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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Time for an upgrade?

26 February 2021

It's 5:30am in the morning.

I'm sitting here in the hope that I'll be able to buy one of the new NVIDIA RTX3060 video cards when they're released in half an hour's time.

Chances are that one of two things will happen:

The most likely scenario is that I'll be too slow. That's one of the side effects of being old I guess.

The second most likely thing is that the cards will be so grossly over-priced that, even if I could buy one, I won't.

That's the unfortunate state of the GPU marketplace at the moment.

As a video content creator, using a decent GPU makes a huge difference to my productivity.

My GPU needs are somewhat different to that of a gamer or crypto-currency miner and the RTX3060 looks perfectly suited to those needs.

I don't actually need a million and one CUDA cores supplemented by a large array of tensor cores. My goal is not to get maximum frame-rates and minimum latency in a FPS game. Nor do I want maximum hashes per second so as to turn electricity into money.

Due to the software I'm using (Davinci Resolve), I need a GPU with plenty of VRAM and good silicon-based H264/H265 video encoding.

Surprisingly, the RTX3060 outperforms even the far more expensive RTX3080 in respect to VRAM and there appears to be very little difference in hardware-based video encoding performance between the two cards. This makes the 3060 a no-brainer "value" option.

My hope is that NVIDIA's stated "crippling" of the 3060 as a mining card will reduce its desirability within the ranks of those who are snapping up GPUs as quickly as they're released for that purpose. I'm also hoping that most hard-core gamers will be opting for something with a little more raytracing power or better frame-rates in their favourite titles than the 3060 will deliver.

The RTX3060 really is a "creator's card", whether by design or accident.

With a recommended retail price in the USA of under $350 and the NZ dollar sitting at about US$0.70 it would be nice to think that I could score one of these cards for under NZ$700 but the odds of that are infinitesimal.

I'm prepared to pay NZ$750 but no more.

My current GPU (a GTX1060/6) is "adequate" right now although it is pushed hard for VRAM headroom in some situations. A recent video I edited using lots of temporal noise reduction and optical flow retiming did slow to less than a third of a frame per second during rendering.

UPDATE:

Well PBTech promised to list the 3060 at 6am but that time came and went with nothing to see. PlayTech listed the 3060 but at NZ$1,000 upwards -- more than twice the US MSRP. There's no way I'm spending that sort of money on a mid-tier GPU!

Sigh.

I guess I'll just carry on with my present setup and continue to organise my workflow so that I'm busy doing other stuff while the computer is rendering videos -- that's not hard to do. I really can't believe that there are people out there paying this sort of price for these cards but obviously, given that the MSI card is sold out at PlayTech already, people are doing just that.

Ah well, it is fortunate that I'm someone who makes purchasing decisions with my head, based on solid ROI calculations -- and not someone that "must have" the latest tech at all cost.

I wonder how many Aardvark readers have spent way too much on a GPU recently. Were you one of those people -- or are you also a lot more level-headed than those who are paying way over the odds for 3000-series GPUs right now?

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