When you think there can't be more variants of the GeForce RTX 3060, another one pops up. TechPowerUp's GPU database editor has shared a validation report of a GeForce RTX 3060 SKU previously hidden in the shadows. The obscure graphics card dubbed the "GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP" arrives with the full GA106 silicon and substantially higher clock speeds.
The original GeForce RTX 3060 features the GA106 die and 12GB of GDDR6 memory. However, Nvidia later released the GeForce RTX 3060 GA104 to recycle silicon that didn't satisfy the requirements for a GeForce RTX 3070 Ti. That wasn't the end of it, though. Last year, the chipmaker rolled out the GeForce RTX 3060 8GB, which, as the model name implies, features 4GB less memory than the regular version. It also has a smaller memory interface. The last upgrade to the mid-range Ampere graphics card came in the shape of the GeForce RTX 3060 GDDR6X, where Nvidia switched out the original GDDR6 memory for the faster GDDR6X modules.
The latest Steam Hardware & Software survey revealed that the GeForce RTX 3060 is the sixth most popular gaming graphics card on the gaming platform. It's easily comprehensible why Nvidia hasn't abandoned the GeForce RTX 3060.
Until recently, there were four GeForce RTX 3060 variants in the wild. T4C Fantasy, the database editor at TechPowerUp, highlighted that the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP has existed since 2021; however, he didn't pay any attention to the mysterious graphics card since it could have been an engineering sample. According to his information, almost every Nvidia AIB partner has the unreleased SKU. There are entries for vendors such as Asus, MSI, and Gigabyte, as well as big-name OEMs, including Dell and HP.
GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP Specifications
|Graphics Card||GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP||GeForce RTX 3060 GDDR6X||GeForce RTX 3060 8GB||GeForce RTX 3060 GA104||GeForce RTX 3060|
|Process Technology||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N||Samsung 8N|
|Die size (mm²)||392||392||276||392||276|
|Base Clock (MHz)||1,627||1,320||1,320||1,320||1,320|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1,852||1,780||1,777||1,777||1,777|
|VRAM Speed (Gbps)||14||19||15||15||15|
|VRAM||6GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR6X||8GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR6||12GB GDDR6|
|VRAM Bus Width||192||192||128||192||192|
|TFLOPs FP32 (Boost)||14.2||12.8||12.7||12.7||12.7|
On a silicon level, the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP houses the same GA106 silicon as the regular variant. While the GeForce RTX 3060 only has 28 out of 30 SMs enabled, the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP uses the complete die. The two additional SMs gives the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP 256 more CUDA cores, equivalent to a 7.1% increase. The clock speeds had remained constant between versions; however, the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP broke the mold since it has substantially improved clock rates.
While the GeForce RTX 3060 has a 1,320 MHz base clock, the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP operates at 1,627 MHz. The latter represents a 23.3% base clock upgrade. The boost clock, on the other hand, didn't get the same treatment. The GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP only appears to have a 4.2% higher boost clock. However, if we look at the FP32 figures, the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP delivers up to 11.8% higher FP32 performance. TechPowerUp has a validation entry for an Asus model that boosts up to 1,942 MHz.
The memory subsystem on the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP is slightly different, though. There's still 12GB GDDR6 with a 192-bit memory interface, though T4C Fantasy has also confirmed that there's a 6GB SKU. However, the memory clocks in at 14 Gbps as opposed to the regular GeForce RTX 3060's 15 Gbps. That means the RTX 3060 3840SP has a maximum theoretical memory bandwidth of up to 336 GBps, 6.7% lower than the regular version.
Overall, it would seem that it's a mixed bag regarding memory. The TechPowerUp page shows that some vendors are sticking to 15 Gbps modules, whereas others downgraded to 14 Gbps modules. We'd be particularly wary of any 6GB cards, as the RTX 2060 has started to show its age due to the limited VRAM capacity.
Despite the CUDA core upgrade and higher clock speeds, the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP sticks to the original 170W TGP. As a result, a single 8-pin PCIe power connector is sufficient for the graphics card. A 450W power supply is a minimum to feed the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP.
Obviously, the pricing is unknown for the GeForce RTX 3060 3840SP. In addition, the graphics card is a rare breed, and according to T4C Fantasy, it's only present in some OEM systems. Ultimately, a couple more SMs and slightly higher clocks isn't going to radically change the performance, particularly if you end up with one of the cards that has slightly slower VRAM.