3060 vs 5700 XT: Can the older AMD card keep up?

Now, this was a fairly interesting comparison for us to cover because the RX 5700 XT was considered a high-end graphics card three years ago when it launched. But then we saw the RTX 3000 series release, which changed the game (pun intended) and even prompted AMD to scramble to launch its own series of graphic cards based on RDNA 2.0 architecture (the RX 6000 series). 

So does the baby of the Ampere GPUs match up with the mighty 5700 XT? Let’s find out in this RTX 3060 vs 5700 XT battle!

3060 vs 5700 XT – Quick Comparison

SpecsNvidia GeForce RTX 3060AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
GPUGA106-300-A1Navi 10 XT
InterfacePCIe 4.0 x16PCIe 4.0 x16
CUDA Cores/Stream Processors3,5842,560
Tensor Cores112160
RT Cores28(NA, since no hardware-accelerated ray tracking)
Base Clock1320 MHz1605 MHz
Boost Clock1777 MHz1905 MHz
Memory12 GB GDDR68 GB GDDR6
Memory Speed1875 MHz15 Gb/s effective1750 MHz14 Gb/s effective
Bandwidth360.0 GB/s448.0 GB/s
Memory Bus192-bit256-bit
TDP170 W225 W
Suggested PSU450550 W
Outputs1 x HDMI,
3x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI,
3x DisplayPort

RTX 3060

3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

Nvidia has always held a bit of a lead when it comes to GPUs, and with their latest Ampere-backed graphic cards, Nvidia is really putting pressure on AMD. The RTX 3060 was launched in January 2021, a month after the 3060 Ti, which found a lot more popularity with gamers thanks to its impressive specs.

Pros:

  • Is an excellent budget GPU
  • Supports ray tracing
  • 12 gigs of VRAM
  • Good TDP
  • Features G-Sync, DLSS, Reflex

Cons:

  • Is great with 1080p gaming but occasionally struggles with 1440p
  • Is a bit noisy
  • Specs are underwhelming compared to the 3060 Ti

RX 5700 XT

5700XT
AMD Radeon RX 5700XT

Launched as a high-end AMD card in 2019, the 5700 XT was a direct competitor to the RTX 2060 Super and RTX 2070 cards from Nvidia. Interestingly, though most cards today support ray tracing, the fact that the 5700 XT does not offer hardware-accelerated ray tracing is a testament to how quickly the GPU industry adapts and evolves. It also gives you an idea of just how superior RDNA 2 architecture is in comparison to RDNA 1, which is the architecture inside the RX 5700 XT.

Pros:

  • Excellent for 1440p gaming
  • One of the best cards from the previous gen of GPUs
  • Still holds up pretty well with modern games

Cons:

  • High TDP
  • No hardware-accelerated ray tracing
  • Expensive

3060 vs 5700XT: Key Specifications

Architecture

It’s usually tough to choose which architecture is ‘better,’ but this is an easy one — the 3060’s Ampere architecture is superior to the RDNA architecture inside the 5700 XT. While RDNA 2 can keep up with Ampere, RDNA can make no such claims as Nvidia’s successor to Turing and Volta architectures have taken GPU capabilities to a whole new level.

The new crop of Tensor cores is a game changer, and so are the ray tracing cores, which don’t add any pressure to the CUDA cores (the main processors inside Nvidia GPUs) as they handle ray tracing computations independently.

Ampere
NVIDIA Ampere Architecture

RDNA made its 2019 debut with the Radeon RX 5000 series of cards and succeeded the Radeon Vega series (GCN architecture). Thankfully, Ampere’s appearance made AMD rush to improve on RDNA and soon enough, RDNA 2 was revealed — which once again made the GPU market competitive.

This round is an easy win for the RTX 3060, thanks to Ampere!

Clock Speeds and Overclocking

Your GPU’s base clock speed is an indicator of the frequency or rate at which the processor manages calculations. The boost clock is the maximum level the manufacturer lets the GPU clock go to safely.  

And bumping this number up means you get better performance, which is where overclocking comes into the picture. To overclock your GPU, you get applications from both AMD and Nvidia, or you could opt for third-party software like MSI Afterburner.

