to become the cheapest ray tracing capable graphics card in Nvidia's next-gen line-up so far, and will likely sell extremely quickly, just like the rest of Nvidia's RTX 30 family.
Contrary to previous launches, it looks like the RTX 3060 will be going on sale a little later than previous RTX 30 cards. According to The Verge, retailers will be opening orders for the RTX 3060 at 9am PT / 12pm ET / 5pm GMT on February 25th, so make sure you set a reminder if you're hoping to try and pick one up.
The RTX 3060 will be the fifth RTX 30-series GPU Nvidia have launched over the last few months, and judging from the performance of its slightly more powerful sibling, the RTX 3060 Ti, it will likely be a great replacement for anyone with an ageing GTX 1060 card. Indeed, the most attractive thing about the RTX 3060 is its 12GB of GDDR6 VRAM, which is actually 4GB more than what you get on the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070. The RTX 3060 doesn't have as many CUDA cores as the RTX 3060 Ti, and its clock speeds aren't quite as fast either, but I'll be intrigued to see just how much it stacks up once I get my hands on a review sample.
Unlike previous RTX 30 launches, there won't be an Nvidia Founders Edition of the RTX 3060 going on sale on February 25th, so you'll have to plumb for one of the many third-party cards that will be available from the likes of Asus, Zotac, Gigabyte, Palit, and MSI to name just a few. As such, prices are likely to vary quite substantially from Nvidia's initial starting point of £299 / $329, depending on how much they've been factory overclocked or how fancy their cooling apparatus is - as is often the case with third party cards.
It's not yet clear how many RTX 3060s will, in fact, be available at Nvidia's starting price at the moment, as UK retailers haven't yet listed what they're going to have in stock - although if the stock situation is anything like Nvidia's previous RTX 30 launches (that is, almost non-existent), prices are only likely to rise higher and higher as demand increases. Indeed, the Asus TUF GeForce RTX 3080 OC that I reviewed at the end of last year when the RTX 3080 first came out was meant to cost £680 at launch, but now retailers are listing it for a whopping £900 - which is quite the mark-up. Hopefully RTX 3060 prices won't rise quite that high, but fingers crossed there'll at least be some cards available for its starting price for longer than five minutes.