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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Review: An entry-level card that delivers DLSS to the masses

By Aaron Yip - 3 May 2022

Introduction

Note: This review was first published on 26 January 2022.

The most affordable RTX 3000-series yet

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 is billed as the company’s most affordable entry-level GPU yet and is targeted at gamers still rocking the by-now ageing GTX 1650 or GTX 1650 Ti graphics cards. Like the GeForce RTX 3060 before it, there's no Founders Edition model and NVIDIA has launched the card with a slew of custom offerings right from the outset. With a starting price of US$249, the card sits below the RTX 3060 and aims to provide solid 1080p performance with the benefit of ray tracing as well as NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (or DLSS).

Here's an overview of its specifications and how it compares to the GeForce RTX 3060:

Specifications
  NVIDA GeForce RTX 3050 NVIDA GeForce RTX 3060
GPU GA106 GA106
Streaming Multiprocessors 20 28
CUDA cores 2,450 3,584
Tensor cores 80 112
RT cores 20 28
Texture units 72 112
ROPs 40 48
Base/ Boost clock 1,552MHz/1,777MHz 1,320MHz/1,777MHz
Video memory 8GB GDDR6 12GB GDDR6
Memory bus width 128-bit 192-bit
Memory bandwidth 224GB/s 360GB/s
TDP 130W 170W
Price US$249 US$329

 

First looks

As no Founders Edition card is available, NVIDIA has sent us an entry-level, Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 Eagle 8GB card, for review.  Unlike its more expensive Aorus siblings, this Gigabyte Eagle is a no-frills card that does not even come with its own RGB lighting so as to keep costs as close to NVIDIA’s recommended retail pricing. It really does not pretend to be anything else more than a functional graphics card – it’s not even factory overclocked – and that’s actually a good thing for this review, as the card will give us a more accurate assessment of the RTX 3050’s base-level performance.

But that said, it does sports the same technologies featured in the other RTX 30-series GPUs such as RTX IO, and NVIDIA Reflex. We have covered these in separate articles previously, so I highly recommend that you read them to find out how games such as the recently released God of War for PC takes advantage of these features.

If you’re looking to build an entry-level gaming system with a mini-ITX casing in mind, the Gigabyte Eagle's diminutive size (213mm long) and low power draw (a 450W PSU is more than enough) makes it an appealing option – perhaps a little more so than the GeForce RTX 3060, which has a higher minimum power draw of 170W. For display outputs, the Gigabyte card sports two HDMI 2.1 and two DisplayPort 1.4a outputs. It is also cooled by Gigabyte’s Windforce technology, which encompasses anti-turbulence inclined fans, ultra-quiet PWM fan and pure copper heat pipe.

But how does it fare, especially in comparison to a GeForce RTX 3060? Let’s take a look.

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7.5
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8
  • Value 7.5
The Good
Quite possibly the best entry-level GPU in the market
Brings DLSS, IO and Reflex to the masses
Reasonably priced
8GB VRAM
The Bad
Unlikely cards will sell at SRP
The RTX 3060 is the better value card
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