As tweeted by @Harukaze5719, Palit has added one more indication there may be additional (future) RTX 3060 variants. Palit filed listings for new RTX 3060 model names with the NRRA, and one model in particular showcases the RTX 3060 with 6GB of VRAM.
Even before the official RTX 3060 announcement from Nvidia, there were a number of rumors floating around. Considering the history of the -60 line of GPUs, many have assumed Nvidia planned to make a 6GB variant of the RTX 3060. We had GTX 1060 6GB and 3GB (and even 5GB in Asia), so this isn't without precedent.
Of course, this is just a listing for a product name. We've seen listings like this numerous times in the past, where a graphics card manufacturer will pump out a model name, and it never gets used. It may come to fruition, or it may not. We'll have to wait and see where the fate of the 3060 6GB will lie.
It's worth noting that the mobile RTX 3060 already exists in a 6GB variant, so this isn't exactly a difficult switch. Instead of 16Gb chips on each channel, all Nvidia needs to do is put in 8Gb chips. Six channels, 32-bits each, and you end up with either a 6GB or 12GB card. But how would a 6GB variant of the 3060 play out?
From our own experiences testing 6GB graphics cards like the RTX 2060, we've found that 6GB is about as low as you want to go with a mid-range card. Especially at 4K resolutions, you might have to turn down a couple of settings (like 4K texture packs) in very graphically demanding games to prevent VRAM bottlenecking.
There are other incentives to buying an RTX card, of course, like DLSS support. Ray tracing often gets more hype, but the Tensor cores are potentially more useful for lower-spec PCs. There are already a few dozen games with DLSS (about 24 with DLSS 2.0), and the list continues to grow. Nvidia just announced that Nioh 2: Complete Edition and Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord now have DLSS 2.0, for example, and Unreal Engine also has a new free marketplace plugin for DLSS that should make it even easier to implement. So, even though a 6GB card might not make a lot of sense for ray tracing, it's definitely not out of the question.
The card would have to be priced well to make it attractive over the more favorable 12GB offering. Right now, unfortunately, in the world of virtually impossible to buy graphics cards, it's doubtful good prices will even be a thing. Everything from GTX 1050 Ti through RTX 3090 is basically sold out, with extreme scalper prices on eBay. However, from Nvidia's standpoint, a 6GB model does make sense — especially if they are suffering from the video memory shortages that have reportedly plagued GDDR6 (and GDDR6X) production.
As usual, Nvidia won't comment on the existence or potential for a desktop 3060 6GB. Our take is that, given where games are heading and current pricing, it will be a tough sell unless the price is really good (and actually something you can find). The GTX 1060 3GB was in a similar situation a few years back, and we never recommended it without concerns about the lack of VRAM. A 3060 6GB would be the modern equivalent, and at the right price, consumers probably would be okay with the reduced memory capacity. Or, you know, just buy a 3060 laptop.
You would need a 4 gigabyte card to deter ethereum miners from buying it.
Although they could just mine a different coin.