Manufacturers promised that things could only get better and with the release of the new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050, a few beams of light have broken through the dark clouds, putting paid to cryptomining rumours, early leak hyperbole and pre-release reviews that PC gamers have reluctantly put an element of trust in. Nvidia's budget GPU offers Ray Tracing, DLSS and 1080p excellence, giving gamers a graphics card that benchmarks higher than AMD's RX 6800 XT, matching and exceeding the performance GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.
There's lots to talk about for those who have waited to upgrade, or waited to buy a pre-built gaming PC for the last six months or so. Better yet, CCL's RTX 3050 Gaming PCs are now available to buy - read on to find out more.
Horizon 5 RTX 3050 Gaming PC
We got our hands on the RTX 3050 early, along with many other retailers. The first next day gaming PCs with Core i5 processors, 8GB DDR4 RAM and shiny new RTX 3050 GPUs were built yesterday, aimed at price conscious consumers looking at an affordable way to get into PC gaming. You can find specifications below for the new Horizon 5 RTX 3050 Gaming PC.
The aim was simple for CCL with Nvidia's latest release: offer a pre-built system at a market leading price, and enable gamers to finally take the step to Ray Tracing & high-end game features. For console migrators, the RTX 3050 will provide a superb visual experience at 1080p, with extremely capable benchmarks.
- Intel Core i5-10400F 2.9GHz Processor
- 16GB DDR4 Memory
- Intel Socket 1200 Motherboard
- GeForce RTX 3050 8GB GPU
- 1000GB Solid State Drive
- Built-In Wi-Fi
- 80+ 500W Power Supply
More On The RTX 3050
We have covered everything we know so far about the RTX 3050 in this article, and after having hands-on experience with the new card, we can safely say that Nvidia have got it right again.
Nvidia Rewards The Patient PC Gamer
Around October 2021, as the year closed out, most gamers were starting to discuss Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals that would feature GPUs. Sadly, with prices still hiked due to supply shortages, there were few deals that surfaced for RTX cards, and the only respite was found in pre-built and custom built gaming PCs. Although this was fantastic news for those upgrading an entire rig, it was less than perfect for those who had waited out the market thus far, hoping against all hopes to finish that battlestation sans GPU.
"Should I Wait To Buy A Graphics Card?" - All PC Gamers In 2021
The strategy was quite simple in 2021 for PC gamers: either settle for an integrated graphics build, with one of AMD or Intel's APU/iGPU offerings, or build a PC with one of Nvdia's GTX GPUs until the market sorted itself out. For those who wanted to enjoy games in 1080p and stay around 60 - 90FPS in the latest games, this strategy was faultless.
Build, Sell, Buy!
For the smart builders out there, there is another option to add on here. When Nvidia finally dropped a new card in 2022 you could actually sell your current system at decent market value and purchase a pre-built RTX 3050 rig off the shelf. Under normal circumstances this would be madness, but with the market favouring the brave right now, the tables have turned. The second user market for GTX gaming PCs is extremely buoyant, being perfect for E-Sports and competitive gaming. With incredible numbers spending their time on Minecraft, Apex Legends, Fortnite and Valorant, these mid-range PCs have superb resale value, meaning you can offload your recently built system and put the money into a new RTX 3050 build pretty quickly.
Of course, these options meant that gamers looking to build that almighty rig to play 1440p & 4K games with Ray Tracing, DLSS and ultra-high framerates would need patience. In the past, patience has always paid off, too, when you consider the way Alder Lake smashed its way through the usual Intel benchmarks, and gave gamers new options (albeit with a hefty motherboard purchase on top). This was fairly predictable, and relied on that insane patience you virtually only see in the PC building community.
A New Hope For Budget PC Gaming
All eyes, then, were on Nvidia, after AMD's less than favourable response to their RX 6500 XT early 2022. While AMD managed to challenge Nvidia with the RX 6800 XT, and we were treated to a full-on brawl between the two card manufacturers in 2020, we are now expecting AMD's upcoming RDNA3 GPUs to roll off the production line in mid-2022 or maybe even later.
GeForce RTX 3050
The RTX 3050 provides new hope for gamers, but as we all know - stock levels and high demand for a budget card may mean retail prices could far exceed MSRP, which we'll get into a little further on. It is certainly not all doom and gloom, though, because the tech that is packed into the 3050's hardware is clearly aimed at a specific type of gamer.
RTX 3050 Performance
Nvidia did not accidentally show Control, Minecraft and Borderlands 3 on their website when they speak of the RTX 3050s performance. Clearly, Control is a great way to say "You're going to love the detail and shiny visuals!", as well as being one of the most benchmarked titles for RTX cards. Borderlands 3 is an ideal candidate to show in any performance comparison, as it was released in 2019 - the same year the GTX 1650 graced us with its presence.
They did, however forget to tell us what they were comparing. The performance chart did not provide any context, but some assumptions can be made based on what we do know about the cards.
"We can only guess what NVIDIA had in mind when making this graph. The company might have wanted to underline the fact that RTX 3050 is a second XX50 class GPU with raytracing acceleration (the first was RTX 2050). And just to add the cherry on the top, this graph titled ‘Performance” does not even mention what is being compared." - VideoCardz.com
The sensibility is somewhat apparent. There is no point pitching the RTX 3050 against giants RTX 3070 and RTX 3080. Nvidia is attempting to help out those who want to experience Ray Tracing, 1080p gaming and DLSS at a price that won't hurt. Taking a quick look at the second-user market we can see that the GTX 1650 is around £280 - a place most gamers want to be at when pairing with a powerful processor and plenty of RAM.
