NVIDIA’s upcoming budget graphics card, the GeForce RTX 3060 (or 3060 Ti) is expected to launch next month with an MSRP of $299. This is easily the most important segment, as the majority of users opt for a $200-400 GPU, as we’ve already seen with Steam’s Hardware Surveys.
However, NVIDIA’s board partners claim that the targeted price tag of $250 to $300 is simply unrealistic and that “they’d be bankrupt if they sold it at those prices”. As GN explains it in their exclusive, going with NVIDIA’s price would mean that the AIB partners would have to opt for an Intel stock cooler-class heatsink which barely cools just the GPU, while ignoring the VRM, memory, and other PCB components. This cooler’s BOM cost is around $9, while an RTX 2060 cooler costs the OEMs more than twice as much.
For the higher-end factory OC models, the entire cooling solutions cost around $50 for the cooling solution. This includes the backplate, shroud, RGB LEDs, thermal pads, extrusion/fin-stack along with the vapor chambers, and tooling.
What does this mean for the end-consumer: Basically overpriced third-party GPUs in a segment aimed at the mainstream audience. This includes all but the entry-level models which often perform worse than the Founders’ Edition cards.
What do the partners want? They would like NVIDIA to set a higher MSRP which is realistic, and allows them to make a well-performing product without taking a loss, or simply reduce its profit margins and sell the GPU and memory kits to AIBs at a lower price.
Knowing how rarely NVIDIA lowers its pricing, it’s very likely that neither will happen. Instead, most partners will have to resort to mail-in rebates to sell the cards at the NVIDIA-recommended MSRP. This is because MIRs are only redeemed by 30-40% of users. Therefore, with a $20 MIR, you’re effectively reducing the cost of the card by just $7, rather than $20 per unit.
There’s also a good chance that the entry-level models will come with sub-par thermals and heatsinks, no LEDs and even lacking cooling for the VRMs and memory. We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out.