Graphics cards are too expensive. I don’t think anyone would seriously disagree with me there — to get the same level of performance relative to where the industry was ten years ago, you’re looking at $100-300 more for a GPU. Options are particularly anemic under the $200 level, with Intel and AMD fighting for a market that Nvidia has basically abandoned. Until now. A new, lower-spec variant of the GeForce RTX 3050 is coming to market with a refreshingly approachable price tag.
The new 6GB version of the GeForce RTX 3050 was announced today, and there are two things about it that might just turn some heads. One, unlike the original 8GB version of the RTX 3050, it doesn’t require a power connector from the power supply. That makes it a super-easy, drop-in upgrade for any desktop with a PCIe slot, just like the venerable GTX 1050 and 1650. And two, the starting price is $169, a full $80 cheaper than the original RTX 3050 that debuted two years ago.
Other cuts had to be made to reach that price point. As WCCFTech reports, the 6GB version of the card will have to make do with 2048 CUDA cores, a 96-bit memory bus, and a 1470MHz clock, all downgrades from the original about in line with the 25 percent VRAM reduction. On the plus side you still get three DisplayPort and one HDMI video out, meaning this is a cheap way to get access to a multi-monitor machine with some extra graphical oomph.
Though it’ll obviously perform at a lower level than the 8GB card, the lower price and lower power requirement makes the new 6GB RTX 3060 a serious contender in the space, fighting against rivals like the Radeon RX 6500 XT and Intel Arc A580. Though the RTX 3050 has a RAM disadvantage against both of those cards (the 6500 XT comes in a 6GB version that’s much cheaper right now), the Nvidia card is capable of DLSS, which still has a notable advantage over similar super-sampling techniques from the other two players. For gamers trying to get the best out of a 1080p setup, that could be the deciding factor.
We’ll have to get the new GeForce RTX 3050 6GB on a testing bench to make any final judgments, but at this price it might just be the heir apparent to the GTX 1050 and 1650, which retained the budget crown for years. The importance of a graphics card with no external power requirements can’t be overstated. It’s an exciting development for fans of Nvidia hardware, and an indication that the company is still interested in the budget GPU market, even as it rides high selling every expensive chip it can make to the emerging AI industry.
A precise launch date hasn’t been announced, but there are already listings for models of the 6GB RTX 3050 up on Newegg from Asus and MSI, so they could drop at more or less any time.