RTX 3050 Specifications
The RTX 3050 has 2560 CUDA cores with a base clock of 1.55 GHz and a boost clock of 1.78 GHz. The GPU itself is built on a 128-bit memory interface width, which is in line with what you could expect from 1080p sluggers like the GTX 1650.
The full specs for the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3050 GAMING 8GB OC GPU currently available (in very limited supply) on the CCL website look like this:
|Chipset Additional Information ||GAMING OC |
|Boost Chip Clock ||1822 MHz |
|Number of Cores ||2560 cores |
|Graphics Core ||CUDA |
|Memory Size ||8192 MB |
|Memory Clock ||14 Gbps |
|Memory Type ||GDDR6 |
|Memory Width ||128 bit |
|Memory Bandwidth ||224 GB/s |
The RTX 3050, much like other 30-series cards, also features 2nd-Gen Ray Tracing cores and 3rd-Gen Tensor cores. This is the technology that provides the power for DLSS A.I. upscaling. Ray Tracing and DLSS forms the core of RTX technology in games, and runs alongside other Nvidia technology such as Reflex and Broadcast.
When RTX is used with DirectX 12 Ultimate, gamers can experience the latest advances in game development, such as VRS (Variable Rate Shading) which intelligently lowers shading on areas of the screen space that don't require it, and Mesh Shading which enables the GPU to intelligently control the level of detail in open-world games where tessellation & LoD (Level of Detail) can cause slow-down.
Ray Tracing + DLSS Quality Mode: Minecraft
Minecraft Ray Tracing RTX 3050 Screenshot
Again, it was not by accident that we see a slider on a Minecraft screenshot, enabling prospective RTX 3050 buyers to take a look at the awesome reflections and lighting they could enjoy with the new card. With 141 million monthly active users in 2021, there's no better poster child to sing the praises of the 30-series.
RTX 3050 vs RTX 2060 vs RX 6500 XT vs GTX 1650 SUPER
YouTuber Mark PC recently benchmarked the RTX 3050 against three graphics cards it should easily be able to compete against, and the results were excellent news for budget RTX gamers.
It is clear that the advances made with the RTX 3050 allows it to maintain the higher framerates, with Cyberpunk 2077 having 1% Low results at around 31 FPS in 1080p High (RTX Off):
RTX 3050 vs RTX 2060 vs RX 6500 XT vs GTX 1650 SUPER - Image Courtesy: Mark PC (YouTube)
RTX 3050 Gaming Benchmarks
Other benchmarks of note were:
- Watch Dogs: Legion - 41 FPS 1080p Ultra
- DOOM Eternal - 76 FPS 1080p Ultra
- Assassin's Creed Valhalla - 38 FPS 1080p Ultra
- Red Dead Redemption 2 - 35 FPS 1080p Ultra
- Horizon Zero Dawn - 88 FPS 1080p Ultra
An interesting comparison is the RTX 3050 vs GTX 1660 Ti - a superb value GPU that still shines. The non-Ti version GTX 1660 has been a phenominal stayer in the market, too, and features in some of our best selling Horizon Gaming PCs.
RTX 3050 vs GTX 1660 Ti - Courtesy Mark PC (YouTube)
More Out Of Stock Woes For The RTX 3050?
With around 8 million of these GPUs available, there's speculation about how high the retail price will go, and if Nvidia can keep up with demand to prevent over-inflation. Early suggestions of a £239 price tag have widened eyes, but caught the industry off-guard considering the manufacturing process is suffering as a whole with chip shortages and cryptomining also being responsible for price hikes.
"While the RTX 3050 stock claims could provide hope to gamers endlessly waiting to upgrade their GPU, it’s probably best to take the rumours with a grain of salt. Even if the card is available to preorder on January 27, the lack of a Founders Edition release could create something of a price inflation hurdle, especially if RTX 3080 12GB pricing is anything to go by." - PCGamesN
"The Nvidia RTX 3050 desktop graphics card was announced with a budget-friendly price tag back during Nvidia's keynote at CES 2022. But presale listings for the card show that some sites have already inflated its price to over double the MSRP." - TechRadar
Is The RTX 3050 Good For Cryptomining?
The short answer is no. Thankfully...
With the current price of Ethereum and the availability/price of the card itself, a crypto miner could only see ROI (return on investment) of the GeForce RTX 3050 (retail price of £239) after approximately 500 days.
"An early leaked ETH mining benchmark from China allegedly reveals that the new NVIDIA RTX 3050 is not a good bet for cryptocurrency mining. TechRadar reports that the card can only manage a paltry 13.66 MH/s at 57W of power, with the maximum hash rate at a mere 20 MH/s." - TechTimes
2022 has started strongly for PC gamers, and these early indications of a changing tide mean that things can definitely get better with Intel's ARC and AMD & Nvidia's offerings later in the year. By then, the full effect of GPU-less mining and proof of stake will be realised, and prices should reflect just as much. More on GPU pricing here.
Is The RTX 3050 Worth It?
In a pre-built PC, the value of the RTX 3050 is more apparent, being paired with a full-featured motherboard and gaming-focused processor. Even if the market demands inflated prices, a pre-built PC like the Horizon 5 RTX 3050 Gaming PC will still be at a market leading price.
Buying the GPU on its own is less attractive when installing it in a PC that is maybe five years out of touch. Plenty of gamers have been waiting that long to upgrade, too. To get the best out of the RTX 3050, you will want to be gaming on a PC with the fastest interfaces, SSD storage for essential apps & games, and be able to utilise Windows 11's upcoming gaming features.
The benchmarks and pre-built pricing combined, the GeForce RTX 3050 is perfectly placed in a market that had no clue what it was doing three months ago. If this is your first step into PC gaming, then the RTX 3050 offers excellent value and performance, regardless of your chosen genre.