NVIDIA outfitted its mid-range RTX 3060 graphics card a little differently when it first launched. But this recent discovery paints the 3060 a little differently, which could have major implications involving Team Green.
According to WCCFTech, a slew of NVIDIA RTX 3060 cards have been spotted with a different GPU: GA104, instead of the original GA106 Ampere chips.
This discovery was made by a man named Matthew Smith, who works as a GPU database editor for the computer hardware site TechPowerUp.
The GA104 is a higher level chip than the original GA106 from the first edition RTX 3060s. This is actually the matrix found in the RTX 3060 Ti and RTX 3070, according to TechPowerUp.
However, that doesn’t mean that any 3060 with the GA104 is faster than any base 3060 with the GA106 chip.
Even though the chip in these “new” RTX 3060s is technically at a higher level, it will still sport the same specs as the base cards: 3,584 CUDA cores, 12 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and a 192-bit bus.
This could mean that NVIDIA has an additional reserve of GA104 arrays.
These chips can be a bit flawed – too flawed to fit into a 3070 or 3060 Ti, for example.
Buying those NVIDIA RTX 3060s equipped with the GA104 won’t get you the performance of the 3060 Ti or 3070, but they could theoretically be more stable than the low-end GA106.
For example, overclocks and boost clocks might be better maintained due to the unconstrained nature of the top-level chip.
Various reports indicate that NVIDIA is reusing these chips because allegedly the GA106 die supply has become a bit limited lately. It’s still likely a direct effect of the global GPU shortage, but the reuse of faulty chips is actually quite common in the tech space.
Read also: NVIDIA RTX 4000 GPUs already finalized for a possible launch in 2022
NVIDIA redirecting the GPU dies? What does it talk about?
As mentioned earlier, the reuse of GPU (and even CPU) arrays is nothing new in the tech world. NVIDIA may have been forced to do this due to supply constraints, and it’s actually a good thing that they don’t just turn faulty chips into electronic waste.
This process is known as “binning”.
NVIDIA isn’t the first and only semiconductor maker to do this: AMD and Intel also do this regularly with their products.
According to Tom’s gear, binning is to categorize silicon (in this case, the GPU dies) by quality and overall performance as soon as it leaves the factory assembly line.
NVIDIA ensures that its GPU arrays are designed and manufactured to meet a certain performance standard. But specific situations can actually cause a chip to perform worse than expected.
If it does not meet expectations, it is “scrapped” and sold as a lower level product.
(Photo: Getty Images)
Intel often does this with its processors.
For example, an i7 chip might come out with two out of eight bad cores. In order not to waste it, Intel will then completely disable the two non-working cores and sell the failed 8-core i7 as a fully-functional 6-core i5.
These ânewâ NVIDIA RTX 3060s are still great to get even if they are technically âdefectiveâ 3060 Tis / 3070s. So, don’t worry about getting ripped off.
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Written by RJ Pierce
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