For most gamers, the RTX 3060 is a great choice for a graphics card. It’s powerful enough to handle any major title on high settings and can produce a pretty impressive frame rate when you’re gaming at 1080p.
Whether you’re building a new PC or planning on upgrading, you’ll need to make sure that your chosen power supply is capable of running an RTX 3060, if that’s the card you’re going to use. The RTX 3060 isn’t a massive power draw compared to the RTX 3080 or RTX 3090, but you’ll still want to make sure you won’t have any issues running it.
So, let’s break down the power consumption of an RTX 3060 and help you find the power supply that you’ll need to comfortably run it without any problems.
How Many Watts Does An RTX 3060 Use?
The power consumption of an RTX 3060 depends on what you’re using it for. When gaming, it’ll draw between 170 and 180 watts. It’s a lot lower when the graphics card is considered idle, although it does still draw power – around 8 watts for a single monitor setup.
If you’ve got more than one monitor, then it’ll use a little more power – in the region of 13 watts, so still pretty low. And if you use your PC to watch videos on YouTube, Netflix or another streaming service, that rises marginally again to around 15 watts.
Also, you should know that while the ‘maximum’ rating of an RTX 3060 is around 180 watts, that’s the maximum consistent power draw – so the top level of what you can reasonably expect it to draw when used.
It’s not the actual top maximum because sometimes components will spike, and for a few milliseconds draw a sudden burst of extra power. RTX 3060 cards have been clocked at around 195 watts during a spike.
How Many Watts Does An RTX 3060 Use Per Hour?
When you’re gaming, expect to use around 170 watt-hours per hour on average with an RTX 3060 graphics card. If the average gamer plays for around 8.5 hours per week, that’s equivalent to 1,445 watt-hours per week, or 1.445 kilowatt-hours per week.
Don’t forget though that this is just for when gaming. You’ll likely use your PC for other jobs like work, or maybe you kick back with a boxset in your downtime. So you need to factor in the power draw for these times too, even if the watt-hours used are much lower.
And, this is just for the graphics card. Your PC’s other components also draw power, although for some (fans, RAM, storage) this is really minimal. The biggest power draws are always the graphics card, followed by the processor and the motherboard.
Read more: How Many Watts Does A Gaming PC Use?
What Power Supply Do I Need For An RTX 3060?
Some manufacturers recommend that you only need a power supply of 450 watts to run an RTX 3060 graphics card, but that’s cutting it fine. Most tech experts online believe you need at least 550 watts, but recommend a 650-watt power supply.
The power supply is the unit that delivers the power to your PC. It needs to be rated for the maximum total wattage drawn by all your components, plus around an extra 20% leeway in case of power spikes. If your PC components try to draw more power than your PSU is rated for, it’ll be overloaded and could switch off or even get damaged.
Remember that your RTX 3060 is drawing around 170 watts, and if you get a mid- to top-tier processor, you’ll be adding another 100-150 watts on top of that, or up to 200 for the best processors. Throw in a motherboard’s demand (40-80 watts) and already you’re potentially reaching that 450 watt total without any of the extra space.
As a note, it’s worth explaining that your power supply won’t just draw the exact wattage that your PC needs. They aren’t 100% efficient, and so instead draw extra power, some of which generates waste heat and some of which powers the fan to expel that heat.
How much wasted energy is drawn depends on the efficiency of the PSU. Look for an 80+ rated one, with Gold or Platinum wasting less energy than a Bronze or Silver.
Read more: Power Supply Ratings Explained
The Best Power Supply For An RTX 3060
Sticking to the manufacturer’s recommendation of 450 watts for an RTX 3060 power supply is a bad idea. Aim for 650 watts to give you plenty of comfort zone for power spikes, and the option to upgrade components in future.
This be quiet! PSU is an excellent choice for your power supply if you’re running an RTX 3060. It’s rated at 650 watts and has an 80+ Platinum efficiency rating, meaning there is very little wasted power drawn.
It’s fully modular, so you only use the cables that you need for your system without loads of extra ones to cable manage, and as it’s a ‘be quiet!’ model you know it’s from a trusted brand. Plus, as their name suggests, it runs really quietly, so the fan won’t drown out your gaming.
What RTX 3060 Power Cable Do I Need?
Graphics cards all use the same type of cable, but some need more than one. With an RTX 3060, depending on the model you’ve chosen it will either need one or two 8-pin connectors running from your power supply to the graphics card.
If your power supply isn’t modular, then those cables should already be hardwired into the PSU. Otherwise, just make sure to plug in enough to fit the card. Don’t leave any unused – if it’s a card that has two 8-pin slots, make sure you connect both. The card may work with only one but it will be underpowered, and won’t work properly.
RTX 3060 Power FAQs
The minimum recommended power supply for an RTX 3060 is 450 watts, although in reality this is pushing limits and you should aim for at least 550 watts or more. So no, a 400-watt power supply isn’t sufficient. It will likely overload and shut down your PC.
Although Nvidia recommends a minimum 450-watt power supply for an RTX 3060, even a 500W PSU won’t be enough for many PCs. It’s wise to get a power supply of 650 watts or more to be sure that it can handle any spikes.
Although Nvidia recommends a minimum 450-watt power supply for an RTX 3060, even a 550-watt PSU might not be enough for PCs with high-end processors. Opt for a PSU of 650 watts or more to be on the safe side.
A 600-watt power supply is probably enough for an RTX 3060 in most builds. If you have a high-end processor then upgrading slightly more to a 650-watt option is safer, protecting your system from power spikes. Based on average consumption alone, 600 watts would be sufficient.
A 750-watt power supply is enough for an RTX 3060. This will be more than capable of handling everything and can be a wise investment should you wish to upgrade any of your PC’s components in the future.
If you’re interested in trying crypto mining then an RTX 3060 graphics card will do the job, although you’ll need to calculate efficiencies, as running the system may eat into any mining profits too much. Dedicated miners use specialist systems with multiple graphics cards.