High clock speeds are definitely an AMD ‘thing’ because we generally see higher base and boost clock speeds on their cards compared to the Nvidia cards they compete against.

5700XT
AMD Radeon RX 5700XT

The 5700 XT has a base clock of 1605 MHz, which goes all the way to 1905 MHz (boost clock speed). You can find user reports online of 5700 XTs that have been overclocked beyond these numbers, but we want to warn you that it’s never a good idea unless you really know what you’re doing — each card differs, and you may not be able to match those numbers.

The risk, of course, is that you could completely brick your GPU and damage other components in the process. Cooling the GPU plays a critical role here, and we recommend you keep a sharp eye on your CPU temperatures and add a cooling system if necessary.

But back to comparing the cards — the RTX 3060 has a base clock of 1320 MHz, boosted to 1777 MHz. Clearly, the 5700 XT wins the round when it comes to clock speeds.

Cores

GPUs are parallel processors that use thousands of cores inside your graphics card to handle all the grunt work — from textures, lighting, gaming physics, and more. And in both the 5700 XT and the RTX 3060, you have thousands of cores. 

AMD refers to them as stream processors, and Nvidia calls them CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) cores, but they’re essentially the same thing.

3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

The 3060 has 3,584 CUDA cores, whereas the 5700 XT has 2,560 stream processors. And the more cores there are, the more calculations a GPU can handle, so this round goes to the RTX 3060

The icing on the cake is that the 3060 also comes with 28 ray tracing cores, which handle all the ray tracing work. Hardware-accelerated ray tracing is notably missing from the 5700 XT, but note that it can still tackle ray tracing using software.

VRAM and Memory Specs

This is another section where we found the roles to be flipped between AMD and Nvidia, as AMD typically always offers more VRAM than its competing Nvidia card. But here, the 5700 XT packs 8 GB of GDDR6 compared to the 12 GB GDDR6 offered by the 3060.

When it comes to bandwidth, however, you get 448.0 GB/s from the 5700 XT, which is significantly higher than the 360 Gb/s we find in the 3060. And if you’re wondering why this is, it’s due to the memory bus. There is a 256-bit bus on the Radeon GPU, compared to the 192-bit memory bus on the GeForce card.

While we’re happy with the VRAM on the 3060, we’re not too pleased with the bandwidth stats. Similarly, we would’ve liked to see more VRAM on the 5700 XT.

After some thought, we declare this round a draw!

We wrote guides on the best CPUs for the 5700 XT as well as the best CPU for the 3060; must-reads if you’re building your own rig!

Shaders, Ray Tracing cores, TMUs

Shaders are the reason that everything brings a game to life — lighting, physics, anti-aliasing etc. — looks so good. In short, they render graphics accurately from the game’s data files, building a 3D space that looks fantastic and behaves as expected. You have as many shaders as you have cores, which means the 5700 XT has 2,560 shaders compared to the 3060’s 3,584.

How about TMUs? TMUs or Texture Mapping Units, as the name indicates, render textures from bitmap files. This is another critical role that allows us as gamers to enjoy stunning graphics. The 5700 XT has 160 TMUs, whereas the RTX 3060 has 112 TMUs. 

And finally, we come to ray tracing cores. They’re all the rage now, but ray tracing was a buzzword back in 2018-19. We’re assuming that’s why the 5700 XT does not support hardware-accelerated ray tracing. Boo, AMD. Boo.

We’re glad ray tracing took off because the way developers and designers have been able to use light effects to bring a real-world feel to our favorite games is mindblowing. 

We’re glad Nvidia introduced RT cores to their GPUs, and we’re reasonably confident we’ll see independent RT cores on AMD cards soon (right now, the ray tracing computations are handled by the stream processors). RT units are a big reason that GeForce cards edge out Radeon GPUs in spec comparisons. The RTX 3060 has 28 RT cores against the 5700 XT’s zero, winning this round.

Performance

Ah. Finally, the round that everyone has been waiting for.

When it comes to performance, the 5700 XT beats the 3060, but just barely. Even though the card can be considered old (it’s not in production anymore), it still does a heck of a job handling gaming at both 1080p and 1440p. 

