At CES this year both AMD and Nvidia announced new GPUs that would be coming soon. Both were focused on a little lower on their product stack which makes sense because that is the biggest market share. Steam hardware survey still has the GTX 1060 with the highest usage with the 1650, 1050 Ti, 2060, and then 1050 rounding out the top five. Most of those cards also haven’t moved up into the RTX range, so the new RTX 3050 may be the first introduction to ray tracing and tensor cores for a lot of people as well. Today I’m going to check out what the RTX 3050 is all about then put it to the test on our freshly updated test bench and test suite to see how it compares. There aren’t Founders Editions of the RTX 3050, so today I am checking out the RTX 3050 XC from EVGA.

Product Name: EVGA RTX 3050 XC Black

Review Sample Provided by: Nvidia/EVGA

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

What is the RTX 3050

So at CES, Nvidia’s big theme when announcing the RTX 3050 was “step up to RTX”. The RTX 3050 is Nvidia’s first time bringing out an RTX card in their XX50 range, previously the 3060 and 2060 were their lowest models with RTX features. It makes sense really, while everyone would love to have ray tracing and the tensor cores, ray tracing in games. Especially with the first generation of RTX cards was very demanding. No one would want to use those features on a mid-range card that couldn’t give you playable frame rates at those power levels. Not only that but adding the ray-tracing cores and tensor cores does add to the die size and with that overall cost. But today's market is much different, especially when it comes to costs and Nvidia feels like the 3050 is ready for the RTX treatment. RTX does add a lot of features that you might not consider, it isn’t JUST ray tracing although you do get that. The tensor cores also help with things like Nvidia Reflex, Nvidia Image Scaling, Nvidia Encoder, and their broadcast app as well. I personally think those features will be even more important for the RTX 3050 owners than ray tracing. Especially Reflex which is focused on lowering latency which is especially huge with FPS games and esports titles. Games like Fortnite, Escape from Tarkov, Apex Legends, Overwatch, Rust, and Valorant which are all very popular and don’t typically need ultra-high-end cards to play.

So the RTX 3050 is an Ampere based card, just like the rest of the 3000 series cards. So it does get some of the standard features like HDMI 2.1 support which the 3050 isn’t really a 4K focused card but it does also bring HDR support. It also helped bring AV1 decoding support which has been in the news a lot with AMD removing that from their just launched RX 6500 XT (I’ve got coverage coming soon, DHL/USPS has our card lost in the void right now). The 3050 also gets DLSS which I mentioned before, DLSS is a great way to get additional performance with very little quality difference. It is also a great way to offset some of the ray-tracing performance as well which I will look at in our testing.

As for the specs of the RTX 3050, I’ve put together a few different cards for comparison below. I have the RTX 3060 there so we can see what the next step up on the desktop lineup and the RTX 2060 to see what last year's lowest-end RTX card has. Then for GTX cards, we have the GTX 1650 which would be the last generation of XX50 series card before the 3050, and I also included the older GTX 1060 just for comparison as well. As far as SMs go the RTX 3050 has 8 less than the RTX 3060 and the CUDA core count matches up with that drop as well going down to 2560 from 3584 or 128 CUDA cores per SM on both cards. That also translates to 80 tensor cores from 112 on the 3060 and one ray tracing core per SM as well at 20. Both the RTX 3060 and RTX 3050 also have the same GPU boost clock speed with both set at 1777 MHz. The CUDA cores are also a huge jump when we compare that with the GTX 1650 which had 896 CUDA cores. On the memory side of things, the two cards are a lot farther apart, however. The RTX 3060 has 12 GB of video memory whereas the RTX 3050 has 8 GB, they are both GDDR6 though. Then the RTX 3060 has a 192-bit memory interface whereas the RTX 3050 has a 128-bit interface like the GTX 1650 had. Those two differences make a big difference in overall memory bandwidth with the RTX 3050 at 224 GB/s and the RTX 3060 at 360 GB/s. The memory on the 3060 is also clocked in a little faster as well. As for power, the RTX 3050 has a TGP of 130 watts to the RTX 3060’s 170 watts.

Specifications

GTX 1060

GTX 1650

RTX 2060

RTX 3050

RTX 3060

SMs

10

14

30

20

28

CUDA Cores

1280

896

1920

2560

3584

Tensor Cores

N/A

N/A

240 (2nd Gen)

80 (3rd Gen)

112 (3rd Gen)

RT Cores

N/A

N/A

30 (1st Gen)

20 (2nd Gen)

28 (2nd Gen)

Texture Units

80

56

120

80

112

ROPs

48

32

48

32

48

GPU Boost Clock

1709 MHz

1665 MHz

1680 MHz

1777 MHz

1777 MHz

Memory Clock

8000 MHz

8000 MHz

7000 MHz

7000 MHz

7501 MHz

Total Video Memory

6144 or 3072 MB GDDR5

4096 MB GDDR5

6144 MB GDDR6

8192 MB GDDR6

12,288 MB GDDR6

Memory Interface

192-bit

128-bit

192-bit

128-bit

192-bit

Memory Bandwidth

192.2 GB/s

128 GB/s

336 GB/s

224 GB/s

360 GB/s

TGP

120 Watts

75 Watts

160 Watts

130 Watts

170 Watts

Launch MSRP

3GB $199

6GB $249/$299(FE)

$159

$349

$249

$329

 

Before getting into testing I did also run GPUz to double-check that our clock speeds match up with the specifications. The RTX 3050 XC Black is a stock clocked RTX 3050 so its boost clock is 1777 MHz which it did match (after an update for our prelaunch card from EVGA). I tested using the beta driver provided to the press ahead of the launch which is Nvidia 511.31 and the BIOS version is noted as well for future reference.

image 23

 

 

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