When it comes to graphics cards, the VRM (voltage regulator module) plays a crucial role in ensuring stable power delivery to the GPU. One of the key factors to consider when assessing the quality of a VRM is its current capability, or the maximum amount of current it can handle. Generally speaking, a higher current capability is associated with a higher quality VRM that can last longer.See the price history of Used Nvidia RTX 3060 & New Nvidia RTX 3060
*This blog post was written based on this video from O!Technology YouTube channel. Watch the video to get a more detailed take on this subject.
Determining VRM Current Capability
Determining the VRM current capability of a graphics card can be done by looking at reviews that show PCB (printed circuit board) photos, or by comparing the PCB design to that of another card that has been pictured.
For example, the RTX 3060 has a TGP (total graphics power) of 170 watts and runs at around 1.081 volts. Using the equation P = VI (power = voltage x current), this means it will draw around 158 amps. This is sufficiently lower than cards with VRMs that are only capable of handling 225 amps, which seems to be the base specification from Nvidia.
VRM Current Capability and Overclocking
While a lower current capability may be fine for most uses, it's important to keep in mind when overclocking or making other modifications to the card. For example, flashing a higher RTX 3060 Power Limit BIOS or doing shunt mods on a card with a VRM that can only handle 225 amps could result in a blown up VRM.
On the other hand, cards with higher current capabilities, such as the 300 amp cards, can be considered safe to remove the power limit with shunt mods. This is because it would be difficult to draw over 325 watts and overload the VRM on an RTX 3060.
Top-end VRM for Overclocking
For those looking to push their graphics card to the limit, certain manufacturers and models stand out for their high-end VRMs. The ASUS TUF and STRIX cards, for example, are known for their robust VRMs and use high-end power stages for extreme overclocking.
Similarly, the Gigabyte AORUS Elite and the ZOTAC AMP card are also considered some of the best options for overclocking potential, thanks to their high current capabilities and advanced PCB designs.
In conclusion, when it comes to graphics cards, the VRM is an important factor to consider, and a higher current capability is generally associated with a higher quality VRM. When looking to overclock or make other modifications to the card, it's important to keep in mind the VRM's current capability to avoid any damage.