It’s the year 2022, and NVIDIA now covers all segments of the desktop graphics card market with its product range from GeForce RTX 3090 to (Ti) GeForce RTX 3060. All? Hey! The entry level is still populated by the unabridged GeForce GTX 10/16 series, which resist time and time again, and life isn’t easy every day for those players who have to drastically reduce the graphics settings of their favorite game. 60 continuous FPS in Full HD mode. Here, the GeForce RTX 3050 comes in its own form: this card replaces the obsolete GTX 1060 and 1660, which are no longer able to run recent AAA games properly at 1080p, with the added benefit of beam tracking and DLSS support.

In addition to completing the bottom-up list, this new graphics card will allow NVIDIA to compete (without much difficulty) with the Radeon RX 6500 XT, which has just appeared on AMD. Its technical features have been carefully defined to make it efficient enough proper playback in Full HD with any game while maintaining an attractive MSRP in these times of GPU shortage (among other things).

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 – Credit: Igor’s Lab

In practice, the manufacturer has therefore decided to use a GA106 GPU, the same as the RTX 3060, but many of the transistors are disabled. The RTX 3050 is also embedded 8 GB GDDR6 memory : NVIDIA does not make the same mistake here as the AMD RX 6500 XT, which has only 4 GB of VRAM. With this card, we can even hope to get a taste of the game as QHD (1440p), but we will necessarily have to make big concessions on the graphics side.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 rear
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 – Credit: Igor’s Lab

NVIDIA has decided, as is often the case with its entry-level products, not to offer Founders Editions of its RTX 3050 and has limited itself to providing reference design to its various partners. We had to get a model from Gigabyte to test this GeForce RTX, but the setback delayed its arrival in the lab. Therefore, we had to turn to our colleague Igor Wallossek from Igor’s Labs to perform the following tests based on the Palit model. RTX 3050 Dual OC 8GB. A factory-clocked model, this RTX 3050 is shown at a suggested retail price that is higher than NVIDIA announced 279 euros, but it is pointless to point out that these prices are purely theoretical and that, in any case, it is currently impossible to find a video card at the recommended retail price…

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 specifications

The manufacturer uses a Ampere GA106 chip set identical to the RTX 3060, Samsung is still engraved at 8 nm, but with some components disabled. The number of streaming multiprocessors thus drops from 28 to 20, reducing from 3584 to 2560 cores. The number of tensor cores and RT cores also decreases from 112 and 28 units of the RTX 3060 to “only” 80 and 20 units. In summary, it is a Graphics processing clusters complete that NVIDIA has disabled the GeForce RTX 3050 graphics processor. In return, the fundamental frequency increases slightly, reaching 1552 MHz.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU
GeForce RTX 3050 GPU – Thanks to Igor’s Lab

The RTX 3050 has four VRAM controllers (compared to six in the full GA106) and embedded 8 GB GDDR6 memory (14 Gbps), which provides a total bandwidth of up to 224 GB / s on the 128-bit bus. Here we are also below the RTX 3060 and its 360GB / s, but well above the RX 6500XT, whose 4GB GDDR6 offers only 144GB / s of bandwidth; These two graphics don’t seem to play in the same category…

The TDP of this graphics card is logically smaller than with the RTX 3060 130W statedA single 8-pin PCI-Express power connector is more than enough to use the RTX 3050. This, of course, benefits from all the GPU features of the Ampere series, including the Resizeable BAR. The second generation RT Cores and the third generation Tensor Cores offer radiation monitoring and DLSS support, and NVIDIA Reflex, NVIDIA Image Scaling, and NVIDIA Broadcast are included. Compatible DirectX 12 UltimateThe RTX 3050 also supports Variable speed shading. On the other hand, it will be limited in terms of cryptocurrency mining, the Lite Hash Rate model requires, although some programs allow this limitation to be partially bypassed. The Palit card has an HDMI 2.1 output and three DisplayPort outputs, which should be on almost all other RTX 3050 models. Finally, the GPU is capable the hardware disconnects the AV1.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 PCB
GeForce RTX 3050 Circuit Board – Thanks: Igor’s Lab

In dual-slot format, the Palit card is rather compact the dimensions are 24.4 x 11.5 cm and a very reasonable weight of 555 grams on the scale. The circuit board is really small because it barely protrudes from the end of the PCI-Express 16x port! It should be noted in passing that not all locations for surface mount components are used: Palit appears to have re-used his RTX 3060 Dual OC circuit board with a slight reduction in power. This factory-overclocked model benefits from a slightly higher Boost frequency than the reference model (1822 MHz), while other features follow NVIDIA’s recommendations.

