MSI's new RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio is one of the coolest, yet strangest, Nvidia graphics cards we've ever seen. As discussed by YouTube channel BPS Customs, the card comes equipped with an RTX 3080 cooler. That allows this RTX 3060 to reach the lowest temperatures we've seen out of any factory-built Nvidia GPU in a very long time.
Guru3D reports that the Gaming X Trio features a 1320Mhz Base Clock and a 1852MHz Boost frequency. (The base clock appears incorrect, as that's the reference base clock, but perhaps Nvidia changed the way it handles base clocks.) The more important boost clock nets you an additional 72MHz overclock relative to the reference card, which still seems tame when looking at the Gaming X Trio cooler. By way of comparison, the Asus ROG Strix OC variant features a 1882MHz boost clock, plus a higher power limit.
There are benefits to going with modest specs and a massive cooler, of course.
With its beefy triple-fan cooler, BPS Customs reports a peak temperature of just 47C with the 3060 Gaming X Trio, and a fan speed of just 48%, all while running Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K resolution for over an hour. Even if other games or settings reach slightly higher temperatures, that's still a phenomenal result.
With GPU Boost 4.0 working in the background, average clock speeds hovered in the 1900Mhz range. Meanwhile, average power consumption was just 166W. That does raise the question of why MSI bothered to include dual 8-pin power connectors, which like the cooler seem like extreme overkill. This RTX 3060 looks like it could really use a much higher power limit like its Asus competitor.
Unfortunately, BPS Customs did not test any overclocking on the card whatsoever. Modern Nvidia GPUs scale very well when you keep temps very low, so we'd expect very good overclocking performance out of this card. That's assuming the restrictive power limit doesn't get in the way.
Regarding actual performance, BPS Customs compared the Gaming X Trio to the older RTX 2060 Super and RTX 1650 Super. On average the RTX 2060 Super was just 3-4% slower than the MSI RTX 3060. That's similar to what we saw in our RTX 3060 review, and suggests relatively unimpressive stock performance. But those thermals make up for some of that. But then there's the price.
At $519 MSRP (yeah that's right: MSRP), the RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio is absurdly expensive. We'll have to see what actual street prices look like, and whether you can find one available for purchase. We all know that GPU prices are fantasy land right now, but that MSRP seems impossible to recommend under any normal circumstances.
According to MSI, the MSRP was supposed to be much lower, but due to issues relating to tariffs in the United States, MSI wasn't able to price it lower than $519. That's a bit strange considering plenty of other AIB partners have RTX 3060's theoretically priced right next to Nvidia's reference $329 price point.
Obviously, the significantly larger than normal cooler and fans are part of the cost. We've seen retailers selling RTX 3060 12GB cards for over $600 as well — and selling out at those prices. But RTX 3060 Ti cards easily beat RTX 3060 in performance, due to the latter's big deficits in bandwidth and GPU core counts. You're far better off getting one of those.
Again, these pricing shenanigans don't really matter when nothing's in stock and graphics card prices are way overinflated anyway. We're used to seeing diminishing returns on factory overclocked cards as well. Sadly, overkill cooling can't compensate for excessive pricing, and we'd look for a better balance between price and performance — even if that means waiting many months for prices to come down and availability to improve.