The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 comes at the right time, maybe even a bit late, as the best graphics cards get more and more expensive. And because GPUs keep running out, even the few reasonably priced ones weren’t worth it, just look at the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT.
However, with the RTX 3050 you don’t get much lower performance than Nvidia’s next in line, the RTX 3060. The RTX 3050 has no problem hitting 60fps in any 1080p game you throw at it, though it can start to have problems. in the most demanding games of the generation: think Cyberpunk 2077.
While this all sounds great, it’s hard to ignore how prices have changed from generation to generation. While a price tag of $249 (about £185, AU$350) might not seem high when you’re used to seeing $1+ graphics cards these days, it’s still a lot more expensive than the xx000 cards of the past. For example, the GTX 50 Ti launched at $1050 (£139, around AU$139) and the GTX 200 launched at just $1650 (£149, around AU$149).
So, likely due to ongoing silicon shortages driving up computing prices across the industry, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 costs nearly twice as much as its last-gen sibling.
With this drastic increase in price comes a huge increase in performance. However, people hoping to see a graphics card at réel cheap prices will have to wait, or search the second-hand market. We’re just hoping that the RTX 4000 series will get something cheaper, assuming the shortage subsides soon.
Prices and availability
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 is available now, starting at $249 (around £185, AU$350), with prices rising from there for more advanced third-party cards. We don’t know what the aftermarket situation will be like once the cards are available, but if it’s anything like the RTX 3060, there may not be many graphics cards available at that starting price, at least. Instead, prices could start to rise. .
For example, the EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black that we review here costs $249 (around £185, AU$350) and is a fairly basic version of the graphics card. If you want something with fancy RGB lights and proper cooling settings for overclocking, you’ll have to spend a bit more.
Nvidia doesn’t make a founders edition of the GeForce RTX 3050, just like it didn’t make the RTX 3060, which is the main reason why graphics cards on the lower end of the price spectrum for this GPU will be incredibly rare. Hopefully, since the RTX 3050 won’t be very good at crypto mining, it won’t see a massive price increase after launch. Only time will tell with this one.
Features and chipset
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, like the rest of the RTX 3000 series, is based on Nvidia’s Ampere core. In previous releases in this line, Nvidia’s enhancements to this core compared to the last generation Turing core delivered a huge performance boost between generations, both for ray tracing and regular rasterization.
And the GeForce RTX 3050 is no different. Due to Nvidia Ampere’s smaller manufacturing process, Team Green was able to fit more streaming multiprocessors without increasing chip size, up to 20 from 14 in the GTX 1650. Nvidia was able to effectively double the FP32 cores in each SM, giving the RTX 3050 2 CUDA cores, compared to 560 in the GTX 892. That means it’s significantly more powerful, at least on paper.
With this increase in SMs, of course, an increase in power is needed to push the RTX 3050, but not as much as we thought. The TGP only increased to 130 W from the 75 W TGP of the GTX 1650. Perhaps this means that the AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT consumes significantly less power, but as we will see later, this leads to a significant performance loss.
It’s also the first xx50 card with Nvidia’s full RTX feature set. That means this GPU has RT cores and Tensor cores, so it’s capable of ray tracing and DLSS. Both the GTX 1650 and GTX 1650 Super were stripped of these features in the last generation, so it’s nice to see them heading for a “budget” graphics card, especially DLSS.
Fortunately, Nvidia also upped the RTX 3050’s VRAM to 8 GB of GDDR6 on a 128-bit bus with 224 GB/s of bandwidth. It’s not the fastest memory this generation, but it should keep this graphics card struggling at 1080p for quite some time.
Because while it’s great that an affordable graphics card has ray tracing, that’s not the main draw here. DLSS will be much more valuable to people who buy this graphics card, as it will drastically increase performance without affecting visual quality too much. That’s not free performance on its own, and you’ll notice a drop in quality in Performance mode, for example, but it does expand on what the RTX 3050 will be capable of at 1080p.
You also have access to other Nvidia RTX technologies. Nvidia Reflex is going to be a big deal for this particular graphics card as the level of performance it offers is already perfect for esports. Nvidia Reflex will further enhance the esports experience by reducing input lag. This feature is starting to appear in other games as well (it was announced for God of War at CES 2022, for example), and while it might be good for a single-player title, it’s especially good for multiplayer games like Fortnite or Counter. -Strike.