Full HD performance

Performance measurements were performed in the laboratory on a standardized medium that assembled high-end components: a AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor overclocked (PBO + 500 MHz), MSI MEG X570 Godlike motherboard, two 16GB DDR4-4000 Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro memory modules (CL18-22-22-42), 2 TB Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen4 SSD, another 2 TB Corsair MP400 SSD, power supply Be Quiet Dark Power Pro 12 1200W and the Raijintek Paean case and BenQ PD3220U monitor. Cooling is entrusted to a water cooling system consisting of Alphacool Eiswolf (modified) and Eisblock XPX Pro, Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal paste.

The Palitin RTX 3050 contrasted with a few current and previous AMD and NVIDIA models. The test panel consists of ten recent games, seven of which use the DirectX 12 API (Borderlands 3, Horizon Zero Dawn, Marvel’s Avenger, Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, Necromunda, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs Legion) and three Volcano APIs (Ghost) Recon Breakpoint, Wolfenstein Youngblood, World War Z). Tests were performed in Full HD, graphics settings at maximum.

GeForce RTX 3050 average performance
GeForce RTX 3050 average performance

The difference in average performance between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3050 is 27%, which is almost proportional to the difference between the computing units of the two graphics cards. The minimum FPS also drops by about 25% between the RTX 3060 and the RTX 3050, but the card is powerful enough to stay above 60 FPS (our panel as the average of ten games).

In other words, the actual performance is in line with the graphics card’s claims and NVIDIA’s announcements, namely the possibility plays recent games in Full HD quality at maximum graphics settings, all of which have a screen refresh rate right. On the competitive side, the RX 6600 is surprisingly faster (but also significantly more expensive), and the RX 6500XT is completely obsolete. And there is even a small space between the RTX 3050 and RTX 3060 for a hypothetical GeForce RTX 3050 Ti display…

Consumption

GeForce RTX 3050 Consumption
GeForce RTX 3050 – Consumption

The The GeForce RTX 3050 has reasonable idle consumption, especially when part of the RGB lighting of the Palit model. We are in the game about 130 watts Whatever the definition, but the consumption of QHD is slightly higher than that of FHD, then the card will work at its maximum. However, we find that consumption exceeds the TBP (Total Card Consumption) reported by NVIDIA in certain cases, such as GPGPU calculations or the “torture” test. The explanation can be found in the settings chosen by Palit: the manufacturer has indeed raised the consumption limit to 140 watts in its model, vBIOS also allows manual adjustment of TBP between 100 watts and 150 watts. In practice, however, the increase in performance is negligible …

More specifically, the in-game Palitin RTX 3050 uses up to 2.4 amps from the PCI-Express 16x port (well below the 5.5 A limit) to supply one phase of power, and the other three phases are powered by an 8-pin PCIe. coupling. Therefore, the series looks very balanced and well below the limits set by the PCI-Express standard. The The boost frequency reaches 1980 MHz in the game, but quickly stabilizes at around 1850 MHz. Note in passing that just like the RTX 3060, the GeForce RTX 3050 really doesn’t seem to have been made for overclocking: it’s almost impossible to increase the GPU frequency above 100 MHz, which means an increase of 60 MHz after the warm-up period. . Of course, these values ​​are common and depend heavily on chance, depending on the quality of the GPU installed.

Cooling system

NVIDIA does not offer the Founders Edition of its GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, the cooling system and therefore noise pollution will vary depending on the model tested. In the case of the Palitin RTX 3050 Dual OC, we find a radiator consisting of two 90 mm fans, each with 9 blades, six nickel-plated copper heat pipes and several radiators. On top of the GPU and GDDR6 memory chips is a heat sink to which the heat pipes are attached, while the power phase components directly contact the three heat pipes.

Radiator for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
Palit GeForce RTX 3050 Radiator – Credit: Igor’s Lab

Double cloth, back plate ABS plastic does not participate in cooling, and it only reinforces the configuration of the cooling system on the circuit board, in addition to contributing to the overall aesthetics of the card.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 backplane
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Backplane – Credit: Igor’s Lab

The cooling system is quite efficient, but its operation is facilitated by a reasonable TBP of the card. Noise pollution reaches 34.1 dB (A) in the game, which is relatively quiet. The in-game temperature readings show up to 49.6 ° C behind the circuit board at the GPU level, but VRMs still rise to 81.7 ° C. Although it looks absolutely high, we are still well below what these components can support: here too the power level seems to be the right size In terms of GPU and GDDR6 memory consumption.

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