GPUs have been hard to place in the last few years, and the situation continues to get worse as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbs and flows worldwide. Even as newer and better models for graphics cards are developed and sold by Nvidia, AMD, and soon with Intel's new Arc GPUs, it remains difficult for anyone attempting to upgrade their rigs to buy GPUs. As a result, budget GPUs and older models have returned to production and otherwise remained very popular among those looking to jump into PC gaming at a lower barrier of entry. Nvidia seems intent on helping with this issue as well, recently announcing the RTX 3050 graphics card at $249 MSRP.
Where the GTX 1660 used to be the ideal starter and/or budget GPU, the RTX 3050 seems to be taking that place with the new ray tracing line of graphics cards. Similar to the previous series, Nvidia's RTX 3050 is specifically targeted towards 1080p and 1440p gaming, which is generally speaking the average spec for most PC gamers. Obviously the power disparity between a RTX 3050 and a RTX 3090 Ti card is massive, but Nvidia's dual reveals at CES 2022 indicates that it's aware of the general public's struggle to acquire affordable GPUs. The RTX 3050 is a capable graphics cards for the average PC gamer, and is a worthwhile upgrade for low-end rigs.
Nvidia RTX 3050: Technical Specifications
For those on an older Nvidia series, or those looking to jump into PC gaming at a more affordable price point, the RTX 3050 bridges the gap for a lot of players. Nvidia's latest affordable card boasts some impressive specs: The RTX 3050 is capable of outputting 9 Shader TFlops, 18 RT TFlops, 73 Tensor TFlops, all powered by 8 GB of G6 VRAM. Granted TFlops are a bit nebulous of a metric to measure while the amount of CUDA cores on offer in the RTX 3050 are 2,560 in total. Additionally, the base clock and boost clock for the GPU run at 1.55 GHz and 1.78 GHz, respectively.
At the MSRP of $249, the RTX 3050 from Nvidia is a great value for the horsepower, despite not being even being Nvidia's mid-range offering. The RTX 3050 is now the new baseline offering for Nvidia's 3000 series GPUs, so there isn't a comparable in-family graphics card to compare its power to. Compared to the next-highest graphics card, the RTX 3060, both cards have the same amount of VRAM. The major difference stems from the amount of CUDA cores, 2560 cores in the RTX 3050 compared to 3584 CUDA cores in the RTX 3060. That's a difference of 1,024, around 40% difference in performance between the RTX 3050 and the next available GPU.
How The RTX 3050 Stacks Up To Similar Budget Cards
That being said, that is not an entirely fair comparison next to the card the RTX 3050 is meant to theoretically replace: The GTX 1660 Super. Generally speaking, prior to the reveal of the 3050 GPU, the GTX 1660 Super was widely considered one of the best budget graphics cards. The RTX 3050 card has an additional 2 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and also takes advantage of ray tracing and additional rendering power with the Ampere architecture. With only a $20 difference in MSRP between both cards, it's absolutely worth the price differential, especially for those that want to take advantage of ray tracing and other Nvidia-specific perks like Reflex and Shadowplay.
The main card that the RTX 3050 will likely be compared to is the Radeon RX 6500 XT, AMD's comparable budget graphics card. On paper, the RTX 3050 is theoretically more powerful than the RX 6500 XT, but that doesn't take into account AMD's proprietary AI supersampling solution (FidelityFX Super Resolution). Similar to Nvidia's DLSS, based on the provided benchmarks from both Nvidia and AMD, both offer relatively similar performance based on the vague stats provided by both companies. That being said, native performance, paired with Nvidia perks like ray tracing and other perks, means the RTX 3050 may be better for only $50 more at MSRP.
Of course, the biggest factor that makes the RTX 3050 appealing is its price, even though the RX 6500 XT is $50 cheaper. In the currently exacerbated GPU market, a budget GPU is many PC players' saving grace. Basically every GPU that's gone on sale has been scooped up by bots and resellers that have inflated prices way beyond MSRP because of the component shortage. Even if the 3050 is also similarly made hard to get at first, the price is going to be far more affordable compared to every other 3000 series card to date, and gives budget players a reasonable in to PC gaming. That is, assuming the price isn't increased twofold over its MSRP.
MORE: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti Specs: Everything You Need to Know
Popular YouTube creator MrBeast recently put together his own adaptation of Netflix's Squid Game, and Player 067 has become its star once again.
You May Like Also