Cryptomining RTX 3060M Desktop Graphics Card Delivers Potent Gaming Results at 75W

GeForce RTX "3060M"
(Image credit: YouTube - Retro Komodo)

Retro Komodo on YouTube benchmarked a unique Nvidia-based graphics card sporting Nvidia's mobile RTX 3060 GPU. Even with 'inferior' mobile hardware, the retro YouTuber found that the Frakenstein graphics card performed admirably, outputting well above 60 FPS at 1080p in several new and old titles.

You'd be forgiven if you have not heard about these mysterious "RTX 3060M" graphics cards. They originally debuted during the cryptocurrency boom in 2021 to combat Nvidia's silicon-based Ethereum mining limiter, which was implemented into its desktop RTX 30 series GPUs. When Nvidia began implementing its LHR limiter into its desktop Ampere GPUs in 2021, several Asian graphics card manufacturers noticed that Nvidia did not bother implementing its LHR limiter into the mobile RTX 30 series Ampere GPUs. 

This led to the construction of desktop graphics cards utilizing Nvidia's RTX 3060 laptop GPU, enabling large crypto farms to continue purchasing new GPUs without incurring the hash rate penalty of Nvidia's desktop counterparts.

Specs-wise, the card isn't as outclassed by its desktop RTX 3060 12GB counterpart as you might expect. The 'RTX 3060M' sports more (yes, more) CUDA cores than the desktop variant, with 3,840 in total. However, the memory interface is substantially worse, with just 6GB of VRAM available to the GPU. Power output is also significantly lower than its desktop counterpart and even worse than Nvidia's RTX 3060 mobile spec sheet, at just 80W.

Nonetheless, the card performed very well in benchmarks, offering very playable performance. The only caveat with this GPU is that it requires modified Nvidia graphics drivers to function since Nvidia does not officially support mobile RTX 3060 GPUs being used as desktop cards.

Retro Komodo tested the GPU with a Ryzen 7 3700X test system in several benchmarks and games, including 3DMark Fire Strike, 3DMark Time Spy, 3DMark Port Royal, Unigine Heaven, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Cyberpunk 2077, Borderlands 3, Fortnite and Doom Eternal.

In 3DMark and Unigine Heaven, the 3060M achieved a graphics score of 23,150 points in Fire Strike, a graphics score of 8,981 in Time Spy, a graphics score of 5,169 in Port Royal, and 241 FPS average in Unigine Heaven at 1080p High.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the 3060M was able to achieve 126 FPS at 1080p high, 108 FPS at 1080p high in Cyberpunk 2077, 56 FPS average in Borderlands 3 at 1620p high settings, 82 FPS average in Fortnite at 1080p high with DLSS Quality mode, 109 FPS average in Doom Eternal at 1080p high, and 71 FPS average in Metro Exodus: Enhanced Edition at high settings.

The 3060M's game performance is more than acceptable, pushing out over 60 FPS in most titles. In 3DMark, the 3060M's graphics score comes in just shy of most Time Spy and Fire Strike scores compared to actual RTX 3060 gaming laptops. Compared to the RTX 3060 12GB, the 3060M gets very close to the worst-performing 3060 12GB cards in both Fire Strike and Time Spy but gets easily beaten out by the best performers, particularly in Fire Strike.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a performance comparison between the 3060M and RTX 3060 12GB in actual games. However, based on our findings from 3DMark's browser, Retro Komodo's mobile RTX 3060 desktop graphics card performs nearly as well as the actual RTX 3060 laptops and can approach RTX 3060 12GB performance (albeit when not exceeding its 6GB VRAM limitation) despite its 80W power limit.

It's a shame Nvidia does not officially support cards like the RTX 3060M. If it did, graphics cards sporting Nvidia's low-powered mobile GPUs would work well in small-form-factor gaming machines. But from a pricing perspective, it is understandable why Nvidia does not legally enable its AIB partners to create such GPUs. Because all RTX 3060s utilize the same GA106 die, a real mobile RTX 3060 desktop graphics card would still cost as much as a normal RTX 3060 12GB to make.

Aaron Klotz
Freelance News Writer

Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • OneMoreUser
    3060 like or "Potent Gaming Results" - pick one, you can't have both.
    But of course claiming the later is good click bait.