5700XT
AMD Radeon RX 5700XT

The 5700 XT manages to push ahead with a 2-4% difference in performance compared to the RTX 3060; clearly, AMD future-proofed it well. Though it missed out on RT cores, the card is still a beast when it comes to gaming performance and delivered excellent fps numbers with many of 2022’s popular gaming titles like Elden Ring, God of War, Overwatch 2, and others.

Of course, all that changes the moment you turn on ray tracing, and we see a dip in the 5700 XT’s frame rate. We must also add here that the 5700 XT does not support DirectX 12 Ultimate, whereas the 3060 does.

Even though the 5700 XT surprised us, we’d call this round a draw!

Here’s a must-watch video that compares gaming graphics on these two cards:

Connectivity

When it comes to connectivity, the two cards are matched, and it’s a pretty standard config we see here — a single HDMI 2.1 port and three display ports.

However, the power connectors are different in these two. The RTX 3060 (FE) comes with a 12-pin connector, whereas the 5700 XT comes with 6-pin and 8-pin connectors.

For both these cards, you can find third-party manufacturers that offer more connectivity options as well as different power connectors. This round is a draw!

TDP

TDP or Thermal Design Point is the ceiling above which your GPU explodes in a ball of flames.

Just kidding! 

TDP is simply a statistic that tells you the maximum power your card is allowed to use and gives you a good idea of the temperature levels you will see in the GPU. So once you learn the TDP rating of your GPU, you must then add a buffer on your PSU (power supply unit) by getting one with a higher capacity. 

So the 5700 XT has a TDP of 225W, but it’s recommended you get a 550W PSU to run this. Comparatively, the RTX 3060 has a pretty low TDP of 170W, and a 450W PSU should suffice. Just so you know — the higher the TDP, the higher the power bills! Just ask crypto miners.

3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

We were only kidding about the flames, but we’d like to take a moment to remind you to be cautious when overclocking your GPU. Overclocking bumps up the heat levels of your system, so if you’re playing with system clocks, we recommend you improve the cooling too.

With a lower TDP, this round is another win for the RTX 3060.

And while we’re on the topic of TDP, we recommend you read our article on how hot your GPU should get while gaming.

3060 vs 5700 XT: Standout Features

The most glaring difference between the two cards is the presence of RT cores on the 3060, whereas the 5700 XT has to resort to software solutions. 

Another prominent difference between these two cards is Nvidia’s incredible DLSS technology; Deep Learning Super Sampling gives you incredible frame rates while not compromising graphics quality. The 5700 XT is equipped with something similar in FSR (FX Super Resolution), but it’s still no match for DLSS.

RTX 3060 vs 5700XT: Pricing and Availability

It’s going to be tricky to get your hands on a 5700 XT since AMD discontinued the cards in 2020 itself, but there are used units in circulation, and the occasional new one does appear in the wild as well. 

We would recommend something like the 6700 XT, which is a newer generation card from AMD. It puts up better performance numbers and offers comparable pricing. We compared the 6700 XT against the 3060 Ti, and we suggest you read the article before you purchase your card!

The 5700 XT carried a price tag of $399 when it launched, whereas the RTX 3060 made its debut at $329. We were able to find just one link for the RX 5700 XT, with a bit more luck for the 3060.

5700XT
AMD Radeon RX 5700XT

AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT:

SAPPHIRE Radeon NITRO+ RX 5700 XT on Amazon

And if you want to consider an RX 6700 XT card, try this one:

PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT on Amazon

3060
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060:

  1. GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3060 Eagle OC 12GB 2X WINDFORCE
  2. GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3060 Eagle OC 12GB 3X WINDFORCE
  3. MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3060 12GB

Conclusion

This was a tough one. We loved how the 5700 XT still puts up a fight even though it’s three years old, but we can’t deny that the RTX 3060 packs a punch for its price and has some nice whistles and bells. 

After giving it a great deal of thought, we’ve arrived at a conclusion in our 3060 vs 5700 XT comparison. We think that it’s a tie, but it does come down to the price point and the condition of the 5700 XT that you find. It’s safer to get your hands on a new RTX 3060, but if you find an irresistible deal on a 5700 XT, we say go for it!

If you have any questions for us, hit us up in the comments!

About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

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