NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB Graphics Card Review Ft. MSI Gaming X Trio & GALAX EX
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio / GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 EX25/02/2021
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Closer Look + Teardown
MSI’s Tri Frozr heat sinks are some of the biggest heatsink cooling solutions that I have ever tested. I first tested the Gaming X Trio when MSI released the 1080 Ti variant back in 2017 and that was a very aggressive design in its own right. With the RTX 30 series cards, MSI has further refined the Gaming X Trio design. The card measures the same at 323 x 140 x 56 mm and weighs in at 1565 grams. The card is also slightly taller at 2.7 slots height compared to the 2.5 slots height of the previous model.
You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual card solution as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such a setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.
The back of the card features a solid backplate that looks stunning. The backplate offers a lot more functionality than just looks which I will get back to in a bit.
In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Tri Frozr heatsink which is now in its sixth variation while for the Gaming X series, this is the 2nd iteration. The first variation started off with the GTX 780 Ti Lightning, the second was the 980 Ti Lightning, then came the 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio, the 1080 Ti Lightning, and then the RTX 20 and RTX SUPER Gaming X Trio graphics cards.
The new heatsink looks like a beefed-up version of the Gaming X Trio with the main changes being the shroud and heatsink design that feature an aggressive shroud design on the front, absorbing the black and silver color platelets while featuring the RGB emitting acrylic cutouts at the front. The sides also come with a large RGB accent bar which lights up when the card is powered on.
Coming to the fans, the card actually features two different fan designs based on the Torx 4.0 system. All three fans feature a ring-based design to allow for higher airflow to be channeled within the main heatsink. All fans deploy a double ball bearing design and can last a long time while operating silently.
MSI also features their Zero Frozr technology on the Tri Frozr heatsink. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold.
In the case of the Tri Frozr heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won’t spin which means no extra noise would be generated.
I am back at talking about the full-coverage, full metal-based backplate which the card uses. The whole plate is made of solid metal with rounded edges that add to the durability of this card. The brushed matte-black finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic.
There are cutouts in screw placements to easily reach the points on the graphics card. We can also see the MSI Dragon logo on the back which looks stunning. MSI is also using heat pads beneath the backplate which offer more cooling to the electrical circuitry on the PCB.
The most interesting thing to spot on the back aside from the backplate is the large retention metal bracket which adds more mounting pressure to effectively disperse heat from the GPU to the heatsink. The exhaust vents on the back also help push air out for increased heat dissipation which leads to better cooling performance.
With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what's beneath the hood of these monster graphics cards. The first thing to catch my eye is the humungous fin stack that's part of the beefy heatsink which the cards utilize.
The large fin stack runs all the way from the front and to the back of the PCB and is so thick that you can barely see through it. It also comes with the wave-curved 2.0 fin stack design which I want to shed some light on as it is a turn away from traditional fin design.
The heatsink has been designed to be denser by using a wave curved fin design. It allows more air to pass through the fins smoothly, without causing any turbulence that would result in unwanted noise. Airflow Control Technology guides the airflow directly onto the heat pipes, while simultaneously creating more surface area for the air to absorb more heat before leaving the heatsink.
Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of six copper squared-shaped heat pipes with a more concentrated design to transfer heat from the copper base to the heatsink more effectively. The heat pipes make direct contact with the GPU which is different than the nickel-plated copper base featured on the higher-end models.
To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.
MSI adds extra protection to its impressive PCB by including a rugged anti-bending plate. This also acts as a memory and MOSFET cooling plate while the PWM heatsink with micro fins keeps the VRM cool under stressful conditions.
I/O on the graphics card sticks with the reference scheme which includes three Display Port 1.4a & a single HDMI 2.1 port.
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Teardown:
MSI makes use of a 5+2+2 phase PWM design that includes its Military Class components such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Japanese Solid Caps.
The card also uses the GDDR6 memory from Micron that operates at 15 Gbps alongside a 192-bit wide memory interface.
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio uses a very power-intensive connector configuration that comprises dual 8 pin connectors. The card is rated at a TDP of 170W officially by MSI.
MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Gaming X Trio Series RGB Lighting Gallery:
MSI Gaming X Trio series cards utilize their Mystic Light RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 8 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have 3 RGB accent points, 2 on the front, and one lightbar surrounding the side of the card which looks really good. You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the MSI Mystic Light application from MSI's web page.
Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.