Nvidia won’t release its own Founders Edition model of the $329 GeForce RTX 3060 graphics card scheduled to launch at the end of February, the company confirmed to PCWorld today.
“From time to time we decide not to design a Founder’s Edition card for cards targeted at the mainstream part of the market,” a spokesperson said in response to a PCWorld query. “So it’s all [partner cards] for this one.”
While Nvidia crafted Founders Edition models for the GeForce RTX 2060 and GTX 1060, it did not create a reference version of the older GeForce GTX 960. This decision indeed is not unprecedented.
It does make you wonder how much the GeForce RTX 3060 will actually cost when it launches, however. This generation, Nvidia released its gorgeous Founders Edition versions at each GPU’s baseline MSRP, creating a set point for each product. Third-party GeForce RTX 30-series cards by the likes of EVGA, Asus, MSI, and others have all launched at higher costs, with the majority of stock seemingly allocated to the most expensive custom models. Extreme demand and logistics woes have only exacerbated the problem. It’s all but impossible to find a current-generation graphics card from GeForce or Radeon anywhere near stock pricing, and they sell out instantly when they appear. Even last-gen graphics cards are selling out at wildly high prices right now. It’s a bad time to try to buy a graphics card.
Worse, in recent days, vendors like Asus, MSI, and EVGA have announced that graphics cards are about to get a lot more expensive. “Our new MSRP reflects increases in cost for components, operating costs, and logistical activities, plus a continuation of import tariffs,” Asus’s statement declared. We’ve witnessed prices increase by around $70 for many EVGA models, but other vendors have increased the cost of many cards by $100 or even more, with the Zotac RTX 3090 Trinity now going for $1,900-plus, compared to the $1,580 it launched at in late September.
Oof. Massive premiums like that are more common on higher-end models, however.
It remains to be seen whether the GeForce RTX 3060 truly launches at its advertised $329 price tag next month. Given that it’s a custom-only launch, and custom board makers are already announcing broad price increases, don’t be surprised if Nvidia’s latest GPU winds up costing closer to the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti’s $400 price tag instead. Fingers crossed that Nvidia took the supply chain concerns into consideration before announcing the RTX 3060, and the higher prices are already baked into the price. Considering the pricing of the rest of Nvidia’s lineup though, and the RTX 3060’s ample 12GB of memory, don’t count on it.
If you’re having trouble getting hold of a graphics card, give Nvidia’s GeForce Now game-streaming service a whirl. It holds up surprisingly well for what it is, and better yet, you can play for free in a pinch. Depending on the specific games you play it could tide you over until graphics card prices become sane again.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.