Nvidia at CES 2021: RTX 3060 desktop, RTX laptop chips it says outperform Sony's PS5

The chip giant unveiled its latest RTX desktop graphics chip, and its first new laptop graphics chips.

Ian Sherr Contributor and Former Editor at Large / News
Ian Sherr (he/him/his) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, so he's always had a connection to the tech world. As an editor at large at CNET, he wrote about Apple, Microsoft, VR, video games and internet troubles. Aside from writing, he tinkers with tech at home, is a longtime fencer -- the kind with swords -- and began woodworking during the pandemic.
Ian Sherr
2 min read

The fall was undoubtedly the time of desktop computers . Many gamers and the tech industry were obsessed with desktop-class chips, be they AMD's newest Ryzen central processors, its latest Radeon RX graphics chips or rival Nvidia's latest RTX series of chips. In each case, the new chips offered jumps in processing capabilities, allowing computers to churn through video editing quicker, complex art more easily and play more richly detailed games.

Reviewers largely praised the new chips as well, saying they delivered a meaningful upgrade to those that came before. And in Nvidia's case, its entry-level RTX desktop chips were nearly as capable as its most expensive chips from before

The hype for the chips led to unusually high demand, and stock shortages lasting from the early fall and expected into this summer. As Nvidia attempts to manufacture enough RTX desktop chips for eager customers, the company also used its presentation at the all-digital CES tech show to announce its newest RTX-desktop and laptop computer graphics chips too.

The biggest announcement for desktop computer users was Nvidia's new RTX 3060. The new chip, meant to start at $329, is meant to offer slightly lower specs than the company's other RTX cards, including the RTX 3060 Ti, which starts at $399. 

As Nvidia's newest entry-level chip, the RTX 3060 is meant to entice those who use older-generation chips. Nvidia said it offers 10 times the performance of 2016's GTX 1060 and twice the performance of 2018's 2060. Nvidia said its 3060 will go on sale in February.

Nvidia also announced new chips for laptop computers . Among them was the RTX 3060 chip for laptops, meant to run popular games like Ubisoft's hacker adventure Watch Dogs : Legion at standard 1080p HD. Nvidia boasted a laptop powered with the chip should run 30% faster than Sony's just released $499 PlayStation 5 video game console. The laptops powered with that chip should start at $999. 

Nvidia said it built the RTX 3070 chip, meant to help power higher-resolution 1440p (or 2K) displays, starting at $1,299. And the RTX 3080 chip is meant to offer even more capability for gamers, artists and video editors starting at $1,999. Nvidia said the RTX 3080 will particularly help people play e-sports games like the battle games Overwatch from Blizzard and Fortnite from Epic Games.


Nvidia's RTX 3080 is one of the hottest computer products today.

Lori Grunin/CNET