Nvidia Slips Faulty RTX 3070 Ti Dies Into The RTX 3060

GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
GeForce RTX 3060 Ti (Image credit: Nvidia)

The GeForce RTX 3060, which is one of the best graphics cards for lower end systems, has gone through a small transformation involving defective dies from more powerful GPUs. Matthew Smith, who maintains TechPowerUp's graphics card database, discovered today that Nvidia is utilizing GA104 dies inside an unannounced GeForce RTX 3060 model.

Unfortunately, chip production isn't perfect, and some silicon does come out defective. But just because it doesn't meet the standards of a certain product doesn't mean it can't be of use in weaker SKUs. Therefore, chipmakers generally recycle defective silicon into lower tier products. Recycling dies is a common practice, and more so now that we're in the middle of a global semiconductor shortage. 

Nvidia has previously switched up the silicon on the GeForce GTX 1650 and more recently, EVGA with the GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming. Now, it appears to be the GeForce RTX 3060's turn.

The original GeForce RTX 3060 is based on the GA106 die. However, the new variant reportedly utilizes the GA104 die, which is the silicon that Nvidia utilizes for the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, RTX 3070 and RTX 3070 Ti. The new version probably won't arrive with a different model name, so we'll just refer to it as the GeForce RTX 3060 GA104 for simplicity's sake.

The GA106 die is 276 mm² big and houses 13.25 billion transitions. The GA104 die, on the other hand, is a substantially bigger silicon, checking in at 392 mm² with 17.4 billion transistors. Despite the silicon swap, the GeForce RTX 3060 GA104 retains the specifications of the original, and its performance should be in the same alley of if not identical to the GeForce RTX 3060. 

The swap from the smaller TU106 die to a larger TU104 die in EVGA's GeForce RTX 2060 KO Gaming revealed a negligible performance difference in gaming. However, the tests showed and even Nvidia itself confirmed that the TU104 variant would deliver slightly higher performance in a certain rendering workload. In the GeForce RTX 2060's case, it was Blender. It'll require testing to see whether the GeForce RTX 3060 GA104 it excels in a specific area.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • lazyabum
    Nvidia is turning out to be as bad as the miners and scalpers it feeds.
  • Phillip Corcoran
    It's not not surprising all kinds of stunts are being pulled by tech companies since the pandemic slashed there profits
  • Unolocogringo
    Every chip maker does this. So not new news.
    Intel, Nvidia,AMD etc....,etc.....
    Standard operating procedure for ALL chip makers.
  • Howardohyea
    There's nothing to worry about honestly, it's just binning. If chips can't work in one product it gets thrown in the next one, performance doesn't change, Nvidia/Samsung gets money and people gets the graphics cards, I don't see anything wrong with it